48 hours in Singapore
Contributed by Jens Hoffmann
A press & influencer trip to Singapore.
First of all, I like the garden city.
Singapore’s main island is sometimes described as diamond-shaped — fitting, perhaps, since the sparkling city, which had a starring role in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” is known for its materialistic pursuits.
But look past Singapore’s shiny veneer and you’ll find a compression of Chinese, Indian, Malay and other heritages reaching back far beyond the city state’s half-century history as an independent nation. And thanks to the superb street food and efficient public transit, you don’t have to be crazy rich to enjoy this cinematic city, which is easy accessible not only by Singapore Airlines.
Now, with the help of ovative environ mental technology, this lush foliage will be encouraged to grow skywards, adding a welcome touch of green, inside and out, to an increasing number of high-rise buildings in this metropolis of millions.
Spectacular architecture and abundant vegetation are not the only arms in a combat to counter Singapore’s reputation as a somewhat sterile city: with any number of fabulous restaurants, art galleries and museums this harbour city certainly has a lot more to offer than glamorous shopping malls.
The city state is well known as a paradise for foodies: spotlessly clean street stands, gourmet restaurants or underground bars, knife and fork or chopsticks – choosing is possibly the hardest part in this multicultural environment where food is omnipresent.
Singapore is nothing if not stable, the city state prides itself on being a calm harbour in the funky Asia-Pacific region.
Hotel tip: W Sentosa
The “W Sentosa” is centrally located, a highlights easy to fall in love with, so no wonder Chopard’s art director felt right at home here, what with all the sparkle and shine.
Cutting-edge, yet indisputably stunning, wows at every turn, from the living room, complete with a DJ deck and rock star bar, all the way to the master bath, where a chandelier reigns over a polished nickel tub. The city changed his face during the last months, new hotels including some architecturally stunning buildings are popping up with surprising frequency, dramatically changing the urban landscape of this modern Southeast Asian city-state.
Cranes are everywhere, signalling there is more to come.
But not only new hotels & bank buildings, you will also find the world’s largest oceanarium, a Moshe Safdie designed museum, and a new botanical garden that has attracted international attention.
The Marine Park opened on Sentosa Island, and includes the world’s largest aquarium and a waterpark. The aquarium contains thousands of marine animals from over 800 species. Visitors see manta rays, hammerhead sharks, bottlenose dolphins and other creatures on an underwater voyage of discovery that begins in Southeast Asia, and continues through the Arabian Gulf and the Open Ocean habitat, which is the aquarium’s centrepiece.
There’s also a wave pool the chance to tube along one of the world’s longest lazy-rivers, which meanders 620-metres through 14 themed scenes of tropical jungles, grottos, a surround aquarium and more. The ArtScience Museum appears like a lotus, the structure is the newest addition to the Moshe Safdie designed Marina Bay Sands.
The building recycles water from its roof, and is surrounded by a 4,000-square-metre lily-pond reflecting pool that floats over a new urban terrace.
Inside are galleries on three floors located, including permanent galleries, the museum also features major travelling exhibitions from renowned collections throughout the world.
Furthermore there are plenty of flowers, plants and trees in Singapores botanical attraction, but none compare to the eye-popping “Supertrees,” which are not real trees at all, but towering steel structures that stretch up to 50-metres-high and act as dramatic vertical plant displays containing thousands of real ferns, orchids and bromeliads. You can take an elevator to the top of one of these and walk between two of the structures on the 130-meters-long Skyway for a view of the city.
The trees, which are embedded with photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy, come to life at night with spectacular light and sound shows.
Elsewhere are themed gardens such as the Chinese, Malay and Colonial Gardens.
We enjoyed the W Hotels restaurants, here guests can pamper their palates easily.
Resto tips in Singapore:
Food courts, are a quick introduction to Singapore’s pan-Asian palate, allowing diners to sample dishes like crab fried in chili sauce, chicken poached with ginger, and roti served with a fiery curry sauce.
Locals debate which hawker center serves the best rendition of a particular dish.
At night, vendors grilling meat on skewers take over the adjacent Boon Tat Street, erasing the boundary between this lively hawker center and the rest of the city. If you want a more down-home atmosphere, Amoy Street Food Centre (7 Maxwell Road) is popular among locals and Michelin Bib Gourmand critics alike.
Fine dining is possible:
Try the “Jaan”
The restaurant Jaan is located on the 70th floor of the Swissôtel.
Fine dining with a spectacular view over the city. There has been considerable change in the kitchen and we are always say hello to new faces.
The carpeted dining room had around a dozen well-spaced, large tables, and there was rather unnecessary muzak playing in the background. There was a rather incongruous industrial feel to the ceiling of the room, which doubtless was the result of careful and expensive interior design.
In addition to the a la carte menu there were five and eight course tasting menus, the 30 pages wine list was presented on an iPad rather than on paper, and included wines such as Chablis Domaine St Claire 2008.
Lets talk food.
It started with crisp salmon skin with lemon snow and lemon cream with lamb bacon.
A further amuse-bouche was cep sabayon with fresh walnuts and lovage and displayed in a cafetiere was a wild mushroom tea poured out at the table by the waiter, the cep sabayon itself was excellent. Breads are made in the kitchen and consisted of a series of rolls: black truffle brioche, black olive roll, sourdough roll and baguette. The breads were pleasant.
A single scallop had nice flavour but was was a bit overcooked, served with a pea puree and a watery tarragon nage. Later on we had rib of beef thas was really yummy, served with artichokes, confit tomatoes.
Final: Honey pear pleasant enough, served with a good ginger ice cream and butter shortbread.
All in all a nice culinary experience.
Happy landing, Singapore Airlines is always fun.
Photos by Martin Mai & Jens Hoffmann