The greatest food city on earth is back on the Aussie travellers’ map after Qantas returned its Kangaroo Route connecting hub to Singapore. That’s an excellent excuse to revisit the classic stopover destination to see what’s new. But, more importantly, it’s a marvellous opportunity to unceremoniously stuff your face in myriad hawker stalls and pan-Asian restaurants.
Anyone who has ever been sucked into computer games such as SimCity will find the Singapore City Gallery enthralling. It is devoted to the art of city planning, and there’s nowhere in the world where this is more crucial than tiny Singapore. There are lots of touchscreen games so visitors can have ago at planning city squares, or balance the needs of industry, defence, residents and commerce. See ura.gov.sg
You can’t go too wrong in Singapore, there is good, cheap food at every turn. But Peranakan food, which developed as the Chinese and Malay populations intermarried, is undergoing a resurgence. Nowhere is this more the case than at the sumptuously decorated National Kitchen by Violet Oon inside the National Gallery. The tangy, spicy buah keluak ayam, made with chicken leg and buah keluak nuts, is revelatory. See violetoon.com
The Katong neighbourhood tends to be popular with ex-pats, but otherwise overlooked. But it’s home to some fantastic places to eat, and Singabites’ $120 evening tour takes in curry puffs with perfect pastry, top drawer laksa and beautifully tender Hainanese chicken rice. On the way, there’s also a visit to a tremendously garish Hindu temple, and a swoony, traditionally furnished Peranakan home. See singabites.com
The revamped Battle Box, inside the rather lovely and historic Fort Canning Park, was the British military HQ during World War II. Inside the maze of tunnels and map rooms, tours tell of how the Japanese overran the Malay Peninsula, and the ill-equipped defence of Singapore resulted in a humiliating surrender. See battlebox.com.sg
Next to the legendary Raffles in the colonial district, the Naumi offers a modern, playful experience. The lobby is dotted with plastic hippos, there’s a statement street art mural on the exterior wall, and super-attentive staff hint that those who mention a birthday or anniversary will get extra treats. Rooms cost from $272. See naumihotels.com
Half the fun of Singapore is continually grazing in hawker stalls and eating messy. But very few provide napkins, so carry a packet of tissues or buy some off a vendor in a hawker court.
More information: visitsingapore.com
Disclosure: David Whitley was a guest of Naumi Hotels.