Hello Singapore Food Tour – An Unbiased and Honest Review

by Apr 14, 2019Reviews, Singapore

“Some wag once said that the quickest way to start a debate in Singapore is to walk up to a random group of people and ask them, ‘So where can I get the best chicken rice?’” – Terry Tan and Christopher Tan, Singapore Food: Fabulous Recipes from Asia’s Food Capital

Even before I set foot in Singapore, I’d heard that Singaporeans were crazy about their food. I don’t blame them. I mean why not when your cuisine consists of a mix of two of the greatest cuisines in the world, Chinese and Indian, two of the most intriguing ones, Malay and Peranakan, and their own homegrown Singaporean cuisine. The chance to try this rich and complex cuisine was one reason I chose to visit. And what better way to get the inside scoop on it than to take a food tour of Singapore.

But which tour? When I was looking for one, there seemed to be as many food tours being sold to clueless tourists as there are hawker centers in Singapore. Ok. That’s an exaggeration. There are currently over 100 hawker centers, and according to Tripadvisor, 31 food tours. Still, that’s a lot. For me, food is really, really important. So, I didn’t want to skimp on a cheap tour. I wanted the very best tour that would let me sample the most dishes, visit the most parts of the city, and have the most knowledgeable guides.

In the end, I splurged on the most expensive tour: Hello Singapore Food Tour. Cost: US$100.

Did they live up to their hefty price tag? Should you take this tour? Read and find out.

Hello Singapore did not sponsor or pay for this tour in any way, shape, or form. They were also unaware that I’d be writing about the tour. This is my own unbiased and honest review.

This food tour is also part of my Singapore Itinerary 5 Days post. Check it out and find out how to discover the history and culture of this fascinating country. 

Singapore Food Tour Overview

TOUR COMPANY: Hello Singapore

TOUR TIMES: 9:00 am – 2:30 pm

COST: US$100 for the food and drink and the 2 bus rides between stops

TOUR STOPS: Katong, Old Airport Road, Little India, and Kampong Glam

TOUR GUIDE: Janice

WEBSITE: https://hellosingaporetours.com/group-food-tour/

a photo of Peranakan tea cups, Peranakan sweets and Indian sweets

WHO IS HELLO SINGAPORE

Hello Singapore is a tour company with offices in both Singapore and Hong Kong. Along with the food tour, they also do walking tours, kayaking tours, and sunset cruise tours. They do both small group and private tours. I also did their small group night tour, which was good because we went to places that I never would have gone to on my own.

Below is what their website advertised as of April. I added the type of cuisine to each dish.

1. Katong area – the heart of Peranakan culture

  • kaya toast and kopi – Chinese
  • bak chang – Peranakan
  • kuehs – Peranakan
  • laksa – Peranakan

2. Old Airport Road Hawker Center

  • hokkien mee – Singaporean
  • rojak – Singaporean; this wasn’t advertised when I took my tour
  • carrot cake – Singaporean

3. Kampong Glam – Malay area

  • teh tarik (“teh” is not a typo) – Malay
  • beef rendang – Indonesian
  • murtabak – Arabic

4. Little India – Indian area

  • dosa – Indian
  • Indian sweets – Indian
  • Masala milk – Indian

HELLO SINGAPORE PRE-TOUR ASSISTANCE

Hello Singapore showed their professionalism by providing detailed information to get to the meeting place: the time, the location with a photo of the building to meet at, the best way to get to the meeting point, the cost of transportation, the items to bring (sun protection and umbrella), the tour guide’s name, and the contact numbers via What’s App of the tour guides.

THE WALKING FOOD TOUR

Hello Singapore recommended taking a Grab (Southeast Asia’s version of Uber) to the meeting point on East Coast Road in Katong. To give you an idea of how much (and how inexpensive) taking a Grab is, my ride cost S$11 (US$8.13) from Chinatown. To find out more ways to travel on a budget in Singapore, check out my article on How to Save Money in Singapore.

Was it easy to find the meeting spot?

My driver had a difficult time finding the place, but eventually, he got it but dropped me off a half a block from my destination and then pointed the way towards it. Luckily, I found it by spotting a whole bunch of other people who looked like tourists along with a woman with an iPad who looked like she knew what she was doing. The meeting spot looked nothing like the photo they had sent me.

How was the tour guide? 

Our guide was Janice, who was wonderful. She was super patient, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. She was always friendly to everyone equally and was always in a good mood. I couldn’t have asked for a better guide.

How were the other tour members?

As advertised, there were indeed only eight people on the tour: Me, a guy from England, and three American couples who were traveling on cruise ships. I have to say the people on the tour were the best tour mates I’ve ever had before. Even as a single person, they made me completely welcome. They were friendly, respectful toward the local culture, and open-minded about trying new foods.

What did Hello Singapore provide?

One thing I liked that Hello Singapore did was to give everyone a wallet-sized checklist of the must-eat Singaporean dishes. I could then keep track of what I’d eaten and what I still needed to try.

Katong (Joo Chiat) 

The first stop on the Hello Singapore tour was in a neighborhood on the east coast called Katong. It’s also referred to as Joo Chiat, which was named after a man, Chew Joo Chiat, who had owned plantations in the area in the 1800s. 

This culturally and historically rich area of Singapore is unfortunately overlooked by many tourists. Guidebooks also don’t highlight it and travel bloggers don’t mention it, so it was originally not on my itinerary. That’s really too bad because after visiting the area, it was my favorite place in Singapore. There’s so much wonderful history, heritage, and culture in Katong.

In the 1800s, this area mainly consisted of plantations, seaside bungalows, countryside estates, and villages, but around the 1900s, as the population increased and other areas became more crowded, the people began moving in and pushing the plantations out. Joo Chiat/Katong especially saw an influx of Eurasians and Peranakans.

Because so many Peranakans settled in Katong,  you can see lots of examples of this culture there such as the rows of pastel-colored Peranakan terrace houses and shophouses, shops that sell Peranakan crafts and foods, Peranakan restaurants and bakeries, and a Peranakan museum (Katong Antique House).

Katong has got some of the most beautiful architecture in Singapore. We didn’t check out the most famous and more instragrammable places on the tour, but if you’re interested to go on your own, you should visit Koon Seng Road (see photo above).

1. Kaya Toast and Kopi

The first food stop in Katong was at a 94-year-old Hainanese kopitiam (kopi means coffee and tiam means shop).  The kopitiam specializes in kaya toast and kopi (coffee), which is what Singaporeans traditionally eat for breakfast. This was also where we met our tour leader, Janice.

When we first got to the restaurant, there were no seats available, so Janice took us down the street to another restaurant, but that place was closed. Luckily, we went back to the original kopitiam and found tables.

Kaya is a jam made of coconut, sugar, and sometimes pandan leaves. The coffee shop we went to makes their own kaya jam.

The kaya is spread over toasted white bread or a toasted bun and then a slab of butter so large it’ll block at least one of your arteries is placed on top of the jam. This coffee shop toasts their buns over a charcoal grill.

You are also given a soft-boiled egg which you break into a saucer. Sprinkle white pepper and soy sauce onto the egg yolk, and then dip your bun with kaya and butter into it. Yum!

I had kaya toast many times in Singapore and Malaysia, and if there’s one thing I learned, it’s that not all kaya toasts are equal. The way the bread is toasted, the type and quality of the bread, the quality of the kaya jam, and the placement of the butter on the toast all make a huge difference.

The first time I tried it, I was at a kopitiam in Chinatown, and my first thought was that it was just ok.

The second time was here at the coffee shop on East Coast Road, and I was blown away. Every time I ate it after that, I was sorely disappointed. Nothing was as good as what I had on that day.

I realize now that there’s good kaya toast and there’s bad kaya toast. If you eat good kaya toast, you’ll fall in love with the stuff. If you eat bad kaya toast, you’ll think the Singaporeans are crazy for liking white bread covered in an overly-sweet jam.

Kaya jam is sort of a Chinese/Southeast Asian take on British jam. It was first invented by Hainanese Chinese working on British ships. They ran out of fruit to make jam, so they used coconut instead. People loved it and over time it was incorporated into the menus of the kopitiams throughout Singapore and Malaysia.

By the way, when you’re leaving Singapore, pick up a jar at the airport. I picked up two: one with pandan leaves and the other without. But it really only tastes good on certain types of bread. Sourdough is THE best. Whole wheat bread not so much.

Kopi is a type of coffee in which the beans are roasted with sugar and margarine. It’s amazing coffee. The taste is supposed to be more caramelized and chocolately. I’m not sure about the chocolate part, but it was really good.

It’s important that you know how to order kopi.

  •             Kopi: black coffee and condensed milk
  •             Kopi-O: black coffee and sugar
  •             Kopi-C: black coffee, evaporated milk, and sugar
  •             Kopi-Kosong: black coffee with no milk and no sugar

There are many other ways to order kopi, but those are the basics.

2. Peranakan Houses

After having one of my best breakfasts in Singapore, Janice took us down East Coast Road and then to a side street with these pastel-colored Peranakan houses called the Painted Ladies of Singapore.

Before the Singapore government went land reclamation crazy, the sea actually went up to the houses here. Thus, the houses had to be built up. If you want to buy one of these, you’ll need to fork over tons of Singapore dollars.

Who are the Peranakans?

The Peranakans are the most fascinating ethnic group you’ve probably never heard of. They are descendants of the ancestors of Chinese fathers and Malay mothers. In the 17th century (and some say as far back as the 15th century, but according to the Peranakan Museum, there’s actually no written proof of that), Chinese traders came to Malaysia and Indonesia to trade in spices and started settling down on the Malay peninsula especially around Malacca. At that time, the Ming Dynasty was also collapsing and China was in chaos.

Because of the chaos in China, strict laws forbidding women from leaving China, the punishment of decapitation for emigrating from China, and the commercial advantages of having guanxi (connections) with the locals, these Chinese traders married local Malay women and had children with them. These children became known as the Peranakan, which means “locally born.” The males were respectfully referred to as “baba” and the females as “nyonya.” Sometimes Peranakan food is referred to as Nyonya cuisine.

The Chinese were not the only ones who married with local Malays. There are also Peranakan Muslim Indians and Peranakan Hindu Indians, which are the descendants of Indians who married Malays.

When the British colonized Singapore and Penang in the early 1800s, the Chinese from Malacca saw a great opportunity and moved to these new colonies. They became known as Straits Chinese or Straits-born Chinese. Unlike the Chinese who came to Singapore later on and who were poor laborers, these Peranakan Chinese were wealthy business people.  The economic depression in the 30s and World War II hit Peranakan businesses hard. Many did not recover financially. I’m still not sure what their financial and social status is now or whether there is much of a distinction nowadays between the Peranakans and the Chinese in Singapore.

To give you an idea of who they are, the characters from the book and movie, Crazy Rich Asians, are Straits Chinese. Lee Kuan Yew was one as well.

3. Nyonya Kueh and Nyonya Bak Chang

We then crossed East Coast Road to our second food stop of the day at a Peranakan Peranakan bakery/shop/museum.

What is Peranakan food?

Before traveling to Singapore, I’d only heard about Peranakan food from watching Anthony Bourdain but I’d never actually had it before, so it was the food I was most eager to try on the tour. Peranakan food uses a combination of Chinese ingredients with Malay and Indonesian spices and cooking techniques.

Many dishes contain spices that are common in Southeast Asian cooking such as coconut milk, chilies, pandan leaves (above photo), tamarind, galangal root (if you ever get a chance, smell galangal—it’s heavenly!), shrimp paste (kind of pungent) and kaffir lime leaves (also heavenly!).

Nyonya cuisine also has a lot of “cakes” or “sweets” called Nyonya kueh (also spelled kuih). That is what we tried at the bakery.

We sampled three different kinds: bak chang (above), onde-onde, and 7-layer kueh.

Bak chang is sticky rice and pork wrapped in banana leaf and then steamed. It tastes and looks just like the Chinese dish, zongzi. Like zongzi, bak chang is eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival.

Onde-onde are glutinous rice balls filled with palm sugar and covered in coconut flakes. They sometimes contain pandan juice as well. Very delicious.

The second floor was a combination shop and museum that showcased Peranakan cultural objects like a bed, ceramics, clothing and also a store that sold some really cool Peranakan souvenirs. 

4. Laksa

We had our last bite of Peranakan food down the road from the bakery at a well-known laksa restaurant.

What is laksa?

Laksa is by far my favorite Singaporean dish. There are a few versions of laksa. The laksa that I had in Penang had more of a tamarind flavor so it was sourer, while the laksa from Malacca had a stronger coconut taste. The Katong laksa we had was more on the coconut side but also has a heavy dose of shrimp paste. It consisted of coconut milk broth, shrimp-based broth, shrimp paste, fish cakes, and short cut noodles.

What are the Katong Laksa Wars?

East Coast Road is famous, or you could also say infamous, for its laksa restaurants. Back in the 90s and early 2000s a war, which is referred to by Singaporeans as the Katong Laksa Wars, took place on this same road. Fortunately, no one died during the war. Five food stalls on the East Coast Road competed fiercely with each other for customers, all claiming to be the original Katong Laksa. Things have subsided and competition is not so fierce.

The real Katong Laksa restaurant was started by a guy named Janggut (named after the hairs coming out of a mole on his face) peddling his laksa on the streets in Katong. In 1963 the health inspector chased him off the street and him and his brother opened a restaurant on 49 East Coast Road and named it Marine Parade Laksa. This restaurant and another one on the same road had the best laksa in Singapore and Singaporeans would come from all corners of the country to eat there. As a result, everyone referred to the laksa on East Coast Road as Katong Laksa.

Marine Parade Laksa closed down for a while and then moved a few more times where it currently is at Roxy Square. A few of the other laksa restaurants from the Laksa Wars are still around or have closed down. Some have tried franchising.

You can read more about it from an article in the Straits Times: 5 Famous Singapore Food Feuds and from the famous food blog, i eat i shoot i post.

How can you find out more about Nyonya Cuisine?

If you want to learn more about Peranakan food in an enjoyable way, check out a series of books about a Peranakan chef named Aunty Lee. There are three books in the series: Aunty Lee’s Delights, Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials, and Aunty Lee’s Chilled Revenge. Despite the farfetched premise of a Peranakan chef turned Angela Landsbury-like detective who solves crime even the Singapore police can’t solve (it seems that all 7 murders that occur in Singapore each year happen in her restaurant!), these novels are pretty entertaining and they’re a memorable introduction into Singapore food and culture.

Old Airport Road Food Centre

5. Rojak, Sugarcane Juice, and Michael Jackson

We got on a bus and went to a hawker center called Old Airport Road Food Centre. Hello Singapore covered the cost of the bus ride. Hawker centres can be found in Singapore and Malaysia. They are usually located in large no-frills un-airconditioned structures. There is a roof but the sides are usually open to the elements. There are rows upon rows of stalls each specializing in one or a few dishes. For example, one food stall might serve just satay, while another one specializes in char kway teow, a Chinese stir-fried noodle dish. The prices are quite reasonable often around S$3 to S$7 (US$2.22 – $5.17). You can even get chili crab at the Maxwell Hawker Centre in Chinatown for about half the price as at a sit-down restaurant. And the food is really good.

History of Hawker Centres

To understand the history of hawker centres, you need to go back to the mid-1800s when the Chinese would set up temporary food stalls on streets or walk around selling food to laborers. There wasn’t much regulation over these itinerant unlicensed food vendors so sometimes hygiene would be a problem. To make things more sanitary, in the 1970s the government clamped down on these vendors moving them all to permanent locations in hawker centres. There are now over 110 hawker centres in Singapore today and 20 more are expected to open up by 2027.

Hawker Centres are an important part of Singapore heritage. The government has nominated these centers for UNESCO World Heritage Status.

There are even 2 Michelin starred hawker stalls in Singapore (the first food stalls in the world to get a star): Hawker Chan soya sauce chicken in the Chinatown Hawker Centre and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles.

What did we eat? 

Unfortunately, we were supposed to have the Singaporean dishes of Hokkien Mee (yellow noodles with seafood) and carrot cake (don’t let the name fool you; it’s not actually made from “carrots” but instead made from radishes.) here, but the food stall that sold them was closed. Instead, we had rojak and sugarcane juice or Michael Jackson.

What’s Rojak?

Rojak is a unique dish that tastes like nothing I’ve ever had before. The origins of the dish are a bit murky because Indonesians and Indians have a similar dish. However, the dish that is served in Singapore is still so different from the ones in those countries that rojak can be considered a Singaporean dish.

The dish contains fruit and vegetables like pineapple and cucumber along with fried dough covered in a brown sauce of shrimp paste, lime, and chilies topped with a sprinkling of nuts. The dark brown sauce didn’t make it look very appetizing. The taste was interesting. It’s both tangy and sweet. I’m really glad I had a chance to try this dish as I’m not sure I would have it on my own. I think it could really grow on me. However, feedback from my tour mates was a thumbs down.

Michael Jackson?

We also had a choice of drinking sugarcane juice or a grass jelly and soybean drink called Michael Jackson. Janice told us why it was called Michael Jackson, but I can’t remember the story. I’ve had grass jelly before but I’m not that fond of it and had the sugarcane juice, instead.

History of Chinese Food in Singapore

Most Chinese food Singapore comes from the southeastern region of China: Canton, Chaozhou (Teochew), Hainan, and Fujian (Hokkien).  The Chinese from these areas brought their own food culture to Singapore.

However, a lot of the dishes changed so that they are often not the same as those in China. For example, the person who created Hainanese chicken rice came from Hainan but Hainanese rice in Singapore is different from what I tried in China. I lived for five years in the region the Hokkien come from, and I recognized few dishes in Singapore.

A lot of the Chinese dishes are comprised of noodles and seafood. Lots of roast meats like duck, chicken, and pork. Unlike in China, I noticed very few vegetable dishes in Singapore.

Kampong Glam

After Airport Road, we went by bus to the colorful and hip Kampong Glam for some Indian food and what was supposed to be Malay food. The word Kampong comes from Malay meaning village and Glam is a type of tree.

Kampong Glam is another great area to explore Singapore’s architecture. It’s got these old shophouses from the 1800s and some really colorful shops and cafes covered in street art.

When the British came in 1819, Kampong Glam was just a village. However, it didn’t stay that for very long. The guy who signed away Singapore to the British in exchange for a yearly stipend and the title of Sultan settled his family and 600 servants in Kampong Glam.

The new sultan of Singapore, Sultan Hussein, built his palace in Kampong Glam, naming it Istana Kampong Glam. The palace was turned into the Malay Cultural Center in the 1990s (see above photo). This is also where Janice began our tour of the area.

When the Malay Sultan set up shop in Kampong Glam, more Malays followed suit and moved into the area.

Soon after taking over the island, the British had what they thought was a smart idea: let’s segregate the races into different sections of the city so they won’t have to mingle with each other. The Chinese should be in their section, the Indians in another, the Malays in yet another part, and the Europeans in their own. The original Kampong Glam area was the Muslim section, Malays, Arabs and other ethnic groups from Indonesia settled there. 

Today the Singaporean government makes a conscious effort to integrate the ethnic groups. Public housing, which over 80% of Singaporeans live in, have quotas on what percentage of each ethnic group can live in each housing estate to avoid one public housing estate becoming predominantly one ethnic group. That’s probably one reason all of these ethnic groups live together so much more harmoniously than in other countries.

Probably one of the most recognizable landmarks is what looks like a building straight out of Aladdin, the Sultan Mosque, the largest mosque in Singapore. You can’t miss it.

After Sultan Hussein settled in Kampong Glam, he asked the British to build a mosque next to his palace. They agreed and a single-story mosque was completed in 1826.  However, in the 1920s the mosque was in need of repairs, so it was decided to tear the structure down and build a new one in its place, which is the one that we see today.

6. Teh Tarik

After a history lesson from Janice, we headed next to try our first sampling of the food and drink of Kampong Glam at a tea stall for teh tarik, a Malay drink consisting of black tea with condensed milk.

The name literally means “pulled tea.” The preparer pours the black tea back and forth between two vessels, producing a lot of froth on the top. You’ve got to make sure you see them make this at least once during your visit. It’s really quite cool. Unfortunately, there were too many customers blocking my view of the preparation for me to get a photo or video of it.

I didn’t take this video, but I wanted to include one on here so that you can see what you’d experience. How they make it is really cool and if you can, try to get a better shot of it than I did.

We also weren’t given a glass or cup, but instead a plastic bag with a plastic straw.

Teh tarik was really strong and bitter. I don’t recall it being very sweet. I liked it,  but I couldn’t finish it by the time we got to our next stop, and since it was in a bag, I couldn’t set it down anywhere.

7. Haji Lane and Arab Street

After getting our teh tarik, Janice took us on a tour of the trendy area of Kampong Glam, around Haji Lane and Arab Street.

There are tons of shops and hip western style cafes and bars in this area. Janice took us through the area too quickly for me to take any photos. The photos I’m showing here are from another day. They were taken in the morning when there weren’t many people about. When we were there with Janice in the afternoon, it was a lot busier.

8. Murtabak  

Our next meal was murtabak, originally an Arabic dish, that is very popular in Singapore so that it’s basically become part of Singaporean food culture.

Murtabak is flatbread filled with meat like chicken, beef, mutton, deer, and sardines. We had chicken, egg, carrot, and onion inside ours.

The murtabak is dipped in a curry sauce and a tomatoey ketchup dipping sauce. We had three different kinds of curry sauces: chicken, mutton, and fish. Everyone loved the murtabak.

What about beef rendang?

According to Hello Singapore’s website, there should have been another stop for the famous beef rendang. However, we didn’t have it. Janice may have said why, but I didn’t hear the reason and didn’t ask. I was having too much fun to care at that point.

Some people think that beef rendang is a Malay dish, but it was actually brought to Singapore from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia.

What is Malay food?

Malay food has similar spices to those found in Peranakan food: lemongrass, galangal, chilies, tamarind, and shrimp paste. From the Malaysian cookbooks I own, I also noticed that a lot of dishes have cinnamon, cloves, and star anise in them as well.

If you’re in Singapore, two really delicious “Malay” dishes that you should really try are satay and nasi lemak, a dish of coconut rice, sambal, anchovies, roasted peanuts, and cucumber. Whenever I ate the dish, it also came with fish or chicken wings. I had it several times for breakfast and a couple of times for lunch. Nasi lemak was one of my top five favorite dishes I had in Singapore and Malaysia. Make sure to try it.

Little India

The last stop of the Hello Singapore Food Tour was in Little India. This is another lively part of Singapore with beautiful shophouse architecture and a lot of Indian food.

Little India was just a short walk from Kampong Glam. What stood out for me were the crowded sidewalks and shopping arcades filled with Indian shops selling jewelry, saris, and flower-garlands. I’ll also never forget the super colorful shophouses, probably the most colorful in all of Singapore.

History of Little India

Little India was originally inhabited by Europeans due to its close proximity to a racecourse. But as time went on, cattle raising and trading started up in the area, and Indians from southern India made up most of the workforce in this industry and thus, started settling down in what is now Little India. Around the 1900s, the area became predominantly Indian.

Our visit to Little India was quite rushed, but at that point, I was pretty tired having just arrived two nights ago so I was happy to call it a day.

9. Dosa

Our first stop in Little India was to try the southern Indian dish, dosa.

Dosa is like a crepe pancake stuffed with a little bit of curried potato. We had some dipping sauces: coconut, sambal, and a spicy sauce. I think the one we had was paper dosa. It was delicious.

Indian Cuisine in Singapore and Malaysia

I think I ate as much Indian food as I did Chinese Singaporean and Malay food during my month in the region. It’s ubiquitous.

In India, you’re supposed to eat with your right hand. Your left hand is considered unclean. We ate the murtabak with forks, but used our hands for the dosa.

When I ate at other Indian restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia, I saw people sometimes using their hands and other times forks. When I went back to Little India on another day, I ate a rice, egg, and biryani dish with my hands because that’s what everyone else was doing and I also didn’t see any forks. I looked like a complete idiot trying to eat hot rice and chicken with one hand.

9. Indian Sweets

Our last stop was for some Indian sweets at a small shop in a shopping arcade.

Behind a glass case was an assortment of Indian sweets of varying colors. It was hard to choose, they all looked so tempting and mesmerizing. We all pretty much just chose something randomly based on how it looked. The feedback from my tour mates was that some were better than others.

We were supposed to also have Indian Masala, but we didn’t and there was no mention of why. At that point of the day, I was too hot, full, and tired to care what I ate and didn’t eat on the tour. The tour also moved really fast, so I didn’t have much time to stop and think. I was having such a good time as well.

Would I recommend Hello Singapore Food Tour?

I think Hello Singapore’s Food Tour is a really good deal. When I was first researching food tours, I was turned off by the price, but that’s because I was comparing it to the food tours in Vietnam and Myanmar that I went on for US$20 or $30. But Singapore is not the same as those countries. It’s cost-of-living is more like Japan, and food tours in Japan are just as expensive.

If you compare the Hello Singapore tour to other tour companies, it offers so much more. Here is what I noticed from some research on Viator and Trip Advisor on April 13 and 14, 2019. Use this to compare and make your decision.

  • Hello Singapore Food Tour: US$100 – 5 dishes (kaya toast, laksa , rojak, murtabak, dosa), 4 sweets or snack food (bak chang, onde-onde, 7-layer kueh, Indian sweet), 2 drinks (kopi and teh tarik) – 5.5 hours – 4 locations (Katong, Airport Road, Kampong Glam, and Little India)
  • Singapore Hawker Centre Tour in Chinatown:  US$82 – 2 dishes (roti and popiah or chicken rice) and 2 drinks – 3 hours – 1 neighborhood (Chinatown)
  • A Feast for Foodies in Singapore’s Chinatown: US$101.50 – 8 tastings (no details on what they eat) – 3 hours – 1 location (Chinatown)
  • Evening Food and Culture Tour of Joo Chiat: US60.55 – laksa and 2 other eating spots – 3 – 3.5 hours – 1 location (Katong)
  • Katong Morning Food Experience: US$74.93 – didn’t say how many dishes (roti, nyonya kueh, laksa) – 3 hours – 1 location (Katong)
  • Katong Evening Food Tour: US$90.94 – 3 dishes (laksa, chicken rice, and popiah), 3 snack foods (curry puff, fruit, and local “kuehs”), and 1 drink (teh Tarik) – 3.5 hours – 1 location (Katong)

Overall, I’d recommend Hello Singapore Food tour. 5.5 hours was not too long. The pace was good. I think it was planned out well so that we had a decent amount of stops to eat and rest between walking out in the humidity of  Singapore. I have a bad knee and plantar fasciitis, but I had no trouble keeping up with the tour. So, go for it and splurge a little on a food tour. You’ll eat great food, tour four neighborhoods of Singapore, and learn a little about this fascinating food culture.

My Sources:

Have you been to Singapore yet? What was your favorite thing to eat in Singapore? If you haven’t gone yet, what are you most looking forward to trying? 

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Indian sweets on Singapore Food Tour
Singaporean food

4 Comments

  1. There’s an insane amount of delicious food to eat in Singapore and I think food is one of the best reasons to visit the city.

    Reply
    • I agree!

      Reply
  2. Too bad you didn’t try the stand Roast Paradise when you were at the Old Airport Road Food Centre. Great char siew (roast pork in a sweet glaze).

    Reply
    • Thank you for the suggestion!

      Reply

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About the Bamboo Traveler

Julie Krolak

Hi! I’m Julie, the Bamboo Traveler!  This blog is devoted to helping the inquisitive traveler explore a country’s history and culture. On this site, you’ll find itineraries to help you plan your trip, reviews to help you make more informed decisions, lots of history and cultural information to help make your travels more meaningful, and book recommendations to help you understand a place more deeply.

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