2019 was a busy year for us. Through the course of the year we hit 8 countries, Maui, and the New England coast. Over the next few weeks I'm going to highlight some of the best individual dishes from the many places we traveled in 2019. First up: the island city state of Singapore.
Pancake. Bacon. Flight. Magic. Bearded Bella (8 Craig Rd, Singapore 089668)
First, I must admit I'm very partial to the Duxton Hill area in general. Cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and bars fill the charming terrace houses of this most quaint neighborhood in Singapore. But only one cafe has a bacon flight. Bearded Bella, the quirky and lively little cafe less than a block from the former Tiger Balm Headquarters, has the hands-down most interesting way to start your day. Maple infused pancakes, spicy butter, and onion jam all work brilliantly with the trio of bacon slices. On this particular day there was a traditional bacon back, a maple glazed, and the most singularly amazing slice of bacon I've tried in years: Paprika spiced.
Black Pepper Live Mud Crab New Ubin Seafood Chimes (30 Victoria St, #02-01B/C Singapore 187996)
Chili Crab is often listed as the "Must Try" dish of Singapore, but I would say this crab preparation pioneered by Long Beach Seafood in 1959 is actually the superior preparation. While available at many restaurants around the city, the setting of a Convent converted into an eclectic high-end restaurant center makes New Ubin my personal choice. The wok fried crab is less saucy than chili crab, and much less sweet, with the black pepper and oyster sauces coming through beautifully. Just make sure to order Man Tou Buns to sop up all that sauce.
Beef Katsu Sando The Feather Blade (90 Club St, Singapore 069458)
The Feather Blade is a restaurant that absolutely knows what it is. One entree. Four sides. Occasionally a special. No muss, no fuss, just stunning meat done to perfection. But it is one of those specials that I want to talk about. Seared USDA Prime flat iron, breaded and fried in beef drippings, then pressed in buttery brioche that is lathered in an umami bomb Katsu sauce. While this is a dish intended for sharing, I recommend ordering one as an appetizer and one as dessert.
Twice-Cooked Angus Short Ribs Xiao Ya Tou (6, #01-01 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089592)
Xiao Ya Tou, the little imp of Duxton Hill, is a modern Asian restaurant that revels in the quirky and naughty reputation this area of Singapore has worked hard to shed. The vintage menu art alone makes a stop worthwhile, but the menu is one of the best in the city top to bottom. Narrowing down a best bite from Xiao Ya Tou from the eight dishes we tried was pretty difficult, but the succulent short ribs just kept calling us back again and again. Go with a crew, order the entire menu, you won't be disappointed.
All The Roast Meats Foong Kee Coffee Shop (6 Keong Saik Rd., Singapore 089114)
For our last dish we cross the street out of Duxton Hill onto Keong Saik road to find a roast meats window nestled between two ancient brothels. Cheap white plastic tables overflowing with those lucky enough to find a seat, Foong Kee is famous for its char siew, but the roast pork belly and duck are also out of this world good. This stall has stayed relevant from the days when Keong Saik was considered a slum to today for one simple reason, it has the best roast meats in Singapore.