Singapore is a culinary hub of Southeast Asia and offers the chance to experience food from all over the region in one city. The efficiency of public transport means explorers can navigate their way to city landmarks and foodie hot spots with ease. There are so many extraordinary places to eat and drink that it almost feels wrong to highlight just a few.
Start your day with coffee at Baker & Cook. The owner is none other than the Kiwi Baker, Dean Brettschneider and you can be guaranteed a decent cup of coffee. It would be tragic, of course, not to match it with a freshly baked pastry from the cabinet. I loved the jam bombolini. Other top picks were the flavour-packed flaky savoury quiche and the creamy, custard-filled seasonal fruit tarts.
Dumplings are an essential dining experience and, if you get in early enough, you may nail a table at Din Tai Fung in The Paragon. Queues at prime time can extend to two-hour delays for a table. Having said this, it is truly the only meal I would wait for. The iconic pork XLB (xiao long bao) steamed dumplings are exquisite and delicately wrapped with 18 folds. You can view the chefs meticulously creating these in the open kitchen.
IN THE EVENING
After 5pm you should aim high and head to Southbridge where the view is spectacular. This is a cool miniature rooftop bar, found via 7 Eleven in Boat Quay. There is an extensive choice of wine and bubbles on offer or the accomplished bar staff can create a bespoke cocktail or two. Try the vanilla-infused vodka, honey-ginger and calamansi for an Asian twist. Predominantly an oyster bar, the oysters are freshly shucked and come simply with a spicy sauce or hot with avruga caviar. If you have non-seafood eating guests, order a selection of juicy sliders in fluffy buns.
The best spot for an authentic late Thai dinner is at Joe's Kitchen in Bukit Merah. It is hidden at the base of an austere apartment block, often the best place to find food in Singapore. The chef hails from Northeast Thailand and cooks up specialties from his home region. His wife, Jamie, helps you choose from the selection of 100 dishes on the menu. Meals are fresh, flavours are power-packed and this place is buzzing. Try the basil leaf chicken, the pad thai and let Jamie help you with the rest.
• Vanessa Baxter is a food and travel writer and runs The Fearless Kitchen in Auckland.