Noodles are essential eats for visitors to Singapore. With fare combining Chinese, Malay, Indian and European flavors, the selection varies depending on the neighborhood. Between the classic styles at fine-dining establishments and new varieties popping up in local hot spots, there are almost too many restaurants to choose from.
So we’ve picked four of our favorite noodle shops in the city, from high-end hotel fixtures to low-brow home-grown experiences.
Man Fu Yuan, InterContinental Singapore
One of Singapore’s most celebrated Chinese fine-dining restaurants, Man Fu Yuan in the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star InterContinental Singapore is famous for its dim sum, but don’t overlook the exquisite noodles on the menu.
The menu at Man Fu Yuan changes every six to 12 months so it never gets tired and is always seasonal. The braised beef brisket with duck egg noodles, and roasted suckling pig stuffed with fragrant wok-fried glutinous rice are top-notch, as are various other new dishes that will surprise you each time. As a first course, the Man Fu Yuan Signature Appetizer Platter is a winner: “Drunken Chicken” marinated with aged Hua Diao and rose dew wine; deep-fried lobster coated with salted egg yolk; and other specialties of the house are served on an enormous plate. There is just enough so as not to ruin your appetite for the main event.
Inside, Man Fu Yuan is light, bright and elegant. The restaurant even comes with a private dining suite, which accommodates up to 40 guests — a fine place for a high-end noodle party with friends.
Lan Zhou La Mian, Chinatown
Touristy Chinatown is awash with overpriced restaurants, but there is a hidden jewel — The Noodle Man.
Lan Zhou La Mian is staffed by one man who makes his own silky, handmade wheat noodles daily. He is known in Chinatown as The Noodle Man. This little noodle bar has recently become famous for its la mian (noodles) in the style of Lanzhou in Northwest China.
It’s certainly not one of Singapore’s luxurious Chinese restaurants, but the pork noodles are exceptional. They are best enjoyed with a side of Lan Zhou La Mian’s fresh dumplings and hearty homemade tofu. Vegetarian and pork-free options are also available. Sit on the small wooden stools and enjoy this Chinese feast for only a few dollars per person. If you are lucky you’ll catch The Noodle Man hand-stretch and throw his noodles with such panache that passers by stop to watch the artisan at work.
Be aware that, as with many places in Singapore, there is a small service charge that includes wet towels and mediocre pickles. Feel free to refuse these offerings as they are presented if you so wish.
Cherry Garden, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
Modern Cantonese delicacies are served with modern pizazz in the Five-Star hotel’s beautiful Cherry Garden restaurant. This dark and quiet sanctuary full of fresh flowers and fine china serves some of Singapore’s favorite dishes. Crispy wasabi-aioli prawns with fresh mango and tobiko are a hit, a fantastic fusion triumph and a perfect starter.
The noodle selection is comprised of five or six dishes with something for everyone: seafood, meat or vegetarian. The duck noodle soup with Sichuan vegetables is perfect in its simplicity. Enjoy it with the Cherry Garden’s charcoal-roasted barbecue meat platter and you have a feast.
Cherry Garden desserts are quite tempting, too. Exotic sweets such as cream of avocado with walnut ice cream and the osmanthus jelly make other desserts seem rather forgettable.
Real Food, Clarke Quay
Real food has been a big part of Singapore’s clean and healthy living movement. This places serves real food and that’s it — no preservatives, no chemicals and all dishes are freshly prepared. It’s a little basement cafe in Clarke Quay filled with sofas and books; people come for the fine herbal teas, the banana and berry pancakes, the veggie burgers and, of course, the noodles.
The menu at real food is Asian fusion and the delicious noodles are a huge hit. Organic buckwheat noodles and whole wheat udon noodles are dense and full of flavor.
The dumpling noodle soup involves udon noodles, green vegetables and fresh vegetable dumplings stuffed with water chestnuts and carrots and is served in a heavy bowl with a dark, salty broth. Who knew that healthy could be this tasty?