Internationally revered and affectionately known as "Tets", Australia's Japanese-born Tetsuya Wakuda opened his second restaurant in Singapore, a city he has grown mighty fond of since his first visit 30 years ago. Here, he shares his ultimate food experiences, plus where to go for a life-changing foot massage.
By
April Smallwood

16 May 2014 - 1:11 PM  UPDATED 20 May 2014 - 4:05 PM

1. Tian Tian, Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, 11 South Bridge Road

"Hawker Centres are a great place to eat authentic, delicious and cost-effective food. Most stalls specialise in just one dish. For this reason, I always order something that’s very hard to make. Tian Tian chicken rice is the national dish in Singapore. Basically, it’s poached chicken and a condiment, but the poaching stock is also used to cook the rice. Every house has its own little secret, so it’s not the same taste. I always order this and the grilled sambal stingray. It’s spicy, but very nice; not a burning hot. It's a small stingray, sambal, chilli paste, wrapped in banana leaf and grilled over charcoal."

 

2. Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road

"There's something very charming about the Botanic Gardens, particularly as it gives me the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. I love visiting first thing in the morning when the birds have just begun to wake. Singapore is a very developed country, but they have so much green, so I often just walk around. It’s a city, but can feel like the country, kind of. Everyone does that in Singapore... just wanders around."

 

3. Toast Box, The Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Drive

"Toast Box is a great reflection of coffee shops from the '60s and '70s. I'm very fond of this concept, which reminds me of the good old times. I get the local coffee, filtered, with condensed milk – a very, very nostalgic taste. For breakfast, I have kaya toast. It’s a reduction of coconut milk with pandan leaves; that’s how they make a jam. I don’t normally eat that much butter but you have to have the bread – the kaya toast – with jam and butter on top. Oh, it’s delicious."

 

4. Chinatown 48 Pagoda Street

"For me, Chinatown is an area of Singapore that you fall in love with over and again. Being an avid food lover, I love the assembly of speciality dishes available in the Chinatown Food Street. When you go to any new city, for example France, there aren't great Asian restaurants there, but in between all the French meals, it’s very nice to have some Asian food. And Chinatowns are perfect for that. They have a very big buzz; they’re exciting places."

 

5. Rise Lounge, Marina Bay Sands Lobby, Tower 1, 10 Bayfront Avenue

"This all-day dining experience offers an international buffet, which many claim is the best in Singapore. You can enjoy seafood, meat, authentic Singaporean dishes and many, many desserts. The restaurant enjoys an impressive setting of high ceilings with two storey trees scattered throughout."

 

6. Wet Markets, 335 Smith Street

"Visiting a wet market is the ultimate sensory experience as there's so much to see, smell and watch. Trying to pick my favourite is impossible as they're all brilliant, however if I had to, it would be the Chinatown wet market. It's one of the most exotic in Singapore and is a one-stop shop for fresh produce. Even the Sydney Fish Market, everyone knows I go there for breakfast. I don’t feel so hungry but just feel like a bite. I like to see the market, the smell, the people. The fish shop owners and I have coffee and a chat."

 

7. Sky on 57 Marina Bay Sands, Sands Skypark, Tower 1, 10 Bayfront Avenue

"I spend a lot of time within the Marina Bay Sands complex, as my restaurant Waku Ghin is based there. For a great view of the Singapore skyline and the bay, head to the very top... Sky on 57. There you can dine on Franco-Asian cuisine in a relaxed environment."

 

8. Imperial Treasure Teochew Cuisine, 391 Orchard Road

"With its refined flavours and wholesome preparation methods, Teochew Cuisine offers a mouth-watering taste experience. I love catching up with friends here, as the service and atmosphere are exceptional. I don't really shop in Singapore as much as I eat. Even all our friends, while you’re eating breakfast, they’re saying, 'Hey, what are you having for lunch?' At lunch, it’s like, 'Hey, what’s for dinner?' That’s a very normal Singaporean conversation."

 

9. Old Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh, 58 Seng Poh Road

"Bak-kut-teh, meaning 'meat-bone tea', is one of my favourite dishes to be enjoyed in this developing neighbourhood. For me, it's not just about eating a bowl of soup with some rice, it's about the complete experience. From sitting in the coffee shop, ordering a pot of tea, enjoying the bak-kut-teh and discussing everyday happenings with locals. Bak-kut-teh is pork rib cooked in two ways: some shops are using lots of Chinese herbs with a broth. I prefer peppery ones cooked with white pepper. It’s a soup with pork rib – delicious, very soothing and light. That’s all it is."

 

10. Kenko Reflexology & Spa, 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square

"After spending hours on my feet in the kitchen of Waku Ghin, there's nothing more relaxing than a foot massage at Kenko. It's the ideal opportunity to rejuvenate and enjoy an escape from reality. I was there just last week - it's so good."

 

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