Blog / Travel

For Singapore travellers, it’s all about food, more food



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Singaporeans are undoubtedly foodies. Given the vast array of food choices on our island, our favourite pastime is eating out at hawker centres or open-air food courts.

In fact, Singapore has in recent years been widely promoted as a culinary destination. Popular eating places like Maxwell Road Food Centre and Chinatown Complex Food Centre offer the best of Malay, Indian and Chinese cooking, with a Singapore flavour.

In her book Singapore Food, Wendy Hutton traces the history of the cuisines brought to our shores by the different immigrants who flocked here. Chinese traders brought with them dishes like Hainanese chicken rice while Hokkiens from Amoy and Fukien provinces brought with them Hokkien Mee.

Then there are local dishes like fish head curry, purportedly created by a chef from Kerala who was reluctant to discard the edible parts of the fish, and laksa, a noodle soup made with coconut milk, prawns, cockles and fish cakes that has Indian and Chinese influences. There is also Peranakan cuisine, which is a result of the intermarriage between the Chinese and Malays.

While people around the world come here to enjoy our multicultural cuisines, Singaporeans similarly enjoy feasting on local specialities when they travel.

In fact, in a survey by Hotels.com, 87 per cent of Singaporean millennials admitted that food is the most significant deciding factor when choosing where to go. Seventy-eight per cent said they spend most of their time munching their way around a place while 60 per cent enjoyed visiting tourist landmarks and 40 per cent favoured shopping.

The global Tasty Travels survey, which was conducted by One Poll in March, included 9,000 respondents across 29 countries, including 300 Singaporeans, aged between 18 and 35 years old.

Most prefer local street food to fine dining. According to the survey, only 12 per cent prefer to check out fine-dining options, with 36 per cent opting for local street food instead.

Dining out these days would not be complete without photographs taken of the dishes to be eaten and true enough, the respondents confirmed that they don’t miss an opportunity to whip out their cameras or smartphones.

On average, they take around 157 photos during a weeklong holiday – a fifth of which are of food or F&B establishments. A third of the Singaporean respondents also admitted they preferred taking Instagram-worthy pictures of their meals over photos with friends or selfies.

Another survey of 300 Singaporeans and Malaysians by travel metasearch site Wego confirms that 60 per cent select their destination based on food preferences.

Interestingly, the survey shows that those from the older age group rather than younger millennials said they would holiday based on food.

Whichever the case, it shows, as David Lai, Wego’s Marketing Development Manager for Singapore and Malaysia puts it, that “Singaporeans and Malaysians have a unique appreciation of culinary tourism and include dining as an influential piece of their travel planning choices.”

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