Did you know that Singapore has four seasons? They are hot, hotter, extremely hot, and monsoon rain (resulting in just mildly hot weather). Frankly, I don’t know how people manage.
After the brief stay in Tokyo (in case you missed it, click HERE), we made a return visit to this center of remarkable capitalism. Since declaring independence from Malaysia in 1965, Singapore has enjoyed incredible development. It is:
A highly developed country, it has the second-highest GDP per capita (PPP) in the world. Identified as a tax haven, Singapore is the only country in Asia with a AAA sovereign credit rating from all major rating agencies. It is a major aviation, financial, and maritime shipping hub, and has consistently been ranked as one of the most expensive cities to live in for expatriates and foreign workers. Singapore ranks highly in key social indicators: education, healthcare, quality of life, personal safety, infrastructure, and housing, with a home-ownership rate of 88 percent. Singaporeans enjoy one of the longest life expectancies, fastest Internet connection speeds, lowest infant mortality rates, and lowest levels of corruption in the world. (Source: Wikipedia)
Now, if they could just do something about the weather.
I managed to score a highly-coveted booking at Burnt Ends in the Dempsey Hill area for our first night. We sat at the bar and enjoyed a selection of small plates, one better than the next. The real show was the bar itself, with truly artisan cocktails being mixed non-stop. And the bartenders or “mixologists” are quite the showmen. We were enthralled.
First, the food seen below (“slider”; wings; salad & taco bites; dessert)
Next; borrowed this one to show the bar area where we sat (photo courtesy Burnt Ends)
In answer to the question: “How do you get to the bottles up top?”
No trip to Singapore is complete without seeing the iconic Marina Bay Sands complex (casino, hotel, high-end shops galore and endless dining options). While the 57th floor infinity pool is only available to hotel guests, there is an observation deck atop another tower. I steeled myself with a libation at lunch (a White Cosmo with orchid petals in the ice cube) which took the edge off being up so high (and outside). It is quite something to see the entirety of Singapore from that vantage point. Lunch (below) at Daniel Boulud’s bistro.
In the quest for some delicious Chinese food, we opted for Jian-Nan Chun at the Four Seasons Hotel. And what an auspicious decision that turned out to be. While looking for the restaurant in the lobby, a gentleman offered to help us find the spot. And then asked, “Have we met before? Were you at the Four Seasons in the Maldives (Kudaa Hura)?” Yes, in 2017. He was the general manager there at the time. How did he remember us? Because he reads this blog! How cool is that? If ever I question why I continue to do this, it is stories like these that connect and inspire. We’re still in touch with the executive chef from the Maldives who we visited in Kuala Lumpur in 2019 (who loved this reunion story when I shared it with him!).
A most delicious dinner below with gorgeous centerpiece:
After learning there are giant pandas at the Singapore Zoo complex, it was an easy decision to see them along with assorted other species. But you had me at the pandas. While the shy mom was in the den, we watched in awe of the father and the 2-year old Le Le consume copious amounts of bamboo. That’s a lot of what they do besides exude cuteness overload!
Below, a more rare Red Panda
Patriarch of the family
And the youngin’ Le Le
From our Orchard Road-adjacent hotel (the St. Regis), it was an short drive for our last dinner. That was at the Singapore outpost of Osteria Mozza. Nancy Silverton (who revolutionized bread via La Brea Bakery) has excellent personnel on hand making sure the food is identical to the flagship in Los Angeles. Given that every ingredient must be imported, that is not easy. Among the comments shared with us from the Australian-born executive chef, we found out a young lady makes all the pasta from scratch. It was delicious. By the way, that it is atypical for someone young to be so adept at this particular skill. Especially since there are none of the Italian “nonnas” teaching her how!
With a morning departure, we said our goodbyes and boarded Singapore Air for the 2+ hour flight to our next stop — Bali.