Don't eat without it.
Who says you need a lot of money to eat like a king? Singaporeans have applied the foodie mentality to their beloved hawker stalls where the best meal of your life can cost only a couple bucks. There are hundreds of blogs and guides rating Singapore’s thousands of food stalls, but the most highly-regarded foodie guide is the Makansutra.
A play on ‘makan’, the Malay word for eating, and the name of the Hindu guide to another sort of pleasure, the Makansutra has been awarding its favourite hawker stalls a ranking of 1 – 3 pairs of chopsticks since 1998. Its creator, the exuberant KF Seetoh, has attained semi-stardom and dined with Anthony Bourdain during one of his visits to Singapore and appeared on the TV series Top Chef.
To date, the Makansutra has sampled, photographed, and ranked the offerings from over 700 food stalls covering every type of cuisine from Chinese char kway teow to Indian banana leaf curry. Hawkers proudly tape their Makansutra reviews to the front of their stall – especially if they’ve received the coveted “die die must try!” rating of 3 pairs of chopsticks.
The Makansutra has exploded in popularity with value-conscious Singaporeans determined not to waste their hard-earned dollars on sub-par noodles, and so have its formats. In addition to the Makansutra guide, which is updated and reprinted every year, there is now a Makansutra TV series, blog, podcast, food tours, and their own hawker centre.
That’s right, if you’re not prepared to traverse the island on a quest to sample the best chicken rice, try the open-air Makansutra Gluttons Bay hawker centre at the Esplanade waterfront. The stalls have been hand-picked by Makansutra critics as representing the best of Singaporean cuisine: fried carrot cake, roti prata, prawn noodles, chicken satay, oyster omelets, grilled stingray, and lots more. Plus, in true foodie fashion, there’s a “degustation menu” with smaller portions of hawker favourites.
The Makansutra Guide can be found at major bookstores across Singapore.
Gluttons Bay is located at Raffles Avenue #01-15 near the Esplanade Theatre. Opening hours are Monday – Thursday 17:00-02:00, Friday – Saturday 17:00-03:00, and Sunday 16:00 – 1:00.
Tanya Procyshyn is a freelance writer and photographer. With a passion for unusual destinations, she has camped alongside Komodo dragons and shook hands with soldiers in North Korea.
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