In the series premiere of The Layover, Anthony Bourdain spends a whirlwind 24 hours in Singapore, a gastro-tourist’s heaven. We picked a selection of Tony’s best tips from the episode -- be sure to check them out before your next trip.
A City For Serious Eaters
"New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Singapore’s the city that never stops eating. For a gastro-tourist, somebody who travels to eat, any kind of serious eater, Singapore’s probably the best place you can go for maximum bang in a minimum period of time."
"You've got the usual perks of a good airport -- hotels, dayrooms, shopping -- for stuff you might actually want to buy. There's edible food, and in pretty decent variety. So easily, by far, the best airport in the world. Here it goes way further, seriously. There's a free movie theater, free internet, reclining chairs, smoking lounges, a super slide, indoor gardens."
"In Singapore everything’s close, but it’s also hot. I can’t remind you of that enough."
Breakfast in Singapore
"There's all sorts of good [bleep] you can have for breakfast. Remember, this is a culture where there's no shame in a big bowl of steamy noodles or laksa first thing in the a.m."
Singapore’s Famous Dish
"If there’s one dish that’s a must-try, it’s chicken rice. You may not like it the best, but it’s the dish that just might lead you to understand Singapore better."
"You know, most cultures, most places, they treat street food like a problem to be solved. But for me, it's the number 1 reason to come to Singapore."
"On any 24-hour trip here you’d be foolish to not plan at least 3 meals at any one of the hawker centers. The hawker centers of Singapore were a shrewd strategy to incorporate and control what was once a chaotic but pervasive culture of street carts."
What to Eat at the Changi Village Hawker Center
Wah Feng wonton noodles
Tiong Bahru chicken rice
Teck Seng soybean milk and curd
Min Nan pork ribs prawn noodle
Kampong carrot cake
The Singapore Sling
"I would say a huge proportion of the Western tourists who come here all march into the bar at Raffles to get their obligatory Singapore sling. Tip to travelers: Skip that. No one in Singapore drinks Singapore slings. It’s a disgusting drink, don’t waste your time."
Drugs in Singapore
"Despite all my trips here, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cop, but know this: When they say no drugs in Singapore, they are not kidding. And I mean really, really not kidding. You bring drugs, even a bag of weed in here, and you are easily the dumbest person alive."
"It may surprise you that in this famously law-and-order nanny state, where even Sex and the City is censored, prostitution is tolerated, and even controlled by the state. This becomes immediately apparent in Geylang, and even downtown at the notorious Orchard Towers."
For a Great View
"Not my kind of thing -- the world's tallest Ferris wheel, and it is $25 -- you might want to skip it. I would. You want a view? There's another option, possibly a better one, in the Marina Bay district -- the insane-looking surfboard-like deck balanced atop 3 buildings called the SkyPark."
Want more information on Tony's trip to Singapore? Check out our episode guide.