9am: A typical Singapore breakfast
1 Kaya toast

9am: A typical Singapore breakfast

Kickstart the day as the locals would with a quintessential Singaporean breakfast at Ya Kun Kaya Toast. Watch the Central business district of Singapore come to life while sipping on some strong local coffee accompanied with kaya toast. The rich texture of kaya, coconut jam combined with an indulgent slab of butter, contrasts delightfully with the thin slices of fresh bread that are charred on a charcoal fire. For true street cred, try dipping your kaya toast in soft-boiled eggs and washing it down with thick coffee.

Take the MRT to Chinatown Station (Downtown line) and walk to China Street via South Bridge Road or take bus 124 or 174 from North Bridge Road to Upper Cross Street and walk to China Street.

10am: Explore the Fort Canning Spice Garden
2 Fort Canning Park

10am: Explore the Fort Canning Spice Garden 

You’ve smelt and tasted the flavours of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves in local dishes that you’ve sampled, now see them in their original form at Singapore’s original Spice Garden at Fort Canning Park. The Spice Garden is a small replica of the original 19-hectare garden that Sir Stamford Raffles built on Fort Canning Hill in 1822. Keep an eye out for popular spices and herbs used in local dishes such as ginger, laksa leaves, pandan as well as traditional herbs used for healing purposes. You can’t pick these plants, but feel free to snap a picture of the recipes helpfully provided on the signs - this will come in handy at your next stop.

Take a taxi from China Street to Canning Rise and stop after the Registry of Marriages, just at the foot of Fort Canning Park.

11.15am: Shop at Geylang Serai Market
3 Geylang Serai Market

11.15am: Shop at Geylang Serai Market

The best way to gain insights into local gastronomic tastes is to visit the local markets. Geylang Serai Market, in the vibrant Geylang district, is one of the biggest and busiest wet markets in Singapore. Since it opened in 1964, it has been a focal point for the local Malay community with a limitless variety of Malay and Indian-Muslim specialties from meats to vegetables and exotic fruits on offer. The market is always bustling, so be prepared for a thoroughly memorable assault on all your senses. Plus, the facade of the market, which looks like a typical Malay House, makes for great Instagram moments.

Drop by some of the dry goods and sundries stores to pick up the spices you spotted previously as souvenirs for future cooking experiments. You must also stop by the food centre on the second floor to sample some of Singapore’s best Malay food.

Take the MRT from Dhoby Ghaut Station or City Hall Station (North South line) to get to Paya Lebar Station, then walk to Geylang Serai Market.

12pm: Experience Peranakan culture
4 Kim Choo Kueh Chang

12pm: Experience Peranakan culture

Kim Choo Kueh Chang is an ideal place to get a crash course on the culture and cuisine of the Peranakans, the indigenous Straits Chinese population of Southeast Asia and Singapore. There is a wide variety of Peranakan clothing, accessories and porcelain ware on display and for sale at Kim Choo Gallery. But the highlight of Kim Choo is undoubtedly its famous Nyonya rice dumplings, which are available only at this outlet.

Tuck into these sticky rice dumplings, packed with stewed pork and other ingredients and try to distinguish the variety of spices used to flavour this dish.

Haven’t had your fill? Walk a little further down the row of conserved shophouses till you get to Glory Catering to sample its signature popiah (spring rolls) and desserts.

Take a taxi from Geylang Serai Market to East Coast Road and alight at Kim Choo Gallery after Katong Shopping Centre.

3pm: Indulge in afternoon tea
5 Raffles Singapore

3pm: Indulge in afternoon tea

Feeling peckish after exploring the city? Head to the iconic Raffles Hotel – one of Singapore’s best-known landmarks - and make a beeline for Tiffin Room's prettily-plated treats on a three-tier stand. This dining establishment serves up North Indian creations at lunch and dinner, but in the afternoon it's all about English tradition and high tea. Expect a range of dainty finger sandwiches such as salmon with cream cheese and egg with mayonnaise and chives, as well as toothsome English cakes such as strawberry pistachio tartlets and a banana crumble.

There's also an array of dim sum (bite-sized portions of food served in steamer baskets or small plates) buffet items available should you be in the mood for more local bites. The spread includes mini chicken char siew paus (meat-filled buns) and spinach dumplings.

Note: The dress code is smart casual so take note of this and be sure you have the right attire on. 

Take a taxi from Kim Choo Kueh Chang (or Glory Catering) and alight at Raffles Hotel.

6pm: Enjoy a centre feast for dinner
6 Maxwell Food Centre

6pm: Enjoy a centre feast for dinner

If you want to try the amazing street food then head over to Maxwell Food Centre, one of the nation’s most popular eating spots. Here you’ll find a myriad of mouth-watering options served up by the 100-odd stalls housed under one roof.

Maxwell Food Centre: Take the MRT from City Hall Station (North South line) to get to Telok Ayer Station (Downtown Line), then walk to Maxwell Food Centre.

10pm: Drinks and bar grub
7 Ann Siang Hill

10pm: Drinks and bar grub

You don’t need to venture far from the Chinatown area for great nightlife spots. The Club Street and Ann Siang Hill enclaves are peppered with trendy bars and vibrant watering holes – try Ding Dong for Southeast Asian-inspired cocktails (the whiskey-and-rum drink of Roti Kaya, a traditional breakfast, is intriguing; comes with pandan, coconut cream, and gula Melaka aka palm sugar), and food available in small plates and big plates, or The Club Hotel for joints like Peruvian rooftop bar Tiger's Milk (you get a lovely view of the city here) and B28 for their collection of over 200 different Scottish single malts and a spot of jazz.

You can walk from Maxwell Food Centre to Club Street & Ann Siang Hill; it won’t take more than five minutes.