Amoy Street Food Centre in Singapore is only the tip of the culinary iceberg - because just beyond lies the glorious stretch of good eats that is Amoy Street.
A dining hotbed to rival the neighbouring Telok Ayer enclave, Amoy Street is home to some of the CBD's best restaurants and bars.
Stroll down this street for rare cuisines such as Basque, Greek, and Argentinian, alongside quirky fusion concepts and cutting-edge tipples.
Just when you think you've tried it all in Singapore, along comes another unusual cuisine from Spa Esprit Group's stable to fire up your tastebuds.
One of Singapore's few Latin American restaurants and led by Argentine chef-patron Diego Jaquet, boCHINche presents inventive Argentine nosh in small plates style, from spicy sea bream ceviche to slow-grilled lamb ribs on flatbread.
Snag a seat by the open kitchen to watch head chef Fabrice Mergalet sizzling up a juicy array of grass-fed meats on their wood and charcoal grill, including Ojo de Bife ribeye steak ($65), aged USDA Prime T-Bone ($240), and more.
Complete your Argentinean adventure with a newly-unveiled selection of natural wines from the country's famed vineyards, curated by Drunken Farmer, the group's travelling natural wine bar and consultancy.
boCHINche is located at 115 Amoy Street, #01-02, Singapore 069935, p. +65 6235 4990.
Open Mon-Thurs 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-10.30pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-11pm. Closed Sun.
Any lovechild of French and Japanese culinary genius is bound for greatness, and Le Binchotan sure lives up to its promise. This fusion restaurant marries French techniques with the smoky wonders of binchōtan grilling, a centuries-old Japanese practice.
Tuck into rich signatures like Uni & Caviar ($25), Capellini ($28) tossed with umami-packed sakura ebi, and a range of chargrilled surf 'n' turf.
They've got a sizeable spread of wines and sakes, but we recommend tippling up with their Spiced Coffee ($24) - a cocktail starring smoked chilli distillate.
Le Binchotan is located at 115 Amoy Street, #01-04 (Entrance via Gemmill Lane), Singapore 069935, p. +65 6224 1045.
Open Mon-Thu 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-11pm, Fri 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-12am, Sat 6pm-12am. Closed Sun.
No bar gets creative quite like sustainability pioneer Native. Not only does it source all its spirits from the Asian region, it forages quirky cocktail ingredients - think oyster distillate, laksa leaves, and coffee chaff - from local producers and its very own rooftop farm.
From striking murals painted with natural ingredients to snug up-cycled wood furniture, each detail of this bar breathes with fresh, eco-friendly life. It's no surprise that Native clinched the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award last year.
Native is located at 52A Amoy Street, Singapore 069878, p. +65 8869 6520.
Open Mon-Sat 6pm-12am. Closed Sun.
With cheeky vintage posters and cheery geometric prints decking the space, you know you're in for a fun time at Ding Dong.
Right around the corner of Amoy Alley, this well-loved bistro by Spa Esprit Group is all about giving Southeast Asia flavours a fresh, fusion makeover, with head chef Miller Mai and his all-local kitchen in the thick of the action at the open kitchen.
Start off with an otah mousse-stuffed You Tiao ($18), work your way through eclectic mains like Iberico Pork Collar Char Siew with caramelised pineapple ($34) and Duck Leg slathered in toasted peanut gravy ($30), and save some space for the fabulous Durian Alaska ($21).
The tipples are just as funky, thanks to a brand new list of natural wines curated by Drunken Farmer and a free-flow natural wine deal.
For $59++, indulge in 90 minutes of unlimited natural reds, whites, or sparkling rose, available from Monday to Thursday.
Ding Dong is located at 115 Amoy St, #01-02, Singapore 069935, p. +65 6557 0189.
Open Mon-Fri 12pm-3pm and 6pm-11.30pm, Sat 6pm-11.30pm. Closed Sun.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
The best of east and west flock together at Birds of a Feather. This all-day dining restaurant and bar offers contemporary Western cuisine like pastas and steaks, spiced up with tongue-tingling Sichuan influences.
You'll find intriguing crossovers like Spicy Oriental Bolognaise ($22), an angel hair pasta dish inspired by zha jiang mian (Chinese minced pork noodles); The Forbidden Risotto ($35), a black rice risotto topped with Hokkaido scallops and squid; and the signature Find the Chicken in the Chilies ($16).
Lush with greenery and warm wood tones, this restaurant certainly makes a lovely place to perch for lunch or dinner.
Birds of a Feather is located at 115 Amoy Street, #01-01, Singapore 069935, p. +65 6221 7449.
Open Mon-Wed 10.30am-3pm and 5pm-11pm, Thurs 10.30am-3pm and 5pm-12am, Fri 10.30am-3pm. Closed Sun.
Get down and dirty with Mexican meats at Chico Loco, another casual-chic concept from the folks behind Super Loco and Lucha Loco.
If you've already tried and loved their signature rotisserie chickens - organic-fed, hormone-free, and spit-roasted to sinful succulence - head down for their new dinner menu with table service.
Kick off your meaty feast with Taco de Mysterio ($8), a soft corn tortilla with a mystery filling, then dig into their Beef Fillet Steak ($32), a slab of porcini-rubbed Angus fillet amped up with anchi chilli mayo. As for sweet treats, how do crisp Churros ($13) dunked in spiced Mexican chocolate sauce sound?
Chico Loco is located at 102 Amoy Street, Singapore 069922, p. +65 +65 9738 7828.
Open Mon-Thurs 9am-10pm, Fri-Sat 9am-12am. Closed Sun.
Where paths cross, marvellous encounters happen: that's the kind of magic that Nouri's 'crossroads cuisine' cooks up. The brainchild of Brazilian chef Ivan Brehm, this Michelin one-starred restaurant celebrates commonalities in flavours and cuisines across seemingly disparate cultures.
If this sounds complex, let your tastebuds do the thinking with luscious dishes like Hokkaido scallop tartare, Alaskan king crab laced with Cambodian black pepper, and an exquisite Chinese liquorice and violet flower parfait. Their cocktails are no less spectacular.
Nouri is located at 72 Amoy Street, Singapore 069891, p. +65 6221 4148.
Open Tues-Fri 11.30am-3pm and 6pm-12am, Mon & Sat 6pm-12am. Closed Sun.
BASQUE KITCHEN BY AITOR
Often overshadowed by its French and Spanish neighbours, Basque Country's cuisine basks in the spotlight with Chef Aitor Jeronimo's latest venture.
Staying true to rustic flavours and techniques, this Michelin-starred spot serves up Basque classics like chargrilled Turbot with garlicky pil-pil sauce (from $138), intensely beefy txuleta steaks, and fried Guernica Peppers ($24).
Fromage fans shouldn't miss out on their Artisanal Cheese Selection ($32), featuring funky cheeses from provinces across Spain.
Basque Kitchen by Aitor is located at 97 Amoy Street, Singapore 069917, p.+ 65 6224 2232.
Open Mon-Fri 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-11pm, Sat 6pm -11.30pm. Closed Sun.
Gooey burratas, springy pastas, rich tiramisu - are you drooling yet? Get your Italian comfort food done right at cosy joint Solo Ristorante.
The menu here refreshes regularly thanks to a focus on seasonal ingredients, but you can expect indulgences like seafood-packed pastas, octopus grilled to tender perfection, lamb rack breaded with crunchy pistachios, and luscious Mediterranean seabass.
Wash it all down with Italian wines from their over-hundred-strong selection.
Solo Ristorante is located at 45 Amoy Street, Singapore 069871, p. +65 6260 0762.
Open Mon-Fri 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-10pm, Sat 6pm-10pm. Closed Sun.
No prizes for guessing the star attraction at Dumpling Darlings. This dumpling haven dishes up plump, juicy morsels hailing from diverse cultures, from tongue-numbing Spicy Sichuan, to East European-inspired Fried Pierogi, to Veggie Mandu with a gochujang kick (all $8 for five).
Besides dumplings, they've got a scrumptious trio of noodle bowls as well - the Miso Mushroom Noodles ($6) are a crowd-favourite, packed with braised mushrooms and coated with miso tare.
Dumpling Darlings is located at 44 Amoy Street, Singapore 069870, p. +65 8223 9249.
Open Mon-Thurs & Sat 11.30am-3pm and 6pm-10.30pm, Fri 11.30am-3pm and 6pm-12am. Closed Sun.
Swathed in cool shades of blue and white, Greek restaurant Alati has all the airiness of an Aegean island paradise. Dishes here showcase fresh produce caught in the Aegean Sea, alongside tasty breads and dips made from scratch.
Feast on quintessential Greek eats such as Horiatiki ($22), a refreshing mix of beef tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta cheese; Xtapodi Souvlaki ($39), or chargrilled octopus wrapped in pita bread; or fresh-baked Moussaka ($35) smothered in cheesy bechamel sauce.
Pair with a crisp Greek wine for the full easy-breezy Mediterranean experience.
Alati is located at 73 Amoy Street, Singapore 069892, p. 6221 6124.
Open Mon-Fri 12pm-2.30pm and 5.30pm-12am, Sat 5.30pm-12am. Closed Sun.
An outpost of the famed New York City speakeasy, Employees Only Singapore has made the ranks of Asia's 50 Best Bars every year since its 2016 debut. Slip past a mysterious fortune-teller's booth and you'll find this lively, art-deco-glam tippling den.
NYC classics like the Manhattan ($25) and smoky mezcal cocktail Ready, Fire, Aim ($25) are sure bets here, but don't overlook their kickass food menu. Bone Marrow Poppers ($15) and decadent Steak Tartar ($27), anyone?
Employees Only is located at 112 Amoy Street, Singapore 069932, p. +65 6221 7357.
Open Mon-Thurs 11.30am-2.30pm and 5pm-12.30am, Fri 11.30am-12.30am, Sat 5pm-1.30am, Sun 6pm-12.30am.
SWEE KEE EATING HOUSE
This family-owned restaurant has been doling out Cantonese favourites since the 1930s, and its robust fish head soup - prepared the traditional way of boiling fish stock for hours, without added milk - is the stuff of legends.
Besides the signature range of fish soup noodles, Swee Kee's ultra-crisp har cheong gai (shrimp paste chicken) and deep-fried pork ribs are worth the ensuing food coma.
Swee Kee Eating House is located at 96 Amoy Street, Singapore 069916, p. +65 6224 9920.
Open daily 11.30am-2.30pm and 5.30pm-10.30pm.
THE FLYING SQUIRREL
Hidden down a back alley of Amoy Street is The Flying Squirrel, an industrial-chic Japanese restaurant and bar. Burrow in to chow down on hearty bento sets such as Unagi Donburi ($20), Kurobuta Curry ($28), or for the health-conscious among us, the Super Healthy Bento ($20) packed with chasoba and kappa maki.
It's a great spot for your fresh sashimi and handmade sushi fix as well.
The Flying Squirrel is located at 92 Amoy Street #01-02, Singapore 069911, p. +65 6226 2203.
Open Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm and 6pm onwards. Closed Sun.
BURGER BAR NEW YORK
Like the original branch in New York, Burger Bar New York (previously known as Burger Joint) boasts a no-frills yet fabulous menu. Think thick patties between toasty buns, loaded up with various toppings - bacon, jalapeno, portobello.
And since there's no more iconic pairing than a burger and milkshake, go ahead and indulge in a boozy shake - spiked with Bailey's or Amaretto - to top things off.
Burger Bar New York is located at 115 Amoy Street #01-03, Singapore 069935, p. +65 6221 8648.
Open Mon-Wed 11.30am-11pm, Thurs-Sat 11.30am-12am, Sun 11.30am-8pm.
This article was first published in City Nomads.