Eating Out with the Phoenician Trader: Outram Park, Singapore

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Singapore Outram Park

A sizzling meal

This place may actually have a name – It says Swiss Ling Restaurant and Coffee Shop outside but that isn't important. It looks like a petrol station forecourt with plastic outdoor tables and chairs dotted on the concrete paving.

I decided to eat there because I was staying down the road and couldn't afford both the swish hotel rooms and the swish hotel food prices. In Singapore all food vendors are licensed and most are excellent. Competition is fierce so you can expect good food at a good price.

We dressed up, probably unnecessarily, I think to give the night out a sense of occasion which is not always associated with outdoor eating in Singapore. The place was fairly full and we got little more than a glance by the polyglot crowd – we may have been the only truly native English speakers there, but in Singapore everyone speaks English because that is the language of trade and money.

I had a Ho Fun (flat noodles in a soup) which was all it should be – any variation from my expectations meant that probably I brought the wrong expectations to the table. I ordered a Guinness for reasons I can only guess at on a humid, tropical 35 degree night. It came in a 750ml bottle and frozen pint glass (with handle). My lovely companion had a wonderful chilli-chicken-noodle dish and stuck to water.

It was a "lean back on the plastic chairs and tables" night without pressure. While the locals smoked, drank and ate and the kids ran between everybody's' feet.

The venue does, of course, accept cards. It might be casual and about families and life but it is a proper place to eat.

Getting There: Outram Park MRT Exit H.

Who should eat there: pretty much anybody.

Dining Style: extremely casual - we dressed up but tee shirt and shorts is fine.

Price: £5-£7 including beer (local and imported beer is served in 750ml bottles and a frozen glass).

Quality: Solid Singaporean street food.

Would I go Back: absolutely but I wouldn't go out of my way.

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