This year, I have simply encompassed everything in a single list. No differentiation between fine dining or hawker, or dishes or overall cuisine, just simply the best of of the best. It includes some new discoveries I have found this year, as well as old favorites,
To begin the list, I will list in reverse order, starting with number 10:
No. 10 - Shanghai Renjia at Ang Mo Kio
At number 10 is this quaint and cosy authentic Shanghainese eatery located in a rather remote site in Ang Mo Kio. Run by a husband and wife team, the expectation is that the waiting time will be long, but the food will be delicately cooked with freshly sourced ingredients.
It also serves the best xiao long bao and shen jian bao, and just for that alone, it is worth making the trip. And the wife cooks a mean omelette, something simple yet hard to master, and boy, has the lady chef here mastered it well.
No. 9 - Minced Pork Noodle at Tampines
Next on the list is my favorite bak chor mee stall in the whole of Singapore. No, I have not been to Tai Hwa, but this stall's bcm just sings, and what an opera it is!
Some of the best cooked and QQ noodles you will ever find here, and lovely pink pig livers to go with it. This is classic Singapore hawker fare at its simplest and at its best.
No. 8 - Ah Chuan Oyster Omelette at Toa Payoh
Toa Payoh is blessed with many excellent hawker food, but nothing beats this beautifully fried oyster omelette at Ah Chuan, which is also run by another husband and wife team. It is somewhat of a recurring theme on this list, by the way.
The perfect caramelized omelette is nearly beyond the reach of most cooks and chefs, and here, perfection is attained almost every single time you eat here. Nothing more needs to be said.
No. 7 - 58 Prawn Noodle at Bedok
I have savored Blanco and Adam and a number of other respected prawn noodles in Singapore, but once I had my first taste of 58 Prawn Noodle at Bedok, I realised there was no further need to find the best of the best.
Classic soup brewed with a multitude of prawn heads and shells gives this a lovely and naturally sweet broth that far exceeds anything you get elsewhere. And the wait is long too. Prawn noodle nirvana.
No. 6 - Uncle Kun (Genshu) at Toa Payoh
Uncle Kun pops up on my yearly list again, simply because he still serves some of the best congee and dim sum you can find in Singapore. And at near hawker prices, you cannot really go wrong.
Besides the great food, Uncle Kun is still the affable and bubbly personality that has made him so popular with his customers and fans. If ever there is a celebrity hawker, Uncle Kun personifies it.
No. 5 - Nam Seng Wanton Mee at Far East Square
There are a lot of good wanton mee stalls around, as well as a number of really terrible ones. The one that stands head and shoulders above everyone else is Nam Seng, which is still managed by the elderly lady for so many years.
The noodles are wonderfully al dente, the wanton delicious and the sauce light and delicate. It is a puzzlement to me why there are not more stalls that can do wanton mee as well as this one.
No. 4 - Amy's Laksa
It is often rare to find one stall that serves an excellent version of one classic Singapore dish, but to find a hawker that serves 3 equally great hawker dishes is simple unbelievable.
And yet, Amy's manages to fulfill that incredible culinary miracle by giving us 3 of the best laksa, mee siam and prawn mee in Singapore. Well, individually, it is not the best in its category, but when you realise for each dish, they are probably the top 3 in Singapore, well, that says a lot.
No. 3 - Chye Kee Chwee Kueh
Chwee Kueh is a dying art. There are less and less of these stalls around, and the ones that are still doing it are doing shortcuts these days and the flavors are all compromised.
Yet, in Aljunied, this elderly couple diligently makes the rice cakes from genuine cracked rice every day and even cooks the chai poh fresh even as you order. The food here is so simple and yet, it is all so rare to get it so authentic anymore.
No. 2 - Pietro at Jalan Kelulut
Chef Peter Neo is still one of the most creative local chefs we have, and what is more important, he has a genuine passion for cooking and food. At Pietro, he continues his well loved Italian cuisine served in a more cosy and family oriented setting.
And Peter is probably the only one that can cook a genuine Carbonara here and his Vongole is still the best anywhere. I don't often eat out at restaurant these days, and if I have to pick a place, Pietro is someplace that I can easily go to without hesitation of worrying about price or quality.
No. 1 - Sungei Road Laksa
Sungei Laksa has risen all the way to the top this year, and for a very good reason. In this current economic downturn and rising inflation, it is heartening to see that for such a popular stall, they still steadfastly stick to their $2 and $3 prices which is highly commendable.
The laksa broth is still the best, as light and lemak at the same time, and full of spices and flavors what coats the white noodles well. And the biggest cockles you can find in laksa here.
On top of that, the family of sisters and uncle that run this place are all so humble and hardworking, that I think they embody the true blue Singaporean in us.
Whenever I want to have a bowl of comfort food to warm my soul, this is the number one place to go to.
And there you have it, my top Singapore food for the year. Till next year, let's look forward to a delicious 2013!