10 truly local things you must try in Singapore

Jan 29, 2018

Myriad local quirks and native eccentricities arising from a blend of ethnicities have evolved into particularly peculiar rituals and habits made and only found in Singapore. Beyond a “been there, done that” travel bucket list stop, any of these experiences would make yours the most fascinating postcards to send home.

Taking part in the “chope” culture

Tissue packets used to reserve a table in a Singapore eatery

Singapore English, or Singlish for “to reserve”, chope-ing is a fine art most often executed in hawker centres, especially during busy meal times when empty tables are rare commodities. Join us in slapping a packet of tissue paper onto the required number of seats to mark your turf, then go gather your street food banquet. Trending in the Central Business District: business cards for a chope upgrade.

Try it at: any coffeeshop or hawker centre

Queueing up

Queuing up for food in a Singapore hawker centre

Kiasu is Singlish for FOMO (fear of missing out), and the philosophy driving Singaporeans’ unwavering patience when waiting in line for coveted limited edition releases, freebies or the latest food fad (case in point: two hours for Hokkaido cheese tarts). Cue up your queue mission with an umbrella (if outdoors) and a great sense of humour.

Try it at: anywhere you see a queue forming

SEE ALSO: Singapore hawker centre survival guide: how to order food, reserve a table and more

Eating an ice cream sandwich

An ice cream sandwich in Singapore

Way before rainbow treats became an Instagram sensation, Singaporeans have clasped ice cream using a slightly sweet, fluffy slice of bread coloured with pastel swirls, in our rendition of the classic frozen confection. The ice cream uncle and his pushcart are as iconic to Singapore streets as hot dog vendors are elsewhere, a handheld antidote for year-round tropical heat.

Try it at: the ice cream pushcart usually located in front of Ngee Ann City on Orchard Road