Aerial view of Holland Village shopping centre

Holland Village

Established by the Dutch but named after an Englishman (architect Hugh Holland), European influence of all sorts has radiated out of Holland V for decades.

Back when Singapore was a crown colony, it was home to British Army officers and their families, who lived in upmarket bungalows and frequented fancy members’ clubs. In the 1980s and 90s it pioneered wine bars, gourmet coffee shops and Mediterranean dining. Today, it’s still the centre of Singapore’s huge expat community, with a laid-back, creative vibe and a slew of art shops, microgalleries and independent clothing stores. Though the shopping here is good, it’s very much second fiddle to the food — which is outstanding.

Here, it’s all about street food, cool bars and casual dining. You can find everything from Earl Grey ice cream to acai superbowls; from bao buns to Elvis-inspired burgers with grilled banana and peanut butter. There’s sushi, ramen, steaks, pizza — and even a Dutch snack shop selling bitterballen meatballs and frikandel speciaal onion-stuffed sausage. Oh, and there’s also laksa, Mexican, kebabs, tandoori, buffalo wings, currywurst… Sorry, we lost ourselves for a moment there. In short: Holland Village may well be the foodie highlight of your stay, and in a country like Singapore that’s saying something.

Swing by Holland V on your way to (or from) the nearby World Heritage Botanical Gardens, which are vast and absolutely stunning. Keep your eyes peeled for orchid varieties named after Princess Diana, Jackie Chan and the Bidens!