10 Best Modern Asian Restaurants in Singapore
Modern Asian cuisine has gained popularity in the past decades, as chefs continue to find new inspirations and ideas to reinvent classic recipes that cater to the contemporary palate. Here in Singapore, we have no shortage of restaurants serving this cuisine and their delectable offerings range from unique interpretations of chicken rice, Japanese-Korean fusion fare and elevated local dishes. Here are the places where you can find them when cravings strike.
1/10 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung
‘Demon Chef’ Alvin Leung is famous for his bold and experimental cuisine, evident in his two-Michelin-starred Bo Innovation in Hong Kong. But for his restaurant at Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, he focuses instead on the more traditional culinary techniques to create delectable modern Asian fare, inspired by his travels across the region. Browse the expansive menu and you’ll see how he has elevated local favourites such as chicken rice. For his version, the poultry is cooked to juicy perfection in the giant rotisserie and served with the usual enhancers: chilli sauce, ginger purée and soy sauce. More so, the accompanying rice, a Jin Long Yu premium variety, is made more flavourful thanks to an umami-packed chicken stock.
2/10 Cé La Vi
The restaurant perched on the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands offers re-imagined takes of your favourite Asian fare. At the helm is group executive chef Joey Sergentakis, who combines innovative cooking techniques with his strong understanding of Asian flavours and ingredients to create dishes that keep diners coming back for more. This is clearly evident in dishes such as Hokkaido scallop ceviche, where the plump seafood is bathed in a pomelo, lemongrass and coriander vinaigrette for bursts of sweet and citrusy flavour. Local favourites have also been given a modern spin, like the pork satay, which uses the coveted Iberico variety and is grilled over binchotan charcoal to render the meat succulent and lightly smoky.
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3/10 Como Cuisine
Contrary to what some people might think, Como Cuisine doesn’t serve wellness fare but a collection of delectable dishes from the hotel brand’s various properties across the world. Bhutanese executive chef Tshering Lhaden and her team craft these recipes from scratch using in-season produce that’s sourced locally, where possible. Standouts on the menu include the Bhutanese momos, Lhaden’s own take on her native country’s popular street food snack. Her version boasts a wrapper that's handmade daily from scratch and stuffed with fresh ingredients of ground pork belly, red onions, crushed garlic, coriander leaf, ginger and chilli flakes. Dip these tiny morsels into the homemade hot pepper sauce for a fiery kick.
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4/10 Akira Back
Korean-American chef Akira Back is adept at Japanese cuisine. But for his eponymous restaurant, which has outlets across the world, he has chosen to combine his expertise with his Korean culinary heritage. Tried-and-tested favourites include the AB pizza with its crisp crust slathered with aioli, micro shiso, truffle oil and your choice of tuna or mushroom. Also reflecting his global influences are the salmon tiradito bathed in a yuzu lemon sauce, reminiscent of the Peruvian ceviche.
5/10 The Nomads
The Nomads is Singapore’s first Central Asian restaurant, featuring the gastronomic gems of countries along the Silk Road, particularly Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. However, executive chef Dannel Krishnan pointed out that they have also included “flavours from Western China, spices from the Caucasus, ideas from Russia, and techniques from the Mediterranean”. The result is a medley of tantalising flavours in signatures such as lamb samsa, a traditional Kazakh dish reinvented as lamb tartare using the premium Mottanai variety. This tartare is stuffed into mini cones that are coated with sugar to enhance the meat’s clean and light flavours.
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A Singaporean through and through, banker-turned-chef Han Liguang champions local cuisine with his rendition of mod-Sin fare, showcasing nostalgic influences from food he grew up eating, prepared with predominantly local produce. His culinary genius shines in imaginative signatures such as the claypot “Ang Moh” kampong chicken rice, which has undergone different iterations over the years. The current version features meaty strips of chicken served alongside fragrant rice imbued with the chef’s delectable roux sauce. The dish is also accompanied by the Hainanese-style chap chye and lala soup. It’s the same with the OG chilli crab, which was first introduced in 2014 and is back on the menu. Inspired by beach crab, the dish features soft-shell crab that’s deep fried and set atop mantou ‘sand’ with Shaoxing foam and a quenelle of chilli crab ice cream.
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Chef-owner Sun Kim has carved a niche for himself by creating interesting dishes utilising his Western culinary training and featuring myriad Asian influences, particularly Korean (his personal heritage). There’s no better way to experience his singular cooking than with the Chef's Tasting Menu, comprising the restaurant's greatest hits along with other innovative creations that are updated according to seasons. Feast on the likes of tuna tartare enhanced with caviar, avocado and dashi jelly, as well as the extremely juicy Challans duck paired with chestnuts and mushroom namul (a Korean side dish), which is a delicious medley of textures and earthy flavours.
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Taking inspiration from his Malaysian Indian heritage, head chef Manogren Murugan Thevar elevates classic Indian food with a contemporary twist by introducing his innovative take on traditional flavours and spices. This is why the menu at Thevar changes frequently based on the chef's creative inspirations. What dominates, though, is the hearty sharing plates and snacks infused with the smoky flavours of the grill, whether it is the mackerel dosai or tandoor baby lamb. The intimate 35-seat modern Indian grill restaurant and bar also offers an eclectic list of Asian-inspired cocktails and wines.
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Chef-owner Petrina Loh describes her cuisine as “experimental fusion”, admitting that she likes to work with a variety of ingredients— teasing their natural flavours through various cooking styles to release a burst of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami in the mouth. Take, for example, her signature steamed Venus clams in dried fig chicken broth, which was inspired by a comforting soup she grew up eating. The flavoursome broth is concocted with dried figs and Solomon’s seal rhizome (a Chinese herb) that's boiled for half a day to achieve a rich and creamy texture. While it’s hearty on its own, Loh complements the soup with hits of savoury flavour with a side dish of homemade kimchi and pickled wakame.
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10/10 Mustard Seed
Singaporean chef Gan Ming Kiat’s ingenious interpretation of Singapore cuisine has been a big hit since the restaurant started on sleepy Brighton Crescent in 2019. The restaurant started out as a private dining outfit at Gan’s parents’ home and has since blossomed into a well-loved restaurant. Gan’s inventive menu pushes the boundaries of modern Singapore fare and is dabbed with inspirations from Japanese cuisine and techniques. Mustard Seed’s omakase-style tasting menu changes monthly, which adds to the thrill factor of observing the chef in action from the counter seats in the intimate restaurant. Some of Gan’s interesting twists on local favourites have included buah keluak mee pok, deep-fried turmeric frog legs, and beef tartare kueh pie tee.