Singapore has the best airline in the world, best airport in the world and it’s voted best city in the world to live for expats. It’s also the world’s most expensive city, where you can have crazy rich experiences.
The Warner Bros. flick “Crazy Rich Asians,” in theaters nationwide Wednesday, follows Rachel Chu, an Asian-American woman who discovers that her boyfriend, Nick Young, hails from one of the richest families in Singapore, and it takes place in the city. So CNBC Make It spoke to five Singapore-based cast members who each revealed their favorite “crazy rich” experiences in Singapore, whether that’s rich in culture, flavor or price.
Here’s what they love.
“There are plenty of places to shop luxury in Singapore, but one of my favorite spots for local designers is Haji Lane,” says Xie, who plays Kitty Pong, the girlfriend of one of Nick’s cousin Alistair Cheng.
“It’s a little quirky street lined with shop houses and colorful graffiti walls in the Kampong Glam area of Singapore, and you can easily spend the whole day window shopping, stopping at cafes for some ‘Teh tarek,’ and people-watching.”
Xie is also a foodie.
“For dining, I highly suggest checking out Tai Hwa’s minced pork noodles. Singapore was one of the first cities to be honored by the Michelin food guide for its phenomenal street food and this stall is one of the notable highlights. Be prepared for long lines, springy vinegary goodness and a happy belly.”
“If you want more variety, Newton Circus, which makes its debut in the movie, is another [street food] hawker that is burgeoning with yummy delights like fried carrot cake (a savory fried radish based egg stir fry), chilli crabs and fishball noodles,” she tells CNBC Make It.
Xie also recommends the historic National Gallery Singapore. “It’s a feast for the senses as a gallery with Southeast Asia’s biggest art collection, and it also houses amazing restaurants like homegrown chef Violet Oon’s National Kitchen.”
Kheng Hua Tan
Kheng Hua Tan, who plays Kerry Chu, the mother of Rachel, says she has a deep appreciation for the cosmopolitan flair of Singapore, as well as its uniqueness.
But what Tan especially loves is Singaporean coffee, in particular a blend from Lam Yeo Coffe Powder Factory on Balestier Road.
“It’s best drunk the local way with sugar and evaporated milk or with condensed milk,” she tells CNBC Make It.
Tan also says Singapore has a buzzing theater scene with local companies like Wild Rice, Pangdemonium and the Singapore Repertory Theatre presenting a diverse range of high quality productions, from edgy, thought-provoking new writing and soci-political dramas, to re-imagined stagings of world classics and Broadway musicals.
“What artists write and say about the world around them is often a good pulse check on what society is thinking, feeling and wishing,” Tan says. “If you want some insight into Singapore, go catch a local play!”
Chieng Mun Koh
“In Singapore, there are some crazy rich experiences that don’t require you to be crazy rich,” says Koh, who plays Neena Goh, the mother of Goh Peik Lin, Rachel’s friend from Stanford.
“One of our national pastimes here is food, food, food. Do you know what’s the first thing [main character] Rachel does when she arrives on the island? She eats!” Koh says of the movie.
“One of my favorite spots for a good breakfast would be Chin Mee Chin Confectionery at East Coast Road. A throwback to the ’50s, this is the best spot to have your traditional Kaya toast that has sugar, coconut milk and eggs, amongst other traditional cakes and pastries. The neighborhood around the place has shophouses worth seeing.” (Shophouses are traditional rows of houses with shops on the ground floor and residences above the shop.)
Koh also recommends ION Sky, a 56-story-high indoor observation deck with unbstructed view of Singapore. “It’s in the heart of Orchard Road and provides great views of the city,” she says.
Png, who plays Michael Teo, the husband of Nick’s cousin Astrid Leong-Teo, recommends visitors go off the beaten path in Singapore.
“If you fancy some meat with a local twist, then you will find it … in the eastern part of Singapore, in a little joint called Garang Grill,” Png tells CNBC Make It. “Every grilled meat and seafood on the menu is dynamite! Saffron Kitchen, also in the East, is where you can find the best local Halal food. I recommend their mutton Briyani.”
Png also says he frequents hawker centers (open air markets that sell inexpensive food) and coffee shops. “They are ubiquitous in Singapore and they serve all the different ethnic cuisines in Singapore and Asia, including barbecue meats, varieties of noodles, grilled seafood, curries (Indian Thai, Malay, Chinese and Japanese style) and Asian desserts,” he says.
Selena Yang Tan
Yang, who plays Alix Young, Nick’s youngest sibling, is a nature lover.
“I have a young son and my husband and I are constantly looking for nice, green big areas to explore. We recently went to walk along the Green Rail Corridor trail, which is located along the old railway tracks at Bukit Timah. It makes for a lovely walk and really helps you escape from city life.”
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