Compared to leading food capitals such as London, New York, Tokyo and Barcelona, Singapore’s gastronomy scene still has some room for growth. But there’s no denying that our little red dot is blessed with a vast diversity of cuisines and dining experiences. One can easily find a Japanese eatery or dim sum joint almost anywhere, and there’s an abundance of Italian, French and Indian restaurants across the island. Even niche offerings such as Greek fare and tapas are well represented in our local food scene.
Another cuisine that has proved popular throughout the years here, is Middle Eastern fare. Many options fall under this category, which encompasses food from countries such as Iran (Persia), Lebanon and Turkey. Common dishes that can be found in these places include shawarma (where meat such as chicken, beef or lamb is roasted on a spit before being sliced off and served in sandwiches or wraps), hummus (a chickpea spread that’s often eaten with bread), and kebabs — which may come in various forms such as shish kebab (skewered meats) and döner kebab, which comprises meat cooked on a rotating spit.
If you’re craving Middle Eastern food but don’t quite know where to start because of the sheer number of eateries in Singapore, we’re here to help. Scroll down for our guide to 5 of the best Middle Eastern restaurants to try.
Located along Peck Seah Street, this Turkish restaurant is a beautifully furnished venue inspired by Turkey’s trendy Karaköy district and decorated with pendant lamps and mosaic patterns. It specialises in kebabs, which comprise large pieces of pita bread stuffed with fillings such as halloumi cheese, spicy prawn, charred pork belly, and spicy beef. Also available are mezze options (tapas-style dishes) the likes of okra falafel, fried cauliflower, and cashew hummus.
Fat Prince, 48 Peck Seah Street, Singapore 079317, +65 6221 3683
This Middle Eastern restaurant prides itself on serving “dude food“, which is essentially comfort food that’s hearty and unapologetically unhealthy. Helmed by chef-owner Bjorn Shen, its highlights range from baba ganoush (a roasted eggplant dip) to octopus with hummus and 100-day aged short rib — which comes with grilled pumpkin pickles and Turkish coffee-date barbecue sauce.
For authentic Persian fare, head over to Shabestan at Mohammed Sultan. The restaurant offers an extensive repertoire of kebabs, rice dishes, charcoal-grilled meats, and comforting stews filled with ingredients such as lamb and braised duck. Leave some room for dessert — must-try items include saffron ice cream, baklava (a sweet filo pastry layered with nuts), and faloodeh shirazi, a frozen dessert composed of rose water, vermicelli noodles, and mint.
Shabestan, The Pier @ Robertson, 80 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-13, Singapore 239013, +65 6836 1270
This cosy spot along Bussorah Street focuses on Lebanese cuisine, with highlights such as chicken sharwarma (marinated chicken ensconced in pita bread and served with hummus and tahina), lamb kebabs, tabbouleh (a salad of chopped vegetables, parsley and bulghur wheat), and its signature Shish Taouk — char-grilled chicken cubes seasoned with a mix of herbs and spices. Round these off with syrupy sweet Mouhalabieh, a traditional Lebanese milk flan dessert topped with honey and nuts.
Beirut Grill, 72 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199485, +65 6341 7728
Indulge in traditional Turkish food at Alaturka, which marinates its dishes with spices imported from a market in Izmir. Must-try items are its freshly baked breads, which are paired with hummus and baba ganoush, and grilled kebabs in options of chicken, lamb and beef — which are seared over a charcoal grill. Other notable dishes include Hunkar Begendi (beef ragout presented on a bed of roasted eggplant purée) and Imam Bayildi, whole eggplants packed with vegetable stew and baked with melted cheese.
Alaturka, 15 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199436, +65 6294 0304