12 Places to Try Mod-Sin Cuisine in Singapore

Singapore’s culinary landscape has long been dominated by the humble hawker fare that has become synonymous with the city-state. However, in recent years, a new wave of restaurants has emerged, pushing the boundaries of traditional Singaporean cuisine. These establishments, collectively known as “mod-sin” (modern Singaporean), are redefining the way we experience local flavours, blending time-honoured recipes with innovative techniques and elevated ingredients.

#1 Xiao Ya Tou

Nestled in the vibrant Duxton Hill neighbourhood, Xiao Ya Tou, or “Little Rebel,” lives up to its name with its bold and imaginative take on Singaporean classics. The restaurant’s colourful and whimsical decor sets the stage for a culinary adventure, where diners can indulge in dishes like the lobster kueh pie tee, a delicate pastry shell filled with succulent lobster meat, or the wok-fried wagyu hor fun, a luxurious twist on the beloved hawker dish. 

Address: 6 Duxton Hill, #01-01, Singapore 089592
Opening Hours: 11:30 am–11 pm Mon to Thurs, 11:30 am–11:30 pm Fri & Sat, 11:30 am–10 pm Sun

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#2 Labyrinth

At the one-star Michelin restaurant Labyrinth, chef-owner Han Li Guang is on a mission to showcase the rich tapestry of Singaporean flavours and cultures. The menu is a testament that modernising local cuisine should not come at the expense of authenticity. Diners can expect elevated interpretations of beloved hawker favourites, such as rojak, chicken rice, char kway teow, and bak kut teh, each dish meticulously crafted to capture the essence of its traditional counterpart.

Address: Raffles Ave., #02-23, Singapore 039802 

Opening Hours: 6:30–11 pm Wed & Thurs, 12–2:30 pm, 6:30–11 pm Fri to Sun

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#3 Relish by Wild Rocket

xIn 2005, chef Willin Low, the mastermind behind Wild Rocket, helped codify the mod-sin movement, paving the way for a new generation of chefs to explore the boundaries of Singaporean cuisine. While the original Wild Rocket may have closed, Low’s culinary legacy lives on at Relish by Wild Rocket. Here, diners can savour the roketto oyster omelette spaghettini, a deconstructed take on the classic hawker dish, or indulge in the fish collagen broth udon, which draws inspiration from Singapore-style fish soup but elevates it with premium ingredients like hand-cut inaniwa udon and handmade egg fishcake.

Address: 501 Bukit Timah Rd, #02-01, Singapore 259760
Opening Hours: 11 am–3:30 pm, 6–10 pm Mon to Thurs, 11 am–3:30 pm, 6–10:30 pm Fri, 8:30 am–10:30 pm Sat, 8:30 am–8:30 pm Sun

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#4 A Noodle Story

Founders Gwern Khoo and Ben Tham, self-proclaimed “hawkerpreneurs,” have put their unique spin on the humble noodle dish with their creation, the “first and only Singapore-style ramen.” This innovative take on the classic wanton mee features thin, springy noodles tossed in a blend of dark soy sauce and roasted dried shrimp, topped with slow-braised pork belly chashu and silky pork and prawn wantons. The addition of an onsen egg and a prawn cake wrapped in crispy Idaho potato strings adds unexpected layers of texture and flavour.

Address: 7 Maxwell Rd, #01-39, Singapore 069111
Opening Hours: 10 am–8 pm Mon to Fri, 10 am–7 pm Sat, 10 am–3 pm Sun

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#5 Candlenut

Candlenut, helmed by acclaimed chef Malcolm Lee, is a shining example of Mod-Sin cuisine at its finest. Nestled within the lush greenery of Dempsey Hill, this Michelin-starred restaurant showcases the vibrant flavours of Peranakan cuisine with a modern twist. Indulge in signature dishes like the buah keluak fried rice, where the iconic Peranakan ingredient is seamlessly incorporated into a classic fried rice dish, or the beef rendang, a tender and aromatic take on the traditional Malay stew. 

Address: 17a Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249676
Opening Hours: 12–3 pm, 6–10 pm daily

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#6 Mustard Seed

Mustard Seed, located in the heart of Singapore’s Kampong Glam neighbourhood, offers a captivating exploration of Mod-Sin cuisine. Led by chef-owner Ming Kiat, the restaurant celebrates the vibrant Singaporean flavours, while infusing them with Japanese cuisine and technique. Enjoy an omakase style tasting menu that changes every two months.

Address: 75 Brighton Cres, Singapore 559216
Opening Hours: 7–10:30 pm Wed to Fri, 12–2:30 pm, 7–10:30 pm Sat

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#7 Po

Nestled within the hip Warehouse Hotel, Po takes a more classic and conservative approach to mod-sin cuisine, with a focus on elevating the flavours of Singapore’s past. The giant river prawns konbu mee, an inspired take on the Hokkien mee, perfectly encapsulates this philosophy, showcasing premium ingredients in a dish that pays homage to the island’s culinary heritage.

Address: 320 Havelock Rd, Singapore 169628
Opening Hours: 7–10:30 am, 12–3 pm, 6–10:30 pm daily 

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#8 Thevar

At Thevar, chef Manogren Murugan Thevar has dedicated himself to showcasing the rich and diverse spice profiles that are integral to Indian cuisine. The restaurant’s menu is a testament to this culinary exploration, with dishes that blend traditional techniques with modern interpretations. Standout offerings include the hibiscus spiced gujiya, tomato pani puri, crispy pork sambal with betelnut leaf and many more.

Address: 9 Keong Saik Rd., Singapore 089117
Opening Hours: 5:30–11 pm Tues to Fri, 12–2:30 pm, 5:30–11 pm Sat

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#9 Laifabar

Nestled in a cosy, old-school coffee shop setting in Bukit Batok, Laifabar is a testament to the art of reinventing a Singaporean classic – the humble wanton noodle. Here, the al dente egg noodles are elevated with toppings that include onsen egg, homemade roasted pork, and glazed char siew. But Laifabar’s culinary journey doesn’t stop there. The menu also features tantalising sides like wanton in chilli sauce, satay, and the ever-popular har cheong gai. By staying true to the flavours of the past while introducing modern twists, Laifabar invites diners to rediscover the joys of this quintessential Singaporean dish, offering a dining experience that celebrates the evolution of a beloved local favourite.

Address: Laifaba, 02-02 Bukit Batok Cres, Prestige Centre, 71, 658071
Opening Hours: 11:30 am–3 pm, 6–9 pm Tues to Sun

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#10 LECOQ

Once a yakitori restaurant, LECOQ has now transformed into a destination that excels at Asian-inspired fusion cuisine. The menu features a delightful blend of familiar and novel offerings, showcasing the restaurant’s ability to seamlessly incorporate local and global influences. Standout dishes include the Healthy Hainan, which pairs sous vide chicken breast with a shoyu egg and quinoa, and the Iberico Char Siew, featuring 18-hour slow-cooked Iberico pork and locally-sourced vegetables. Lecoq also tantalises the taste buds with shareable options like the Dry Laksa and the California Maki Dip with fried wanton skin, inviting diners to embark on a culinary journey that celebrates the dynamic interplay of Asian and Western flavours.

Address: 25 Church St, Singapore 049482
Opening Hours: 11:30 am–11 pm Mon, Tues & Thurs, 11:30 am–12 am Wed, 11:30 am–3 am Fri, 5 pm–12 am Sat

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#11 Ebi Bar

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For those seeking a contemporary take on the beloved Singaporean staple, Ebi Bar is a must-visit destination. The restaurant’s signature dish, the Chao Da (or Charred Ebi Noodles), is a revelation, featuring a rich and hearty prawn broth, succulent prawns, and hand-pulled noodles that are cooked to perfection. The restaurant also offers a delightful array of unique snacks and bites, such as the Salted Mackerel Fried Chicken, which pays homage to the beloved zi char favourites, and the Ah Ma’s Achar Gone Fancy, a playful interpretation of the traditional vegetable achar.

Address: 5 Koek Rd, #B1-21 Cuppage Plaza, Singapore 228796
Opening Hours: 11 am–9 pm Mon & Sun, 11 am–10 pm Tues to Sat

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#12 Sinpopo 

Sinpopo’s new flagship space at TANGS is contemporary, warm and inviting. The restaurant’s menu pays tribute to the country’s beloved local desserts. While the allure of Sinpopo’s tempting cakes and pastries is undeniable, the real gems on the menu lie in the restaurant’s innovative interpretations of traditional Singaporean dishes. Diners are often tempted to skip the mains and dive straight into the desserts, with options like ondeh ondeh, pulut hitam, and kueh dadar. However, resisting the pull of the sweets reveals a world of culinary delights, from the unconventional pork rib curry to the baked miso cod hor fun. Sinpopo Brand seamlessly blends the familiar and the novel, offering a dining experience that celebrates the evolution of Singaporean cuisine.

Address: 310 Orchard Rd, #02-22/27/29 Tang Plaza, Singapore 238864
Opening Hours: 11 am–9 pm daily

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