MEET THE WRITER
Hillary Eaton is a food and travel writer based in Los Angeles. You can find her featured in The New York Times and Stuff or read her work at Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Playboy, Travel + Leisure, Los Angeles Times, and beyond. Follow along with her food and travel adventures on Instagram: @hilleaton
When was the last time you were in Singapore?
Having been a handful of times, this past July was my latest visit to Singapore.
What drew you there?
The intersection of cultures -- from the Indigenous Malay to the Chinese and Indian immigrant groups, and how that’s fused together and grown into such a uniquely Singaporean culture and culinary scene. It’s palpable and molten and alive.
What was the most surprising thing about Singapore that you didn't expect?
I knew Singapore was small (especially coming from a place as spread out as Los Angeles), but I didn’t realize just how small it really was until I got there. The size makes it so easy to get around and do so much more in a day than you can when you’re on a trip in a more spread out city like Paris or London. I also wasn’t expecting such a metropolitan city to be so amazingly green. It lives up to its name of being “a city in a garden.”
What's a favorite memory from one of your visits?
There are very few distilleries in Singapore, even though spirits and cocktail culture is so big there. One of my favorite memories on a recent trip was getting to see Compendium Spirits in action. A project originally started by a biochemist who wanted to create a truly unique spirit, Compendium distills gin from a house-fermented mead that can taste like everything from rojak (a local dish of sweet and savory fruits and vegetables) to chendol (a green rice jelly dessert drink) to produce a spirit with true terroir. When so much of the spirits industry claims to be craft, it was amazing to see something truly one of a kind in the making. Plus, it tastes amazing!
How easy is it to get around Singapore for English speakers?
Singapore is extremely tourist friendly and it’s very easy for English speakers to get around with either a cab or their subway system, the MRT. While the official language is Malay, English is the most prominently spoken language. Make sure you download the app Grab onto your phone to make it easier to get around. There is no Uber in Singapore and many cabs will not pick you up unless booked through the Grab app.
Next big trip you have planned in 2020?
My next big trip is to Brazil’s Paraná region to see the largest waterfall in the world, Iguazu Falls.
Bucket list destination you've always wanted to visit?
When I’m not traveling for food it’s always for nature and something active. As cliché as it is, hiking Everest is really high on my bucket list.