Melting-pot magic

When good mates *Ben O'Donoghue * and *Tom Williams * teamed up for a whirlwind 36-hour adventure in Singapore, the result could best be described as The Great Outdoors meets The Amazing Race Australia.

Arriving on the densely populated tropical island without a plan in place, the duo set off to uncover some of the country's best-kept tourism and foodie secrets, all the while being followed by a camera crew who were filming their every move for Seven's TV special, titled Tom & Ben's Singapore Sling.

For *WA *-raised O'Donoghue, the trip turned out to be both chaotic and insightful.

"Basically we got off the plane and the plan was, there was no plan," the celebrity chef and former Surfing the Menu host told _AAA _ with a laugh.

"I'm the most unorganised person, and I got the feeling that Tom is pretty much the same.

"Even though we'd both been there before we hadn't seen most of the bigger attractions and wanted to find out what the Singaporeans would do or recommend, so we basically followed their lead."

While circumnavigating Singapore, the pair visited the horticultural display at Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa's world-famous aquarium and the island of Pulau Ubin, which they explored by bike.

"We went mountain bike riding and met up with some locals who spend their weekends there mountain biking," O'Donoghue said, adding that it turned out to be a lot harder than they had initially thought.

O'Donoghue and Williams were also keen to delve into Singapore's rich multicultural food scene.

"It's such a melting pot of cultures," O'Donoghue enthused. "Hawkers are the places to eat in Singapore. That's where 95 per cent of the people eat, it's fantastic.

"There was a really cool street that we went to. It's a big satay street which they close off at 7pm, so it goes from being a traffic jam to a table jam with just loads and loads of people sitting down and drinking Tiger beer with satay stores either side. Some places had barbecued stingray which is awesome."

While he is now based in Brisbane, where he runs his newly opened restaurant, Billy Kart, with wife *Dee *, WA holds a special place in his heart.

"My mum, dad, my brother and nephews and nieces are still in Perth and I still have school and chef friends over there," O'Donoghue, who was raised in *Port Hedland *before moving to * Perth *, said.

"I get back occasionally, although the last year has been a bit crazy opening the new restaurant, but hopefully one day we'll make a Christmas trip back there with the whole family."

VANESSA WILLIAMS

'We wanted to find out what the Singaporeans would do, so we followed their lead.'


The West Australian

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