With a labyrinth of cultures represented in every nook and cranny of town, Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America. To celebrate this world-class melting pot, we’ll be exploring a new region of the globe through a Houston lens each week, from annual festivals and museums to restaurants and cultural experiences. Join the journey with our Around the World in Houston series.
Get a taste of Singapore’s culture via traditional and modern eats—from chili crab to Hainanese chicken rice—plus festivals, arts, cultural groups and more.
Annual Festivals & Cultural Events
- AsiaFest – Held in the spring, AsiaFest celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage through community performances, fusion cuisine, creative activities, art and vendors, and cultural exhibitions.
- Lunar New Year Festival – Celebrate the Lunar New Year with an Asian bazaar featuring traditional food and drink, arts and crafts, cultural activities and more.
- Lunar New Year Houston – This Texas-sized Asian New Year celebration is held at the Viet Hoa Center. Guests can expect musical and dance performances, lion dances, traditional food and drink, martial arts demonstrations, fireworks and more.
- Diwali Festival – The Hindu festival of lights is a major public holiday in Singapore (known as Deepavali). Celebrate with traditional candle ceremonies, live music, and a fireworks finale at this annual festival, held between mid-October to mid-November.
Museums & Cultural Organizations
- Asia Society Texas Center – The Asia Society Texas Center focuses on enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education and community outreach. Look out for a lineup of programs and activities, including film festivals, family days, culture camps, student programs, art exhibitions and more.
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Association – Formed in 1992 and serving the Greater Houston area and beyond, this heritage association strives to promote awareness and increase understanding of the Asian/Pacific American culture and its diversity through education and celebration. The group focuses on May, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and continues with programs, events, and educational opportunities throughout the year.
- Malaysian Singaporean Association of Houston – This nonprofit celebrates the heritage and culture of Malaysia and Singapore. Join the Facebook group to follow along with events and notifications.
- Arts of Asia at MFAH – The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston hosts an Arts of Asia collection spanning nearly five millennia and encompassing cultures across the continent, including Southeast Asian art.
Singaporean Food & Drink
- Singapore Cafe – You’ll find roti canai, curry chicken noodles, nasi lemak (coconut rice), curry head-on shrimp, and chili crab at this excellent Sugar Land café.
- SING – Set to open in the Heights (slated for Oct 2018), SING is a collaboration between local pop-up chef and food writer, Cuc Lam, and restaurateur Jerry Lasco (Max’s Wine Dive, The Tasting Room). Expect Singaporean and Asian-inspired dishes, from bak-kut-tehto (pork bone noodle soup) and char kway teow (flat rice noodle stir-fry) Singaporean chili crab rangoon.
- Banana Leaf – Though its known as a Malaysian restaurant, you can transport yourself to the hawker stalls of Singapore with the Hainanese chicken rice at this Asiatown standby. Eats also commonly found in Singaporean cuisine include hot & spicy crab, roti canai, laksa, and Singapore fried noodles.
- House of Bowls – This Chinatown favorite offers a largely Cantonese menu, though you’ll also find dishes like Singapore-style chow fun and Singapore rice vermicelli.
- Mamak Malayasian – Get Singpapore laksa noodle soup, baby oyster omelet, and curry chicken pancake at this stylish eatery.
- Maba Pan-Asian Diner – This fast-casual Midtown haunt rocks pan-Asian eats, including Singapore vermicelli packed with chicken, vegetables, egg, and curry.
- Mein – This modern and trendy Cantonese eatery also offers “every day” eats found in Singaporean cuisine, including stir-fried Singapore curry rice noodle, chai tow kway (rice cake with pickled radish), satay, and charsiu.
- 99 Ranch Market – Hit any of the three Houston-area locations of this Asian to shop for everything from rice noodles and crab to lemongrass, coconut cream, and chilies.
- Hong Kong Food Market – This colossal market in Chinatown’s Hong Kong City Mall spans the continent of Asia, offering tastes of China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia.
- Super H-Mart – Though this bustling food emporium specializes in Korean, you’ll also find a wonderland of ingredients that span Asian cuisines. Hit it to find fresh fruits and vegetables; live, fresh and frozen seafood; quality meats; imported snacks, candies, sauces and spices; varietals of noodles and rice; and in-house baked goods. Don’t miss the food court options if you’re hungry.
Language Classes, Education Centers, Groups & Meet-Ups
- Berlitz Language Center – This learning center offers flexible programs for adults and children, with languages including Malay and Mandarin.
- University of Houston Malaysian-Singaporean Student Association – This private Facebook group connects Malaysian and Singaporean students at the University of Houston.
- Chinese Speakers in Houston – Have fun and practice your language skills with fellow Chinese language speakers at this networking meetup.
- Yes KTV – Open daily and located on the 2nd floor of the Dun Huang Plaza shopping strip in Chinatown, this upscale karaoke bar boasts private rooms and a laundry list of songs in everything from English and Chinese to Vietnamese and Korean (the library of Chinese songs reaches over 150,000). The karaoke club is also BYOB.