A Foodie’s Guide to Singapore
If you’re traveling or moving to Singapore, one thing you won’t have troubles finding is great food.
In Singapore, food is the national pastime. A common Chinese and Singaporean equivalent to “hello” is “ni chi le ma?” which translates as “have you eaten yet?” which should tell you everything you need to know about this little foodie paradise. For a truly Singaporean experience it has to be the hawker market, where the food is typically much better (and always much cheaper) than in the restaurants, so here is our run down of where, and what, to eat!
Lau Pa Sat $$
18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582
Visit this city centre hawker for the stunning wrought iron architecture, history and range of dishes. The adjacent road is pedestrianized after 7pm and filled with rickety tables where diners enjoy mounds of rich satay barbequed to order by the enthusiastic hawkers who line the street. The stalls have names like “No 1 Best Ever” and “The Best of The Best” but don’t be fooled, no’s 7 & 8 are the insider’s top tip!
Old Airport Road $
Block 51, Old Airport Rd Singapore 390019
Further afield, but a must-do for true foodies. Singaporeans will drive from the other side of the country to sample the famous dishes served up here for $2 – $5. It is all good, but if you find it a bit overwhelming stick to the front row – these stalls are all excellent.
East Coast Road $
443 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427656 +65 6345 9443
This street might not officially be a hawker market, but bears mention since it is home to two of the best hawker stalls in Singapore – 328 Laksa and Tian Tian Chicken Rice, both of which were chosen to take on Gordon Ramsey in a food challenge – and won!
Newton Circus $$$
Newton Circus, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North 229492
Newton Circus bears mentioning to tell you NOT to go. Thanks to its popularity it is now violently overpriced and lacks both the range of Old Airport Road and the history of Lau Pa Sat.
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Steamed or roast chicken served with plain white rice that has been boiled in chicken stock. Surprisingly delicious and deceptively fattening.
Chili crab is lauded as Singapore’s national dish but is commonly considered overrated. A whole crab cooked in a gloopy tomato and silken tofu sauce it is also extremely messy to eat! Black pepper crab is vastly superior with the bite of the peppercorn bolstering rather than overpowering the delicate crabmeat.
Freshly made egg noodles layered with slices of sweet tangy barbequed pork and topped with wonton dumplings in a rich gravy. Exceedingly moorish.
This classic noodle dish comes in various guises depending on where you buy it, the two main variants being Penang laksa – sour tamarind based soup without coconut milk – and curry laksa made with curried coconut milk and served with a boiled egg, beancurd puff and either tofu, chicken or seafood.
Char Kway Teow
Made from wide flat rice noodles stir-fried with light and dark soy sauce, chilli, belachan, whole prawns, deshelled cockles, bean sprouts and chopped Chinese chives. The dish is commonly stir-fried with egg, slices of Chinese sausage and fishcake.
No relation to Western carrot cake this is actually cubes of white radish fried with beaten egg, spring onions and seasoning, not dissimilar to Spanish tortilla.
Small savory pancakes fried with ghee and served with a small bowl of curry or curry sauce. Many variants are available including egg, garlic and cheese prata. Tear the prata into small sections, dunk in curry sauce, repeat. Roll home very full and very happy.
Top Tip: To reserve (or “chop”) a seat in a busy hawker, place a pack of tissues on the table – this is the official sign for “this table is taken”!