If you’re headed to the Lion City any time soon, then come with an appetite as there are several hawker centres that serve traditional and modern dishes that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning palates.
Here’s a rundown of the top Singapore hawker centres that you definitely should visit:
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This fairly new hawker centre in Singapore boasts of a “dual dining concept”, meaning guests can avail of hawker-style food on the centre’s first floor and food from “hipster” food stalls on the second.
Classic dishes that you should try are the seafood soups from Jun Yuan House of Fish. Ranging from $5 to $7, you can order their Fried Fish Soup, Herbal Seafood Soup, and the Chinese Spinach Seafood Soup with wolfberries.
But if you’re feeling a little more eclectic or want something a little fancier, then head on up to The Stew House and order yourself a bowl of Beef Bourguignon ($6).
You can also try a Chicken Rice Burger ($5.50) from The Humble Burger – instead of the usual burger buns, you have buns made out of chicken rice, served with soy sauce, chicken, chili sauce, and ginger.
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Formerly a fish and meat market, Maxwell Food Centre has been in business since 1986 serving authentic Singaporean fare to hungry local and foreign diners alike. The centre is simple, letting its food rather than its interiors do the talking.
Must-orders here include the Hainanese Chicken Rice from Tian Tian Chicken Rice. The chicken rice, which customers don’t mind waiting in a long line for, is best enjoyed with ginger, soy sauce, and chili sauce drizzled on top.
However, if you’re too hungry to put up with the queue, then head over Ah Tian Hainanese Chicken which was founded by one of Tian Tian’s former chefs.
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Founded in 1975, the Golden Mile was opened as a resettlement for hawker stalls that were moved from Jalan Sultan. Currently, the centre is home to several Singaporean favorites such as hokkien mee, char kway teow, and chicken rice.
A definite must-try is Hokkien Mee from Hainan Hokkien Mee – the noodles are left in the stock which simmers until it evaporates, therefore locking rich flavor and a smoky fragrance into the noodles.
There are also lip smacking Peranakan dishes from Charlie’s Peranakan, most (if not all) of which are cooked by Uncle Charlie himself. Items off of the menu include Babi Assam (tamarind pork), Bakwan Kepiting (minced pork and crab meat ball), and Babi Pongteh (braised pork in soy bean sauce).
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Formerly known as Seng Poh Market, Tiong Bahru is the fourth largest hawker centre in Singapore. With around 259 market stalls and 83 cooked food stalls, the centre is home to around two stalls that have been around since 1950s.
When here, head over to Jian Bo Shui Kueh and get yourself a serving of Chwee Kueh (10 pieces at $5). In case you aren’t familiar, they’re basically little rice flour cakes that are served with a generous topping of sambal chili.
For a light and delicate treat, get yourself a bowl of soya bean milk ($1) and beancurd ($0.80 to $1.70) from Teck Seng. Made from scratch, the smoothness and delicateness of its texture stems from it being handmade versus machine-made.
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Built in 1978, the Hong Lim Market and Food Centre is home to over 100 food stalls and is one of the first centres built in Chinatown.
When here, make sure you order a flavorful plate of Laksa from the Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa – after all, the stall did receive the covetous distinction of Bib Gourmand in 2017.
You should also order a bowl of Ba Chor Mee ($5) from the Tai Hwa Pork Noodle – springy noodles in a soy-vinegar sauce base with pork liver and meaty dumplings.
Last but not the least, make sure you bite into a serving of Granny’s Pancakes ($0.80) with flavors such as peanuts, red bean, coconuts, and peanut butter.
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Tekka Centre is located in Little India and unsurprisingly houses several Indian food stalls. When done eating, guests can head up to the higher floors to shop for everything from saris to Bollywood music.
Definite must-tries here include prawn noodles from third-generation hawker Li Ruifang of 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles. A bowl of these flavorful noodles tossed with sambal gravy, peeled prawns, and garnished with dried shallots are priced between $3 to $4.
Also, if you’re brave enough to deal with the long lines, then you’d know that an order of Nasi Briyani ($5) from Allaudin’s Briyani Pte Ltd is worth the wait. The basmati rice flavored with Indian herbs, spices, and cashews can be served with either fish, chicken, or mutton.
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While many of Singapore’s food centres are open during the day, East Coast Lagoon Food Village most definitely comes to life at night! Dubbed Singapore’s only beach-side food centre, East Coast can trace its roots all the way back to 1978, serving mouthwatering Singaporean fare since then.
When here, order a bowl of curry fish head from Eastern Red Seafood. The juicy fish head served in thick, flavorful curry sauce comes with lady fingers and vegetables, and is perfect for sharing.
You should also order popiah from Lagoon Carrot Cake, which is fresh spring roll filled to the brim with a variety of ingredients and a generous serving of bean sprouts. Funnily enough though, popiah became a crowd favorite just a few years ago, as their original best selling item was fried carrot cake.
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Often considered the busiest hawker centre in Singapore, Market Street is at its most chaotic during lunch hours – thanks to the number of office buildings within its proximity. Despite the long lines and heavy foot traffic, the dishes served are well worth the wait.
Case in point? Ah Liang Ipoh Hor Fun offers 10 types of Ipoh Hor Fun, but the one that keeps people coming back is the Fried Fish Dumpling ($3.50). The thin noodles, flavorful broth, and, crispy dumplings make for great comfort food or a filling meal.
If you want a heavier meal though, then order a plate of good ‘ol fashioned Market Street Nasi Lemak ($3.50). The pandan-flavored rice, drumstick, served with vegetables and otak are sure to make you full without breaking the bank.
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With all the delicious food served here, it’s no wonder a handful of the stalls are recipients of the Michelin Bib Gourmand. If you’re at a loss as to which stall to head over to though, then don’t worry! We’ve got a couple of recommendations for you.
Fairly new and a bit fancier than usual is the Big Bowls Project which sells Halal Poke Bowls. Try ordering the Mentaiko Salmon ($8.90) which has a flavorful piece of charred salmon with mentaiko sauce or order the Szechuan Black Bean Salmon ($7.90) that has steamed fish with black bean sauce.
You should also try out the Truffle Wanton Mee ($6) from Bee Kee Wanton Noodles. The noodles are topped with truffle oil and are served with dumplings, char siew, and vegetables.
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Living up to its name, this hawker centre can be found in the heart of Chinatown and boasts of traditional Singaporean and Chinese dishes that won’t hurt your wallet.
With over 260 stalls to choose from, picking a meal may be overwhelming – so here’s what you shouldn’t miss!
Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap has an incredibly large plate that isn’t for the faint of heart – the Duck Rice Bento ($8)! When you order this, you get Teochew-style braised duck meat, pork belly, tofu, eggs, yam rice balls, and pickled mustard greens.
Make sure you also try the cheapest Michelin-starred dish in the world, the Soya Sauce Chicken Rice ($2) from Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle. It’s not hard to spot the stall as it often boasts of a long line of people waiting.
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