Singapore Best Hawker Food: A Guide To Lion City's Local Delights

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Singapore, a bustling city-state known for its towering skyscrapers and vibrant culture, is also a paradise for food lovers. At the heart of its culinary scene are the beloved hawker centres, open-air food courts offering a wide selection of mouthwatering dishes that cater to every palate.

From local delicacies to international flavors, hawker centres are a food lover's paradise. This article aims to take you on a gastronomic journey through the best hawker foods in Singapore, a unique aspect of the city-state's rich culinary heritage.

Hawker Centers in Singapore

In Singapore, the terms "hawker centre" and "food centre" are commonly used interchangeably to describe open-air complexes housing numerous stalls offering a wide range of affordable meals. These government-owned establishments are designed to provide a hygienic and regulated alternative to mobile hawker carts while maintaining affordability.

Singapore is home to more than 100 hawker centres, each with its own unique charm and delicious local cuisine. Visiting a hawker centre is one of the best authentic cultural experiences you can have in Singapore, and it won't cost you very much at all.

They are an integral part of Singapore's food heritage and these bustling hubs bring together a diverse range of culinary delights under one roof.

Some of the most popular hawker centres in Singapore include:

Lau Pa Sat: Located in the Downtown Core, Lau Pa Sat is hailed as the city's most famous hawker centre. Its 24-hour market buzzes with activity, offering a diverse and delectable street food scene.

Maxwell Food Centre: Situated in Chinatown, Maxwell Food Centre is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Indulge in mouthwatering local dishes such as chicken rice, laksa, and chilli crab.

Newton Food Centre: Found in the Newton area, Newton Food Centre is renowned for its delectable BBQ seafood, satay, and chicken rice.

🔥 Pro Tip: There are more than 100 hawker centers in Singapore, so check out our curated list of popular hawker centres in Singapore and start your gastronomic journey with us!

Best Hawker Foods in Singapore

Though there are loads of local hawker food to choose from, here are some of the popular ones that you cannot miss!

Chicken Rice

One of the most iconic dishes in Singapore is Chicken Rice. This dish is a simple yet flavorful combination of tender, juicy chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken stock. Two of the most famous stalls for this dish are Xing Yun Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice and Tian Tian Chicken Rice. Whether you prefer your chicken steamed or roasted, this dish is a must-try when in Singapore.

Bak Chor Mee

Bak Chor Mee, or minced meat noodles, is another local favorite. This dish consists of noodles tossed in a savory sauce, topped with minced pork, slices of pork liver, and a variety of other ingredients. Some of the best places to try this dish include Tai Hwa Pork Noodle and 58 Minced Meat Noodle.

Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow is a delicious stir-fried noodle dish that is a staple in Singapore's hawker centers. This dish is made with flat rice noodles, stir-fried in a wok with dark soy sauce, chili, prawns, cockles, and bean sprouts. One of the best places to try this dish is at 91 Fried Kway Teow, known for its delicious and flavorful rendition of the dish.


Rojak is a traditional fruit and vegetable salad dish commonly found in Singapore. This dish is a mix of pineapple, cucumber, jicama, bean sprouts, taupok (tofu puffs), and youtiao (fried dough fritters) tossed in a sweet, spicy, and tangy sauce. If you are near Clementi, don't forget to visit Brothers Rojak!


Satay is a popular dish in Singapore, consisting of skewered and grilled meat served with a flavorful peanut sauce. Some of the best places to try this dish include Satay by the Bay and Newton Food Centre.

Chilli Crab

Chilli Crab is a Singaporean seafood dish where mud crabs are stir-fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savory tomato and chili-based sauce. Some of the best places to try this dish include Jumbo Seafood and Long Beach Seafood.

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is a Malay fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf. It is traditionally served with an array of side dishes such as fried fish or chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and a spicy sambal sauce. Some of the best places to try this dish include Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak and Ponggol Nasi Lemak.

Fish Soup

Fish Soup is a comforting dish that is popular in Singapore. It is typically made with fresh fish slices, vegetables, and tofu in a clear, savory broth. One of the best places to try this dish include Han Kee Fish Soup.

Prawn Noodles

Prawn Noodles, also known as Hokkien Mee, is a flavorful noodle dish made with prawns, pork, and a rich, savory broth. Some of the best places to try this dish include Swee Guan Hokkien Mee and Kim Keat Hokkien Mee.

Wanton Mee

Wanton Mee is a popular noodle dish in Singapore, consisting of egg noodles served with wantons (dumplings), char siu (barbecued pork), and vegetables. Try this dish in soup variation for yourself at Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist.

Carrot Cake

Despite its name, Singapore's Carrot Cake has no carrots. Instead, it's a savory dish made from radish cake stir-fried with eggs, preserved radish, and spices. Head down to Chey Sua Carrot Cake at Toa Payoh West Market and Food Court for a feast!

Roti Prata

This Indian delicacy is a must-eat street food of Singapore! Roti Prata is a South-Indian flatbread that is fried on a griddle and usually served with a side of curry.Crisp, crunchy, doughy and soft pratas dunked in delicious and tangy curry ought to get your mouth watering, and hungry for more. Don’t miss this dish at The Roti Prata House!

Fish Head Curry

Fish Head Curry is a dish where a red snapper's head is semi-stewed in a Kerala-style curry with assorted vegetables such as okra and eggplants. It is a fusion of Indian and Chinese cooking styles, making it a unique Singaporean dish. Some of the best places to try this dish include Muthu's Curry and Samy's Curry.

Bak Kut Teh

Bak Kut Teh, which translates to "meat bone tea", is a comforting soup dish made from pork ribs simmered in a broth of herbs and spices. Despite its name, there's no tea in the soup; the term "tea" refers to the Chinese tea usually served alongside the soup to cleanse the palate. Some of the best places to try this dish include Song Fa Bak Kut Teh and Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh.

Tips for Trying Hawker Food in Singapore

When you're ready to dive into the world of hawker food in Singapore, here are some tips to help you navigate:

  • Be Adventurous: Don't be afraid to try new dishes. The beauty of hawker centers is the variety of food available. You might discover a new favorite!
  • Follow the Locals: If you see a stall with a long queue, it's usually a good sign that the food is worth waiting for.
  • Ask for Recommendations: Don't hesitate to ask the locals for their favorite stalls or dishes. Singaporeans love their food and are usually more than happy to share their recommendations.
  • Remember the Stall Number: If you find a dish you love, remember the stall number so you can find it again on your next visit.
  • Enjoy the Experience: Hawker centers are not just about the food. They are a vital part of Singapore's culture. Take the time to soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the experience.

FAQs: Singapore Best Hawker Food

  • What is hawker food?

    Hawker food refers to the variety of food sold in hawker centers, which are open-air complexes housing many stalls that sell a wide variety of inexpensive food.
  • What are some of the must-try hawker foods in Singapore?

    Some must-try hawker foods in Singapore include Chicken Rice, Bak Chor Mee, Char Kway Teow, Rojak, and Satay.
  • Are hawker centers in Singapore clean and safe to eat at?

    Hawker centers in Singapore are regulated by the National Environment Agency (NEA), which conducts regular checks and grades food stalls for cleanliness.
  • What are the operating hours of hawker centers in Singapore?

    Most hawker centers in Singapore are open from early morning until late at night. However, the operating hours can vary between different stalls within the centers.
  • Can I use credit cards at hawker centers in Singapore?

    While some hawker centers in Singapore have started accepting credit cards or mobile payments, many still operate on a cash-only basis. It's always a good idea to have some cash on hand.

Singapore Best Hawker Food Conclusion

Singapore's hawker food scene is a culinary treasure trove, offering a wide array of delicious and affordable dishes. From the fragrant chicken rice to the brothy fish soup, there's something for everyone.

So the next time you're in Singapore, make sure to visit a hawker center and embark on a gastronomic adventure you won't forget. Make it a quest to try Singapore best hawker food!

❤️ Pro Tip: Don’t know where to go this weekend? How about a weekend of “hawker food hopping”? It’s a unique activity that you can consider while on a staycation with your family.
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singapore best hawker food