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Where to eat in Singapore
Before I try to explain where to eat in Singapore (there is just too much to mention) I would like to suggest to eat at least these 3 dishes in Singapore:
Chili Crab – An experience of its own. Crab cooked in a special chili sauce (not spicy) and just attacking the crab is a great way of spending your evening.
Hainese Chicken Rice – maybe more a lunch dish, Singapore’s Chicken is the national dish you should have tasted. It’s a Hawker Center dish and there are even Michelin Star Food stalls (e.g. Maxwell) that serve this meal for under S$5.-
Laksa – Spicy sweet noodle soup with Chicken, Prawn, Fish or a mix! Because of the coconut based sauce it has a very distinct and exotic taste. And concerning CNN Travel the 7th best food in the world “World’s 50 best foods”!
Hawker Centers vs. Restaurants
The Singaporean cuisine is one of the finest and most diverse in the world. For the reason that there is not one single uniform Singa culture, its cuisine is likewise as divers as the people who inhabit the peninsula. Food is a very important part of the Singaporean way of life and for this reason there are just so many places where to eat in Singapore. With all a very high quality standard, it’s really not going to get better than the Singa cuisine!
There are literally thousands and thousands places where to eat in Singapore (2015: 124 Hawker Centres and 5800 food stalls in Singapore). And honestly, it takes a lot of discipline not to eat at every food stall, restaurant or hawker center. So unbuckle your belt, take a run in the morning and start eating your way through Singapore with our friendly guide. You better have a serious appetite when you come visit Singapore, because there are many (many!) things you have never eaten before in your life!
To help you understand the Singaporean Cuisine we need to make a distinction between Hawker centers (Streetfood) and Restaurants (you know, where you eat). Because I can never explain all the restaurants and Hawker centers I try to just make sense of it all by just explaining where to eat in Singapore.
Where to eat in Singapore: Hawker Centers
My favorite place where to eat in Singapore are the Hawker Centers: high quality street food all in one food-court-like-area. With high quality I mean high quality, there are even Michelin Star Food stalls that serve meals for less than 5 SGD. Most of the meals available at Hawker Centers will set you back about 4-6DGD and provide you a good taste of the Singaporean cuisine and its culture. It’s a vibrant place where everybody gets together, share food and meet after a work.
For some food stalls you need to cue because of its popularity, however waiting in line for a 5 SGD Michelin Star meal is really worth your while! I promise! Ah and don’t forget to get to know the person in front or behind you while waiting. The people are very easy to talk to and it’s a good way of meeting some locals.
Although the Hawker Centers in Chinatown serve more Chinese food and the ones in Little India are more specialized in Indian food, most Hawker Centers serve all kinds of Asian cuisines. There is always a good variety of Malay, Korean, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and Thai street food vendors for you to choose from! Most vendors only serve 1 to 5 kinds of dishes however with sometimes over 200 vendors to choose from there is always something great to eat!
Good to know: Because finding a place where to eat can be quite a hassle with food in your hands, the Singaporean first find a spot to sit. To claim this spot the Singaporean will leave their napkins. So everybody knows this table is taken, you cannot sit there. I would advice to bring some napkins yourself and claim your table before you get your food! You can buy these everywhere for about S$1. It’s a nice experience! When in Rome.. right?
As we speak there are over 120 Hawker Centers and 5800 food stalls in Singapore! And they are all great! Yet it can be quite a task to visit them all. For this reason, please check out below my top 5 Hawker Centers and why you should visit them.
People’s Park Hawker Center – China Town – Open 6am till 11pm
Yet less diverse, and not touristic at all, than most Singaporean Hawker Centers, this is one of my favorites Hawker Centers due to it’s vibrant nature. The Chinese locals are a lot of fun and by far the most eccentric and lively of all Singaporean. From the main street this Hawker Center looks rather small, but go inside and the more than 100 stalls are rather overwhelming. There is almost no ending and too much to choose from. My favorite stalls are the Steamboat or Hot Pot food stalls which let you choose your own ingredients and then cooked in a great soup!
The People’s Park Hawker Center also is a great place to drink a beer and meet some locals. On the main street you can get a fairly priced large beer for 6SGD, making it the most affordable place to have a drink! And if you buy a bucket of 4 beers, you pay for 3. It’s a lot of fun to sit at a table with others, drink a beer and get to know everyone out there. Although most don’t speak any English, this makes the experience even better! Just go there, this is by far the most vibrant and adventures place in Singapore!
Lau Pa Sat – Business District – Open 6am till 12pm
Although a bit more expensive (still very affordable) than the other Hawker Centers in Singapore, this is a must visit due to its Cosmopolitan Atmosphere. It’s not a question where to eat in Singapore, because this is the place! Rather touristic, but ehy, they got great Satay!
What makes Lau Pa Sat so great is that after 7pm the street at the South Entrance of the building will close down and you can eat outside. Also known as “Satay Street” this is where to eat in Singapore. It’s really not gonna get more special than this with all high rising skyscrapers looking down on you. Lau Pa Sat is known of its Satay, or Saté, and this is exactly what you should order. Especially Stall 7 and 8 are known of the best Satay in Singapore. But actually they’re all good! For about 20sgd you will get 25 pieces of Satay, differing from Chicken, Lamb or Prawn. Served with Peanut Sauce and rice cake this is a great way of starting the evening. A must visit when you come to Singapore! I take everyone who visits me in Singapore to this street and after have eaten there for over 20 times I still like to go there! Make sure you go there after 7pm, otherwise the street is still open for cars!
Also, the stall owners and beer ladies can be a bit pushy if it comes to selling their food and drinks. Don’t be bothered about this, just tell them you’re okay and they will leave you alone.
Tekka Center – Little India – Open from 7am till 6pm
Who doesn’t love Indian food, right? Okay some don’t.. However the Tekka Center in Litter India is a Must Visit for foodies and people with a good apatite who don’t know where to eat in Singapore. Most of the food is Halal in this Hawker Center, so apposed from the Chinese food stalls there is hardly any pork. The Muslim and Indian Cuisine is more than outstanding and you will be surprised how great and authentic these cuisines are. Because the food stalls are so competitive at this Hawker Center you won’t get more affordable food anywhere else in Singapore. Tender Chicken, heaps of rice and a curry will cost you about 5SGD. Which is most of the time enough for 2 persons..
Ah, and the Tekka center is very easy to visit because of the station near by! It’s literally a 2min walk!
Maxwell Road Hawker Center – China Town – Open from 8am till 10pm
With over a 100 stalls and in the heart of Chinatown this might be one the best Hawker Centers in Singapore. The price is more than decent and the quality of food is the best in Singapore. When you visit Chinatown (and you need to!) then this is the place where to eat in Singapore for a great lunch!
The Hainese Chicken from Tian Tian (4SGD) and the Porridge from Zhen Zhen (4-8 SGD) are both awarded with a Michelin Star and is worth cueing for. If you don’t want to cue, visit Maxwell Road Hawker Center before dinner time. Between 3pm and 4pm there is less people dining and chances are you don’t need to cue!
There is also a good amount of Chinese Dumpling Stalls (4SGD for 4) which are a great side dish with whatever you order. A large Tiger beer at Maxwell costs about 6.80SGD.
Drinking a cold beer at a Hawker Center! Must experience!
Besides really affordable and tasty food, the Hawker Centers are also a great place to have a beer. Drinks can be rather expensive in Singapore if you don’t know where to go, however at Hawker Centers you can always get an affordable beer! And a great experience, because these places are not as Elite as the rest of Singapore! Great people, great place, just great!
Prices range from 6-8SGD for a large 640ml Tiger beer. And if you find a “beer sponsored” Hawker Center such as the ones in China town you get 4 large beers for the price of 3. Personally I’m a big fan of these places and prefer to drink a beer at a hawker center over any other fancy bar in Singapore. You will get to know the locals, have a drink with them and talk to them. Especially the Chinese locals are very friendly and really like to have a beer (or 4 beers). Although Singapore can be a bit dull sometimes if it comes to party, in Chinatown the party never stops! Mainly old men are drinking here who don’t speak any English, however after a few beers nobody cares and you will be best friends!! You will be surprised how well your Chinese is after a proper drink!
Places to eat in Singapore – Restaurants
Yet with all the great and affordable Hawker centers there is still room for dining in restaurants. Most restaurants offer an outstanding quality of food and drinks which you will find nowhere else in the world. I really enjoy all the Korean BBQ restaurants at Amoy Street and HongKong street. It’s really worth your while to treat yourself on a good Korean BBQ, however it will set you back around 50SGD per person. Which can be somewhat expensive if you consider the price of the Hawker Centers. Yet, if your pockets are deep enough, go there! A must visit!
More great places to eat in Singapore are the restaurants all situated around the Singapore river. Don’t settle for a restaurant at Boat Quay, which are rather mainstream and focused on tourists but go a bit further land inwards. Go for example to Robertson Quay for a great ambiance. All restaurants at Robertson Quay are fairly priced and offer great quality of food! And with all the music, lights and trees it’s really nice to sit outside and dine with friends. A good place to go out! My favorite bars there is a Japanese Brewery called Sinpai 678 (no website!). They serve a wide arrange of Japanese beers and snacks, are all fairly priced (6-10SGD for a pint or snack) and has a great vibe to it when you sit outside on the patio! Yet another great bar/restaurant
called “Bar bar black Sheep” is a must visit. This is their address! This restaurant has 3 distinct kitchens and menus: Indian, Burgers and Thai. They serve good beers, are fairly priced and is just a great place to go to!
Restaurants in Singapore: Clarke Quay
Next to Robertson Quay lays Clarke Quay and Boat Quay. A more commercial and going-out kind of place. However many youngsters and hip Singaporean go out at clubs, there is a fair amount of good restaurants in Clark Quay. It’s a bit more expensive, however also very vibrant. Might not be one of the best places to eat in Singapore, while you’re there definitely worth your while visiting! Especially for a great party afterwards. For the Chilli Crab in Town go to Jumbo Seafood in Boat Quay! Worth it! You might need to cue a bit if you like to sit outside, but I tell you it’s really worth your while!