I thought that I should really blog about Singapore’s hawker food which is really organised street food, since it is home to food that I’ve grown up with. Whenever I’m in Singapore these days, it’s pretty short so if you can try all of the dishes here, you’ve pretty much covered all my favourites!!! Erm, you shouldn’t stick to your diet at all while you’re here coz a lot of this items have CARBs and are FRIED. Bye bye diet Hello Happy Belly! Ok here we go!
My top 10 Singaporean dishes to eat and where.
Laksa somehow managed to be most of my expat’s colleagues favourite food and it’s easy to see why. Maybe it’s the coconut broth, maybe it’s the shrimp paste, the taupok slices, the taugay (beansprouts) or the wonderful HUM (cockles!) it is my top thing to eat when I head home to Singapore.
1. Katong laksa and the good news is, they now have branches and you can find one in orchard Wisma food court.
I’ve actually not tried a bad laksa before but I could be biased. Even the one at Ion food court is good! Or Hougang Hawker Center. There is one in every hawker centre. Trust me. We love it.
When you mention Singapore, chicken rice comes to mind. The fragrant rice cooked in the chicken fats, garlic and ginger paired with either steamed Hainanese chicken (white) or roasted chicken is in the heart of every Singaporean I know. Some people say the best part is the chilli. I say the best chilli needs to be paired with yummy ginger and thick black soy sauce for it to be truly Ho Jiak!
My top choices
1. Hainanese delicacy at Far East Plaza level 5. I love the roasted version here and the chicken gizzards. It’s the cheapest of the lot and in the city. They sell out early so go early.
2. Yeo Keng Nam at Balestier or Seragoon road. I like the white and roasted version here and the chilli is tops! They deliver!
3. Not really Chicken rice but good chicken with ginger sauce is at Samsui kitchen found all over the island. The Dang Gui Kailan (herbal fried Kale) is yummy. You can also buy the ginger sauce in supermarkets.
4. Wee Nam Kee at Novena square is also fab for both versions and the queue moves very fast.
5. Ayam Penyet which is the Malay version of chicken rice. This is served fried and with super good sambal chilli. Found in many places but I really like the one on level 3 at lucky plaza. They only open at lunch time and close when they sell out.
Hokkien Prawn noodles
Yellow noodles and white beehoon (vermicelli) is fried in a prawn and pork broth served with sotong (squid) and prawns and slices of pork. The essence is the chilli and some of them have crispy pork cracklings as well. My favourite comfort food.
1. Ah Hock hokkien mee at CHOMP CHOMP food centre at Serangoon Garden Circus. The texture and umami is DA BOMB. They close on Sundays. When I’m there I also eat the BBQ chicken wings and the BBQ stingray and fried oysters and sometimes goreng pisang (fried banana) then I wash it down with a XL sugar cane Juice. You don’t come to Singapore to lose weight you know Hahahhaa
2. Yi Ji Hokkien prawn mee- This one is my childhood prawn noodle stall that moved near the Kwan Imm temple at the Waterloo market. It’s chilli is super spicy! Be warned. It’s so spicy the chilli will burn you twice. 🤣
3. There is only one that’s fried with charcoal and the queue is super long because the guy takes his time to dry it. It’s also the most expensive of the lot at $6 – $25 a plate. Huge prawns and generous sotong in this. The lacklustre chilli is what makes it number 3.
Ba Kut Teh
Which directly translates to pork bone tea because it’s pork bone soup and you wash away the oiliness after all the soup with tea. This pork bone soup is super nutritious and peppery as it is cooked for many hours with herbs and pepper. Served with rice, dark sauce, chopped red chills, garlic and fried dough sticks, this is my favourite rainy day soup and for days when I need more iron. There are 2 versions. The white version and the black version.
1. Founders Ba Kut Teh in Balestier. This place is so famous, the owner wears his signature printed shirt to wait for celebrities to come by to eat. Try the black sauce pork knuckles too. It’s super good! The soup is my favorite as well as the Pig intestines. They also had a branch now at Boss Hotel near lavender station at Jalan Sultan. Remember to order You Tiao (fried dough sticks) to dip in the soup!
2. Ya hua Ba Kut Teh at Havelock Road and Outram. They have 2 outlets and there is less of a wait at Havelock if you go late at night.
3. Old street Ba Kut Teh is a chain but it’s good too! I love the dry version here as well! They have outlets all over Singapore.
4. Song Fa Ba Kut Teh at Boat Quay/Clark Quay. It’s now Michelin rated! Queues mandatory. I’ve tried it this trip back and the pork rib was a bit tough, that’s why it’s number 4!
Curry chicken noodles
This is almost like laksa but it’s with Chicken and there are different versions of it. My favourite is so good it’s now bib gourmand! Find it at Ah Heng curry chicken noodles at the coffee shop near the famous Waterloo temple. Or level 2 Chinatown market.
There is also another one at Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre (Bedok MRT) that is delicious called Hock Hai Curry chicken noodles. Just watch for the queues and if you happen to be there, eat the Bedok Chwee Kueh too which is white round rice pudding topped with savory brown preserves Radish. They go well together. Don’t say never share ok?
Crabs – chilli, pepper, salted egg, white pepper crabs and in broth
Singaporeans love spicy food and chilli crabs is the ubiquitous touristy thing to eat. But did you know there are other versions of crab which is also amazing?
1. No signboard
Their signature crab is the white pepper crab which is a different type of spice to the chilli. It’s so delicious I dream about it sometimes while living in Hong Kong. The chilli crab and golden crab(which is the salted egg) is also good. When I’m there I like to order the drunken prawns too!
2. Mellben seafood – Michelin star and you can choose the size of your crab!
The crab in vermicelli broth and the butter milk crab is amazingly good. Fried Man tous (buns) goes well with the butter sauce so order that as well! This one will have long queues! The Ang Mo Kio branch is walk in and queue up only but the branch in punggol waterfront called Uncle Leong Seafood and this one, you can make reservations.
3. Palm beach at Fullerton.
This one has amazing chilli crabs and black pepper crabs and with the view of the marina waterfront, it’s my favourite place to bring my colleagues from work as it’s in the CBD too. If you stay till 8pm you can watch the free light show at the waterfront just outside the restaurant. Remember to order the fried Man Tous to go with the sauce. Yum!
Prawn noodle soup
Singapore is very hot but we love our soups anyway. Imagine thick prawn broth almost like lobster bisque without the cream, paired with vermicelli or yellow noodles and with pork bones and some chilli powder. Yum! It’s umami to the mostest.
1. Zion road prawn noodles.
He has jumbo prawns too but I usually order the small prawns with pork because its damn delicious. The soup is by far the tastiest I have had and he makes a delicious dried version too and of course it comes with a bowl of soup. You can even get refills of the soup! I used to stay near here so I ate this once a week. It’s sooo soo good. I eat the dry version because the sambal chilli is amazing.
2. River Hoe Nam at Serangoon road near Jackson kopitiam
Same thick broth version and if you’re lucky they still have the fish cakes, it’s delicious too. They also make the dry version but the soup version is better.
This is not the sweet dessert, but it’s either beakfast or lunch or dinner. It’s like turnip cake. I love Lau Goh at Zion road Hawker centre too and it’s fried by a blind uncle. Delicious black or white!
Char Kway Teow
1. My favourite is the one at Zion road riverside market called No.18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow because he has extra hum and it has the wok hei which is quintessential in a good fried dish.
2. I also like the one at beach road market called 91 fried Kway teow os it’s tasty and has green vegetables and fried silverfish on it. Yum!
Yong Tau Fu
This is like the Singapore version of Oden. You choose your pieces of food, usually vegetables or fish balls or vegetables stuffed with fish paste or meat paste, hand it to the uncle, and they add a sweet sauce and chilli to it or you have it in the soy bean soup with anchovies. I love the soup and the most important thing is the chilli sauce too!
My favourite is the one at lucky plaza level 5 called My Favourite Cafe. My favourite and best items are the black mushrooms and the fried meat balls. I usually order the dry one as they sprinkle sesame seeds on it and they give you a big bowl of refillable soup. YUM!
The other version that is fried pieces of the veg and meat in a savoury meat sauce. This stall called Fu Lin Tou Fu Yuen is in Siglap/East Coast Road and has a branch at circular road too! I usually order the vermicelli with meat sauce to accompany my pieces of bitter gourd, eggplant, vegetables and fried beam curd skin. It’s very addictive!
If you have room for dessert, actually, I lie, you must make room for dessert! Singapore has many different kinds like Nonya Kueh (the most famous and accessible one being Bengawan solo??!) Kaya toast (ya kun!) and of course my favourite the tutu Gao.
4 types of nonya kueh here, made of tapioca and coconut.
Tutu gao is a snack and it’s steamed rice flour and the filing is either coconut or peanuts placed on top of a small square of pandan leaf. I love this since I was a kid and apparently I was told the original people who made these have surnames of TAN and they taught the craft to others who sell it across the island now. My favourite original TAN stall is at Zion road market and nearby at Pek Kio market. Use your nose to find the pandan scent.
On a hot day, you can also have ice kachang chendol and Cheng teng. So many things you need to eat 6 meals a day to be able to stomach everything if you’re only in town for 3 days!
My next blog I’ll blog about some restaurants that are my all time fave in Singapore too.
Eat, sleep, explore, repeat!!
Stella goes west