Singapore is a food paradise and the varieties of local food are simply amazing. No one could ever get it right to list the top 10 local favorite food and neither are we better at it. We will offer our take on the top 10 affordable dishes (consist mainly of hawker food) that any visitors to Singapore must not miss while in Singapore. Most of these places recommended here are quite out of the way and you likely need a local friend or take a cab to find them and thus does not appear in your average tourist websites. We will like to clear the air that we are not affiliated to any of these restaurants and we are not paid to write good about their food. Go to the definitive community local food review website www.HungryGoWhere.com to explore further.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
This is almost a national dish by now and can be commonly found in hawker centres, food courts and restaurants. Many celebrities from Taiwan and Hong Kong have singled out this famous dish whenever they are in Singapore. Other than the chicken and fragant rice, the dish typically served with tomato, ginger and cucumber. Pao Sing restarant located at Serangoon Garden or Boon Tong Kee (Balestier) are highly recommended. Cost per person shd be less than US$15 per person.
Roti Prata is a famed local indian dish. Much like the nun you have in india, Roti Prata is made of flour and it can be topped with various toppings such as egg, cheese, onion and others. The plain or egg prata are the most popular, order a plate of mutton curry (highly recommended) or curry chicken (if you can not take mutton) that goes with Teh Tarek (a local milk tea, the cuppuchino-like bubbles are created from “pulling” the tea). There are the several Roti Prata shops in Jalan Kayu, the famed one goes by the name Thasevi Famous Jalan Kayu Prata Restaurant. Cost per person should be less than US$10.
Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from the Peranakan culture. The place to find the local variant known as Katong Laksa is at East Coast Road in the Katong area. There are more than 5 stores in close proximity fiercely competing to be the King of Laksa of Singapore. Go to the one with the most customers 🙂 Each Bowl should be less than US$3.
Like the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice, the braised duck with rice cooked with yam or plain white rice, served with a thick dark sauce is becoming a common sight in many foodcourts and hawker centres. A popular franchise is the Yew Kee Happy Duck Rice which can be found in many foodcourts in Singapore. Each plate of duck rice is less than US$3 per plate.
Bak Kut Teh
Bak Kut Teh is a Chinese pork ribs soup cooked in herbs, pepper and garlic. It is eaten with rice and other side dishes including fried dough and salted vegetables. Try the Leong Kee Bak Kut Teh (梁记肉骨茶) at Beach Road, Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha at Outram Park (PSA Building) or Ng Ah Sio Pork Rib Soup (黄亚细肉骨茶餐室) at Rangoon Road. Less than US$7 per person.
Fish Head Curry
Fish Head Curry is a dish where the large head of a fish simmered in a thick curry gravy with lady’s fingers added to the dish. It is best eaten with white rice. There are the Chinese, Paranakan and Indian versions of this famous local dish. Visit Muthu’s Curry at Race Course Road. Cost of a bowl of Fish Head Curry is less than US$20-30.
Satay is barbecued sliced meat on wooden sticks which is a popular Malay/Indonesian dish in this part of the region. It is served with spicy peanut sauce, slices of cucumbers, rice cubes and onions. The meat are typically beef, chicken or mutton, though you can find the pork version in some Chinese stalls. We recommend the chicken version. Go to the open-air foodcourt next to the Esplanade with many competing satay stalls, enjoy the wonderful seaview while you sampling this iconic dish. Best to go with a cup of tea with milk. Alternate place is “Satay Street” at Lau Pa Sat. Cost for 10 sticks is less than US$5.
Seafood Tze Char
Seafood Tze Char (or spelt as Zi Char, Zhi Cha, Cze Char, the variants are translated from the Mandarin words 煮炒) which literally means ‘cook & fry’, which almost always use woks in preparing most ala-carte dishes. Most of the local coffee shops usually have a Tze Char stall as a anchor tenant. Some of the famous Tze Char dishes are black pepper/Chilli crabs, drunken prawns, curry fish heads, seafood steamboats, steam fish etc. A good one to go to is Jumbo Seafood Restaurant at East Coast Seafood Centre or Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant at One Fullerton. Depending on what you order, the cost per person should range from US$30-70 per person.
Fish and Co
This dish is strictly not a hawker food but is definitely a home-grown dish that is famous locally. This home-grown franchise has been expanding rapidly over the last few years is a testament that their food is welcome by local diners. In a restaurant setting, you pay less S$15for a fish-and-chip meal per person. The kids meal goes for less than S$7. You must try both the tata sauce and chili sauce, they are super yummy.
Fish-and-Co have many outlets in Singapore, for the tourists we will recommend you go to their flagship store at the The Glass House (9 Penang road #01-24 park mall Singapore 238459 beside Park Mall just behind the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, see picture right) or the Paragon outlet (290 Orchard Road #B1-35/36 Singapore 238859 near Somerset MRT).
Which is our 10th choice?
While it is not easy to select our first nine favorites, the 10th choice is proven to be even more difficult. Some of the possible contenders for the 10th spots are Prawn Noodle, Bak Chor Mee (mince pork noodle), Hokkien Mee (fried yellow prawn noodle), Char Kuay Teow (fried dark sauce noodle), Chicken Bryani (Indian chicken yellow rice) and many others. Check out the Wikipedia for the many more local cuisine available. What is your choice? Let us know.
Clockwise: Fried Hookien Mee, Fried Oyster, Beef Kuay Teow, Nasi Brani, Bak Chor Mee
- Food Guide: The Upper Thomson Part 1
- Hawkers now use cheap substitutes
- Eating your way down memory lane
Last updated on Mar 2011