Singapore is one of the world’s food cities, and rightly so! Its cuisine is a diverse mishmash of various Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, and Peranakan influences. Food is held up at a national reverence and with much affection from Singaporeans. When you talk to a Singaporean about their country, the topic of food will ALWAYS come up! 😆
And this is why I travelled to Singapore for a week. My Singaporean friends—whom I met in an exchange program to Stuttgart, Germany—always raved about their food, and as a foodie, I could not let the chance slip by. So, after my trip to Japan & Taiwan, I decided to do a week in Singapore.
Hawker centres are huge open-air food courts, with dozens of stalls offering their specialty dishes and dizzying array of menus. The sheer number of dining options is unbelievable! You can get various types of dishes (of different ethnic origins) in just one hawker centre!
There are a lot of these hawker centres in Singapore, and they are good for cheap, convenient & delicious eats! Singaporeans flock to different hawkers centres for “the best,” but for a tourist, anything would probably taste amazing!
Without further ado (in no particular order), here are…
25 Foods to Eat in Singaporean Hawker Centres
1. Laksa. One of quintessential Singaporean dishes, laksa is a coconut milk-based soup noodle with prawns, cockles, bean curd puff and fish cake. In Singapore, the curry or nyonya laksa is most common.
2. Ice Kacang/Kachang. Shaved ice drizzled with palm sugar syrup and topped with red beans, peanuts, corn and grass jelly. Very cooling in the hot humid days.
3. Chili crab. Perfectly spiced and seasoned, chili crab is reserved more for special occasions. Often eaten with a group, and comes with a thick gravy that is best eaten with mantou (fried steamed bun).
4. Roti prata/canai. Flaky and crispy, roti prata makes an excellent snack or meal, which is served with curry sauce! Some people like to dip it in sugar for contrast of flavour. 🙂
5. Durian. One of the most divisive fruits in the world, durian is sweet with a custard-like consistency. This is one of my favourite indulgences!
6. Oyster omelette. An egg omelette with oysters inside. This is often served with sambal/chili paste. It’s perfectly crispy (due to the added starch) and juicy (from the oysters)!
7. Fried carrot cake. Very deceiving in its name, carrot cake has no actual carrot. It contains radish rice cake instead, which is fried with eggs and garlic. There are two types: white & black. Black fried carrot cake is also fried with a sweet dark soy sauce.
8. Chee cheong fun. Rice noodles served with a sweet & salty sauce. This is a dim sum go-to, but Singaporean-style includes this sweet, salty & chili sauce.
9. Char kway teow. The essential Malaysian-Chinese fried noodle dish, seasoned with belacan (shrimp paste), sweet soy sauce, prawns, chili, bean sprouts, cockles and green onion!
10. Roti murtabak. A variation to roti prata, this roti is a filled version of roti. Fillings can include bananas, eggs, meat, chicken, fish and/or vegetables. This is also served with a curry sauce.
11. Gado gado. Literally meaning “mix-mix”, this Indonesian dish is a salad with blanched veggies, potato, eggs, tofu/tempeh and topped with a delicious peanut sauce. You need to mix it altogether!
12. Fish ball noodles. Quite self-explanatory, this is a bowl of noodles served with fish balls. The bowl could be served in soup or dry, but they must have the aforementioned fish balls.
13. Congee. Rice porridge with your choice of toppings. Best eaten for breakfast with tea and maybe a side of fried carrot cake. 😀
14. Traditional desserts. There are a number of traditional desserts you can get including dou hua (soft tofu), tao suan (mung bean porridge), tang yuan (sweet dumplings), and pulut hitam (black rice porridge).
15. Nasi lemak. The Malaysian nasi lemak is essentially coconut rice served with side dishes including egg, cockles, beef, chicken, squid, rendang and/or vegetables.
16. Prawn noodles. Soupy noodles with soup, noodles and of course, prawn.
17. Kaya toast. Kaya is a sweet coconut pandan egg custard spread often eaten for breakfast or snack. A much-beloved breakfast for Singaporeans is kaya on toast (kaya toast) with soft boiled egg & soy sauce.
18. Teh tarik. Also known as pulled tea, tea is mixed with condensed milk and “pulled” by two cups to aerate and cool down the tea at the right temperature. Can be served hot or cold.
19. Kuih/kueh. Kuih are small desserts and snacks which includes cakes, cookies and pastries, often made with glutinous rice/rice flour. Examples include sticky rice cakes and pandan rolls with sweetened coconut shreds.
20. Indian food. Indian cuisine heavily influences Singaporean cuisine, so Indian food will be delicious, especially when it’s from Little India! Yum!
21. Hokkien mee. A noodle dish comprised of egg & rice noodles, ground meat, prawns (or shrimp for us North Americans), egg, squid and/or veggies, often served with sambal and calamansi (a type of citrus).
22. Fresh fruit. Singapore is located along the equator, so there is a lot of fruit imported from nearby Malaysia! Make sure to try exotic fruits like dragonfruit, mangosteen, rambutan, longan, mango & durian.
23. Sheng mian. Handpulled noodles that is either served dry or with soup.
24. Chendol. A cool & refreshing drink/dessert/snack made with coconut milk, palm sugar syrup and pandan rice strips. Can be eaten by a spoon or drunk by a straw, depending on how it was made.
25. Random noodles. I don’t know what this was called but it was awesome—noodles with tofu and peanut sauce (similar to gado gado)!