Your Guide to the Best Hawker Centres in Singapore
“I want to try the best street food”
Singapore’s multicultural makeup means it’s easy to taste your way around Asia, starting with its famous hawker centres.
Ask any Singaporean what to do in the Lion City, and you will inevitably be overwhelmed with dining recommendations and must-try dishes. In the city-state where eating is considered a national pastime, even humble street food offerings are elevated to a gastronomic experience. In fact, this year two stalls were awarded one star each in the 2017 Michelin Guide Singapore – Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles and Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle.
While Australian diners wouldn’t think twice about trekking across town to sample a new dish, Singaporeans tend to stick close to home and eat at local hawker centres for an affordable meal that just also happens to be mind-blowingly delicious. And while easy on the wallet, the cheap price (usually SGD$2 to SGD$5) definitely doesn’t reflect the exceptional quality and enticing flavours of these street food favourites that inspire such local foodie passion.
Visitors to Singapore are certainly spoilt for options, with thousands of stalls across hundreds of food courts. Maxwell Food Centre is one of the most popular hawker centres, plus it is conveniently located in the CBD. Here, the chicken rice is a must-eat. Hainanese chicken rice is considered a national dish in Singapore, and the best renditions balance spicy and sour notes with delicately poached chicken pieces served with fragrant rice and a chilli and ginger paste.
For the aforementioned Michelin-starred meals, the Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle stall in Crawford Lane is renowned for its generous servings of bak chor mee, a very Singaporean meal of dry-tossed pork noodle soup tinged with spicy chilli sambal and black vinegar.
At Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, the signature order is in the name: Hawker Chan’s famous Cantonese soya sauce chicken is just SGD$2 – the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred meal – and justifiably attracts queues at the Chinatown Complex Food Centre location.
Other hawker centres worth pulling up a chair and chowing down at include Tiong Bahru Market, located in one of Singapore’s coolest neighbourhoods, for its fishball noodle soup, barbecue pork buns and chwee kueh (steamed rice cakes topped with preserved radish and chilli); Old Airport Road Food Centre (try the prawn noodle soup at Albert Street Prawn Noodle); and Chomp Chomp Food Centre, which is open late and a must-visit for satay lovers.
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