A visit to Singapore’s hawker centres

As a foodie you’re in Singapore at the right place. In addition to many restaurants, the city is also known for its hawker centres where you can have the most delicious dishes from all over Asia. You could say that the cuisine in Singapore is a mix of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian and all of them are divided into large halls with dozens of stalls where you can eat a local dish for just $3 SGD (between £1 – £2). There are hundreds of hawker centres in Singapore and we would have preferred to have visited them all, but given the time that wouldn’t be realistic. We paid a visit to some of them and made a top 5 of our favourites.

1) Maxwell Food Centre
A stone’s throw from China Town, you’ll find this famous food center under a large roof. Very popular among locals, expats and tourists alike. For only $3 SGD you can order the tastiest dishes, such as oyster cakes, curries and braised duck. We came back three times, because we liked this place so much. – 1 Kadayanallur St, Singapore 069184 / open Mon till Sun from 8am – 2am

Inside Maxwell Food Centre.
Rojak popiah & cockle and fresh lime juice.
Oyster cake.

2) Lau Pa Sat – Satay Street and Market Hall
Crazy about bbq? Then you must visit Lau Pa Sat Satay Street. In the middle of the center, surrounded by skyscrapers, this street turns in the evening into a mini street food market with on both sides BBQ’s where you can order large portions of satay and king prawns. Very tasty and great with an ice cold Tiger beer. – 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582 / open 7pm till 1am

Ralf and Lara entering Lau Pa Sat Satay Street.
Lau Pa Sat Satay Street by the evening.

Bordering the street you have access to Lau Pa Sat Food Court, the name is derived from the Chinese word ‘lau‘, which means ‘old‘, and ‘pa sat‘, which is the Malay word for ‘market‘ (old market). The Victorian-style building was built in 1890 and is perhaps the most famous of all the food centres in Singapore. In the past you could do here your daily groceries, nowadays you can find a wide variety of dishes from the local kitchen such as satay with delicious peanut sauce, chili crab, fried chicken wings and seafood. – 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582 / open 24/7

Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre.

3) Tiong Bahru Market
This hawker centre is located in one of the oldest residential areas of Singapore, where houses date from the 1930s. On the ground floor you’ll find a lively market where you can buy everything, from fresh fish, meat, vegetables and fruit, to clothing, household goods and flowers. On the 1st floor you will find dozens of stalls where you can go for the tastiest dishes, such as fish balls and prawn mee. We went to Bib Gourmand stall ‘Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless chicken rice‘ and ordered some different dishes such as Hainanese chicken with rice and spicy tofu. – 30 Seng Poh Rd, Singapore 168898 / open 9am till 2am

Hainanese chicken with rice, been sprout, spicy tofu and wu Xiang.

4) Tekka Centre
In Indian Town you’ll find Tekka Centre, a spacious market hall with two floors where you can’t only enjoy delicious Indian dishes such as samosas and butter chicken, but also do your shopping at the fresh-food market. A must see! – Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore / open 6.03am till 9pm

Tekka Centre by night.
Inside.

5) Satay by the Bay
Initially I thought that it would be too touristy, considering the location, but it wasn’t so bad in the end. The space is open and is surrounded by large plants and trees from the botanical garden. You’ll find a wide selection of food stalls, with a striking amount of saté and seafood. We chose a dish that we wanted to try for a while: Claypot with rice. A great place to have dinner before you make your way to the light shows in the Botanical Gardens. – 18 Marina Gardens Dr, #01-19, Singapore 018953 / open 11am till 10pm

Claypot with rice, chicken, beef and fish

China Town Food Complex should also be part of this list. It’s the largest in the city with no fewer than 226 stalls and is known for its good reviews. Unfortunately the centre was closed due to renovation, the doors will open again in June, so if you’re in the area by that time, make sure you go there. – Alternatively, we decided to have lunch across the street at Hawker Chan, known for its world’s cheapest Michelin star dish: The Soy Sauce Chicken and Rice. – 78 Smith St, Singapore 058972 / open 10:30am till 10pm

Hawker Chan at 78 Smith Street.
Soy sauce chicken with rice and Bok choy served in a garlicky brown sauce.

Fruit stalls
I don’t have to say too much about this, but how nice is it to get the tastiest fruit shakes for less than $2 SGD. You can get a fresh shake with fruit of your choice on almost every corner of the street and in almost all of the hawker centres. Super tasty and healthy. Lara couldn’t get enough of it.

Lara enjoying her pineapple mango shake.

The first three days of our trip started pretty well with all that tasty food, a perfect kick-off I would say!

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