Let’s face it, food is always at the top of the list of things to look forward to when travelling abroad and Singapore is no different. Known as the world’s only island-city state, Singapore is a true melting pot of cultures, religion and of course, cuisine. The best place to indulge your taste buds in Singapore is at a traditional food stall. Once banned by the government, they are now plentiful and grouped together in clusters known as “hawker centres.” The owners of these stalls dedicate their lives perfecting one or two dishes and in return, gain a large following of locals and tourists alike. The stalls have been such a success that two have become the first in the world of their kind to receive a Michelin-star! With that in mind, it is our delicious pleasure to share Singapore's top 5 hawker centres with you.
1. Chinatown Food Centre
With over 260 food stalls, this is the largest hawker centre in Singapore, offering all the local dishes that make hawker centres as popular as they are. Here you will find dishes like chili crab, black pepper crab, chicken rice and dim sum. While you’re here, and if you have the time to wait, make sure you visit the Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle stall, which is one of only two food stalls to have been awarded a coveted Michelin star.
2. Maxwell Road Hawker Centre
Conveniently located opposite the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, this hawker centre is an ideal place to rest and enjoy local food while exploring Chinatown. While you’re here, make a stop at the well-known Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stall; some would say that they serve the best chicken rice in Singapore. Other stalls worth mentioning are Zhen Zhen Porridge, China Street Fritters, Marina South Delicious Food and Hoe Kee Porridge - where their food is not too hot or not too cold, it is juuuuuuuust right.
3. Old Airport Road Food Centre
One of the oldest and largest food courts in Singapore, you can always count on finding authentic delicious local food that has been loved by generations of Singaporeans. Located in the Katong neighbourhood, you’ll have no trouble finding any of the famed dishes here, including the best soya beancurd in Singapore. You can find this at one of these two famous stalls, the renowned Lao Ban Soya Beancurd and 51 Soya Beancurd.
4. Lau Pa Sat Festival Market
One of the premium hawker centres found in Singapore’s business district, it has over 5,500 square metres of interior space and can seat over 2,000 people. After dark, the Boon Tat Street next to the centre converts into an al fresco satay street where you can enjoy dishes from about a dozen outdoor stalls offering grilled satay, chicken wings and barbecued seafood.
5. Tiong Bahru
Recently renovated, this hawker centre is clean and spacious and is located right above one of the best wet markets in Singapore. The Tiong Bahru Wet Market is on the 1st floor where you can find fresh produce, enabling you to enjoy mouth-watering Singaporean food from the 2nd floor with the freshest ingredients. During your visit, check out the Jian Bo Chwee Kueh stall and try their chwee kueh, a local favourite.
Honourable mention: Crawford Lane Food Centre, home of Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle food stall, the only other establishment to receive a Michelin star.