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Top Foods in Singapore

Eating is the official national pastime of Singaporeans & Singaporeans take effort to search for the best across the island. Thus, while the dishes recommended below can be found in most food courts & hawker centres but a recommended stall/restaurant & its nearby attractions will be stated as well.

Kaya Toast

Hot toast slathered with kaya – a local spread made of eggs, sugar & coconut milk, & slices of cold butter, dipped into a plate of soft-boiled eggs flavoured with pepper & dark/light soy sauce, finally with a sip of hot coffee is the local traditional start-up for the day.

If you stay near shopping malls in the city, you are highly likely to find one of these chain cafes selling the Kaya Toast, they are Ya Kun, Toast Box, Heavenly Wang & Killiney Kopitiam. If not, drinks stalls in food courts will have it as well.

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Char Kway Teow

Loosely translated as “stir-fried rice cake strips”, Char Kway Teow is expertly stir-fried flat rice noodles with sweet black soy sauce that have the right Wok Hei (breath of the wok) flavour, mixed with bean sprouts, chinese sausages, cockles, & my oh my, a sprinkling of the heavenly sinful bits of crisp fried pork lard. Despite being a dieter’s worst nightmare, there is nothing to stop Singaporeans from indulging in the distinctive rich flavours of this hawker favourite.

One of the best Char Kway Teow stall is Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee, situated at the edge of Chinatown in the city. If you feel guilty, do note the stall is just walking distance from the Chinatown Street Market along Pagoda, Trengganu and Sago streets & the Chinatown Heritage Centre on Pagoda Street, so you can easily walk off the calories after indulging in a plate of Char Kway Teow.

Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee
Blk 531A Upper Cross Street, #02-17,
Hong Lim Food Centre, Singapore 510531
Click here for the map
Mon - Sat: 6am to 4.30pm
Closed Sun and PH

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Hainanese Chicken Rice

One of Singapore’s most well-known & celebrated dish, the chicken is first steeped in chicken stock with ginger, garlic & occasionally pandan leaves to cook, followed by dipping the bird in ice water after cooking to create a jelly-like finish on the chicken’s skin. In the meantime, the remaining broth is used to cook the rice with garlic & pandan leaves, resulting in a glossy flavourful oily rice, to be served all together with garlic chilli sauce & dark sweet soy sauce topped with ginger mash.

The most famous stall will have to be Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice who was praised by Anthony Bourdain & won the match Hawker Heroes VS Gordon Ramsey in July 2013. After visiting Jamae Mosque, Sri Mariamman Temple & the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple along South Bridge Road, you can end your Chinatown trail with a queue for the famous chicken rice.

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
Stall 10, Maxwell Food Centre
1 Kadayanallur Street 069184
Click here for the map
Tue – Sun: 11am to 8pm
Closed Mon

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Hokkien Mee

A dish created during the post war years by Hokkien noodle factory workers who would gather along Rochor Road & fry any excess noodles they had left, Hokkien Mee is a combination of yellow egg noodles & rice vermicelli, stir-fried with prawns, squid, small strips of pork belly & deep-fried lard bits, then simmered in a rich prawn stock for the robust sweet flavour. Sambal chilli & a small kalamansi lime are also given on the side to give this signature dish an extra zing & tanginess.

A popular stall near the city would be Hainan Hokkien Mee situated along Beach Road, near Suntec Singapore. You can start with a taste of this Hokkien Mee at the end of Beach Road, & begin the trail along Beach Road towards the city, exploring the gazetted Kampong Glam district. You can visit The Masjid Sultan (Malay for Sultan Mosque) built in 1826 at Muscat Street, check out the conserved shophouses & shops along the pedestrian walk way on Bussorah Street, find a good tailor at the textile haven Arab Street & experience the hip lifestyle of young Singaporeans along Bali and Haji Lane. Finally, you can give your Beach Road trail a rustic end by walking to the start of Beach Road to snap a photo of the iconic Raffles Hotel built in 1887 & go to the Long Bar with decors inspired by the Malayan Plantations of the 1920s to sip a Singapore Sling right at its birth place.

Hainan Hokkien Mee
#B1-34, Golden Mile Food Centre
505 Beach Road
Singapore 199583
Thu – Tue: 11am to 2pm, 3pm to 9pm
Closed Wed
Click here for the map

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Chilli Crab

Singapore’s most famous dish is the Chilli Crab where red hot Sri Lankan crabs are blanketed with a velvety, sweet & mildly spicy chilli-tomato gravy thickened with egg. To eat the dish, you got to get your hands dirty & armed with a claw cracker, slowly tease out the juicy flesh with your fingers & mouth, then savour the silky gravy by dipping in a deep-fried mantou (Chinese plain bun)….mmm… finger licking good! Other versions of crab popular with Singaporeans include the pepper crab, butter crab & salted egg crab, which you can also consider trying.

A highly rated rendition of the Chilli Crab is Jumbo Seafood Restaurant. If you were to book a table at its Riverside Point outlet, you can enjoy a post-dinner stroll along the Singapore River or cross the bridge over to Clarke Quay, where the centre of Singapore’s nightlife is situated.

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant (Riverside Point)
30 Merchant Road # 01-01/02
Riverside Point, Singapore 058282
Tel : 6532-3435
Daily: 12pm – 3pm (last order at 2.15pm), 6pm – 12am (last order at 11.15pm)
Click here for the map

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Bak Kut Teh

Bak Kut Teh, translated means Pork Rib Tea, refers to a robust pork rib consommé popular in Singapore & Malaysia, consumed with freshly brewed Chinese tea on the side. There are three variants for this dish & the variant that is most common in Singapore is the Teochew Bak Kut Teh, where the clear pork rib soup is flavoured mainly with pepper & garlic. Tender pork rib dipped in dark sweet soy sauce, followed by mouthfuls of fragrant Thai white rice; dough fritter soaked in the peppery pork soup; finally tiny cups of strong Chinese tea to wash down the oil. That is one hearty meal Singaporeans could eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper.

The most “powerful” Bak Kut Teh in Singapore will have to be that restaurant that refused to open doors for the then Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang & kicked out the ex-Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra out of its doors – Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House. You can head down to Ng Ah Sio for an early breakfast before the conference, or take a stroll after your meal to Little India to experience the truly authentic sights, sounds & smell of India.

Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House
208 Rangoon Road
Singapore 218453
Tue – Sun: 7am to 10pm
Closed Mon
Click here for the map

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Satay

Satay is an extremely popular dish of marinated meats on bamboo skewers, grilled over an open fire. They are served with a sweet & spicy peanut sauce, ketupat (rice cakes), cucumber & onions. The common meats used are chicken, beef, mutton, beef intestine, beef tripe & pork, depending if it is a Malay/Indian Muslim or Chinese stall. Satay is so popular Singapore had an entire eating centre selling mainly satay from 1940-2005, called the Satay Club. The latest incarnation of the Satay Club is Satay by the Bay at Gardens by the Bay.

After the conference, you can head down to the Old Airport Road Block 51 Market & Food Centre for the best satay in Singapore. For the Halal satay, you ought to try the stall that is probably the oldest surviving satay stall in Singapore - Fatman Satay with its history tracing back to 1948. They are the only stall that still uses minced meat for their tender satay. For the Chinese satay, the best stall is Chuan Kee Satay, where their signature satay sauce includes grated pineapple.

Fatman Satay
Blk 51 Old Airport Road
#01-45 Old Airport Road Food Centre
Singapore 390051
Click here for the map
Mon-Sun: 7pm to 12mn
Chuan Kee Satay
Block 51 Old Airport Road
#01-85 Old Airport Road Food Centre
Singapore 390051
Click here for the map
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sat: 6:30pm until sold out around 10pm
Sun: 1pm until sold out around 10pm
Closed on Mon & Thu
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If your schedule is too packed & you can only spare time for a special meal or two, you can take a short walk or a 2 stop bus-ride from Suntec Convention Centre to the 1960s-themed Singapore Food Trail at the Singapore Flyer for lunch or a 5 minutes’ walk to Makansutra Gluttons Bay at the Esplanade for dinner. Both food courts have invited some of the well-known hawkers across the island to open an outlet there, thus the food quality is relatively good. Another option available for a great lunch or dinner is Old Airport Road Block 51 Market & Food Centre, which is 4 MRT train stops away from Suntec Singapore. Click here for a list of famous stalls at Old Airport Road Market.

Singapore Food Trail
Level 1, Singapore Flyer,
30 Raffles Avenue,
Singapore 039803
Click here for the map
Mon – Sun: 10:30am – 11:30pm
Makansutra Gluttons Bay
8 Raffles Avenue,
Singapore 039802
Click here for the map
Mon – Sun: 1pm – 1am
Old Airport Road Block 51 Market & Food Centre
51 Old Airport Road
Singapore 390051
Click here for the map
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