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The ultimate guide to heritage hawker food in Singapore and where to find them

Singapore is a food paradise, and it owes much of it to hawker food.

Many fawn over our rich culinary heritage, which has been defined by the humble hawker centres scattered all across the island. If you need a one-stop guide to the best hawker foods in the city, here are Singapore’s best.

Step into any hawker centre in Singapore and you’ll come across a dizzying array of dishes and food traditions — anything from regional Chinese cuisines, traditional dishes from the Malay Archipelago and South Asia, and uniquely Singaporean dishes that you won’t be able to get your hands anywhere else.

Here’s where you’ll find some of the best hawker food in Singapore.

best bbq chicken wings singapore ah hee bbq chicken wings hawker food

BBQ chicken wings

A good barbecued chicken wing starts from the aromatic marinate before it is flipped continuously over charcoal to impart a deeply smoky flavour.

(Image credit: @foodeyeenjoy / Instagram)

kway chap in Singapore kway chap stalls Bishan 284 kway chap convent garden street kway chap

Kway chap

The Teochew dish pairs thick rice sheets with a assortment of braised pork cuts from belly to offal, and the best examples have a rich, complex gravy.

(Image credit: @yippi312_eatdrinklove / Instagram)

Shanghai xiao long bao in Singapore Xiao long baos dim sum best xiao long bao restaurants xiao long bao Supreme xiao long bao

Xiao long bao

A more recent introduction to Singapore’s hawker scene, xiao long bao presents intricately wrapped dumplings filled with minced pork and a luscious broth. Best consumed when piping hot.

(Image credit: Jae Park / Unsplash)

best tutu kueh in singapore rice flour Haig Road Putu Piring

Tutu kueh and putu piring

While these steamed rice flour cakes look similar, tutu kueh is marked by its stuffing of peanut or shredded coconut, while putu piring is filled with gula Melaka and served with a side of grated coconut and pandan leaf.

(Image credit: @thegatedreverb / Instagram)

best vadai singapore

Vadai

Pronounced as vah-dye, this savoury Tamil fritter is made from legumes or potatoes, seasoned with spices, and topped with seafood or vegetables. A side of green chilli offers contrasting heat.

(Image credit: @jcbellyneverfull / Instagram)

homemade kecap manis sauce pisang Keju crazy nana sells

Goreng pisang

Encased in a thin batter, fried bananas are an exercise in crunch, sweetness, and a delightfully gooey texture. It’s almost impossible to only eat one.

(Image credit: @crazynana.delights / Instagram)

best chwee kueh in singapore chwee kueh stall chai poh steamed rice cake

Chwee kueh

Loosely translated as ‘water cakes,’ this Teochew speciality is topped with preserved radish and chilli sauce, and are meant to be enjoyed any time of the day.

(Image credit: Jian Bo Shui Kueh)

chinese rojak singapore best hawker food

Chinese rojak

Cobbled from the Bahasa word for ‘mixture,’ Chinese rojak is a tossed fruit and vegetable marked by its use of pineapple, turnip, beansprout, cucumber, youtiao, taupok, and the distinctive ginger flower.

(Image credit: @bellybruisely / Instagram)

best indian rojak in singapore Abdhus Salam Rojak indian rojak stall

Indian rojak

Also a rojak, but the Indian version involves assorted fritters, potatoes, cuttlefish, eggs, tofu, and fishcake, which are flash-fried, chopped up, and served with fresh cucumber and onion.

(Image credit: @sonqsg / Instagram)

ondeh ondeh MuQin

Ondeh ondeh

There are ondeh ondeh-flavoured ice creams and cocktails today, but the original is a pandan and coconut-spiked rice ball craddling liquid gula Melaka.

(Image credit: MuQin / Flickr)

Munchi delights coconut old school batter chocolate thick batter unique flavours

Min jiang kueh

This breakfast staple traditionally features crushed peanuts and sugar folded into a fluffy pancake-like pastry, while more recent renditions offer green tea, cheese, and Nutella.

(Image credit: @hellogermainee / Instagram)

best paus in singapore

Paus

Steamed buns are one of the peak joys of hawker food. Simple in concept but laborious in execution, here are some places that still makes them by hand.

(Image credit: @baozai_abc / Instagram)

soon kueh singapore

Soon kueh

Soon kueh is a traditional Teochew dumpling with a rice-tapioca skin wrapped around jicama, bamboo shoots, and dried shrimps. The best ones are aromatic and slightly crunchy with s thin chewy skin.

(Image credit: @ahyeessoonkueh / Instagram)

Hawker food Singapore

Nasi lemak

Nasi lemak is arguably one of country’s most iconic dishes. Typically consisting of coconut rice, fried chicken, eggs, peanuts, and a generous side of sambal, it’s the perfect dish for any time of the day.

(Image Credit: The Coconut Club)

best congee in singapore

Congee

Cantonese porridge is thick, rich, and full of flavour. Read on for our guide to the comfort food, which can be found in classic and gourmet variations.

(Image credit: YinJi Singapore / Facebook)

kueh salat best traditional kueh in singapore Nonya kueh ondeh ondeh

Traditional kueh

Kueh are well-loved traditional snacks that are the amalgamation of the many food cultures present in Singapore. Check out these old-school bakeries that still produce these labour-intensive treats.

(Image credit: Chee Siong Teh/Getty Images)

Hawker food Singapore

Biryani

Biryani is a fragrant dish made with long grain rice, tons of spices, and pressure-cooked meats. Nasi biryani is the local take on the dish but read on its many variants.

(Image credit: Bismillah Biryani)

best prawn noodles in Singapore

Prawn noodles

Unsurprisingly, one of the best hawker foods in Singapore is the delectable prawn noodles, or prawn mee. Here’s where you’ll find the ones with flavourful broths, fresh prawns, and chewy noodles.

(Image credit: 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles / Melvin Ho)

Hawker food Singapore

Teochew porridge

Teochew porride (also know as muey) consists of grain cooked in broth. It’s usually accompanied by braised and minced meat, and steamed fish, and is one of Singapore’s best and most beloved hawker comfort foods.

(Image credit: Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine)

pandan chiffon cake

Old-school cake shops

Anyone who grew up in Singapore will remember visiting these bakeries for a satisfying snack, be it pandan chiffon cake, egg tarts, or mini muffins.

(Image credit: Love Confectionery)

wanton noodles singapore

Wanton noodles

Wanton noodles are not be missed. The dish consists of dry egg noodles drizzled with dark sauces and chilli and served with handmade shrimp dumplings and slices of fatty barbecue pork.

(Image credit: Da Jie Famous Wanton noodles)

Curry puff

Curry puffs are quintessential Singapore snacks. These golden pastries are stuffed with fillings such as potato, fish, and egg.

(Image credit: Alex Ortega / EyeEm / Getty Images)

Tai Cheong egg tarts

Egg tart

With a creamy centre and crunchy biscuit base, egg tarts bring together the best of Chinese and European baking traditions. Read on to find the best Hong Kong-style and Portuguese egg tarts.

(Image credit: Tai Cheong Egg Tarts)

chatterbox mandarin chicken rice new opening

Chicken rice

Available in variations of steamed, roast, and soy sauce chicken, this dish might be one of the Singapore’s most beloved culinary treasures.

(Image credit: Chatterbox)

Marriott Bonvoy

Singapore chilli crab

Whether you like your chilli crab sweet, spicy, or even with a more tomato-based sauce, this list is sure to hit the spot.

(Image credit: Seasonal Tastes)

Violet Oon Singapore kaya toast

Artisanal kaya

Kaya today can be found in traditional Nyonya and Hainanese variants, with the former boasting a rich pandan flavour and deeper green hue, and the latter being sweeter and brown in colour.

(Image credit: Violet Oon Singapore)

Springleaf Prata Place

Roti prata

The beloved dish has its roots in South India, with ‘roti’ meaning bread and ‘prata’ or ‘paratha’ meaning flat in Hindi. The recipe is simple but in no way does that undermine how satisfying it is: dough is flavoured with ghee, before being stretched and fried to golden brown perfection.

(Image credit: Springleaf Prata Place)

Hokkien Mee

Hokkien mee

Think a stir-fried plate of umami goodness, comprised of yellow and thick vermicelli noodles married with a lip-smacking broth of pork bones and prawn heads, which is then elevated with prawns, squid, pork belly strips, egg and crispy fried pork lard.

(Image credit: Jocelyn Tan / Lifestyle Asia)

singapore bak chor mee

Bak chor mee

Available in soup and dry variants, these Bak Chor Mee options are perfect for a delicious, quick meal fix any day.

(Image credit: 58 Bak Chor Mee)

rong cheng singapore bak kut teh

Bak kut teh

The best part of any rainy day is when we slurp on a hot bowl of soup — and one of our favourites has to the herbal and peppery bowls of bak kut teh.

(Image credit: Rong Cheng Rou Gu Cha)

All kinds of laksa

Inarguably one of Singapore best hawker food, here’s a list of our favourite laksa variants and where you can get them in Singapore.

(Image credit: perfect loop / iStock / Getty Images)

Hawker food Singapore

Authentic Teochew cuisine

Take a deep dive into this unique Chinese community and its delightful dishes.

(Image credit: Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine)

Hainanese Curry Rice

Hainanese curry rice

There’s really nothing a sloppy plate of Hainanese Curry Rice can’t fix — the messier the better.

(Image credit: @xp11 / Instagram)

thunder tea rice

Thunder tea rice

Before the grain bowl, there was thunder tea rice, an ancient Hakka dish more fondly known as Lei Cha.

(Image credit: @pameliachia / Instagram)

claypot rice singapore

Claypot rice

A truly authentic bowl of claypot rice requires the attention to a multitude of fine details. Here’s where to find the best ones around town.

(Image credit: Geylang Claypot Rice)

Heritage Hainanese food

Hainanese cuisine isn’t just chicken rice. From dishes like Hainanese pork cutlets to Canned Pig Trotters Bee Hoon, we’re getting our fix from these heritage joints.

(Image credit: @alfccw / Instagram)

best Mee Hoon kway singapore

Mee Hoon Kueh

If you’re a mee hoon kway over ban mian kind of person at the noodle stall, then you’ve found your people — we’ve rounded up the best that Singapore has to offer.

(Image credit: Jiak Song Mee Hoon Kway)

best places to satisfy rendang craving in Singapore

Rendang

We’re sure the best rendang to you is the one made by your mom or grandma, but if you need a quick fix without having to bother them too much, we’ve got just the list in Singapore for you. 

(Image credit: Bawah Reserve / Unsplash)

best chee cheong fun singapore

Chee Cheong Fun

Brunch fare gets heaps of love nowadays, but for something just as tasty, comforting and cheap, there’s always chee cheong fun.

(Image credit: Chef Wei HK Cheong Fun)

best hor fun in singapore beef hor fun san Lou hor fun

Hor fun

If you can’t decide on a bowl of cereal prawns or coffee ribs at the tze char stall, there’s always a hearty, individual portion of hor fun to fall back on.

(Image credit: @daysoflife2021 / Instagram)

best fish head steamboat singapore

Fish head steamboat

Before the regular hotpot and shabu shabu became popular, the communal soup of choice was always fish head steamboat. 

(Image credit: @stayhungrysg / Instagram)

Roast duck

Tastier than chicken, healthier, more sustainable and cheaper than beef: duck is an oft overlooked dish that offers just as much joy as other meats.

(Image credit: @shootandspoon/Instagram)

best western food stalls in Singapore

Singapore-style Western food

Here, choose your main — fried fish, chicken chop, or even lamb chop, if you’re feeling fancier — before you get served a generous side of fries, baked beans, buttered bread and the occasional coleslaw.

(Image credit: @whattobaketoday / Instagram)

best satay bee hoon in singapore

Satay bee hoon

As they say, one’s man’s trash is another man’s treasure and to us, satay bee hoon is a delicious mess that’s filled with the taste of nostalgia.

(Image credit: @willcoookwilleat / Instagram)

best fish soup in singapore

Fish soup

The nourishing bowls are quite literally what the name suggests: fish and soup play an integral part of the dish, usually accompanied with noodles or rice and some vegetables.

(Image credit: Ka Soh)

Kueh lapis

The sinful snack finds itself on our tables most frequently during Chinese New Year and Hari Raya, but we say the calories of the best kueh lapis in Singapore are worth having all year round. 

(Image credit: Kueh Lapis by Mom)

Carrot cake

PSA: Carrot cake (or chai tow kway, as it is locally called) in Singapore isn’t made of carrots. Neither is it a spiced layered cake with cream cheese frosting. 

(Image credit: @hungryprincesscarol / Instagram)

best chendol Singapore

Chendol

Singapore’s blazing, eternal summer is hard to beat, unless you have a cold treat in hand of course. In the enduring heat, we’re going for the OG icy dessert: chendol. 

(Image credit: The Coconut Club)

kaya toast soft boiled eggs traditional breakfast bread toast kaya butter toast kaya toast lovers

Kaya toast

More than just a tourist must-eat, kaya toast is a classic breakfast menu that’s loved for its simplicity, not to mention the harmonious blend of sweet, toasty, and savoury textures and flavours all at once.

(Image credit: Chee Siong Teh / Getty Images)

best oyster omelette singapore

Oyster omelette

For hawker aficionados, there are few dishes less satisfying than a good plate of oyster omelette, its greasy, savoury bites washed down with a mug of ice-cold sugarcane juice.

(Image credit: @mightyfoodie via Instagram)

best appam in singapore

Appam

Appam (read: ap-pom) is like the forgotten, local sister to the Western pancakes and crepes, only it really shouldn’t be.

(Image credit: Kotuwa)

The ultimate guide to heritage hawker food in Singapore and where to find them

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