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.
A good barbecued chicken wing starts from the aromatic marinate before it is flipped continuously over charcoal to impart a deeply smoky flavour.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Curry puffs are quintessential Singapore snacks. These golden pastries are stuffed with fillings such as potato, fish, and egg.
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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.
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Available in variations of steamed, roast, and soy sauce chicken, this dish might be one of the Singapore’s most beloved culinary treasures.
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Whether you like your chilli crab sweet, spicy, or even with a more tomato-based sauce, this list is sure to hit the spot.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Available in soup and dry variants, these Bak Chor Mee options are perfect for a delicious, quick meal fix any day.
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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.
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Inarguably one of Singapore best hawker food, here’s a list of our favourite laksa variants and where you can get them in Singapore.
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Take a deep dive into this unique Chinese community and its delightful dishes.
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There’s really nothing a sloppy plate of Hainanese Curry Rice can’t fix — the messier the better.
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Before the grain bowl, there was thunder tea rice, an ancient Hakka dish more fondly known as Lei Cha.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Brunch fare gets heaps of love nowadays, but for something just as tasty, comforting and cheap, there’s always chee cheong fun.
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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.
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Before the regular hotpot and shabu shabu became popular, the communal soup of choice was always fish head steamboat.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Appam (read: ap-pom) is like the forgotten, local sister to the Western pancakes and crepes, only it really shouldn’t be.
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