Charred, smoky and exhilarating: a meal of Chinese skewers promises late nights, cold beers and a festive time. Here are six best restaurants in Singapore to experience that.
Also known as chuan (串), Chinese skewers originated in northern mainland China where they’re typically consumed at street side stalls in the evening. Common ingredients include lamb or mutton, beef and pork, which are liberally spiced with cumin and barbecued over coals. It’s similar to satay, but with metal skewers instead of wood.
In Singapore, these skewers are usually found at restaurants cooking Dong Bei (东北) cuisine, which would feature the words chuan or or shao kao (烧烤) prominently on their menus.
Some of these venues include the popular Oriental Chinese Restaurant (东方美食), which sees hordes of diners queuing during peak hours. A street away is Dong Bei Xiao Chu (东北小厨) and Dongbei BBQ & Dumplings (东北烧烤饺子馆), which serve similar dishes with shorter waiting times.
On Princep Street, Those Amazing Times Chinese BBQ is another celebrated option, while BBQ City (东北菜馆) brings the meal closer to residents in Bukit Batok. Chuan Grill and Noodle Bar offers a convenient destination should the craving hit while you’re along Orchard Road.
6 best restaurants in Singapore to get your Chinese skewer fix
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Part of an industrial complex in Bukit Batok, BBQ City is an affordable dining experience for cold beers and smoky skewers. There’s a large menu of Northern Chinese dishes, but most patrons come for the metal sticks of meat. The lamb is fatty and well charred, while the mala chicken is another popular option.
Daily, 11am to 11pm
Chinese skewers can be heavily spiced, but Chuan Grill and Noodle Bar aims to balance between the meats’ original flavours and their own spice rub. Among the offerings are lamb, chicken, beef, pork and vegetables, which you can have either spicy or non-spicy. Another popular item is their Sichuan style beef noodles, which you can enjoy as a set with skewers.
Daily, 9.30am to 10pm
If the line for the popular Oriental Chinese Restaurant (see below) is too long, turn the corner onto Upper Cross Street and look for this place, where the crowd is lesser but the skewers are as on point. Generously seasoned with cumin, lamb has a good balance between lean meat and fat, and are beautifully charred. The roasted eggplant is a winner too.
Daily, 11am to 11pm
Another restaurant on Upper Cross Street is Dongbei BBQ & Dumplings. The atmosphere is not as roaring as the other places on this list, but the service is friendly and the skewers are pleasingly tender and juicy.
Mondays, 5pm to 11pm
Tuesdays to Sundays, 11am to 11pm
Also known as Northeast China Cuisine, this popular restaurant takes up four shopfronts in Chinatown and sees a long line of people during peak hours. There’s a good reason; the lamb is tender and heady, and the juicy pork belly has a nice ratio of meat to fat. Come in between meal times to be seated quickly and enjoy a long, leisurely dinner.
Daily, 11am to 10.30pm
Those Amazing Times Chinese BBQ promises authentic Northern Chinese food, cheap beer and a lively vibe. They have a wide selection of skewers, from the usual cuts of meats to offal, seafood and vegetables. They go heavy on the spices, but a cold Tsingtao offers sweet relief. The place fills up fast, so go early.
Daily, 11am to 3pm