Foods you HAVE to try in Singapore
Singapore – a small country with a large variety of food.
Singapore owes it widespread cuisine to its large immigrant population. The country offers a variety of food from Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, China, and Thailand. The fast paced lifestyles of the people in Singapore do not allow much time for them to go home after a long day at work and cook. Overtime, this had led to hawker centers opening up all over the country. Almost every locality has one!
A hawker center is an open complex with different stalls that sell authentic food at very reasonable prices. While ordering dishes at large hotels could cost between $20 – $25, a full meal at a hawker center in Singapore will cost you only $5- $7. Over my time in Singapore, I found hawker center food to be waaayyyy tastier than restaurant food!
It’s cheaper. It’s tastier. It’s more authentic. What more does a tourist need, right?
Choosing the right stall at a hawker center
As tourists, we tend to worry about the quality of food we eat. We don’t want to ruin our holiday over an upset stomach. Don’t worry about the hygiene of hawker center food. Every stall you go to has a quality grade sign that is put up. And with the exorbitant fines the “fine” country (pun intended) of Singapore has for every little thing, you can trust that the quality grades on these stalls are telling the truth. If you stick to a quality grade A or B, you should be safe. However, try not to venture to stalls with a C or D quality grade.
Foods to try
It doesn’t matter what hawker center you’ve gone to. ALL of them have mouthwatering food! Here are some dishes you should try on your trip to Singapore.
1. Braised Pork Rice
This is perfect for all you pork lovers out there! Just like the name suggests, this dish has a portion of rice that is cooked with pork stock for flavor. It is served with a large portion of braised pork and a double fried egg on top. Extremely filling, but totally worth it! Pair it with a glass of fresh cold orange juice (that you can find at another stall in the hawker center) and you’re all set.
Price: Braised Pork Rice – $6 | Orange Juice – $2.50
Location: Holland Village Market and Food Center
2. Chicken Rice
Chicken Rice is a Hainanese dish that is considered one of the national dishes of Singapore. It consists of a small portion of rice served with pieces of bland chicken. A chicken broth is served as a side. The broth is added to the rice and chicken mixture as desired in order to make it softer and add more flavor. Chicken rice traditionally comes with a few greens on the side.
Location: The hawker center down the road from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
3. Beef Kway Teow
Kway Teow is served either wet or dry. I’d suggest you order it wet. It is a noodle dish made with thick rice noodles. Wet Kway Teow is sort of like a noodle soup with large pieces of beef. The main flavor of the dish comes from the beef stock and soy sauce, which also gives it a dark brown colour.
Location: Singapore Cricket Club
Fun Fact: When Kway Teow was first invented, it was served to laborers. The high fat content and low cost of Kway Teow made it a cheap source of nutrition and energy.
4. Seafood Mee Goreng
Mee Goren is a spicy noodle dish that is famous in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. You can choose whether you want your Mee Goreng to have meat or seafood. The spice goes extremely well with assorted seafood (shrimp, squid, and fish). Pair your Mee Goreng with a Green Island Juice for the perfect meal combination. Green Island Juice is a chilled drink made from coconut water, with tiny pieces of tender coconut floating in the glass. The chilled coconut water helps neutralize the spice if necessary.
Price: Mee Goreng – $5 | Green Island Juice – $3
Location: Kim San Leng Food Center
5. Seafood Hae Mee
Hae Mee is a noodle soup dish that is extremely popular in Singapore. A Seafood Hae Mee will typically come in 2 bowls. One bowl will consist of noodles that are cooked in a seafood broth with pieces of shrimp and cuttlefish. The other bowl is the broth or soup. The broth is poured into the noodle bowl and eaten as a noodle soup.
Location: Berseh Food Center
Note: Eating Hae Mee can be a slightly messy experience. Try not to wear white.
6. Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng literally means ‘fried rice’. As the name suggests, it is fried rice with your choice of meat or seafood. While I did have it in a hawker center, I had the opportunity to try a really fancy Nasi Goreng (not in a hawker center of course) and so I’m going to write about that.
The extremely flavorsome fried rice has pieces of shrimp and egg in it and is topped off with a half fried egg. On the side, Nasi Goreng is served with 2 sticks of chicken satay (skewered chicken covered in a peanut sauce), 2 pieces of fried chicken wings, a small portion of veggies and a few prawn crackers. With so many different flavors and tastes, Nasi Goreng is sure to make your taste buds go haywire.
Location: Escape, One Farrer Hotel & Spa
7. Chicken Pao
Pao is a snack commonly found all over Singapore. It looks like large dumplings. Pao is a steamed, soft bun with different fillings. The fillings vary from chicken and pork to sweet and savory. It is commonly eaten during breakfast and as a snack all through the day. Eating Pao is what I imagine eating clouds would be like. That’s how soft it is!
Singapore is the country of food! There are many other foods to try in Singapore like Chilli Crab, Fish Head, Laksa and Hokkien Mee. However, here is a list of my favorite 7.
I hope this helps with your food choices during your stay in Singapore. If you end up trying these foods, make sure to let me know what you think by commenting below or writing to me directly!