Hawker centres, every Singaporean’s greatest lunch and dinner buddy. Also arguably the best places to find affordable, mouthwatering meals to fill that growling belly. It’s time to put a stopper to your café hopping days as we wrangle up some of the most noteworthy and undeniably delish hawker fares that Singapore has to offer. Maybe it’s time to schedule a hawker hopping trip next, eh?
1. Hai Yan BBQ Seafood @ Newton Food Centre
One of the best seafood haunts is located at the renowned (and tourist favourite) Newton Food Centre. Having been around since the 1980s, Hai Yan BBQ Seafood serves a wide array of familiar Chinese cuisine from crispy, golden brown mantous (a Chinese bun made from milled wheat flour and then deep fried) to the more decadent and succulent Tiger Prawns. Plus, their food is cooked in vegetable oil, which is a bonus in our books.
2. Poh Cheu @ 127 Bukit Merah Lane 1
Image credit: Poh Cheu | Facebook
For the uninitiated, an Ang Ku Kueh is a snack with soft sticky glutinous rice flour skin wrapped around a sweet filling (usually peanut or sesame). But what makes a good Ang Ku Kueh? For us, it’s always been the filling-to-skin ratio.
What makes Poh Cheu’s traditional treats a favourite amongst Singaporeans is its subtly sweet filling that is complemented with just the right amount of sticky rice flour skin. Honestly, it comes as no surprise as they’ve been around for more than 30 years! The vibrant colours of their kuehs provide such a visual spectacle too, who says hawker fare isn’t IG-worthy?
3. House of Dessert @ Tampines St 11 Round Market
Image credit: House of Dessert | Facebook
Oldies are always goldies. The House of Dessert has been around for a solid 29 years and the owners have pretty much perfected their craft. Give their famous watermelon ice a go if you ever find yourself in the East. The dessert features juicy watermelon (duh!), coconut milk, crushed ice and corn – a perfect blend of sweet and salty with just enough chill from the ice and milk to combat the Singapore heat. The other must-try desserts include their Lian Chee Suan, or more commonly known as the Lotus Seed Paste and traditional Tau Suan (mung beans which comes with crispy but airy Youtiao or Chinese cruller).
4. HarriAnn’s Delight @ Tiong Bahru Market
Image credit: HarriAnn’s Delight | Facebook
HarriAnn’s flourishing family-owned business started from humble beginnings. They owe their success to their hardworking ancestor, Mdm Chia Nga Eng, who peddled her Nonya Kuehs around the Tiong Bahru vicinity on a pushcart back in the 1940s. Within a few years, she was fronting a market stall at the Seng Poh Road Market (now known as the Tiong Bahru Market).
Upon retiring, she handed down her recipes to her son, who then handed it down to his son, Alan. Their mouth-watering traditional Peranakan delicacies have been crafted painstakingly by hand. We highly recommend checking out their original Ondeh and fragrant Kueh Salat.
5. Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh @ Tanjong Pagar Complex
Image credit: Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh | Facebook
With roots dating back to the 1970s, Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh is more than 40 years old. Despite its humble roots, the store evolved to become a behemoth franchise chain that serves up dozens of bowls of Bak Kut Teh per day. The store opens till late, attracting many people over for supper. Their broth is robust in flavour with a slight hint of pepper to give it a kick. We recommend the ever-popular Spare Ribs Soup, Braised Pig Trotters and Oyster Sauce Veg.
6. Lao Wang Chicken Rice @ Chinatown Complex
Image credit: Lao Wang Bean Sprout Chicken Rice | Facebook
Every list is incomplete without the nation’s staple food – chicken rice. Singapore has plenty of great chicken rice stalls in Singapore, but Lao Wang Chicken Rice’s signature chicken rice is definitely one that can’t be missed! Tender chicken served with fragrant rice (that’s not clumpy or mushy in the slightest) and fiery chilli sauce make for a totally mind-blowing fare. Don’t forget to try out their new Laska Chicken Bee Hoon and Mee whilst you’re there too!
7. Tong Xin Ju Special Shanghai Tim Sum @ Maxwell Food Centre
Image credit: Tong Xin Ju Special Shanghai Tim Sum | Facebook
Established back in 1972, this dimsum store’s recipes have been passed down from generation to generation. Their craft is pretty much perfected at this point. Not to be missed are their steamed dumplings – handmade daily with generous amounts of minced pork and ham, fresh prawns, chives all wrapped in a thin, soft and smooth layer of dumpling skin. Other noteworthy dishes include their crispy fried dumplings, bouncy Beijing noodles and Shanghai rice cakes.
8. He Zhong Carrot Cake @ Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre
Image credit: Raymond Tan | Facebook
Time to chow down! He Zhong offers Carrot Cake that is handmade and then personally steamed (the amount of dedication is really reflected in taste and texture). The radish cakes are held together with liberal amounts of egg and served with heaps of Chye Poh. Before digging in, we highly recommend dipping the cake into the complementary sambal if you enjoy a bit of a kick.
So the next time you find yourself low on cash, you know where to find cheap and good Singapore food at some of Singapore’s oldest hawker centres. Who knows, while you’re at these famous hawker centres, you just might find the next gem!
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