Last Updated on 26/04/2023 by iEat&Eat Team
In Singapore, food is an integral part of our culture, and we take great pride in our diverse hawker food offerings. Hawker centres are the heart and soul of our food scene, and this comprehensive guide will introduce you to some of the finest hawker foods that can be found on our beautiful island.
With an extensive range of cuisines to choose from, including Chinese, Malay, and South Asian, among others, we are never short of options when it comes to satisfying our taste buds. Nonetheless, there are a few dishes that stand out from the rest, and this guide will highlight 15 of them that are a must-try in Singapore.
1. Chicken Rice
Chicken Rice is an iconic hawker dish that is beloved by many in the nation. It comes in three variations, namely steamed, roasted, and soy sauce chicken, and is considered one of Singapore’s culinary gems.
Ironically, what makes or breaks this dish is not the chicken itself but the rice. A delectable bowl of chicken rice should be infused with oil, which, when combined with various dipping sauces and tender chicken, creates a mouthwatering and aromatic experience.
It’s highly likely that you can find at least one or two stalls serving this popular dish at any hawker centre across Singapore.
Spice is a beloved element of Singaporean cuisine, and most locals can handle it with ease. Laksa, undoubtedly one of Singapore’s top comfort foods, is a dish we often seek out on rainy days when we crave heat and comfort. This spicy noodle dish is known for its fiery kick and typically features thick bee hoon noodles immersed in a bright orange broth.
There are numerous variations of laksa available in Singapore, each with its unique twist. Toppings can range from chicken, fish, or prawns to small cockles. Some popular laksa variants include Nonya Laksa, Penang Asam Laksa, and Sarawak Laksa. Head over to your nearest hawker centre today to indulge in a hot bowl of this Southeast Asian delicacy!
3. Kway Chap
Kway Chap is a dish that Singaporeans are familiar with. This dish is perfect for enjoying on chilly, rainy days and typically comprises silky noodle sheets served with a plate of pork meat, intestines, braised egg, and chewy pork skin.
Despite its seemingly simple appearance, preparing this classic dish is actually a time-consuming and laborious process. It requires significant effort, such as cleaning the innards and hours of braising. Some stalls even begin preparing as early as 12 am to ensure the dish’s quality and taste. Nevertheless, Kway Chap remains an all-time favourite among Singaporeans.
4. Hokkien Mee
Hokkien Mee, a beloved dish in Singapore, is a stir-fried plate of umami goodness comprising of a blend of yellow and thick vermicelli noodles drizzled in a delicious broth made from pork bones and head. The dish is garnished with prawns, squid, sliced pork belly strips, and eggs, and is best served with a squeeze of fresh lime and a dollop of sambal.
With its rich, smoky, and well-balanced flavours, Hokkien Mee is a must-try for any food lover. Visit any hawker centre in Singapore to indulge in this delectable dish today.
5. Bak Chor Mee
Bak Chor Mee is a popular dish among fans of quick and delicious meals. This dish is a bowl of noodles topped with minced meat, meatball, fishball, stewed mushrooms, and a generous serving of chopped chilli slices.
You can choose between the dry or soup versions of the dish, and select your preferred type of noodles. The best way to enjoy this dish is with thick and wavy mee pok noodles that are tossed in a chilli-vinegar sauce that varies from stall to stall.
6. Mixed Economic Rice
Mixed Economic Rice, commonly referred to as ‘caifan’ by locals, is one of the most popular meal options during the busy lunch hour. The dish is essentially a plate of rice accompanied by any selection of ingredients available at the hawker stall.
When ordering, you typically start from the opposite end of the cashier and slowly walk through the dishes, pointing at those that you desire. Most stalls offer around 10-15 dishes for you to choose from. The beauty of this hawker food lies in the ability to mix it up every day! If you’re craving seafood, you can opt for dishes such as fish, sotong, and clams. If you’re in the mood for healthier options, you can choose toppings such as stir-fried broccoli, tofu, and steamed egg.
Economic Rice is a versatile dish that does not refer to any specific cuisine or dish. It is a combination of various meat and vegetable dishes served with a portion of steamed white rice, porridge, or even fried noodles.
7. Economical Bee Hoon
Similar to caifan, the Economy Fried Bee Hoon is a simple yet delicious meal option that you can find in Singapore.
A typical plate of Economy Fried Bee Hoon includes at least two types of noodles – the drier, thin white bee hoon and yellow noodles. The thin bee hoon is fried to a crispy golden brown, while the yellow noodles are thickly coated in a rich soy sauce.
This dish is typically served with a variety of side dishes, such as luncheon meat, fried egg, and fried tofu, that you can choose to add to your meal. An economical bee hoon set usually comes with your choice of noodles and two to three ingredients. Additional toppings are available for a small extra charge, depending on your selection. Popular side dishes include deep-fried prawn crackers, century egg, and Taiwanese sausage.
8. Fish Soup
Fish soup is a dish that consists of tender and thinly sliced pieces of fish immersed in soup, as its name suggests. This nourishing meal is customizable, and diners can choose whether they prefer to have it with rice or noodles. Despite being a light and healthy option, fish soup is far from bland. The soup is infused with the sweetness and freshness of the fish and elevated with evaporated milk for a creamier and more robust flavour profile.
If you’re in the mood for this ultimate comfort food, most hawker stalls offer both sliced fish and fried fish versions of the dish.
9. Nasi Lemak
Nasi Lemak, one of Singapore’s most iconic dishes, is a popular choice among diners of all ages, races, and cultures. This fragrant dish comprises coconut rice, fried chicken, eggs, peanuts, and a generous serving of spicy sambal, making it the perfect savoury and spicy delight for any time of the day.
Although readily available in almost every corner of Singapore, each hawker stall has its unique way of preparing this simple yet classic dish. Aromatic rice and fiery chilli are the two essential components that define a delicious plate of Nasi Lemak.
If you’re in the mood for an excellent plate of Nasi Lemak, Singapore’s bustling hawker scene offers a plethora of options that are available 24/7 to satisfy your cravings! Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you’re sure to find a hawker stall where you can indulge in this iconic dish.
10. Mala Xiang Guo
In recent years, Singapore has seen a surge of new stalls offering fiery and spicy bowls of goodness, reflecting the locals’ appreciation for this cuisine. From the search for the best Mala Xiang Guo stall to the love of all things spicy, Singaporeans’ passion for this type of food seems to be contagious.
Are you confident in your ability to handle the heat? For those who have fallen in love with the mouth-numbing spiciness of Chinese cuisine, Mala Xiang Guo is the dish for you! This dish comprises a mixture of vegetables and meats stir-fried in a flavorful and aromatic sauce, which is usually served with noodles or rice. The dish’s two essential flavour pillars are the numbing (ma) and spicy (la) sensations.
This hawker food has now become a cult favourite in Singapore and has earned its rightful fame due to its mouth-numbing and addictive properties.