What to Eat in Singapore


Whether you're a long-time foodie or Inspired by Crazy Rich Asians, you'll find a foodie's paradise in Singapore. Many local Singaporeans themselves claim to be ultimate foodies, and it's very easy to see why when you're navigating the country. Food is abundant and very accessible, no matter what your budget. Almost every neighborhood has a local food center where hawkers set up shop every day to sell their specialty dishes for incredibly affordable prices.

If you have a heftier budget, air-conditioned restaurants, shopping mall food courts or fancy hotels serve upscale dishes. In Singapore, even the mall food is tasty. Here are 13 dishes to try in Singapore, along with suggestions on where to find them. In most cases, you can find these dishes just about anywhere in town, but there are a couple places that serve noteworthy versions of the dishes.

What to eat in Singapore
What to eat in Singapore

Vegetarian food in Singapore

If you're a vegetarian, you'll thrive off of the many food options you'll have in Singapore. There are many vegetarian restaurants in Singapore that cater to all food ethnicities. Little India's Tekka Center is a particular haven for as many food stalls here serve all vegetarian food. They are denoted by the pink lotus flower in their signs.

What to Eat in Singapore

1) Kopi and Kaya Toast

Probably the most typical Singaporean breakfast is a steaming mug of coffee with condensed milk (known as kopi) and toast served with sweet coconut jam (known as kaya toast), served with two soft boiled eggs. Simple, yet so satisfying.

Where to get it:

A Kopitiam is a drink stall where you can get kopi and kaya toast, among other items. Two of the best kopitiams in Singapore are chains called Ya Kun Kaya Toast or Killiney Kopitiam. The latter features Hainanese style coffee.

Singapore chicken rice
Singapore chicken rice

2) Hainanese Chicken Rice

Just as the name implies, this dish features a cut of poultry served with steamed rice. But this dish is full of flavors, which is why it is one of the most well-known Singaporean dishes. The chicken is boiled or roasted so until tender and juicy, and the accompanying rice has been cooked with chicken stock and fat for extra richness. Finally, the dish is typically served with springs of fresh parsley, homemade dipping sauce, and sometimes a cup of chicken stock.

Where to get it:

Chicken and rice can be found just about anywhere in Singapore, from food hawker stalls to chain restaurants and even fancy hotels. One restaurant in particular that serves delicious chicken rice late at night until 04:30 in an air-conditioned space is Boon Tong Kee. Their menu is also quite extensive, offering more than just chicken rice.

Several locations; this one is open late: 399, 401 & 403 Balestier Road, Singapore 329801

3) Roasted Meats and Satay

It's very easy to find cuts of various marinated roasted meats throughout Singapore. From plates of rice topped with roast meat to satay, wooden kebabs of chicken or shrimp fresh off the grill, these proteins are prevalent and cheap.

Where to get it:

The hawker center at Lau Pa Sat is situated in a beautiful building featuring colonial architecture and a distinctive clock tower. Inside the hawker center are dozens of food stalls serving all types of Asian foods. At night, however, the streets in front of the center are blocked off to become Singapore's Satay Street. Charcoal fire grills light up and BBQ meats are served to throngs of locals and tourists. Wash it down with a bottle of local beer!

Singapore's Satay Street at 18 Raffles Quay; every evening after sun down.

Lau Pa Sat food hawker Singapore
Lau Pa Sat food hawker Singapore

4) Laksa

This dish is popular throughout the Malay peninsula, and you are likely to encounter it throughout Southeast Asia. Featuring a meld of Chinese and Malay flavors, laksa features a base of rice noodles, pieces of protein and herbs, and a rich gravy or curry. There are many different versions of laksa, some featuring a coconut milk or curry gravy, and many are very spicy.

Where to get it:

Janggut Laksa claims to serve the "original Katong laksa." Their version has intense flavors and a rich gravy with just a touch of spice.

Janggut Laksa, 1 Queensway, #1-59, Queensway Shopping Centre, Singapore 149053. Open daily 11am-9pm

5) Hokkien Mee

This is one of Singapore's popular fried noodle dishes. Based on a recipe from China's Fujian province, Hokkien Mee features a mix of egg and rice noodles that are wok-fried with an egg, seafood, and bean sprouts. The dish is served with a squeeze of citrus calamansi and hot sambal chili sauce.

Where to get it:

This hawker stall's Hokkien mee is cooked over charcoal and comes loaded with sotong (cuttlefish) and fresh prawns.

Geylang Lor 29 Fried Hokkien Mee at 396 East Coast Road. Open 11.30am to 9.30pm. Closed on Mondays

6) Char Kway Teow

Another famous fried noodle dish in Singapore, char kway teow is a rich noodle dish with strong flavors, so it can be a bit of an acquired taste. It is comprised of flat and wide rice noodles that are stir fried with egg, dark soy sauce, shrimp paste, and a touch of chili. Some dishes are also topped with Chinese sausage and blood cockles.

Where to get it:

Many local Singapore food bloggers say that Hill Street Char Kway Teow is the best in Singapore. It is located in a friendly, laid back neighborhood food court.

Hill Street Char Kway Teow at #01-41,16 Bedok South Rd. Open 10:30 am – 5:30 pm. Closed on Mondays.

Singapore fish bee hoon soup
Singapore fish bee hoon soup

7) Fish Soup Bee Hoon

This piping hot seafood soup features bee hoon, a rice noodle. The seafood broth is made from fish bones, chunks of fish, vegetables, and herbs.  Some of the best versions of this dish feature a whole fish head, which adds to the soup's flavor and richness.

Where to get it:

This popular bee hoon purveyor serves a generous bowl of fish soup for a mere $4 a bowl. They offer a clear broth version or a more indulgent, milkier version. Both are tasty, depending on the flavors you desire.

Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon located at 1 Kadayanallur Street in Maxwell Food Center #01-77, Singapore 069184

8) Ice Kacang

Given the hot temperature in Singapore, it's no wonder that shaved ice desserts are popular. Ice kacang is a frosty treat featuring a base of sweet jellies and red beans covered with shaved ice. It is then topped with sweet syrups, condensed milk, and sweet creamed corn. There are many variations of ice kacang in Singapore, and they are often depicted in visual menus so you can order simply by pointing.

Where to get it:

Lit Lit Xin Cold and Hot Desserts has been around for over 20 years, and for good reason. Their ice kacang comes with a variety of flavor and toppings options, and there are also hot desserts to choose from.

Lit Lit Xin Cold and Hot Dessert, located at 928 Yishun Central.

Singapore Cendol chendol Little India
Singapore Cendol chendol Little India

9) Cendol

This traditional Southeast Asian dessert made with palm sugar, coconut milk, and a green, worm-like rice flour jelly. It is a very cool and refreshing treat to soothe your taste buds after chowing down on spicy Indian cuisine.

Where to get it:

A little more expensive than most cendol options, this version from Mubarak Ali Kopitiam is loaded with flavorful extras including attap seed, honey balls, jelly, and mixed fruit. It is also served in a cup, making it easy to transport.

Mubarak Ali Kopitiam at Tekka Market on Buffalo Road in Little India.

10) Nasi Lemak

This traditional Malay dish features aromatic coconut milk rice, sambal, fried chicken, deep fried egg, dried anchovies, and peanuts. Enjoy with a cup of spicy Indian masala chai.Nasi lemak is traditionally enjoyed as a breakfast dish but can be eaten at any time of the day. It is popular in both Malaysia and Singapore.

Where to get it:

This is one of the most renowned nasi lemak food vendors in Singapore, and thus there is generally a very long line. It's worth the wait if you want to try one of the country's best versions of nasi lemak dishes.

Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak at 2 Adam Road, #01-02 at Adam Food Center. Open 7am-5pm, every day except Friday.

Singapore murtabak
Singapore murtabak

11) Murtabak

Originally an Arab dish, murtabak is largely influenced by Indian spices and herbs in Singapore. In essence, it is a stuffed roti bread filled with your choice of fillings. The roti itself is very thin and layered with egg before it is cooked on the grill until crisp and golden brown. Murtabak is typically served with extra Indian curry on the side to enhance flavors.

Where to get it:

This century-old restaurant in one of the most popular places to get murtabak in Singapore. The chicken stuffed murtabak is among the most famous, followed by the deer (venison) if you're feeling brave.

Singapore Zam Zam Restaurant at 697 North Bridge Road

12) Chili crab

Considered one of the national dishes of Singapore, you absolutely must try chili crab when you're in town. Served whole, the crabs are covered in a thick sauce that is sweet, salty, and slightly sour. Despite the name, the chilis add more flavor and fragrance than spice. Another popular version of this dish is black pepper crab, which is sometimes preferred for its more peppery flavor.

Where to get it:

Long Beach Seafood Restaurant serves up one of the best versions of chili crab in Singapore. The crab is juicy and fresh, and the spice level is kicked up a notch. Black pepper crab is also on the menu and regarded to be among the best in town.

Long Beach Seafood Restaurant located at #01-04 East Coast Seafood Center.

13) Sambal Stingray

If you've never had stingray before, you should definitely try it in Singapore. The stingray is first marinated in a sambal sauce and then wrapped in a banana leaf before being grilled. It is then topped with red onions or shallots and a squeeze of citrus calamansi for flavor. Stingray is very meaty and firm with some thick pieces of bone and it is truly a unique dish to try in Singapore.

Where to get it: 

One of many hawker stands at this food center, the first stall is where you'll find stingray on the menu. It is a bit pricey at $15 a piece, but  you get a sizeable chunk of stingray that is perfectly grilled and flavored.

Chomp Chomp Food Center at 20 Kensington Park Road.

Singapore biryani
Singapore biryani

14) Biryani

This is India's version of fried rice featuring many spices and typically a protein such as chicken or mutton. Biryani is served all over Singapore, especially at Tekka Center in Little India.

Where to get it: 

Allauddins Biryani at 665 Buffalo Road in Tekka Center, Little India

Wet Market Adventures

Fresh Fruits

  • Dragonfruit (fruit of cactus), the infamous durian, starfruit. A couple that I've seen and heard of, but never actually tried.
  • Banana flower (or banana blossom): can be cooked and served as a curry or salad.
  • Banana tree trunk: dried strips are used to string flower "leis."
  • Bitter melon
  • Jackfruit - fleshy and chewy with delicious flavors resembling a blend of banana, pineapple
  • Mangosteen

Singapore Food Blogs

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