Dining @ a Hawker Centre

Seen a hdb coffeeshop? Now picture a place with 5 times as many stalls and rows and rows of tables & seats. That is a hawker center, in a Singapore context.

Almost every hawker center offer some specialty dish. Easily identifiable by the newspaper cuttings or pictures of local variety food show hosts displayed proudly on the display glass or stall wall.

If you are looking for cheap and yummy food, do check out these hawker centers or food centers.

Some of the more famous ones are:

1. Zion Road Food Centre
2. Maxwell Food Centre
3. Amoy Food Centre
4. Lau Pa Sat
5. East Coast Food Centre

Never been to a Singapore Hawker Center?

Here are some tips on the culture here.

  • Settle down at a table, and note the table number so you can relay it to the person taking your order.

  • Most stalls are self-service, meaning you carry your own food tray back to your table.

  • If its crowded, sharing a table is not uncommon.

  • You may find packets of tissue paper, umbrellas on the seats of empty table, that's the Singaporean way of reserving a seat while they head off to order their food.

  • If you are unsure of what to order, just look for stalls with queues, or check out the local favourites, they're usually well worth the wait.

Bon Appetite!

Must try local favourites!

Eating, as we all know is Singaporean's favourite past time. As a result, there are eating establishments all over the country! As with all things, we have our favourites too!

Must try local favourites, available at most hawker centers, are:

1. Fried carrot cake - not the cakey kind, these are little cubes of rice flour and radish fried with egg. 2 kinds are available, the black variety is sweeter than the white savoury one.

2. Bak Kut Teh - A herbal pork based soup with garlic and spices, main ingredient: pork ribs.

3. Chicken rice - A national favourite, silky smooth poached chicken or roasted chicken on top of fluffy rice infused with chicken stock.

4. Rojak - There are 2 popular versions here, the Chinese version is heavy on fresh fruits and vegetables, whereas the Indian variety offers a mixture of deep fried fritters.

5. Roti Prata - Flaky on the outside, deliciously elastic on the inside. Varieties include anything from mushroom, to cheese, to onions, to eggs. Dip with curries or add sugar or just eat them as it is.

6. Chilli crab and black pepper crab - Crabs cooked in a tangy sauce made with tomato, chilli, eggs and a tinge of sambal. The black pepper crab is equally gratifying.

7. Char kway teow - A mixture of flat rice noodles, eggs, prawns and cockles.

8. Laksa - Rice noodles served with spicy gravy, topped with prawns, cockles, fish cake. There are a few varieties available, Penang Laksa - a soup, fish-based soup with tamarind.
Katong Laksa - Rich coconut gravy, slightly spicy, commonly served with noodles that have be cut into smaller pieces.

9. Fish head curry - Large meaty fish head stewed to perfection in a tamarind-based curry sauce, with vegetables.

10. Satay - Strips of beef, mutton, chicken and pork are are skewered and grilled. Commonly dipped in spicy peanut gravy. Complimented by cubes of rice (ketupat), cucumbers and onions.


Lau Pa Sat

Formerly known as Telok Ayer Market, Lau Pa Sat Festival Market is located in the hub of Singapore's busy financial district and it has a history that dates back to 1894 when it was a Fish Market on the island. The building was faithfully restored in accordance with the design of the original by engineer James MacRitchie.

This huge food center has close to 80 food stalls selling a variety of foods, like Japanese, Korean, India, Chinese, Seafood, Filipino, Malay, Vietnamese,  Taiwanese and more!

The famous Satay Street, an actual road, operates daily from 7pm - 3am, and from 3pm during weekends & Public Holidays.

Here's a list of 10 uniquely Singapore dishes at Lau Pa Sat (as listed on the website):

LAKSA - Thick rice noodles bathed in spicy gravy, fragrant with herbs and coconut milk.

CHILLI/BLACK PEPPER CRAB - Fresh crab cooked in spicy sauce loaded with chillies, soya bean paste, garlic and tomato or fried with black pepper and garlic, lots of it.

BA KUT TEH - Meaty pork ribs stewed with Chinese spices and garlic in a delicious broth. Eat it with fresh red cut chillies in dark soya sauce.

FRIED CARROT CAKE - Not your typical western carrot cake, and not really carrot, but white radish flour cake, fried till aromatic with garlic, bits of preserved radish, egg and chilli.

SATAY - Skewers of cumin and coriander spiced meat with a sweet-and-spicy peanut dip.

HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE - Flavourful rice, delicious even on its own, and tender poached chicken. With a potent chilli-garlic-ginger dip.

CHAR KWAY TEOW - Flat rice noodles fried with chilli, garlic and dark sweet sauce, finished off with egg, fish cakes and bean sprouts.

ROTI PRATA - A flaky Indian Bread eaten hot from the griddle, either with curry or with a sprinkling of sugar. There are many varieties.

CURRY FISH HEAD - Fish head in a tart tamarind curry with tomato, lady's fingers and brinjal.

ROJAK - A salad of fruit and vegetables, dressed with black shrimp sauce and peanut. Plus crisp Chinese crullers, cured squid and stuffed soya bean puffs.

Visit their website for more info.

Smith Street, Chinatown

Check out Smith Street, at the junction with Trengganu Street, more popularly known as Singapore's Food Street.

There are pushcart stalls selling barbecue seafood, local desserts such as glutinous rice balls, satay, tze char and other local favourites.

This is one of the places that have tables and chairs set up on the road itself, allowing for alfresco dining.

The more popular dishes here include fishball noodles and Char Kway Teow (a noodle dish fried with fresh cockles).

Coffee & Toast Singapore style

Coffee and toast for breakfast? Head over to coffee shops like Killiney Kopitiam and Yakun for a stack of traditional charcoal-griled bread toast, and a cup of coffee-sock coffee!

Must tries are the kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs.

Kaya is a local spread of egg and coconut that tastes great with toast!

The eggs are served half-boiled and you get to crack the eggs open in a sauce dish.

Dip your toast in the eggs, or have them with some pepper and soy sauce, traditional style.

Singapore & Food

Other City Guides

Reservation details

Children stay and dine with our compliments at Furama RiverFront for bookings made via our website.
More details at Furama RiverFront, Singapore Hotel >>

Save 15% with bookings made 7 days in advance
More details at Furama City Centre, Singapore Hotel >>