Singapore is a country of many different ethnicities that have come together to share a natural obsession with food. Whether you are planning to visit Singapore for a few days or just happen to be at the airport for a few hours during a layover, try to sneak in a few tasty local meals.
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Here are a few favorites that I always make space for in my belly whenever I visit Singapore. You will be able to find versions of these dishes in almost every food court, but just in case you are in the area, below is a guide to some of the best food in Singapore, that even the locals will line up for!
Mee Pok Tah / Bah Chor Mee
Mee Pok is my absolute ‘must have’ the second I touch down in Singapore. It is full of sour tanginess, spicy chili, and fried pork lard – all mixed with a small amount of broth and noodles. It is all about the sambal (chili paste) when it comes to Mee Pok.
You will be able to identify this stall in a food court if you see a picture of fish ball noodles. I recommend the minced pork noodles with mushroom – also known as Bar Chor Mee – but with ‘Mee Pok’-style noodles. Ask for extra crispy pork lard, or if you want to sound really local say “bak yew pok”.
Where to find the best Mee Pok Tah
- 58 Minced Meat Mee: 3 Yung Sheng Road, #03-150, Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre, Singapore 618495
- Closed Tuesday
When you visit Singapore, you should add 328 Katong Laksa to your itinerary no matter how busy your schedule is! You may find laksa at other places, but you will not get a more genuine taste than you would by slurping down a bowl at this popular laksa joint.
The walls are plastered with newspaper articles showcasing the many awards they have received over the years. Even Anthony Bourdain gives it a thumbs up, so you know it is really good.
Where to find the best Laksa
- 328 Katong Laksa: 51 East Coast Road, Singapore 428770
- Open Everyday
Recovering from a night of drinking? A hot bowl of savory Jok (aka congee) is one of the best things you can eat to bring you back to life. It’s Hainanese-style rice porridge with bits of sliced chicken or minced pork, egg, and ginger topped off with crispy fried onions and ‘Yew Char Kway’ (aka Chinese doughnut).
Where to find the best Jok
- Soon Lee Porridge: 448 Clementi Ave 3, Singapore 120448
- Closed Sunday
Chai Tow Kway (Black Carrot Cake)
If you have managed to make it over to the Clementi Food Court to try the porridge, don’t forget to save room to eat some fried carrot cake as well.
Fried carrot cake is something very unique to Singapore. It consists of chopped radish cake (no actual carrots are used in the making of this dish), fried up with egg, spring onions, sweet soy sauce and lots of chilies! You can order it ‘white’ or ‘black’. I prefer it black because it is made with sweet and spicy soy sauce.
Where to find the best Fried Carrot Cake
- Blk 448 Clementi: Ave 3 #01-45 Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre, Singapore 120448
- 7am-11am, Closed Monday
Hainanese chicken rice – Singapore’s national dish – is definitely something you should try while you visit. Chicken rice is somewhat of a “safe dish” if you are prone to stomach issues while traveling.
It is simple, but packed with flavor! The key to good chicken rice lies in the flavor of the rice – cooked with chicken broth – and the perfect blend of ginger, lime and sugar in the chili sauce on the side.
Where to find the best Chicken Rice
- Tian Tian Chicken Rice: 1 Kadayanallur St, #01 -10/11 Maxwell Food Center, Singapore 069184
- Closed Monday
Char Kway Teow
Another staple fried noodle dish of Singapore, Char Kway Teow is great food if you are out late. You will find pretty decent versions of Char Kway Teow in most hawker centers. What I consider an excellent plate of noodles is one fried up with pork lard and cockles (mini clams). It is getting harder to find stalls that still use cockles these days so if you do come across one, savor the moment.
Where to find the best Char Kway Teow
- Hill Street Char Kway Teow: 16 Bedok South Rd, #01-41, Singapore 460016
- Closed Monday
Rojak is a Singaporean’s version of a salad. Made with sliced sour fruits and sometimes cooked veggies, this dish is mixed together with black shrimp paste, peanuts, and chili. It is an excellent healthy snack that is not too filling!
Where to find the best Rojak
- Balestier Road Hoover Rojak: 90 Whampoa Dr, Singapore 320090
- Closed Monday & Tuesday
If you’re full from eating by the end of the day and want to have something lighter for dinner, satay is a great option! Many tourist hot spots around Singapore, including Gardens by the Bay and East Coast Parkway, have satay stalls lined up next to each other barbequing and filling the air with aromatic smoke you can smell from miles away.
Changi Village is my go-to place in the evening for a satay fix. The hawker stalls come alive at night and if you are traveling with a big group of people there are many food options for everyone to enjoy.
I recommend trying a mix of lamb (mutton) and chicken satay. Beef can sometimes be dry and personally risking stomach space for something that doesn’t taste juicy is not worth it! Don’t forget to order kutupat (rice cake) and cucumber on the side.
Where to find the best Satay
- Changi Village: #01-52 Changi Village Market and Food Centre, Blk 2 Changi Village Road, Singapore 500002
Char Siew Rice
For someone that doesn’t like spicy food, Char Siew Rice is a good alternative to all the hawker foods listed above. It is simple and consists of pork on a bed of white rice, drenched in sweet sauce, with a few cucumbers on the side. And of course you can add chili but it isn’t necessary for the mouthwatering experience.
Where to find the best Char Siew Rice
Tien Lai Rice Stall comes highly recommended. They have perfected barbecuing pork to create a burnt crispy layer on the outside and tender soft meat on the inside.
- Tien Lai Rice Stall: 3 Yung Sheng Rd, Singapore 618499
- Closed Saturday
Chili Crab / Black Pepper Crab
You will need a big group of friends for this one (and it can be on the expensive side compared to the cheap meals you find in food courts) but Chili Crab is something you MUST eat at least once in your life. And why not do it where they make the best in the world?!
On your last night in Singapore, grab a bunch of friends or travelers you have met that enjoy food as much as you do and book a table at Jumbo Seafood. Booking ahead is recommended, as there is always a wait for walk-in customers. Service is not something they are known for and raising your hand for attention is not uncommon, so don’t be shy!
It is also essential to order some fried Szechwan buns to go along with your chili crab. They are like mini fried bread rolls that you can dip into the sauce or make cute little chili crab sliders! It is really easy to lose track of how many buns you have consumed so plan ahead by wearing those stretchy pants.
Where to find the best Chili Crab
- Jumbo Seafood: East Coast, 1206 East Coast Parkway, #01-07/08 East Coast Seafood Centre, Singapore 449883
- Open every evening, Saturday-Sunday from Lunchtime
If you are only in Singapore for a layover and sad you cannot leave the airport to try all this amazing food you just read about, fear not! Terminal 3 has a massive food court in the basement with almost every one of the dishes listed above. Even locals that live in Singapore go there just to eat. You will have to clear security to get to it so make sure you give yourself enough time so you don’t miss your next flight!
About the Author:
Sara Uduwela was born in Singapore and has been living between California, Australia, and Singapore for most of her life. She is passionate about wildlife conservation, traveling, and eating all things yummy. In her free time she likes to exercise and cook (mostly Singhalese and Singaporean food). These days she lives in Melbourne and works as a freelance photographer while she saves enough money to hit the road again!
Follow her on Instagram and her photography website.
What’s the best food in Singapore you’ve eaten? Tell us your fave in the comments below!
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