For the best local food, there are no better people to ask than the locals themselves.
Back in the day, Bak Kut Teh used to be a cheap yet nutritious breakfast for labourers before they went about taking on the day. We say, then, it’s the breakfast of champions. This peppery, garlicky bowl of goodness, infused with a medley of herbs and spices and brewed with pork bone, is quite unlike any other bowl of soup from any cuisine. Enjoy it at the famous Founder Bak Kut Teh, open till the wee hours of 2am.
347 Balestier Rd, Singapore 329777
NEXT: Chey Sua Carrot Cake →
Not carrot cake cake, but this savoury Singaporean version: Chinese-style radish “cake” that’s fried with egg. This stall’s rendition is stir-fried till crispy with a light char on the outside, yet still soft and moist on the inside. Expect to queue for at least half an hour, and if the Singaporean “long-queue-means-good” mentality stands (and of course it does), this one’s a winner.
#02-30, Toa Payoh West Market and Food Court, 127 Lor 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310127
NEXT: Hill Street Char Kuey Teow (fried flat noodles) →
The secret to a solid plate of char kuey teow: the distinctive wok hey – the seductive smoky flavour imparted through the wok over extremely high heat – and this Hill Street hawker’s been nailing it for nearly half a century. Add in generous ingredients like lup cheong (Chinese sausage), crunchy pork lard and more, and you get a dark, decadent plate of must-try char kuey teow.
#01-41 Bedok South Road Market & Food Centre, Blk 16 Bedok South Rd, Singapore 460016
NEXT: Xiang Jiang Claypot →
It’s hard to go wrong with claypot rice, but to do it really well is quite a mean feat. So, props to this hawker’s Mixed Claypot Rice, topped with waxed pork and Chinese liver sausage; mix it all in, together with the dark soy sauce, with the rice for a hearty meal. And of course, the best bits: the smoky, crispy rice that clings to the base of the claypot.
CCMW Coffeeshop, 498 Jurong West St 41, Singapore 640498
NEXT: Chuan Kee Boneless Braised Duck →
There are many elements to a good dish of braised duck rice: tender duck meat, the viscous braising sauce imbued with a subtle herbal flavour, fragrant yam rice that’s not overly oily… and all of that coming together in a gratifying mouthful. Add a little of Chuan Kee’s spicy-sweet chilli sauce for a tangy kick.
#01-04 Ghim Moh Road Market And Food Centre, 20 Ghim Moh Rd, Singapore 270020
NEXT: 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles →
For many, the star of the prawn noodles aren’t the prawns. Well, not exactly – more of the prawn broth that gives the dish its distinct umami taste. And it’s exactly the case at 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles, which began as a humble pushcart stall back in the 1950s. The noodles are tossed in an umami sambal seasoning, with big prawns and the twin pleasures of pieces of pork lard and crispy deep-fried shallots.
#01-39 Whampoa Makan Place, 91 Whampoa Dr, Singapore 320091
NEXT: Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa →
This hawker’s laksa might not be quite what you were expecting, but if their Michelin Bib Gourmand status is anything to go by, it’s a pleasant surprise. Most notably, the fragrant laksa gravy, made from coconut milk and a legion of spices like chilli padi, shrimp paste, belachan, blue ginger and more, has a thicker texture, allowing it to cling onto every strand of noodles. Served in a claypot, to enjoy piping hot till the very last mouthful.
#01-75 Alexandra Village, 120 Bukit Merah Ln 1, Singapore 151120
NEXT: Sin Ming Roti Prata →
The coin prata at Sin Ming prata may be small in size, but they’re big on taste. Dip these buttery morsels, crispy on the outside and stretchy on the inside, in their legendary mutton curry.
#01-51 Jin Fa Kopitiam, 24 Sin Ming Rd, Singapore 570024
NEXT: Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak →
Nasi lemak translates directly to “rich rice”, so there’s no guessing what’s the star of the show here. This stall’s nasi lemak uses basmati rice, cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf, for a fluffier texture that carries the fragrance wonderfully. The various meal options come with various ingredients like their crispy fried chicken wings, otak-otak (spiced fishcake), ikan bilis (anchovies); we love their sambal – the nasi lemak essential – which is thicker and slightly caramelised.
#01-02 Adam Road Food Centre, 2 Adam Rd, Singapore 289876
NEXT: Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle →
Ok, you might know this one. This Michelin-starred hawker shot to (greater) fame with their Cantonese soya sauce chicken and barbecued pork when they made the list. It makes for a simple meal – even without vegetables to accompany your dish, like you’d find at your average hawker – but oh so satisfying. It’s also the cheapest Michelin-approved meal you can get in the world. Just thought we’d put that out.
#02-126 Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, 335 Smith St, Singapore 050335
NEXT: Founder Bak Kut Teh (pork rib soup) →
By Pinky Chng, November 2017
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