Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns
Tropical North Queensland
Street food, or “hawker food” as the locals call it, is a Singaporean national treasure and a melting pot of regional cultures and cuisines including Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian.
To help navigate the overwhelming number of options when eating your way through Singapore, we've compiled a list of our eight must-eat dishes and the best places to enjoy them.
Don’t write off this deceptively simple dish, Hainanese Chicken Rice has a depth of flavour that will surprise you. The recipe originates from Hainan Island at China’s southern tip and involves poaching an entire bird in pork and chicken stock at sub-boiling temperatures to create an incredibly soft and juicy texture. It’s served with rice that is cooked with chicken stock, ginger and garlic, a chilli and dark soy sauce, and cucumber and minced ginger.
Almost every vendor serves the dish, often with their very own unique twists, so it’s hard to narrow down the best. Anthony Bourdain has raved about Tian Tian and its particularly fragrant rice, which has lead to an influx in tourist customers. Many locals and travellers recommend vendors like Wee Nam Kee and Hua Kee Chicken Rice for a dish that’s just as delicious.
This often-overlooked protein is mouth-watering when cut into a steak sized piece and covered in a sambal marinade (made from chillies, shallots, cane sugar, shrimp paste and spices), wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled.
Chomp Chomp Food Centre (Stall #1) does an excellent version or head to BBQ Seafood in the Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre.
Translated to meat bone tea, this humble dish involves juicy pork ribs simmered for hours in a broth with a perfect balance of white pepper, lots of garlic, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel and dang gui.
Song Fa has specialised in this tasty soup since 1969 and Heng Heng serves up a great version as well.
Enjoying this dish does involve a bit of work, but it is certainly worth it. Whole crabs are cooked in a sweet and spicy tomato based sauce and finished with coddled eggs for extra texture and thickness. They’re served with fried mantou, a slightly sweet white bread, to soak up all of the excess sauce.
Long Beach Seafood and Jumbo Seafood are both renowned for their offerings.
This decadent dish, a local favourite, is composed of flat rice noodles stir fried in pork fat and a thick, sweet soy sauce with shrimp paste, chives, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts and egg.
Brave the enormous queues at Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee or Zion Riverside Food Centre because both of their versions are stellar.
Another signature Singaporean dish with ambiguous origins, this moreish curry features the head of a red snapper stewed with assorted veggies like okra and brinjal. Indian-run stalls serve a spicier variety while the Chinese vendors do a sweeter one.
Head to The Banana Leaf Apolo or Muthu’s Curry for outstanding versions.
Commonly referred to as carrot cake, this snack is nothing like the cream-cheese frosted variety and it actually doesn’t contain any carrots. Chai tow kway is made with rice flour and shreds of daikon (which in a Chinese dialect can refer to both daikon radish and carrots) that are formed into rice cakes and fried in pork lard and eggs. It’s salty, crispy, greasy, and delectable.
Pick one up at Song Zhou Luo Bo Gao.
There are a few variants of this Peranakan dish, but most use vermicelli, coconut milk, tau pok (beancurd puffs), fish slices, shrimp and cockles to form a spicy soup.
Sungei Road Laksa is famous for their laksa and the story for the recipe behind it, which involved a mysterious customer sharing his knowledge before disappearing. Another great option is 328 Katong Laksa, which serves the version that beat Gordon Ramsay in a televised cooking challenge.
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