Hawker centres in Singapore are open air food complexes selling a whole range of food, mostly self-service and usually cheaper than kopitiams/restaurants. It is also the place we can find the best of Singapore cuisine. That said, it is one place tourists HAVE to visit if they truly want a taste of all the food that Singapore has to offer.
Hawker centres in Singapore each have their own characteristics, differing in size, food options and variety. In this article, in no particular order, we suss out the best hawker centres in Singapore and what you must try there!
Maxwell Road Hawker Centre is located in the heart of Chinatown with over 100 stalls. There are many popular food stalls here like Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, Zhen Zhen Porridge (which I absolutely love but hate to queue) and Char Kway Teow from Marina South Delicious Food Stall.
Address: 1 Kadayanallur St S069184
Opening Hours: 0800 – 2200 daily
Maxwell Road Hawker Centre is within walking distance of Tanjong Pagar MRT.
Come lunch time, the queues are snaking with hungry patrons. Tian Tian is one of the best chicken rice stalls in Singapore with its fragrant and oily chicken rice, the way chicken rice should be.
Stalls 10 and 11
Tue to Sun: 1100 – 2000 (earlier if sold out)
I can vouch for Zhen Zhen’s porridge. Though a hungry me wasn’t very happy after queuing more than half an hour for a bowl of porridge, I relished it. The porridge a mark above the rest with its thick consistency, generosity of ingredients and rich flavor that wasn’t too overwhelming.
Middle aisle, Stall 54
0530 – 1430 daily, closed on Tuesday
Mon to Sun: 0700 – 2000
1100 – 2030, closed on Thursdays
Located above a wet market, this is one hawker centre I often visit. Though it is smaller compared to other hawker centres, they have a wide variety of food options from duck rice, satay bee hoon, chicken wings to what it’s widely known for – fried carrot cake.
In the day, stalls selling food like chee cheong fun, meat dumplings and breakfast snacks are opened. When night falls, stalls selling BBQ seafood and satay open.
Address: 116 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 588172
Daily, 6.30am to 10.30pm
It is quite hard to find a plate of satay bee hoon these days, much less a good plate. Here at Sin Chew, the Satay bee hoon comes with a generous dosage of fragrant peanut sauce which is creamy and smooth.
5pm- 10.30pm (Wed-Fri), 5pm- 10pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
Tiong Bahru Market is located above a wet market and is a 10 minute walk from Tiong Bahru MRT Station. It is also surrounded by a treasure trove of cafes, bakeries and other popular food stalls like Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice.
Address: 30 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 168898
6.30am to 10.30pm daily
What makes this stall different from the usual Lor Mee stalls is that it is served with shark meat fritters on top. Additionally, fried crispy bits are added for that extra crunch which go really well with the thick gravy.
6am – 930pm, closed on Wednesday
7am-1pm (Closed Mon)
Tekka Centre remains a landmark of Little India where different ethnicities congregate. Though many Indians are seen here, you can also find Chinese stallholders who speak fluent Tamil. The ground floor is a hawker centre which contains more Muslim and Indian food stalls than the usual hawker centres.
Tekka Centre is situated just outside Little India Station which makes it very convenient to visit.
Address: 665 Buffalo Rd, L1 Tekka Centre, Singapore 210665
Opening Hours: Daily 06:30 – 17:00
The old man here has been selling his braised duck rice for more than 6 decades so it’s not surprising the duck he churns out daily is really flavorful. Their braised duck sauce is also very fragrant instead of the usual salt-laden varieties.
They don’t sell geese any more due to supply issues.
8:30am to 2:30pm, closed on Monday
After undergoing a 9 month renovation, Lau Pa Sat has been up and running since July last year. Formerly known as Telok Ayer Market, this >120 year old market still attracts the hungry crowds with 54 stalls and 14 mini restaurants. However, prices here are a little steeper than the average hawker centre.
Address: 18 Raffles Quay, s048582
Opening Hours: 24 hours (individual stalls’ timing differ)
One interesting thing about Lau Pa Sat is the satay street featuring over 10 satay stalls each hawking various styles and types of meat kebabs once the sun sets. The satays range from lamb to pork and chicken. There are also Malay and Chinese styles to suit different palates.
Out of all the stalls, “Best Satay” (stall 8) stands out. The meat is succulent and well marinated complete with an addictive smoky flavour. The beef satay here is recommended and complements the not too thick nor runny peanut sauce perfectly.
Lau Pa Sat satay street: Daily from 19:00 till late
Stall 8 : Mon-Fri: 7pm-12.30am, Sat-Sun: 3pm-12am
Fans of Song Kee Fishball Noodles will be glad to know that they have an outlet at Lau Pa Sat. They are known for their handmade fishballs made with pure yellowtail fish meat to achieve the bouncy texture that everybody adores. The chilli here is also spicy with a strong kick.
Comprising of 168 food stalls, it’ll take you ages for you to try every single stall. The food options here are endless and it’s one hawker centre you can get lost at. This is one place I’ll recommend to my tourist friends if they wanna try out all of Singapore’s famous foods. The must-tries here are endless so I’ll just be listing a few.
Address: 19 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390019
7am to about 8pm or when sold out
One of Makansutra’s top 5 Lor Mee, Xin Mei Xiang uses a rich seafood stock to make their lor gravy. It is done a la egg drop soup style, smooth and not overly starchy. Each bowl is topped with stewed pork, ngoh hiang, fried snapper flakes and egg.
7am-2pm, (closed on Mondays and Thursdays)
7.30am – 1pm, Closed Mondays
8am to 10pm daily
Fortunately, the uncle here is swift so the wait isn’t too long. The rojak paste here is lighter in color and more on the sweet side.
Mon – Sat: noon – 8pm, Close on Sun
Unlike most of the hawker centres listed here, Chomp Chomp mainly operates at night selling dinner/supper favorites like satay, hokkien mee and BBQ seafood. This is one of the most famous food centres in Singapore though it can get quite stuffy inside with the poor air ventilation.
Address: 20 Kensington Park Road, Singapore 557269
Opening Hours: 6pm – 12am
Mon to Sun: 1700 – 0000
The noodles are less wet and comes with a starchier gravy. Though the noodles are delicious, the portion of accompanying seafood was lacking.
5.30pm to 12 plus , Closed once a fortnight
As announced by a simple white signboard with bold red letters proclaiming “Carrot Cake”, this stall sells both white and black carrot cake and oyster omelettes. Unlike the usual fried carrot cakes, theirs has prawns cooked together. It is full of the fragrance of chye poh complete with soft slabs of carrot cake.
Daily 5.30 pm to 12 midnight, Closed on alternate Tuesday
Hong Lim Market and Food Centre was one of the first hawker centres to pop out in Chinatown, before Maxwell and Amoy Street Food centres. There are over 100 hawker stalls and is well ventilated after undergoing a renovation 3 years ago. During office hours, hoards of office workers from the CBD area swarm this place.
Address: 531A Upper Cross Street Singapore 051531
Mon – Sat: 6am to 4.30pm, Closed Sun and PH
Tip: Come before lunch hours to avoid the lunch crowd and in case they run out of ingredients.
8.30am to 3pm , Closed Alt Mon and PH
Served on styrofoam plates, smooth flat rice noodles are doused with a starchy gravy cooked using chicken bones and prawns. Their crayfish is popular amongst customers but it is really the smooth as silk noodles which don’t clump that make these plates of hor fun stellar.
11am-3pm (Closed Sun)
This stall is known for their unique offerings – think Fruit Juice Crayfish Mee Siam and a Laksa with Crayfish. If you’re the adventurous type of person, this stall is right up your alley. No assam is added to their mee siam except some secret ingredients. It is sweet yet tangy at the same time. The laksa comes with a lighter gravy than the normal but is delicious nonetheless.
10.30am-6.30pm, closed Sun
Golden Mile Food Centre occupies two levels, with the lower level consisting more of Muslim and Indian food stalls. Don’t be surprised to find many army boys here as the upper floors have shops selling army supplies. There are a couple of notable stalls here worth checking out.
Address: 505 Beach Road, Singapore 199583
#01-65, Golden Mile Food Centre, 505 Beach Road
Mon – Fri: 17:00 – 22:00, Closed Wed
What is special about the char kway teow here is that each plate is served topped with a generous serving of fresh green vegetables. Finally a “healthy” CKT that we can gobble down with less guilt. Nonetheless, it is still done the traditional way, cooked with pork lard and with the usual ingredients like lup cheong and fish cake slices.
Daily from 11am to 9pm, Closed on Mondays
12:00pm – 10:00pm
With the abundance of hawker centres in Singapore, it is not difficult to find delicious food any time of the day. To those living in Singapore – bring your tourist friends to these hawker centres to try out authentic local food! That way they can then savor Singapore’s best – at a decent price.
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