Hawker Food: The New Generation
Think dining at the hawker centre means the same old plates of chicken rice and Hokkien mee day after day? Think again. New-age hawkers are changing the game by dishing out hearty hipster nosh at wallet-friendly prices. We’ve uncovered 10 of the most droolworthy hawker spots featuring items on their menu you’d never expect to find outside of a cafe.
Next time you and the bae are craving some fancy European fare on date night, ditch the snooty upscale restaurants and head to the neighbourhood kopitiam instead. Singlet, berms and sandals are completely acceptable attire.
1. The Burning Oak: Kopitiam-priced fancy Japanese skewers and roasts
Fans of Japanese yakitori and bentos rejoice, you can now relish some quality meats without the fuss of dining in a fancy schmancy restaurant. All-stars at this uber popular Simpang Bedok stall include the Beef Short Rib Skewers ($6/stick), slow-cooked to perfection for a whopping 72 hours, and their Wagyu Rump & Iberico Pork Combo Bento ($15).
The presentation alone deserves five stars and given the competitive prices, it’s no wonder they always get snatched up in a jiffy during the lunchtime crowd.
Address: #02-16, Simpang Bedok 348 Bedok Road S(469560)
Opening hours: Tue to Thur 12 pm – 1:30 pm & 6 pm – 9:30 pm
Fri to Sat 12 pm – 1:30 pm & 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sun 6 pm – 10 pm
2. Ah Bong’s Italian: Hearty pastas and carb-filled goodness
There’s nothing quite like having a plate of piping hot pasta for dinner. Especially when it’s simple yet delicious, prepared with love that reminds you of the meals Mother used to make.
Ah Bong serves up pasta from good ol’ fashioned Bolognese ($8) to atas Beef Cheek Ragu ($10). To make things all the more interesting, they have a menu of three pasta choices which changes every single day. Variety is the spice of life, I always say!
Address: #01-46, 56 Eng Hoon St S(160056)
Opening hours: Mon to Sat 10 am – 2 pm
Closed on Sun
3. Seasalt: Vast array of ocean-fresh seafood
Get your seafood cravings sorted at Seasalt. Situated at Bukit Merah’s ever popular Salute kopitiam which has made quite a name for itself as a hipster hawker enclave, Seasalt has a pretty impressive selection of fish, crustacean, molluscs and more.
Get yourself a pot of their fresh, chewy and piquant Tom Yum Mussels ($15), you won’t regret it. The Grilled Cajun Calamari ($8) are also a safe bet that’ll have you reaching out for piece after piece with reckless abandon. Calories? What calories?
Address: #01-04, M38 Building, 38 Jalan Pemimpin, Singapore 577178 (Nearest MRT: Marymount)
Opening hours: Tue- to Sun 12 pm – 2:30 pm & 5:30 pm – 9 pm
Closed on Mon
4. Otto Berlin Haus: Scrumptious German meat & brews
Who would’ve expected to find authentic German cuisine right in the heart of Toa Payoh? Offering an extensive range of national favourites from Pork Knuckle ($13) to Bratwurst Platters ($35 for 8).
They offer special lunch sets from time to time, going for as low as $10 for an ultra filling main, PLUS a soup and drink. That’s quite a steal, seeing as it’s legit European fare. Check out Otto Berlin Haus’ Facebook page to stay abreast of their latest promotions!
Address: #01-01, Blk 211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8 S(310211)
Opening hours: Mon 11:30 am – 11:30 pm
Tues to Sun 11:30 am – 3 am
5. Chef Recipe: Hipster cafe food at half the price
Just when you thought that Tiong Bahru is only known for being a hipster enclave where cafe menu prices go straight to the roof, Chef Recipe opens.
A Western hawker stall within a newly opened food centre called Food Paradise, Chef Recipe offers gourmet goodies at prices you would not believe. Truffle fries go for $6 here, which is literally HALF the price of regular cafes.
These strands of spud are the real deal, mind you. With a full-bodied truffle flavour and aroma, there’s even a tasty cheese dip on the side. Definitely fares way better than the attempt of a fast food chain which shall remain unnamed…
Other irresistibly priced items include Wasabi Salmon Burger ($7.50), Seafood Baked Rice ($7) and Rosemary Lamb with Peppermint Sauce ($10.80).
Address: #01-15, Blk 11B Boon Tiong Rd S(163011)
Opening hours: 11 am – 10:30 pm daily
6. Ministry Of Ribs: Satisfy your caveman hunger
How does a rack of tender, smokey and melt-in-your-mouth ribs sound? Get your fix at this hole in the wall located at a HDB block. Their signature Hickory Smoked BBQ Ribs ($16.90) are a must-try, and there’s no better way to scarf it down than with some Wild Mushroom Soup and Truffle Fries on the side.
Knock back a pint or two while you’re at it, because they offer a tower of Erdinger for only $48 during happy hours. That’s one of the cheapest rates in town!
Address: Pandan Gardens (main branch): #01-125, Blk 416 Pandan Garden S(600416)
Ang Mo Kio: Blk 727 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 S(560727)
Opening hours: 11 am – 10 pm daily
7. A Noodle Story: For atas wanton mee
No stranger to anyone who uses social media, this innovative fusion of local hawker food and Japanese cuisine has graced many a foodie’s Instagram page.
Springy wanton noodles bathed in chilli oil are accompanied by an abundance of quirky toppings, including a prawn tempura wrapped in potato swirls. All this Singapore Style Ramen goodness goes for only $5.50, but you can also upsize to $6.50 and $7.50 portions depending on your respective level of voracity.
Address: 7 Maxwell Road, #01-39 Amoy Street Food Centre S(069111)
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 11:15 am – 2:30 pm & 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Sat 10:30 am – 1:30 pm
Closed on Sun
8. Lad & Dad: Good ol’ British fare
Located at the humble Serangoon Garden Market, Lad & Dad’s immaculately presented Lancashire Hotpot ($12) is THE definition of comfort food. Just the thought of tucking into the piping hot stew of succulent beef chunks and slow-braised veggies makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
If you’ve never had one before, now’s the time to sink your teeth into their rendition of a traditional Yorkshire Pudding ($3 with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). You’ll never believe that something so delicious was made from just flour, eggs and milk.
Address: #32 Serangoon Garden Market, 49A Serangoon Garden Way S(555945)
Opening hours: Wed to Sun 12 pm – 8 pm
Closed on Mon & Tue
Simple, But Oh-So-Good Hawker Food
It’s easy to lose track of how much cash we send down the drain for factors like atmosphere, 5-star service and – let’s face it, a backdrop that will make our meal look as “Instagrammable” as possible.
While a non-airconditioned kopitiam may not be the fanciest or most comfortable of settings, there’s no denying that each of the dishes doled out by the hawkers are prepared on the spot with love. Self-service ain’t a problem when you’re treated with such warmth and cordiality from behind the stall counter.
The best part by far? A scrumptious meal your tummy and taste buds will absolutely love you for, without having to bleed your wallet dry.