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Singapore Hawkers +

I'm heading over to Singapore in a couple of weeks and am looking for any must haves or "die die, must try". Hawker food, sit down places any and all cuisines.

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  1. Eating is the national pastime in Singapore. The people really care about food, and have the wealth to buy the best that South East Asia has to offer. As far as recommendations go, you need to decide what you want. What is great to me, such as a South Indian neighborhood thali restaurant, might put you off as unclean and unfamiliar. So what do you like, how much do you want to spend, and how long will you be in Singapore?

    Unfortunately, there isn't much activity on this board as far as I can tell, so it may be a while before you get responses.

    But fortunately, it's easy to find good food in Singapore, even on your own, with little guidance. And I think that finding the little Indian place just by following my nose made the experience even better.

    1. My favorites:

      South Indian - Anandabhavans on Serangoon Road. Also good is Komala Villas on Serangoon. They also have a second location down the road by Mustafa Shopping Center, but I prefer the first one.

      Hawker Center - don't really have a favorite other than to say avoid Newton's Circus. It's a tourist trap. Since I have family in several areas of Singapore, I usually end up at a hawker center near a family member's flat. That's a good way to see if a place is good - lots of locals at a center usually means it's good.

      Food courts: I like the Takishimaya food court, and my husband likes the Wisma Atria food court. The one at Tang's is nice too. At Takishimaya, I like the noodle shop at the back that sells the fried mee goreng and hokkien mee. The Bugis MRT station has a good food court too. Nice chicken rice, wonton mee and a great ais kachang (shaved ice) stall. You can get an original ais kachang big enough for 2-3 people to share for only S$1.10.

      Sit Down: I hardly ever do sit down dinners in Singapore unless it's at a hotel (like wedding) or at someone's home. I prefer to eat out in the smaller hawker stalls and food courts which I can't find here in L.A.

      2 Replies
      1. re: boogiebaby

        What is the difference between Mee Goreng and Hokkien Mee?

        1. re: daimyo

          Mee Goreng is indian style noodles. Hokkien Mee is Chinese style. Mee is the chinese word for noodle. Goreng is Malay word for fried.

      2. I love the hawker stalls but for a great sit-down try The Red Lantern Chinese Restaurant. About 3 weeks ago had Chili Crab and Deer Meat Stew. Both excellent. Deer meat melted in my mouth. Hey -- this is Asia and everything is on the menu. The Chili Crab was absolutely delicious. Don't forget to select a cold beer or iced tea to go with it. Very reasonably priced. Nothing like it here in L.A..

        1. I'm just learning myself, but I love the following dishes which I think are unique to Singapore, or at least Singapore's version is different from what you get elsewhere, which I think is what you are looking for:

          Chili crab, pepper crab, curried lobster, fish head soup. Laksa, roti prata, teh tarik, char kueh teow (sp?), rojak, grilled skate. There are lots more; I just haven't tried them.

          I usually go to Long Beach Rest. in Marina East for the first three items, and Muthu's for the fish head curry. The others I don't have a recommendation for, other than hawker centers and food courts. The roti prata place in Wisma Atria food court is cool because you can see the cook making the roti prata in front of you. These dishes are served all around the island, and you don't necessarily want to waste a lot of time finding the 'best' one, so go to a food court and find a vendor with a long line, because at least those folks think it's worth waiting for. If you can make it, cruise to Kinokuniya bookstore in Takashimaya building and check out the cookbooks. Periplus has a line of inexpensive local cookbooks, which explain how to cook (i.e. what's in) the popular dishes.

          1. So glad to find this post! I'll be going to Singapore in March, seems like too far out in the future, but a huge part of my trip is for what I hear is the amazing food. I've never been, but what I've heard about the chili crab is enough to inspire the trip!

            Morekasha, would love to hear about your trip on the boards when you get back!

            1 Reply
            1. re: yoyomama

              I was posting my trip to Singapore but didn't get any feedback. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/339929 I think I'll do a wrapup this weekend, but would be glad to pass on more specifics if you're interested.

            2. Hi

              For more upscale dining I like Indochine which is an elegant place right along the river and My Humble House for very upscale Chinese. I also like Min Jiang in the Goodwood Park hotel for Sichuan style food. Another of my favorites is the Straits Cafe in the Grand Hyatt. It is an indoor "Hawker Stall" type of place with stations featuring all the foods that Singapore is famous for. Its a buffet so bring an appetite.

              2 Replies
              1. re: RoyRon

                RoyRon: Great suggestions. Where is My Humble House? I'd also suggest Ras, for Indian food. It's on Clarke Quay and it features excellent Indian food in an upscale setting.

                1. re: FAT Traveler


                  Sorry for delayed response. I am not exactly sure of the location of My Humble House but I am sure you can find the address easily on the web or in a Sin gapore guide. The entire ambiance and food at My Humble House is incredible and I am sure you won't be disappointed. For Indian my favorite is a place in the Parkview Holiday Inn called Tandoor. It has been there for years and has excellent foo, service and decor. Their Tandoori specialties are fantastic and don't miss their version of Fish Curry.

              2. The food at Indochine is horrible. It's a great place for hanging out by the river and taking in the wonderful ambience of the restaurant and kicking back a few (expensive) beers. Slanted door in San Francisco blows away Indochine by leaps and bounds.

                my humble house is v. good. newton circus has been renovated now. M11@Bencoolen is quite nice as a hawker center.

                Buffets here are everywhere as well. The Fullerton has a chocolate buffet which is divine.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Hot Chocolate

                  i'll second my humble house (esplanade mall). pricey by singapore standards but well worth a visit. after you've had your fill at the hawker stalls/ food courts, you might consider heading over to l'angelus on club street and hanging out with the french expats. very good food/wine at a good price point. interesting french colonial vibe. not stuffy

                2. Hi everyone

                  I'm new to this site, and was wondering if you'd be able to recommend someone who can serve ice-kachang at a party we're having in Singapore for about 50 people.

                  The event will be held at our home on the afternoon of the 30th of June. Its a pre-wedding party for my sister, and we're hoping to have someone serve ice-kachang as a cool way to beat the afternoon heat. This person would need to have the industrial ice-shaver and be able to put together individual desserts for our guests.

                  The rest of the food has been arranged - mixture of catered and home-made food, and this is the last thing on my food list for that afternoon.

                  Any help you can provide would be very much appreciated!