Food is personal (one person may not love what another adores), but if you ask us, these are the best in Singapore. These spots serve up eats that we personally crave, return to again and again, that continue to live right up front in our food memories. If you’re new to the city, start with this list, and if you’re a long-timer on the Sing scene, we bet you’ll agree with us.
Of course, there are so many places we haven’t listed, but if you share them with us fervently enough here, we might just go eat there and add them to this list of winner winner chicken dinners.
Rojak is a unique fruit and vegetable salad topped with crushed peanuts and a dark, sticky sauce made with fermented prawn paste, sugar, chilli and tamarind juice. Usually made up of pineapple, cucumber, Chinese turnip and young mango, as well as crispy you char kway (the Chinese version of churros), the combination creates a savoury, salty, spicy, sweet experience in every mouthful. This little stall lets you customise your rojak with add-ons and is generous with its sauce, but Brothers Rojak is always busy, so be prepared to wait!
Block 449 Clementi Avenue 3, #01-211, Singapore 120449, +65 9710 2700
Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine
Teochew (or Chiu Chow) cuisine isn’t always easy to find, and Chui Hay Lim does it so well. Teochew cuisine is all about natural flavours and is often cooked in a healthier style compared to most other Chinese cuisines. They like poaching, steaming and braising most of all. Noted for their variety of braised foods such as goose, duck, pork, bean curd and offal, at Chui Huay Lim they have a platter that gives a great overall impression of the dishes that make Teochew cuisine so special. Grab a group and head here so that you can order the Teochow Classic Platter ($58 for 6 or $98 for 10), which comes with braised duck, deep-fried ngoh hiang (five-spice pork and prawn wrapped in bean curd skin), deep-fried liver rolls and pig trotter terrine. The signature oyster omelette ($14) has a dedicated chef just for this specific dish, which is a pretty spectacular mixture of crunchy, crispy and gooey goodness. And the wok-fried kway teow with diced kai lan and preserved radish ($20–40) is insane. All must-orders!
Chui Huay Lim Club, 190 Keng Lee Road, #01-02, Singapore 308409, +65 6732 3637
Fu Zhou Poh Hwa Oyster Cake
At Fu Zhou Poh Hwa, you’ll find these crisp little fritters that are considered a nostalgia-inducing Singaporean comfort food. Very few hawker stalls sell what are often referred to as UFOs (unidentified fried objects), cherished for their flavour-bomb interiors bursting with oyster, prawn and veggies – once you’ve crunched through the thick, crackling disc, that is. This is one flying saucer we want aimed directly at our mouth.
Berseh Food Centre, 166 Jalan Besar, #02-34, Singapore 208877, +65 8112 5286
Hup Choon Seafood Restaurant
This Singaporean-Cantonese tze char is cheap and delicious, and you might actually need reservations at this hawker stall if you want to eat here in the evening. Their mee goreng is off the hook, as are their vegetable soup and cereal prawns (trust us). This old-school kopitiam serves genuinely beautiful food and has a few gem staffers that make every eating experience there that little bit extra. Their breakfast menu of char siu noodles topped with fried egg or duck rice is an excellent start to a Singaporean day. We’re a little addicted to their iced milk tea too. Come here for the best Chinese fare you’ll find in this green, peaceful ’hood. Side note: while you’re in the area, check out IVINS (19/21 Binjai Park) for cheap, legit Peranakan eats.
1 Binjai Park, Singapore 589818, +65 6468 4081
Tiong Bahru Fried Kway Teow
Tiong Bahru is home to some of the best food stalls in Singapore. You could easily just wander anywhere in here and go where your stomach guides you. But here is our favourite – and choosing our favourite was like making a child choose between candyfloss and ice cream. But we choose Tiong Bahru Fried Kway Teow. Aptly named, this one does what it says on the tin. Now, char kway teow ($2) is the kind of thing you should only let yourself eat twice a year (yeah, that kind of good), and we recommend one time being spent here (or maybe both, as this one is a less oily version of the notoriously unhealthy dish). It’s a bit drier than others, but that’s why we love it (we can eat more without feeling like we’ve got a tank in our tummy). Plus, the price can’t be beat! We also need to give a nod to Ru Yi Vegetarian Stall (#02-26) for a quick after-dish to follow the kway teow along with the aromatic java at 238 Coffee Stall (#02-81). And perhaps have a Teck Seng Soya Bean Milk (#02-69) for dessert. Okay, maybe we didn’t choose just one favourite here, but who’s complaining?
Tiong Bahru Food Centre, 30 Seng Poh Road, #02-11, Singapore 168898
Gokul Vegetarian Restaurant
If you’re going more meat free, or you’re already fully there, this place does legit mock meat and combines northern and southern Indian and Asian cuisines into one great restaurant. Gokul’s menu is huge, and we’ve tried much of it. The “fish head” curry ($10), “chicken” dum biryani ($12) and chilli “chicken” ($10) are definite winners, and they don’t use egg, onion or garlic either, so it’s all Buddhist friendly. Not as cheap as some of our suggestions, but a good place to spend those meatless Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays (and more).
Lee Fun Nam Kee
This really is the best soya sauce chicken ($6–30) we’ve ever tasted. The soy sauce is thick, rich and balanced and the chicken perfectly juicy and tender. The daughter of the owner appeared on MasterChef Singapore, so we know the cooking genes are generously flowing through this family. Lee Fun Nam Kee started as a hawker stall but is now a no-frills restaurant. The taste is different from Hong Kong–style soya chicken, and the secret recipe isn’t simple – it involves 12 traditional Chinese medicine herbs and spices!
Photo credit: @jennacbear7
We added this one because it’s just really cool. We love coffee, and an Italian blend served up in a biscotti coffee cup ($8.90–9.90) is pretty much the perfect afternoon for us. Yes, the cups at Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant Miryoku Bistro are made from biscotti biscuits, so when you’ve drunk your cup of joe, you can eat the vessel, saturated in coffee flavour without the need for dunking – both delicious and zero waste.
A friend introduced us to Hillman, which has a rich history and a warm, family-run feeling inside. They are especially known for their chicken in paper bag ($11–44), or chee pow kai, a classic Cantonese dish that’s not found in many places these days. They do a lot of traditional home-cooked zi-char dishes that, depending on your upbringing, will either take you back to your childhood or open you up to new flavours and cooking styles.
135 Kitchener Road, Singapore 208518, + 65 6221 5073
At Bukit Timah is the little gem of Living Wholesome, serving up veggie thunder tea brown rice ($6 for set) that is the full trifecta: cheap, wholesome and delicious. The hawker who runs it looks like a rock star and is constantly singing and dancing while he serves up long queues of hungry fans. You can get vegetarian bee hoon ($3) here too.
328 Katong Laksa
328 is the place for creamy, spicy laksa ($5). The strong coconut milk flavour is balanced by chilli, making for a rich gravy that’s stuffed with fresh, plump prawns, cockles and thick rice vermicelli noodles, cut short so that you only need a spoon. You get a generous portion for the money and you won’t be hungry after, especially if you add on some otah, spicy fish cakes grilled in banana leaves. Although this branch of 328 is located in a baffling shopping centre that’s quite disorienting to navigate, this bowl of laksa is worth the endeavour.
Queensway Shopping Centre, 1 Queensway, #01-60, Singapore 149053, +65 9732 8163
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