Singapore is known for its serious skyline, but did you know that Singaporeans are equally as serious about their street food? The street food is not joke in Singapore and, like the rest of the country, it has been cleaned up, streamlined, and modernized.
Singapore has a long history and tradition with street food vendors, as most countries in Southeast Asia, but one thing that makes Singapore different is government regulation. Instead of hawkers frying and selling their eats on the street, the government consolidated the vendors to food courts to free up the streets and regulate food safety. My sensitive traveler’s tummy was thankful for that!
In the food courts, you can find anything from dumplings, to fish balls, to the oddly plain-named but quintessentially Singaporean dish “chicken rice”. Below are a few of my favorite street food hotspots in Singapore:
Lunch Hour Buffets
If you want to try a little of everything, buffets are where it’s at in Singapore. The best time to hit up a buffet is during the lunch rush, and it can also be great opportunity to do a little people watching of the young, professional crowd (two birds, one stone). Try out Smith Street in Chinatown to taste a little of everything and read this blog before you go.
Mall Food Courts
Yes, you read that correctly. The malls of Singapore are the place to see and be seen in Singapore, and they are also the place to get some serious street food. On Friday and Saturday nights the mall food courts were packed and it wasn’t out of the norm to wait 20-30 minutes to snatch a table. For a ‘high class’ mall food court experience, you must visit Orchard Lane. For the rest of us normal folk, really any mall with have great food (seriously). And believe me when I tell you, Singaporeans are serious about their malls so you’ll never want for options.
Boat & Clark Quay
Singaporeans don’t distinguish between breakfast and dinner food, so eating ramen or rice in the morning is not usual–and rather the norm. While I am an adventurous eater, one of the only western food traditions I cannot give up is breakfast. Luckily for me, I was able to find some amazing eggs and coffee all over the city but the best areas were definitely in Boat and Clark Quay. Maybe it was the proximity to most tourist attractions, but these areas had the best open coffee shops and breakfast spots around.
Old Airport Road
Looking for awesome ramen and want to feel like a local? Head to Old Airport Road, where you will be guaranteed to be one of the few outsiders seated at the plastic tables. Not sure where to start? Pick the vendor with the longest line, that’s sure to be a local favorite.
Hot Pot on Lau Pa Sat
Looking for a fun meal experience? Then definitely do a hot pot! This Lau Pa Sat hot pot street meal was one of my favorite evenings in Singapore. The streets were filled with chairs and tiny plastic tables, and after dark the area came alive and was crowded with tourists and locals alike. We let our meat and fish sizzle over the steaming hot pot and drank some great beer to stave off the heat. One of the best meals we had!
Looking for more Singapore street meal ideas? Check out the links below.
- Huffington Post’s article on Singapore’s Best Street Food
- Hostel World’s “Top 5 Hawker Centers in Singapore”
- Seth Liu’s “Top 30 Singaporean Food to Eat Before You Die”
- Serious Eat’s “A Day in the Life of a Singaporean Hawker”