As you may already know, Singapore is a food capital of Southeast Asia. Every block you walk, you will see great sit-down restaurants, cafes and dessert stands. Also, sometimes hidden and other times not, Singapore has something called Hawker Centres.
Hawker Centres are areas for mom-and-pop stalls to sell their food. Usually, the individual stalls focus on one dish and that becomes their specialty for the family. The food is super cheap, and honestly is a third of the cost of a sit-down restaurant. You won’t have an attentive server, but I think a “home cooked” meal by aunties and uncles are better.
Think street food not on the streets.
When I came into Singapore, I already knew about its food scene. Normally, I have a giant appetite and the attitude of “it’s now or never.” However, on this trip, I didn’t feel hungry as much. I ate only one main meal and was able to hold over to the next day. It might have been the horrendous humidity, which caused me to drink so much water and thus, become full.
Ding Tai Fung
City Square Mall
180 Kitchener Road #01-10 Singapore 208539
I am aware Din Tai Fung originated in Taiwan. However, when I saw it at the mall, I felt the “now or never” attitude. I didn’t know when I would be in Taiwan or Los Angeles (they opened one there). I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
I thought the food was decent, but I didn’t see the value in the meal. It tasted like some of the dim sum I tried in Chicago’s Chinatown. I had high expectations. I did try the coveted truffle dumping (S$5/dumpling). It was really good but not worth the S$5. The total cost was S$35.
Hock Lee Fishball Noodles
Albert Centre Market & Food Centre
270 Queen Street #01-102 Singapore 180270
This is my first meal at a Hawker Centre, which took me a while to figure out the unspoken rules of Hawker dining. Hock Lee has wet noodles (S$4) or dry noodles (S$5). I went with the dry option; This gives you some nice chewy egg noodles with a mildly spicy red sauce and a side of fish soup. They are really good, especially the egg noodles.
If you get the wet noodles, you get vermicelli noodles (bee han) mixed into the fish soup. It looked like a local favorite too, but I would have missed my chewy noodles and red sauce too much. The noodles were my best meal in Singapore.
1 Fullerton Road #01-06 Singapore 049213
A restaurant on the One Fullerton walk way, this place sits near the famous Merlion. I knew that I would be hungry when I walked over to the Garden by the Bay, so I went up and down the walkway. Out of all the places, this seemed the easiest to eat and the most reasonably price (comparable to U.S. restaurants).
I asked for portion sizes, because I was travelling solo and I hate unnecessarily wasting food. If you are by yourself, do not order an entree. Instead, I went with a small plate of corn dogs and freshly juiced greens. They were pretty good, and while I was there, I got a great view of the Marina Bay Sands in air conditioning. The cost was S$24.50.
Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee
Hong Lim Food Centre
531A Upper Cross Street #02-17 Singapore 051531
I actually walked out of my way for this one on Sunday, but this place is closed on Sundays. I didn’t check Google before I left the Airbnb. However, the next day, I was set on eating another famous food at this stall. I went around 9 AM and there was already line wrapped around the corner. This place is something special.
For a regular plate, it’s S$4. If you want to add cockles (mini oyster looking seafood), it’s an extra S$0.50 and eggs are an extra S$2. Mine came with a little bit of cockles, which I think were leftover in the wok for the previous customers. I am indifferent about the cockles. What I loved though were the noodles. They tasted like one of my favorite Thai dishes, Pad See Ew.
Chinatown Seafood Restaurant
Chinatown Seafood Restaurant
51 Pagoda St Singapore 059212
I was hanging around Chinatown for a walking tour, but I got caught in a downpour, and of course, didn’t bring an umbrella. I ducked into this Chinatown restaurant, which is outside of the Chinatown MRT stop, Exit A.
I ordered a Ma Po Tofu dish and a side of rice, which was very authentic and delicious. The portion sizes though could have fed 2-3 people, even though I was told it was enough for one person. I would go with a dim sum dish if you are by yourself. The cost was S$18.50.
Straits Food Village
Changi Airport Terminal 2
Transit Lounge Central #036-141
I came to the airport really early, and was looking to kill time but also feed myself one last Singaporean dish. As I wandered around the airport, I found this great food court, which had a bunch of stalls like at a Hawker Centre. You order at a kiosk and then on the receipt is the stall number. I just went to the stall center and waited for my dish.
I ordered a Nasi Lamak, a Malay dish. I got a lot of fried food with mine and a sweet curry sauce. Nasi Lamak is a popular dish in Singapore, but for my personal preference, I did not like it. I am unused to a sweet sauce on my rice. Although I didn’t like it, I’m positive many others would say differently.
For me, Singapore kept my belly happy. Everything I put into my mouth was so satisfying. Singapore is said to be one of the most expensive countries in the world, but the food was either really cheap or reasonably price. I would like to come back to this country, hopefully with a bigger appetite next time.