They may be a small island nation, but the Singapore food scene packs a punch!
In Singapore, food is a way of life. People from all walks of life gather at hawker centres, restaurants, and cafes to share their love for food.
The food in Singapore is a tasty blend of flavours from Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Peranakan backgrounds, making it a great place for people who love trying many kinds of tasty dishes.
So, let’s dive into the vibrant world of Singaporean food.
Brief Overview Of The Singapore Food Scene
From street food to fine dining, Singapore has it all.
The heart of the city’s food culture lies in its hawker centres – bustling food courts filled with small, family-owned stalls. Here, you can find a mouth-watering selection of dishes at wallet-friendly prices.
But it doesn’t stop there. From Michelin-starred establishments to cosy cafés, Singapore’s dining scene features an astounding variety of international cuisines.
Importance Of Food In Singaporean Culture
Food is more than just a meal in Singapore; it’s a social event. Singaporeans are known for their love of food, and it’s not uncommon to see them lining up for hours just to taste a famous dish.
Food is often the topic of conversation, and sharing a meal with friends or family is a cherished tradition.
In this fast-paced city, eating is a moment to connect and unwind.
Multicultural Influences On Local Cuisine
The flavours of Singapore’s cuisine are as diverse as its people. With a combination of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Peranakan (Straits Chinese) influences, the local dishes are an irresistible fusion of taste and texture.
You’ll find Chinese dishes like Hainanese chicken rice alongside Indian favourites like roti prata and Malay specialities like nasi lemak.
The result? A deliciously diverse food paradise that keeps Singaporeans and visitors coming back for more.
The Best Singapore Food
1. Hainanese Chicken Rice
Hainanese Chicken Rice, a simple yet tasty dish, traces its roots back to Hainan Island in southern China.
Chinese immigrants brought Hainanese Chicken Rice to Singapore, where it quickly became a national favourite. Today, this humble dish is an iconic staple, beloved by locals and tourists.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Hainanese Chicken Rice
The magic of Hainanese Chicken Rice lies in its simplicity. The dish consists of tender, poached chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth and garlic. A tangy chilli sauce, ginger paste, and dark soy sauce add the perfect finishing touch.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Hainanese Chicken Rice In Singapore
Hawker centres are your go-to spot for mouth-watering chicken rice. Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre and Wee Nam Kee at United Square are just two of the many must-try locations.
Different Types of Laksa in Singapore
Laksa, a spicy noodle soup, comes in various styles, with Katong Laksa and Curry Laksa being the most popular. Katong Laksa features a rich coconut milk-based broth, while Curry Laksa has a thinner, curry-like consistency.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Laksa
Laksa combines noodles with flavorful spices, chilli, and coconut milk broth. Toppings include prawns, fish cake, tofu puffs, and bean sprouts, creating a symphony of taste and texture.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Laksa In Singapore
For authentic Laksa, head to 328 Katong Laksa, Sungei Road Laksa, or Janggut Laksa – all famous for their delicious renditions of this spicy delight.
3. Chilli Crab
Chili Crab, a Singaporean seafood classic, was created in the 1950s by Cher Yam Tian, a street food vendor. The dish quickly gained popularity and is now synonymous with Singaporean cuisine.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Chilli Crab
Chilli Crab features juicy, meaty crabs smothered in a thick, sweet, spicy tomato and chilli-based sauce. The dish is often enjoyed with steamed or fried mantou buns for dipping into the finger-licking sauce.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Chilli Crab In Singapore
Indulge in Chilli Crab at Jumbo Seafood, Long Beach Seafood, or No Signboard Seafood, known for their mouth-watering renditions of this iconic dish.
Satay, a dish of marinated, skewered, and grilled meat, has roots in Indonesia but has been adopted and adapted by many Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Satay
Satay typically features chicken, beef, or sometimes tofu, marinated in a blend of spices and served with a rich, peanut-based sauce. Sides include rice cakes, cucumber, and onion.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Satay In Singapore
To taste some of the best Satay in town, visit Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, Haron Satay at East Coast Lagoon Food Village, or Chomp Chomp Satay at Serangoon Garden.
5. Char Kway Teow
Char Kway Teow, which translates to “stir-fried rice cake strips,” has its origins in the Teochew community of Southern China. The dish became popular among labourers in Singapore for its affordability and high-calorie content.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Char Kway Teow
This smoky, stir-fried noodle dish combines flat rice noodles with dark soy sauce, garlic, bean sprouts, chives, and eggs. It often includes protein like prawns, cockles, fish cake, and Chinese sausage.
The secret to its irresistible flavour is the wok hei, or “breath of the wok,” which gives the dish a unique smoky aroma.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Char Kway Teow In Singapore
Some of the top Char Kway Teow stalls include Outram Park Fried Kway Teow at Hong Lim Food Centre, Hill Street Fried Kway Teow at Bedok South Market, and No. 18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow at Zion Riverside Food Centre.
6. Nasi Lemak
Nasi Lemak, a fragrant rice dish, has its roots in Malay cuisine. It’s considered the national dish of Malaysia, but it has also become a beloved staple in Singapore.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Nasi Lemak
The star of Nasi Lemak is coconut milk-infused rice cooked with pandan leaves for added aroma. It’s typically served with fried anchovies, peanuts, egg, cucumber, and a generous dollop of spicy sambal.
Protein options include fried chicken, fish, or otak-otak (grilled fish paste).
🗺 Where To Find The Best Nasi Lemak In Singapore
Check out Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak at Adam Road Food Centre, Ponggol Nasi Lemak in Jalan Besar, or Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak at Boon Lay Place Food Village.
7. Roti Prata
Roti Prata, a popular Indian-influenced flatbread, traces its origins to South India, where it’s known as parotta. It was brought to Singapore by Indian immigrants and has become a breakfast favourite.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Roti Prata
Roti Prata is made from simple flour, water, and ghee dough. It’s stretched and flipped by hand before being cooked on a hot griddle, resulting in a crispy exterior and soft, fluffy interior. It’s usually served with a side of curry for dipping.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Roti Prata In Singapore
To enjoy delicious Roti Prata, head to Mr. and Mrs. Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata, Springleaf Prata Place, or The Roti Prata House.
8. Bak Chor Mee
Bak Chor Mee, minced meat noodles, is a Teochew dish that has become a hawker centre staple in Singapore.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Bak Chor Mee
This noodle dish features springy egg noodles tossed in vinegar, chilli, and soy sauce, topped with minced pork, pork liver, fish balls, and braised mushrooms. A bowl of soup is often served on the side.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Bak Chor Mee In Singapore
To taste authentic Bak Chor Mee, visit Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle at Crawford Lane, 58 Minced Meat Mee at Taman Jurong, or Ah Hoe Mee Pok at West Coast Drive.
9. Kaya Toast
Kaya Toast, a quintessential Singaporean breakfast, has its roots in the Hainanese community.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Kaya Toast
Kaya Toast features thinly sliced, crisp toast slathered with kaya, a sweet coconut jam infused with pandan flavour. It’s typically served with soft-boiled eggs and a dash of dark soy sauce and white pepper.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Kaya Toast In Singapore
To start your day with a delicious Kaya Toast, visit Ya Kun Kaya Toast, Tong Ah Eating House, or Good Morning Nanyang Cafe, known for its amazing take on this popular Singapore breakfast.
10. Ice Kachang
Ice Kachang, a colourful and refreshing dessert, originated from the traditional ice balls sold by street vendors in the early 20th century. Over time, it evolved into the vibrant shaved ice dessert we know today.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Ice Kachang
Ice Kachang consists of a mound of finely shaved ice drizzled with a rainbow of sweet syrups like rose, pandan, and gula melaka. It’s topped with an assortment of ingredients, such as red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly, and attap chee (palm seeds). Some stalls even add a scoop of ice cream for extra indulgence.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Ice Kachang In Singapore
If you’re craving a refreshing Ice Kachang, check out Jin Jin Hot/Cold Dessert at ABC Brickworks Food Centre or Golden Mile Food Center’s Zhao An Granny Grass Jelly.
11. Hokkien Mee
Hokkien Mee has its origins in the Fujian province of China and was brought to Singapore by Chinese immigrants. This noodle dish has become a popular favourite in the local food scene.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Hokkien Mee
Hokkien Mee combines yellow and rice noodles stir-fried with prawns, squid, and pork belly. The noodles are cooked in a rich, seafood-infused broth, giving the dish a distinct and irresistible flavour. Bean sprouts, chives, and a squeeze of lime add freshness to the dish.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Hokkien Mee In Singapore
Taste some delicious Hokkien Mee, visit Tian Tian Lai at Toa Payoh, Geylang Lor 29 Fried Hokkien Mee, or Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee at Old Airport Road Food Centre.
12. Fish Head Curry
Fish Head Curry is a unique dish that blends Indian and Chinese culinary influences. It was created in Singapore by Indian immigrants who adapted their traditional curry recipe to cater to Chinese customers’ preferences for fish heads.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Fish Curry
Fish Head Curry features a tender fish head, usually red snapper, simmered in a tangy, spicy curry sauce made with tamarind, tomatoes, and various spices. The dish is often served with vegetables like okra and eggplant and is best enjoyed with steamed rice.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Fish Curry In Singapore
For authentic Fish Head Curry, head to Muthu’s Curry, Samy’s Curry, or Banana Leaf Apolo. This tasty dish is presented uniquely in each restaurant.
13. Oyster Omelette
Oyster Omelette, a popular hawker dish, has its roots in the Teochew and Fujian communities of China. It was brought to Singapore by Chinese immigrants and has since become a beloved favourite among locals.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Oyster Omelette
Oyster Omelette combines plump, fresh oysters with eggs and starchy batter. The ingredients are fried on a hot griddle, creating a delightfully crispy and gooey treat. The dish is often served with a tangy chilli sauce for dipping.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Oyster Omelette In Singapore
To enjoy a scrumptious Oyster Omelette, visit Ah Chuan Fried Oyster Omelette at Toa Payoh, Lim’s Fried Oyster at Chomp Chomp Food Centre, or Katong Keah Kee Fried Oysters in Chinatown. Each stall offers its unique version of this tasty dish.
14. Hokkien Prawn Mee
Hokkien Prawn Mee, also known as Penang Hokkien Mee or Prawn Noodle Soup, is a popular noodle dish that originated in Malaysia. It was brought to Singapore by immigrants from the Penang region and has become a beloved hawker favourite.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Hokkien Prawn Mee
Hokkien Prawn Mee features a rich, spicy prawn broth served with yellow noodles or a mix of yellow and rice noodles. The dish is loaded with ingredients like prawns, boiled eggs, kangkong (water spinach), bean sprouts, and slices of pork. A dollop of spicy sambal adds an extra kick to the dish.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Hokkien Prawn Mee In Singapore
To taste authentic Hokkien Prawn Mee, head to Penang Seafood Restaurant at Aljunied, 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles at Tekka Centre, or Beach Road Prawn Mee Eating House in East Coast Road.
15. BBQ Stingray
BBQ Stingray is a Singaporean seafood dish that has recently gained popularity. It’s inspired by the Indonesian grilled fish tradition and adapted to use stingray, a locally available ingredient.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of BBQ Stingray
Fresh stingray is marinated in a spicy sambal paste made from chilli, shrimp paste, garlic, and other aromatic ingredients. The stingray is then wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled over charcoal, giving it a smoky flavour. It’s served with a tangy dipping sauce on the side.
🗺 Where To Find The Best BBQ Stingray In Singapore
To enjoy succulent BBQ Stingray, visit Chomp Chomp Food Centre’s Hai Wei Yuan BBQ, Newton Food Centre’s Alliance Seafood, or East Coast Lagoon Food Village’s Haron Satay 55 & BBQ Seafood.
16. Char Siew
Char Siew, a Cantonese-style barbecued pork, has its roots in Southern China. It was brought to Singapore by Chinese immigrants and is now a staple in local cuisine, often served with rice or noodles.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Char Siew
Char Siew is made by marinating pork in honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and Chinese five-spice powder. The meat is then roasted or barbecued until tender and slightly charred, giving it a sweet and savoury flavour profile.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Char Siew In Singapore
To savour delicious Char Siew, visit Foong Kee Traditional Charcoal Roaster at Commonwealth Crescent Market and Food Centre, Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint at Upper Paya Lebar Road, or Fatty Cheong at ABC Brickworks Food Centre. Each establishment offers a distinctive take on this traditional dish.
17. Bak Kut Teh and Rice
Bak Kut Teh, which translates to “meat bone tea,” is a popular Chinese herbal soup that originated in the Fujian province of China. Brought to Singapore by early Chinese immigrants, it has become a favourite comfort food among locals.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Bak Kut Teh and Rice
Bak Kut Teh is made by simmering pork ribs in a fragrant broth of herbs and spices, including star anise, cinnamon, and dang gui. The dish comes in two main styles: the peppery Teochew version and the darker, more herbal Hokkien version. Bak Kut Teh is often enjoyed with steamed rice and youtiao (fried dough fritters).
🗺 Where To Find The Best Bak Kut Teh and Rice In Singapore
To taste authentic Bak Kut Teh, visit Founder Bak Kut Teh at Balestier Road, Song Fa Bak Kut Teh at New Bridge Road, or Outram Park Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha at Keppel Road.
18. Banana Leaf
Banana Leaf is not a dish in itself but rather a traditional way of serving and enjoying food in South Indian and Malay culture. The use of banana leaves as plates adds an aromatic touch to the food and is believed to have health benefits.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Banana Leaf
Food served on a banana leaf typically includes rice, various curries, vegetables, and meats, all arranged directly on the leaf. Diners eat with their hands, which is said to enhance the sensory experience.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Banana Leaf In Singapore
To enjoy a traditional banana leaf meal, visit The Banana Leaf Apolo at Race Course Road, Samy’s Curry at Dempsey Road, or Muthu’s Curry at Little India.
Chendol is a popular Southeast Asian dessert with origins in Indonesia. It has become a well-loved treat in Singapore, particularly during hot and sunny days.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Chendol
Chendol consists of green rice flour jelly, coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, and shaved ice. The dish is often garnished with additional ingredients like red beans, sweet corn, or attap chee (palm seeds).
🗺 Where To Find The Best Chendol In Singapore
For a refreshing bowl of Chendol, check out Four Seasons Chendol at Toa Payoh Lorong 8, or Old Amoy Chendol at Chinatown Complex Food Centre.
20. Teh Tarik
Teh Tarik, which translates to “pulled tea,” is a Malaysian beverage that has gained popularity in Singapore. Its name comes from the unique way it’s prepared by “pulling” the tea between two cups to create a frothy texture.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Teh Tarik
Teh Tarik is made by combining strong black tea with sweetened condensed milk. The tea is then “pulled” between two cups, mixing the ingredients and creating a frothy, creamy beverage.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Teh Tarik In Singapore
To enjoy a freshly pulled Teh Tarik, visit Al-Azhar Eating Restaurant at Cheong Chin Nam Road, Teh Tarik Place at Kampong Glam, or any local hawker centre or Indian-Muslim food stall.
Kopi-O is a traditional Singaporean coffee that has its roots in Hainanese coffee shops. It is a favourite morning beverage among locals, known for its robust flavour.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Kopi-O
Kopi-O is made by brewing finely ground, dark-roasted coffee beans with a small amount of sugar. The coffee is then strained through a cloth filter and served black. The term “kopi-o” refers to black coffee without milk, with “kopi” meaning coffee and “o” meaning black in the Hokkien dialect.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Kopi-O In Singapore
For an authentic cup of Kopi-O, visit Nanyang Old Coffee at South Bridge Road, Heap Seng Leong at North Bridge Road, or Killiney Kopitiam at Killiney Road.
22. Singapore Sling
The Singapore Sling is a famous cocktail created in the early 20th century at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar in Singapore. This iconic drink has become synonymous with the city-state and its vibrant history.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Singapore Sling
The Singapore Sling is a gin-based cocktail that includes cherry liqueur, Cointreau, Bénédictine, grenadine, pineapple juice, lime juice, and a dash of bitters. The drink is shaken with ice and garnished with a cherry and a slice of pineapple.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Singapore Sling In Singapore
To enjoy a classic Singapore Sling, visit the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel or Smoke & Mirrors at the National Gallery.
23. Milo Dinosaur
The Milo Dinosaur is a popular Singaporean beverage, especially among children and teenagers. It is a fun, indulgent twist on a simple Milo drink.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Milo Dinosaur
A Milo Dinosaur consists of a cold Milo beverage made from a mixture of Milo powder and water or milk, topped with a generous heap of additional Milo powder, creating a “dinosaur-like” mound.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Milo Dinosaur In Singapore
Milo Dinosaur can be found at most hawker centres, food courts, and popular chains like Toast Box and Kopitiam.
Bandung is a popular Southeast Asian drink with origins in Malaysia and Indonesia. It has become a well-loved beverage in Singapore, enjoyed by people of all ages.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Bandung
Bandung is made by mixing rose syrup with cold or condensed milk, creating a sweet, floral, and refreshing drink. The vibrant pink colour of the beverage comes from the rose syrup, making it visually appealing as well.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Bandung In Singapore
Bandung can be found at many local hawker centres, food courts, and Indian-Muslim food stalls. Some popular spots include Al-Azhar Eating Restaurant at Cheong Chin Nam Road and Zam Zam Restaurant at North Bridge Road.
25. Bubble Tea
Bubble Tea, also known as Pearl Milk Tea or Boba, originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. The drink quickly gained popularity across Asia and eventually made its way to Singapore, where it has become a trendy favourite among locals.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Bubble Tea
Bubble Tea is made by combining brewed tea with milk, sugar, and ice. The key feature of the drink is the addition of chewy tapioca pearls or “boba,” which give the beverage its distinctive texture. Bubble Tea comes in various flavours, including fruit and milk teas, and can be customized with different toppings and sugar levels.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Bubble Tea In Singapore
For a satisfying cup of Bubble Tea, visit popular chains like Koi, LiHo, Gong Cha, or Tiger Sugar. Many independent cafes and hawker centres also offer their unique takes on this popular beverage.
26. Sugar Cane Juice
Sugar Cane Juice is a traditional Southeast Asian drink with roots in India, known as “ganne ka ras.” The beverage has been enjoyed for centuries and is now popular in Singapore, especially on hot days.
🍽 Preparation and Key Ingredients Of Sugar Cane Juice
Sugar Cane Juice is made by crushing sugar cane stalks to extract the sweet, refreshing juice. The juice is typically served over ice and can be flavoured with ingredients like lemon or ginger to add a zesty twist.
🗺 Where To Find The Best Sugar Cane Juice In Singapore
To enjoy a glass of freshly squeezed Sugar Cane Juice, visit popular hawker centres like Maxwell Food Centre, Tiong Bahru Food Centre, or Old Airport Road Food Centre. Look for stalls with a sugar cane juicer on display, as the juice is often made to order.
The Singapore food scene is a vibrant and diverse culinary playground that offers a delightful mix of flavours, textures, and aromas. From hawker centres to fine dining establishments, there’s something for everyone in this food paradise.
So, if you find yourself in Singapore, savour the iconic dishes, discover new tastes and enjoy an unforgettable culinary adventure. Bon appétit!