Best Local Food in Singapore – What to Eat in Singapore

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Last Updated on May 14, 2021 by Chef Mireille

If all you is 24 hours in Singapore, follow this food guide to make sure you don’t miss the Best Food in Singapore.

5 Must-Eat-Foods in Singapore

These are the 5 things YOU MUST EAT if you eat EVERYTHING! – This list is not Vegetarian friendly!

Singapore is a destination that should be included on any Asian itinerary if you are a foodie. It is the place where most Asian cuisines meet. Malay, Indonesian, Thai, Indian, Chinese and local delicacies. Additionally, it is an extremely multi cultural island. There is a British lane, full of pubs for Fish & Chips. On Haji Lane, you can get Turkish coffee and baklava. There’s also a small Chinatown.

However, Singapore is one of the most expensive places to travel in Southeast Asia, so you may not be able to afford to spend many days there. Since it is a small island, it can be quite challenging to find affordable lodging.  Here’s a great guide to help you decide where to book your accommodations both luxury and budget while in Singapore.

Even if it’s just 24 hours, here’s a guide for 2 to eat your way through the island. For two, because each place I am mentioning, I am giving you two dishes YOU MUST TRY. Each of you order a dish and then share so you both get to try both dishes.

BAK KWA

Bak Kwa is basically jerky. However, this is not that hard dried out jerky that you practically rip out your teeth trying to get a bite. This is soft jerky full of smoky Asian barbecue flavors. This is the only jerky I will eat. In fact, I LOVED it so much I went in search of it when I came back to the US and was so happy to find a Bak Kwa shop here in NYC Chinatown. It’s a decent substitute, but still not as good as the one I had in Singapore at Kim Joo Guan on South Bridge Road. Kim Joo Guan is a family business that has been making the Barbecue Pork Slice for 3 generations and are the absolute best on the island. Get some to go, but don’t fill up eating it up. This is for your snack later because you need room in your tummy for the foods we are going to try at the Maxwell Hawker Center.

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Bak Kwa -edit

Selling food street side is not allowed in Singapore. Instead, you have hawker centers. Basically these are enclosed buildings with many food stalls for you to choose your favorite Asian street food treats, except you’re not on the street! You can walk from Kim Joo Guan to the Maxwell Hawker Center. So what to try at Maxwell?

CHICKEN RICE

What’s so special about chicken rice? I don’t know, but it must be the broth the chicken is cooked in because it has so many layers of flavor and is so delicious. You can get two options – either the Roasted or Hainanese. The roasted may look more aesthetically appealing, but the Hainanese is definitely the most popular. Although there are many stalls at Maxwell that sell Hainanese Chicken Rice, the best is Tian Tian but be prepared to stand on line for a while!

tian Tian post

If you prefer the roasted version, there are many stalls inside Maxwell for you to try it.

chicken rice post

LAKSA

Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore are all known for Laksa – a spicy shrimp/seafood and noodle soup. Each location has their own regional variation and the Singapore version does justice to its reputation!

Now stroll around for a while to let your food digest. Pick up some souvenirs in Chinatown. Visit the Masjid Sultan or one of the Hindu mandhirs. Shop for textiles and a cup of Turkish coffee in Haji Lane.

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Now it’s dinner time! Time to go to the Por Kee Eating House…Chinese food Singapore style! One of the best ways to find out where are the best places to eat and what to order is to ask a local. I found out about this place from a lady on the bus and she told me what to order. Without her suggestion, I probably would not have ordered the Cereal Prawns and boy would I have missed out!

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CEREAL PRAWNS

Large head on prawns are coated with Corn Flakes – Yes I said Corn Flakes and then deep fried. These were so delicious with the crispy exterior and well seasoned tender shrimp meat on the inside!

Cereal Prawns post

CHILI CRAB

Singapore is known for this spicy dish and it’s available everywhere. If you ask anyone what to try in Singapore, this is the first thing that will come from everyone’s mouth and the version at Por Kee was fabulous and lived up to its reputation!

Chili Crab post

So if all you’ve got is 24 hours, you can still eat the best in Singapore!

RELATED – SINGAPORE AIRLINES REVIEW

Singapore Travel - 5 Must Eat Food in Singapore - 24 Hour Guide - THESE ARE THE 5 FOODS YOU HAVE TO TRY IN SINGAPORE #TRAVEL #SINGAPORE #TRAVELTIPS #FOODANDTRAVEL #TRIPPLANNING
Singapore Travel - 5 Must Eat Food in Singapore - 24 Hour Guide - THESE ARE THE 5 FOODS YOU HAVE TO TRY IN SINGAPORE #TRAVEL #SINGAPORE #TRAVELTIPS #FOODANDTRAVEL #TRIPPLANNING

Thank you for sharing!

About Chef Mireille

CHEF MIREILLE - AUTHOR, RECIPE DEVELOPER AND PHOTOGRAPHER FOR Global Kitchen Travels
***
Chef Mireille is a NYC based freelance chef instructor and food photographer. Due to her very diverse family background, she was able to travel and learn about global cultures and flavors from a young age. Her passion for culture, cooking, history and education had made her an expert on developing traditional globally inspired recipes & delicious fusion cuisine.
Her extensive travel history provides a plethora of background information and Travel Tips!

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Diana

    Cornflakes on the prawns sounds like a must try. Chicken rice is top on my head any time I eat at my favorite place in Boston. Thank you great photos!!!

  2. Jackie S.

    I’m headed to Singapore in a few months and can’t wait to try these Singaporean food. I’ve had laksa in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and can’t wait to try the Singaporean version. The cereal prawn sounds interesting with the cereal coating.

  3. Nina Bosken

    This is a great list. I would love to try all of these dishes. I do have one worry when traveling to Asian countries and that’s peanuts. I’m very allergic to them and they are quite common in a lot of Asian food. Are these dishes peanut-free or is there anything I should be worried about?

    • Chef Mireille

      I did not notice peanuts in any of these dishes. I know how fatal the allergy can be as I am allergic to tree nuts, though not peanuts. However, one great thing about Singapore is that everyone speaks English, so all you have to do is ask!

      • Nina

        Oh wow mine is the opposite … only peanuts. Tree nuts are just fine for me. And yes I would image English can be spoken everywhere as it’s one of their official languages, so that’s very helpful!

  4. Ada

    I went to Singapore two years ago but I actually haven’t try anything from that list! What a bummer! Somehow I am always a bit afraid trying seafood from the food stands but everything looks so good and delicious! Next time I am there ill definitely try something

  5. Linda (LD Holland)

    We did enjoy our food in Singapore. I am sorry we missed the Bak Kwa. But we had lots of chicken rice to try at the hawker centres we visited. We loved when we found seafood. So I don’t know how we missed cereal prawns. Maybe even for breakfast? Our big treat was chill crab for sure. That was the first thing recommended to us.

  6. Jane Dempster-Smith

    We lived in Singapore for 6 years and can vouch for all the great food Singapore has to offer.
    Favourites are Chilli Crab, cornflake prawns and Chicken Rice. There are so many great areas to enjoy great food. Singapore is expensive but eating at hawker stalls will help keep your budget in check.

  7. Soumya Gayatri

    I have always thought of traveling to Singapore but never had enough motivation to book those tickets. Now I know why I must get there soon. The food. All the must-eats that you have listed here look so tempting. But I am most tempted by the Chicken Rice and the Chili Crab. Already hungry now. Those cereal prawns also look delicious. We have something very similar in India that we call Bali prawns! Not sure if there is a connection but I would definitely want to taste the Singaporean version.

  8. Cat Lin

    Everything looks delicious! I want to try the chicken rice first then cereal prawn. We’ll never be hungry if we’ll be there because except for traveling I want to explore different dishes .

  9. Leah

    What a delicious-sounding list! The LAKSA sounds really delicious. I am inspired to try to make some at home, and I will definitely try it when I travel to Singapore. The chili crab also sounds great!

  10. daniel

    Great list!! Singapore sure has some of the best dishes I have eaten while traveling to Asai and I am so excited to inform you that I have tried most of the dishes you mentioned here. Singapore has the best the chicken rice I have eaten in my life it was really scrumptious yet super affordable.

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