Singapore is known to be a food haven – offering you cuisines from various parts of the world. It is never too hard to find something to eat here, everywhere you go, there is bound to be something good, cheap or both. Except for a lucky selected few, there is nothing that will make you lose your appetite so when it comes to options, I’d go with “everything” and find something that goes with your budget and the environment you can accept.
However, with every perk comes with its own side dish of disadvantage – long queues. I am not sure if you have heard it but Singapore is known for its long queues. Well, good and especially cheap food comes with a price. So unless you are willing to queue for more than 20 minutes for a plate for chicken rice, stick to the less crowded but nearly ¾ as good.
So what should you eat?
When you get to Singapore, there is of course a few local dishes that you need to taste and what best place to get them than our unique hawker centers. It is a non-air conditioned food court that offers you cheap and good options that is almost half the price of what you can get in restaurants.
Golden Shoe Hawker Centre
Located in the Central Business District (CBD), Golden Shoe Hawker Centre is the most accessible and affordable lunch spot for the working class. Most of the time, we would be worrying about the super long queues and limited lunch break, but since we are looking more at dinner options, this would be a good place to get a taste of the Singapore food culture. Must-try stalls include the Market Street Nasi Lemak (#02-24) where yummy coconut rice is served with items that you can choose at the stall. People usually go for eggs, vegetables and one or two fried items and not to forget, the chili. Just in case you might not be a fan, remember to request the chili to be put at the side.
Others include the famous Tiong Bahru Wanton Mee (#02-32) that is a bowl of noodles served with char siew (barbequed pork) and wan ton (prawn/meat dumplings) and the Tong Fong Fatt Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice (#02-26) that is affordable and totally worth the average 30-minute queues.
Maxwell Food Centre
This is one of the most visited hawker centers in Singapore, coming close to the infamous Newton Circus which also serves good food but can be a tad risky for tourists because of the inflated prices. But at Maxwell Food Centre, the prices are relatively more commonplace. Must-try stalls include the Jin Hua Sliced Fish Bee Hoon (Stall 77) which is thick vermicelli and fried fish served in hot piping milk fish broth. Some might find it too hot for the Singapore weather but down it with a cup of some iced local beverages or even a can of chilled drink and you’ll not regret the beads of sweat. Guan’s Mee Pok (Stall 99) is famous for serving this local delight with their own twist – they topped it off with an Ajitama Style egg where its runny, with options of abalone, fish maw and sea prawns.
If you cannot look past the humid environment of the hawker centers, you can also consider going to local restaurants that serve a cooler environment but at a higher price.
Chick and Ken
You might have heard about it but there is an ongoing Korean craze spreading through Asia this couple of years. And so to get you a taste of how well that culture has settled into Singapore, we bring you Chick and Ken. Korean cuisine are famous for their barbeques and kimchi (preserved cabbage) but as the taste of these famous elements can be quite new for some of us, I’d suggest going for the safer option of fried chicken. Trust me, they don’t taste like any that you’ve tried before but go easy on the portions. They tend to come in super-worth-it sizes.
If you are looking to have a more relaxing and chilled evening after the day-long WordPress event, you can head down to Dempsey Hill or Clarke Quay for a meal and some quick drinks. At the same time, please take note that sale/consumption of any alcoholic beverages after 10:30 PM except at licensed establishments is not allowed.
Head on over to Don Quijote Spanish Restaurant for authentic Spanish tapas and dishes like paella. Jumbo Seafood is the place to go for our ever-famous Chili Crab; it is a household name and one of the most popular seafood restaurants in Singapore. Lastly, if you are planning to step out of your comfort zone and orders an Indian curry dish, look no further than The Muthu’s Curry which is a highly popular dining destination for Indian food lovers. If you are simply looking for a place to drink and any food to eat, you’ll be pleased with Harry’s Bar with its choices of beer and The Wine Company for its extensive range of wines.
Little Saigon with its authentic Vietnamese food and décor goes a further step by including a fabulous range of Vietnamese inspired cocktails that you find in other Vietnamese restaurants. If you are looking to just get a piping bowl of hot soup and noodles, join the crowd at Ramen Santouka which offers affordable ramen with fresh ingredients from the shores of Hokkaido. Joining the list of the affordable and authentic is the Sukhothai which serves Thai favorites, all cooked just as they would be on the streets of Bangkok. Lastly, had down to the Wings Bar for a taste of the famous American eatery or give the RedDot BrewHouse at Boat Quay for a spectacular view with an impressive American/European inspired menu – and of course, the beer.