Here’s where you’ll find us when we’re hankering for chicken rice, satay, nasi padang, prawn mee and other wallet-friendly local bites
If you’re looking for cheap restaurants in Singapore, you’re in the wrong place — check out our story on affordable dining here. But if you’re in the mood for wicked local plates you can feast on without spending more than 20 bucks, the city’s bustling hawker centres are your answer. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hanging around in the heartlands or stuck in the CBD for lunch; there are stalls serving up glorious national dishes all over town. Here’s a round-up of our most well-loved hawker centres.
Maxwell Food Centre
This massive dining enclave is home to over 100 food stalls, all with a focus on different specialities. There’s chicken rice from Tian Tian (Anthony Bourdain’s a fan), wholesome congee from Zhen Zhen Porridge, and nasi lemak from Lagi Best Nasi Lemak.
Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069184.
Old Airport Road Food Centre
It’s a little out of the way for those of us who don’t live in the Geylang/Kallang area, but this 42-year-old food centre (it was established in 1973) is great for barbecued seafood (Mattar Road Seafood BBQ) and freshly made chee cheong fun, Hong Kong-style (at Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun stall, no less).
Old Airport Road Food Centre, 19 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390019.
Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre
There are tons of choices at this food centre – which happens to be bang smack in the middle of a bunch of hipster cafes and indie stores in the neighbourhood. Try Chinese rojak from Tow Kwar Pop, chicken rice from the ever-popular Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice, and chee kueh from Jian Bo. Oh, check out this cool website if you need a proper directory.
Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre, 30 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 168898.
Hong Lim Market & Food Centre
This two-storey hawker centre is known for several things; prawn noodles from The Old Stall Hokkien Street Famous Prawn Mee, fruit juice mee siam from Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa, and curry chicken noodles from Heng Kee Curry Chicken Bee Hoon.
Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, 531A Upper Cross Street, Singapore 051531.
For your Indian cuisine fix, this is the perfect place to be. The biryani’s practically legendary (choose from either stalls, Yakader or Allauddin) and the Indian rojak from Temasek Indian Rojak is to die for. Top it all off with a sweet glass of teh tarik!
Tekka Centre, 665 Buffalo Road, Singapore 210665.
Toa Payoh Block 127 Market and Food Centre
There’s always a long, snaking queue for Hokkien mee at the Come Daily Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee stall. Also, don’t forget to give the fishball noodles from 135 Fishball Noodle a go. Want something sweet to finish? The muffins from Bliss Haven Muffin are pure perfection.
Toa Payoh Block 127 Market and Food Centre, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310127.
Satay by the Bay
Choose from eight pushcarts serving up satay, as well as a number of other stalls selling favourites like barbecued chicken wings, popiah, and chicken rice. Love seafood? Get your hands on delicious fresh catch at the newly opened Wholly Crab.
Satay by the Bay, #01-19, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953.
Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre
Part wet market, part food centre, Geylang Serai is where you need to be for endless options of Malay dishes – especially nasi padang. Hajjah Mona (it’s so heavily-decorated, you just can’t miss this stall and its neon lights) has such an extensive menu (rendang, ayam balado, sayur lodeh), you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre, 1 Geylang Serai, Singapore 402001.
Lau Pa Sat
At this former market-turned-hawker centre, you can feast on favourites like tender beef satay and Hainanese chicken rice. The stunning colonial structure and rich history behind this popular dining spot also makes this a must-see, so make sure to bring your friends from out of town here.
Lau Pa Sat, 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village
This is the place to hit up if you’re looking for a spot to have a meal with a large group of friends. Plenty of stalls specialise in barbecued seafood, as well as satay, so take your pick. Oh, and most of them are Halal-certified, too.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village, 1220 East Coast Parkway, Singapore 468960.
Market Street Interim Hawker Centre
If you’ve been getting lunch from Market Street Food Centre, or more fondly known as Golden Shoe, don’t be dismayed by the upcoming closure for redevelopment; most of the stalls will be setting up shop just down the road from the original spot. You can be sure to get your usual cheap fix of their well-known nasi lemak and chicken rice from their new digs.
Opens 1 August, located next to Telok Ayer MRT.
Amoy Street Food Centre
If you’re working in the CBD, there is no way you haven’t had anything from here. With two storeys of diverse hawker choices, you’ll never run out of choices. We’ve had our share of great Thai food, decent pasta, hearty congee, assorted noodle dishes (including the Michelin-approved A Noodle Story) and more here – it’s all about discovery! Check out our guide of what to eat at Amoy Street Food Centre.
Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Rd, Singapore 069111, p. 9027 5153.
Chinatown Complex Food Centre
Right in the heart of Chinatown, the food centre is a great place to get to know all the local dishes – and because it’s so affordable, you can afford to try more while you’re at it. Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of life in one of Singapore’s oldest precincts, this place makes for good ambience too. It’s also home to its own local craft beer bar, Smith Street Taps!
Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 335 Smith St, Chinatown Complex, Singapore 050335.
Chomp Chomp Food Centre
What can’t you find in Serangoon Gardens? You’ve got hipster craft beer stores, quaint café concepts, retro pubs, mookata and the 24-hour R.K. Eating House for your roti prata supper fix. But there’s one place in this foodie enclave in particular that draws people from all over the island – we’re talking about the hawker centre affectionately known as Chomp Chomp. Check out our full guide of what to eat in Chomp Chomp Food Centre.
Chomp Chomp Food Centre, 20 Kensington Park Road, Singapore 557269.
So what do you order at the hawker centre? Check our massive guide of 50 local Singaporean foods and drinks you must try.