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 instead. But if you’re in the mood for wicked local food 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 closure for redevelopment; most of the stalls have set up shop just down the road from the original spot – at the Market Street Interim Hawker Centre. You can be sure to get your usual cheap fix of their well-known nasi lemak, chicken rice, and hor fun from the new digs.
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.
Zion Food Centre
Opposite Great World City is an enclave of good, cheap eats and a popular supper spot (iconic nightclub Zouk was formerly located round the corner). It might be one of the smaller hawker centres around but what a loyal following this place has. From fried favourites like char kway teow and black or white carrot cake to wholesome, soupy dishes like prawn mee and wanton noodles, there will also be hoards returning to devour these favourites.
Zion Food Centre, 70 Zion Rd, Singapore 247792.
Golden Mile Food Centre
You could call this food heaven a little bit on the ‘hidden’ spectre. For starters, it’s not located near an MRT station – the nearest two, Nicoll Highway and Lavender are still quite a walk away. Still, that’s no excuse to not check out the selection of amazing food here. People have travelled all the way here for the gutsy dish that is sup tulang, which is a thick fiery red mutton stew served with soft bread. Other choice picks here will be the beef noodles, hokkien mee, and Teochew braised duck.
Golden Mile Food Centre, 505 Beach Road, Singapore 199583.
Timbre+ a a gastropark a place with good Singapore hawker food, as well as offerings of Spanish, Thai, French, Indian and other cuisines. Also known as the ‘hipster hawker centre’, you’ll find cool graffiti on the shipping containers and vintage Airstream travel trailers that are transformed into food trucks. Some nights, you’ll even find live music at Timbre+. Ideal hang out spot!
Timbre+, 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent, JTC LaunchPad @ one-north, Singapore 139957.
Yishun Park Hawker Centre
If Timbre+ is too hip for your scene, the guys behind Timbre are also managing the newly opened Yishun Park Hawker Centre, which has a radio frequency identification (RFID) tray return system which returns you the $0.50 deposit for your tray when you place it at a washing station, electronic payment so you don’t have to dig around for small change, and of course, a lot of cheap, good food. We really stress on cheap because you can get a bowl of ramen for as low as $3.50!
Yishun Park Hawker Centre, 51 Yishun Avenue 11, Singapore 768867.
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