Hankering for authentic Malaysian food in Singapore? We've sussed out the best places to enjoy dishes like Penang char kway teow and assam laksa.
To the uninitiated, Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines may seem rather similar. But, the devil is in the details – from the light and tangy Assam-style laksa, to the subtly salty and spicier Penang-style char kway teow, and even the herbal, less-peppery broth found in bak kut teh. But really, the best way to understand these nuances is to try each dish yourself. We’ve highlighted the most authentic restaurants in Singapore for Malaysian food. Go forth and feast!
Best Malaysian food in Singapore
1. Princess Terrace Authentic Penang Food
For close to 50 years, Princess Terrace has been the place to go for lovers of authentic Peranakan cuisine. The restaurant’s Penang Heritage buffet offers traditional treasures like Penang laksa, Hokkien mee (with lobster!), popiah, curry noodles and braised pork trotter with black vinegar. But before you pick up that third helping of laksa, save space for desserts. The buffet boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of Nyonya kuehs like kueh dadar and ang ku kueh.
Princess Terrace Authentic Penang Food, Copthorne King’s Hotel Singapore, 403 Havelock Road, Singapore 169632
2. Malaysian Food Street
If crossing the causeway is a little too much trouble for you, cross the link bridge to Sentosa. This hawker spot boasts a smorgasbord of Malaysian dishes. The real challenge is choosing between mouthwatering dishes like KL claypot rice, Penang Hokkien mee, klang bak kut teh and Malacca-style chicken rice ball. Come hungry!
Malaysian Food Street, Level 1, Waterfront, Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269
3. Penang Seafood Restaurant
Malaysian zi char-style dining is your best bet if you want to sample the breadth of the cuisine. Head here with a couple of mates and order several bowls of sambal clams, Penang char kway teow and, of course, the restaurant’s much-lauded Penang assam laksa. You’ll also get to try other regional zi char favourites like assam steamed red grouper, prawn paste chicken, and sweet and sour pork. But if you’re up for something on the wild side, the volcano chicken fits the bill. It’s served with a moat of soup, and flambéed right in front of you for a little razzle-dazzle.
Penang Seafood Restaurant, 32 Aljunied Road, Singapore 389817
4. Hainan Chicken Rice Ball
Chicken rice ball is synonymous with Malacca. For the uninitiated, it’s very much similar to the ubiquitous chicken rice with the exception of rice rolled into bite-sized balls. Just try it to see how it’s an entirely different eating experience. To get your hands on these flavour-packed rice balls, head to this humble stall located in Shing Boon Hwa Food Centre. The usual chicken rice etiquette applies here: dip the rice ball in soy sauce and chilli, and pair it with poached chicken for a burst of flavours.
Hainan Chicken Rice Ball, Shing Boon Hwa Food Centre, 3 Dickson Road, Singapore 209530
5. Malaysian Local Delights
If you’re after a Malaysian feast with the whole family, head down to this Katong stalwart. The lok lok (think Malaysian satay) buffet lets diners choose from an array of skewered meats and seafood that’s dunked in a pot of boiling broth, then dipped in a variety of sauces. While ostensibly a Malaysian style of dining, the broth selection includes some non-Malaysian options like Sichuan mala, spicy kimchi and tom yum. Feel free to mix things up a little!
Malaysian Local Delights, 224 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437014
6. Sin Heng Claypot Bak Kut Teh
Sin Heng serves its creations in a claypot. When you tuck into a bowl of piping hot BKT, you’ll notice the broth is surprisingly lighter than usual. Other noteworthy dishes include sesame oil chicken, pork trotters and prawns with vermicelli. The restaurant stays open till midnight, so if you’re looking to fill your bellies, Sin Heng’s your best bet for a late dinner.
Sin Heng Claypot Bak Kut Teh, 439 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427652
7. Katong Peter Fried Kway Teow
While not solely a Malaysian food stall, this joint makes this list for serving up a rather hard-to-find Penang variant of the greasy comfort food. Penang-style char kway teow uses thinner strands of flat rice noodles and is cooked in a savoury, spicy broth rather than the sweet black sauce most of us are familiar with. And just like the Singaporean variant, Peter’s rendition of the dish includes generous portions of prawns, cockles, fish cake and lard. Plus, it has the essential ‘wok hei’ taste that we know and love.
Katong Peter Fried Kway Teow, Tanjong Pagar Plaza, 6 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, Singapore 081006
8. Lou Yau
From Johor to Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur, Lou Yau puts out the country’s iconic dishes under one roof. But with that said, the restaurant’s signature has to be the Ipoh hor fun series. What’s the secret? Fresh hor fun noodles made in spring water are used to create dishes like curry hor fun or hor fun with meatball and pork belly. Round out your meal with Penang’s iconic dessert: a sweet bowl of cendol.
Lou Yau, multiple locations including Tiong Bahru Plaza and Chinatown Point
9. Penang Culture
The name says it all, doesn’t it? With a more upscale setting than the aforementioned places, Penang Culture is a casual halal establishment. The menu runs the gamut of Penang hawker dishes from assam fish head curry and Penang char kway teow to Hokkien prawn noodles and Malay mee goreng. Dining with a big group? Dive straight into the BBQ seafood platters. Each comes with lobster, scallop, stingray, prawn and the works.
Penang Culture, available at multiple locations including VivoCity and White Sands
Now you know where to hit up for authentic Malaysian food in Singapore.