Singapore and its food instantly come to mind whenever I reminisce about my travels. I relish the opportunity to make a pit stop in Singapore when flying to or from Australia, just to satisfy my cravings. Even if it’s just a quick visit to the airport food court, I make it a point to enjoy some of my favourite dishes – and I believe you should also put them on your must try food in Singapore list.
Eating in Singapore
Eating in Singapore is truly an experience. The city’s vibrant culinary scene is a blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian and other Southeast Asian cuisines, resulting in a diverse range of delicious dishes that are sure to tantalise your taste buds.
From hawker centres to high-end restaurants, there is no shortage of delicious food to try in Singapore. Whether you’re in the mood for something spicy, savoury or sweet, there is always something to suit.
With an emphasis on freshness and quality ingredients, eating in Singapore is not just about filling your stomach, but it’s also about savouring the unique flavours and culinary traditions that make this city a food lover’s paradise.
My Favourite Food in Singapore
My food journey in Singapore started with my very first visit. It was my first foray into South East Asia and I wanted to try everything. I booked a food tour around the Joo Chiat area where we tasted something like 30-40 different foods. It was all delicious, but overwhelming to learn about so many different foods all at once.
Since then I have been back to Singapore multiple times and have been more deliberate in my food choices. I love nothing better than finding out the must try hawker food in Singapore, jumping on the train to the nearest MRT station and checking it out.
Great food in Singapore is not just reserved for the high-end restaurants, with Michelin Stars and Bib Gourmand ratings often held by the most nondescript hawker stalls. I highly recommend researching before you visit to find what I consider some of the best food on the planet.
Here in this Singapore food guide, I share ten of my favourites which are some of the best foods in Singapore.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of Singapore’s most famous and beloved dishes. It is a deceptively simple dish consisting of poached chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth and garlic. The dish is typically accompanied by a dipping sauce made of chilli and ginger, as well as sliced cucumber and sometimes a light soup on the side.
The chicken is first boiled in a stock made from chicken bones, scallions, and ginger, which gives it a tender texture and a delicate flavour. Once cooked, it is chilled in ice water to firm up the meat and create a silky texture. The rice is cooked in the same chicken broth along with garlic and pandan leaves, which lend a subtle fragrance to the grains. The rice is then mixed with a spoonful of chicken fat and fried garlic, giving it a flavorful and slightly oily texture.
To serve, the chicken is thinly sliced and placed over a bed of rice, with the dipping sauce and cucumber served on the side. The result is a mouthwatering combination of flavours and textures: the savoury chicken is perfectly complemented by the fragrant, slightly oily rice and the spicy, tangy dipping sauce. The dish is light and refreshing, yet satisfying and comforting.
Hainanese Chicken Rice is a popular dish in Singapore and can be found in hawker centres, food courts, and high-end restaurants across the city.
While I’ve tried it in many places (this is probably my most common go-to meal) and it’s good everywhere, Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice in the Maxwell Food Centre is my favourite. There will probably be a line-up, but I promise you, it moves quickly and is worth the wait.
Chilli Crab is a seafood delicacy made with fresh crabs cooked in a thick, sweet, and spicy tomato-based chilli sauce that is both tangy and savoury.
The crabs are first stir-fried with ginger, garlic, and onions, then simmered in chilli sauce until the sauce has been fully absorbed into the crab’s meat. The result is a dish with a balance of sweetness, spiciness, and tanginess.
The sauce is made with a blend of tomato ketchup, chilli sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and other spices, which are mixed to create a thick and rich sauce that coats the crab. The dish is usually served with steamed buns or mantou to help soak up the sauce and a side of fragrant steamed rice.
Eating Chilli Crab is a fun and interactive experience. Diners use their hands and a small mallet to crack open the crab’s shell and extract the succulent meat. The sauce can get messy, but that’s part of the fun and adds to the overall experience. Don’t worry, you are usually offered a bib to save your clothes.
The best place to get chilli crab is at Jumbo Seafood Restaurants – I went to the one along East Coast Road. There are a few of them across the city. You could also try a similar dish of black pepper crab there too.
Laksa is a delicious and aromatic noodle soup that is widely popular in Singapore. This hearty and spicy dish is a combination of Chinese and Malay influences, featuring a blend of curry spices, coconut milk, fresh herbs, and rice noodles.
There are two main types of laksa commonly found in Singapore: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa features a creamy, spicy coconut curry soup base, while asam laksa has a tangy and sour tamarind-based broth. Both types of laksa are typically garnished with a variety of toppings, such as sliced fish cake, prawns, tofu puffs, cockles, and bean sprouts.
The noodles used in laksa are a key ingredient, typically made from rice flour or egg noodles. The broth is made by cooking the curry or tamarind-based sauce with various spices, such as lemongrass, galangal, and turmeric, as well as coconut milk to give it a rich and creamy texture. The ingredients are simmered together to create a flavorful soup that is then poured over the noodles and toppings.
Laksa is a comfort food that is enjoyed by many Singaporeans, especially during rainy or cool weather. It is a staple dish in hawker centres and food courts and can be found in many Malay and Chinese restaurants as well. The dish is usually served with a side of sambal chilli paste and a wedge of lime to add extra flavour and tanginess to the soup.
I don’t have a place to recommend for laksa, it is tasty everywhere! One of the most famous places to get it is 328 Katong Laksa on East Coast Road. My preference is for the curry laksa, which is more like the laksa we get here in Australia, but if you have never tried asam laksa, Singapore is a good place to give it a go.
Roti prata is a popular breakfast and snack item in Singapore, particularly among the Indian community. It is a flaky, crispy, and buttery flatbread that is usually served with a side of flavorful curry for dipping.
Roti prata is made from a dough of flour, water, and salt that is kneaded until smooth and elastic. The dough is then rolled out into a thin, circular shape, and then tossed, stretched, and folded uniquely and rhythmically by the roti prata master to create layers of flaky dough.
The dough is then cooked on a flat griddle until golden brown and crispy on the outside, yet soft and chewy on the inside. It is usually served hot and fresh, with a side of curry dipping sauce made with a blend of spices, coconut milk, and sometimes meat or vegetables.
In addition to the classic plain version, roti prata can also be filled with a variety of sweet or savoury ingredients, such as cheese, egg, onion, or even chocolate.
Roti prata can be found in many hawker centres and Indian restaurants across Singapore. It is a popular breakfast or brunch item, as well as a late-night snack, and is best enjoyed with a hot cup of Teh Tarik, a sweet and creamy pulled tea.
To get some of the best roti prata in Singapore go to The Roti Prata House. With over 80 different varieties, you might have to go a few times to sample them all.
Satay is made of skewered and grilled meat served with a spicy peanut dipping sauce. The dish is typically made with chicken, beef, or mutton, and is marinated with a blend of spices before being grilled over an open flame.
The meat is typically cut into small cubes and threaded onto wooden skewers, then cooked over hot charcoal or a gas grill until lightly charred on the outside and tender on the inside. The skewers are then served with a side of peanut sauce, which is made from a blend of roasted peanuts, chilli, garlic, and other spices, along with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Satay is often served as an appetiser or snack and is commonly eaten with a side of cucumber and onion slices. The dish is also popular at outdoor barbecues and social events.
Again, satay can be found everywhere. It is always one of the first things we eat whenever we are in SEA and you can bet we eat quite a few of them. On our last visit, we had some great satays at Lao Pa Sat, including some that were large skewered prawns.
Char Kway Teow
Char Kway Teow is a flavourful noodle dish in Singapore that is typically served as a hearty and filling meal. The dish features stir-fried flat rice noodles that are cooked with a variety of ingredients, including eggs, bean sprouts, cockles, Chinese sausage, and sometimes shrimp or other seafood.
The noodles used in Char Kway Teow are flat and wide and are stir-fried over high heat with dark soy sauce, chilli paste, and other spices and seasonings. The dish is traditionally cooked in a large wok, which allows the ingredients to cook quickly and evenly, giving the noodles a slightly smoky flavour.
Char Kway Teow is especially enjoyed by those who love spicy and savoury flavours. It is a staple dish in hawker centres and food courts and can be found in many Chinese and Malay restaurants as well. The dish is usually served with a side of chilli paste or sambal sauce, which adds an extra kick of spice and heat to the dish.
Char Kway Teow (sometimes found as Fried Kway Teow here in Australia) is a favourite for me anywhere in the world and they have some of the best in Singapore. It’s widely available and mostly good everywhere.
Nasi Lemak is considered a national favourite in Singapore. The dish is a Malaysian-inspired cuisine, but it has become a staple food in Singapore as well. It is typically served as a hearty breakfast or lunch meal.
Nasi Lemak consists of fragrant rice that is cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, which gives it a distinct and delicious flavour. The rice is served with a variety of side dishes, including crispy fried chicken, spicy sambal chilli paste, crispy anchovies, sliced cucumbers, and a hard-boiled egg. Some versions of Nasi Lemak may also include additional side dishes, such as beef rendang, fried fish, or curry vegetables.
One of the key components of Nasi Lemak is the sambal chilli paste, which is made with a blend of chilli peppers, garlic, shallots, shrimp paste, and other spices. The sambal is often spicy, and it provides a nice contrast to the sweetness of the coconut rice.
Nasi Lemak is a popular street food in Singapore and can be found in many hawker centres and food stalls. It is also served in many Malay and Indonesian restaurants. The dish is often wrapped in banana leaves, which adds to its aromatic and flavourful profile.
Nasi Lemak tends to be one of those meals I choose in food courts. It’s quick and simple and tasty – although I do have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the anchovies. Thankfully they are always presented in a separate pile, not mixed through the dish, so they are easy to avoid if I choose not to eat them. The coconut rice though is delicious.
Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak at the Adam Road Food Centre is often said to have the best nasi lemak in Singapore.
Kaya toast is a breakfast dish in Singapore that is simple, yet delicious. The dish consists of thick slices of white bread that are toasted until golden brown and then spread with a generous amount of kaya, a sweet and fragrant coconut jam made with eggs, sugar, and pandan leaves.
The bread used in kaya toast is typically soft and fluffy, and it is often served with a slab of cold butter, which provides a nice contrast to the warm, sweet kaya jam. The combination of flavours and textures is both comforting and satisfying.
Kaya toast can be found in many kopitiams (traditional coffee shops) and cafes throughout the country. It is often enjoyed with a hot cup of kopi (traditional coffee) or teh (tea), which is brewed strong and sweetened with condensed milk. A soft-boiled egg is also a common addition to the meal.
Kaya toast is also a cultural symbol in Singapore, and it is often associated with the country’s unique food culture and heritage. It is a simple and humble dish that has captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and visitors alike.
While kaya toast can again be found all over Singapore, I like the Ya Kun Kaya Toast chain of stores.
Oyster Omelette, also known as Orh Lua, consists of a fluffy and crispy omelette that is cooked with fresh oysters, potatoes, and a variety of seasonings.
To make Oyster Omelette, the omelette mixture is first prepared by whisking eggs with cornstarch and water, which creates a light and fluffy texture. The mixture is then poured onto a hot and greased griddle or wok, where it is cooked until it becomes crispy and golden brown. Fresh oysters are then added to the top of the omelette and cooked until they are just heated through.
The Oyster Omelette is served hot and crispy and is typically garnished with spring onions, coriander leaves, and a tangy chilli sauce. The dish has a unique texture, with the crispy outer layer of the omelette contrasting with the soft and juicy oysters.
Oyster Omelette can be found in many hawker centres and street food stalls throughout Singapore and is a popular snack or light meal option. It is often enjoyed with a cold beer or refreshing lime juice.
My recommendation for finding a good Oyster Omelette is to visit Hup Kee Fried Oyster Omelette at the Newton Food Centre – although they all seem to be tasty here. Another good option is Ang Sa Lee Oyster Omelette in the Chomp Chomp Food Centre
Carrot Cake (also known as “chai tow kway” in the Hokkien dialect) is a popular Singaporean street food that is made from rice flour and grated white radish. The dish has nothing to do with carrots and is named after the white radish, which is known as “white carrot” in some parts of Asia.
The dish is typically prepared by stir-frying cubes of steamed rice flour and radish with eggs, garlic, and preserved radish. The resulting dish is soft and fluffy on the inside, with a slightly crispy exterior. The dish is usually served with a generous amount of sauce made from soy sauce, oyster sauce, and a touch of chilli sauce.
There are two main types of Carrot Cake in Singapore: “black” and “white”. Black Carrot Cake is prepared with a darker soy sauce, which gives it a slightly sweeter and saltier taste. White Carrot Cake, on the other hand, is prepared with only light soy sauce and has a milder taste. Both variations are equally delicious and can be found in hawker centres and food courts throughout the city.
Carrot Cake is a staple breakfast or lunch food in Singapore and is often paired with a cup of local kopi (coffee) or teh (tea). It’s a must-try dish for anyone visiting Singapore who wants to experience the country’s unique and diverse food culture.
I was dubious about eating a savoury food called Carrot Cake, but I am happy to admit I didn’t need to be, it is tasty. We enjoyed it at Newton Food Centre, but I am looking forward to trying it in more places next time I’m in Singapore.
More Must Try Food in Singapore
There is still so much for me to try in Singapore and these are the foods on my list for the next few visits. I may not like all of them, but I like to at least try everything once!
- Bak Chor Mee – a savoury noodle dish that typically includes minced meat, mushrooms, and chilli paste.
- Hainanese Pork Chop – a fried pork chop dish that is typically served with a tangy tomato-based sauce and potatoes.
- Bak Kut Teh – a pork rib soup that is simmered with a variety of herbs and spices, creating a rich and flavorful broth.
- Fish Head Curry – a spicy dish that is made with a curry fish head, vegetables, and coconut milk.
- Popiah – a fresh spring roll that is filled with a variety of ingredients, including turnips, bean sprouts, and shrimp.
- Murtabak – a stuffed pancake that is typically filled with minced meat, onions, and eggs.
- Chwee Kueh – a steamed rice cake that is topped with preserved radish and chilli paste.
- Rojak – a salad dish that is made with a mix of fruits and vegetables, along with a sweet and tangy sauce.
- Ice Kachang – a refreshing dessert that is made with shaved ice, sweet syrup, and a variety of toppings, such as beans and jellies.
- Curry Puff – a flaky pastry that is filled with a spicy curry mixture, often containing potatoes and meat.
Whether you are in search of spicy chilli crab or savoury Hainanese chicken rice, Singapore offers a unique culinary experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. So go ahead and indulge yourself in some of these must-try dishes when you visit this vibrant city-state – your taste buds will thank you!
Read next – more posts to help you plan your trip to Singapore
Top Tips for Singapore
23 Fun Things to Do in Singapore on a Budget
Haw Par Villa, Singapore’s First Theme Park
Is Marina Bay Sands Worth It?
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TRAVEL PLANNING ESSENTIALS
Find flights – I always use Skyscanner as my starting point when searching for flights. One search will give many options including airlines I may not have thought of. This means I can find the best possible flights to suit my needs
Book accommodation – my go to is always Booking.com for the best places to stay. It’s not just hotels anymore, but hostels, apartments, B&Bs and more. I love that the bookings are usually cancellable, and that I can book now and pay later.
Hire a rental car – RentalCars.com is my go to here. It allows me to do just one search and it finds cars from many of the different supplies, so no checking multiple websites to compare.
Get travel insurance – you would have heard by now that saying “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel”. If we’ve learnt anything from the last couple of years it should be how essential travel insurance is. I use CoverMore for my insurance.
Pick up an eSIM – I tried an eSIM on my last trip and it was fantastic. I set it up before I went so it was ready as soon as I landed, and I still had access to my home number for emergencies. Get your own eSIM at Airalo.
Book activities, tours & attractions – I use a few different websites for this. Viator and Get Your Guide tend to be the first places I look. In Asia, Klook often has more options, and in Australia it’s Experience Oz.
Manage your money – the best way to manage your different currencies is with an account from Wise. You can hold money in many different currencies, and use them with the ATM card or from your phone.
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