We round up the top cooking classes where you can learn to make authentic Singaporean dishes.
Eating your way around Singapore means more than just sorting out what to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ours is a nation of foodies who’ve perfected the art of hunting down affordable yet delicious meals. This means it’s easy to find good grub on every corner of the city, no matter the time of day. And the Michelin Singapore Bib Gourmand list is testament to that fact.
The foodie’s bible has just name-checked dozens of hawker stalls and restaurants that whip up delectable dishes priced S$45 and less. This year’s list features nine new eateries, bringing the total Bib Gourmand awardees up to 38 dining destinations that you’ll want to sample. Brace your bellies—you’ll need plenty of tummy room to tackle all of them.
Ah Er Soup (ABC Brickworks Food Centre)
On a plot of land formerly occupied by a beer brewery, you’ll be sipping on a different sort of elixir: Cantonese-style herbal soups that have been slow-boiled for hours to draw out the flavours of the ingredients. Ah Er Soup is strictly traditional, paying homage to the heartwarming broths that bubble away on our grandmothers’ stoves. The crowd favourites here include the Ten Tonic Ginseng Chicken Soup (S$5) and Buddha Jumps over the Wall (S$6.50), loaded with enough meat and vegetables to make for a full meal. If you must have your carbs, ask for a bowl of pumpkin rice to accompany your meal.
ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre. 6 Jalan Bukit Merah #01-143, Singapore 150006.
Mon-Fri & Sun 11am-2pm, 5-8pm.
Don’t let the handsome décor and furniture fool you. This downtown restaurant, modelled after a rustic Parisian bistro, provides an affordable escape from the bustle of the city. A three-course lunch goes for only S$38, and includes bestsellers such as the rotisserie free-range chicken with potato gratin, as well as the wagyu hanger steak with fries (additional S$18). The stick-to-the-ribs dishes are consistently well executed, but it’s the relaxed vibe of Bar-Roque Grill that keeps people swinging through its doors.
Amara Singapore. 165 Tanjong Pagar Road #01-00, Singapore 088539. +65 6444 9672.
Mon-Sat 11.30am-2.30pm, 6-10pm.
Liao Fan Hawker Chan
You should have heard of Liao Fan Soya Sauce Chicken Rice, the cheapest Michelin-starred joint in the world. Ever since it earned a star in last year’s guide, the hawker stall in Chinatown Complex has seen snaking queues, with people waiting up to three hours for a plate of chef Chan Hong Meng’s soya sauce chicken rice (S$3.80). If you don’t have the time, hop across the road from the hawker centre to this air-conditioned, quick-service off-shoot of the stall. All of chef Chan’s signatures are on the menu, including the famed soya sauce chicken rice (S$3.80), char siew (barbecued pork) noodles (S$4.80) and pork rib hor fun (flat rice flour noodles, S$4.80).
Liao Fan Hawker Chan. 78 Smith Street, Singapore 059872.
Mon-Tue & Thu-Sun 10am-9pm.
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant
Even from the further reaches of the perennial queue to this restaurant, you’ll get tantalising whiffs of fresh seafood hitting the grill. Peep into the small space and your anticipation will heighten—Man Man is lined by tanks of live unagi (freshwater eels) from the Mikawa Isshiki region of Japan, and a theatrical open kitchen where chefs kill, gut and grill the fish to order. Go for the hitsumabushi (S$26.80), an unagi rice bowl that can enjoyed in three ways: plain, sprinkled with spring onions, seaweed and freshly grated wasabi, and, lastly, with hot dashi poured over the rice.
The Working Capitol. 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109. +65 6222 0678.
Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm, 6-10.30pm.
New Lucky Claypot Rice
You’ll feel the kiss of heat on your skin as you approach this hawker stall, where more than 20 claypots burn over a charcoal fire at any given time. New Lucky Claypot Rice’s star dish—surprise, surprise—is the claypot rice (S$10-S$20), which is generous enough to feed up to four hungry guests. Pop open the lid, wave away the steam, and you’ll find chunks of chicken, lup cheong (Chinese sausages) and salted fish lurking among al dente grains of rice. Mix everything up, and don’t forget to scrape the charred bits of rice from the bottom of the pot—the prized part of the dish.
Holland Drive Market & Food Centre. Block 44 Holland Drive #02-19, Singapore 270044. +65 6778 7808.
Mon-Tue & Thu-Sun 11am-1.30pm, 5-10.30pm.
The smoky aroma of meats sizzling over a grill hits you the moment you step into this cosy, traditional yakitori (Japanese-style skewered and grilled chicken) joint. Every part of the bird is fair game here—adventurous foodies can look forward to off-cuts such as cockscomb (S$4), chicken hearts (S$3.50) and gizzard (S$4). Besides the poultry, Shirokane Tori-tama also serves kushiyaki (Japanese-style skewered and grilled meats and vegetables) that’s every bit as moreish and well executed.
For the complete experience, ask for a seat by the bar counter. The view alone is enough to salivate over: Watch as the chefs flip skewers over the grill, saucing and salting the meats with the finesse of a painter—or #saltbae. After your meal, head next door to find Orihara, a standing room-only sake bar that’s buzzing with the post-work crowd.
Robertson Walk. 11 Unity Street #01-02, Singapore 237995. +65 6836 5680.
The Blue Ginger Restaurant
Kick your gastronomic adventure into overdrive when you sample a Peranakan (Straits-born people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage) spread at The Blue Ginger Restaurant. Like Singapore’s multi-cultural tapestry, each spicy, complex dish harmonises influences from the rich cuisines of Southeast Asia. To really get acquainted with Peranakan food, order the babi pongteh (braised pork in fermented soya bean sauce, S$14.50) and ayam buah keluak (chicken curry cooked with black nuts indigenous to Southeast Asia, S$18), then cap your meal off with durian chendol (S$6), a dessert of coconut milk, gula melaka and durian purée.
The Blue Ginger Restaurant. 97 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088518. +65 6222 3928.
Daily noon-3pm, 6.30-10pm.
As the first international outlet of a one-Michelin-starred ramen joint in Tokyo, you’d expect good things from Tsuta. And this elegant 18-seater restaurant certainly delivers on the promise, using even the same ingredients as its Japanese flagship. Case in point: The soba noodles here are as painstakingly prepared with four types of whole wheat flour. There are also three soup bases to pick from—shoyu (soya sauce), shio (salt) and miso (fermented soya bean). But the ramen shop’s signature is the shoyu. A dollop of black truffle paste crowns the bowl, perfuming each slurp of the comforting dish.
Pacific Plaza. 9 Scotts Road #01-01/02/03, Singapore 228210. +65 6734 4886.
Zai Shun Curry Fish Head
It’s never too early to be tucking into a bowl of curry at Zai Shun Curry Fish Head. The stall opens at 7am and typically sells out by noon, so you’ll want to hurtle down for a taste of their home-style Chinese dishes. The signature curry fish head (S$26) makes use of the freshest fish available on the day; Sultan fish, mouse grouper and red snapper are among the usual suspects. Complete your meal with other stir-fried staples on offer, such as bittergourd with salted egg and watercress with oyster sauce.
Zai Shun Curry Fish Head. Block 253 Jurong East Street 24 #01-205, Singapore 600253. +65 6560 8594.
Stalls and restaurants that have retained their spot on the list
A Noodle Story
Brave the queue at this hawker stall for a taste of ‘Singapore-style’ ramen whipped up by two fresh-faced local boys. The only dish on the menu features springy egg noodles topped with sous vide char siew (fatty roast pork), crunchy potato-wrapped prawn, an oozy egg and dumplings (S$7-S$9).
Amoy Street Food Centre. 7 Maxwell Road #01-39, Singapore 069111. +65 9027 6289.
Mon-Fri 11.15am-2.30pm, 5.30-7.30pm; Sat 10.30am-1.30pm.
Among the bustling stalls of Newton Circus Food Centre, you’ll find this Halal-certified barbecue seafood shack that doles out stellar examples of two of our most iconic dishes: The black pepper crab and chilli crab (market price).
Newton Circus Food Centre. 500 Clemenceau Avenue North #01-27, Singapore 239928. +65 9643 7234.
Mon-Tue & Fri-Sun 12.30pm-midnight.
Balestier Road Hoover Rojak
Make like the stall’s namesake and vacuum up its famous rojak: A sweet and savoury salad that features crunchy beansprouts, cucumbers, turnip fried dough fritters and century egg (S$4-S$5) tossed in a treacly dark sauce.
Balestier Road Hoover Rojak. 90 Whampoa Drive #01-06, Singapore 320090. +65 6253 0137.
Mon & Wed-Sun 10am-3pm.
This North Indian restaurant serves up mountains of aromatic briyani (Indian spiced rice dish with meat or vegetables). Order the mutton briyani (S$15), where the gutsy flavours of the tender, slightly gelatinous meat will dance on your palate.
Bismillah Biryani. 50 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209379. +65 9382 7937.
Daily 11.30am-3pm, 5.30-9pm.
Chey Sua Carrot Cake
There’s only one thing you need to try here: The white carrot cake (S$2-S$4). There aren’t any actual carrots in this dish. Instead, it’s steamed white radish that’s been pan-fried with eggs, preserved radish and a daub of sambal (chilli paste).
Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre. Blk 127 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh #02-30, Singapore 310127.
Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa
You’ll be dabbing sweat off your brow while devouring this stall’s bowl of laksa (S$3.50-S$5.50). Spicy, thick coconut milk-based gravy is ladled onto rice vermicelli. And unlike other stalls, this one serves the dish in a claypot, keeping it piping hot until your last slurp.
Alexandra Village Food Centre. 120 Bukit Merah Lane #01-75, Singapore 151120. +65 9088 9203.
Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa
Laksa (S$3-S$5) comes in three unique renditions at this store: The original, with fruit juice and mee siam (thin rice noodles in a mix of spicy, sweet and sour gravy), and with mee rebus (yellow noodles in a spicy gravy).
Hong Lim Market & Food Centre. Block 531A Upper Cross Street #02-66, Singapore 051531.
Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee
The pale grey and yellow hues of Hong Heng’s Hokkien mee belie its robust flavours: Luscious egg noodles and rice vermicelli soak up all the brininess of the prawn stock they’re cooked in, while toppings of squid and shrimp will keep you searching for gold in your plate.
Tiong Bahru Market. 30 Seng Poh Road #02-01, Singapore 168898.
Hong Kee Beef Noodle
For more than 50 years, this nondescript hawker stall has been churning out bowls of beef noodles (S$5-S$6) with all the trimmings, including tripe and beef meatballs.
Amoy Street Food Centre. 7 Maxwell Road #01-42, Singapore 069111.
Hoo Kee Bak Chang
This stall serves up only one thing: Bak chang. Unwrap the bamboo leaves that swaddle each pyramid-shaped dumpling and dig into the glutinous rice, studded with marinated pork and roasted chestnuts (S$2.80).
Amoy Street Food Centre. 7 Maxwell Road #01-18, Singapore 069111. +65 6221 1155.
J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff
You’ll want to pop J2’s flaky pastries, filled with curry chicken and potatoes (S$1.20), into your mouth while they’re still warm. Besides chicken, the stall offers other flavours such as black pepper chicken (S$1.50) and sardine (S$1.20).
Amoy Street Food Centre. 7 Maxwell Road #01-21, Singapore 069111.
On rainy days and cool evenings, this old-school restaurant is packed with locals pining for piping hot bowls of fish noodle soup (S$7.50-S$8.50) and addictive har cheong gai (fried chicken wings coated in shrimp paste).
Ka-Soh Restaurant. 2 College Road, Singapore 169850. +65 6473 6686.
Daily 11.45am-2.30pm, 5.30-10.45pm.
Kok Sen Restaurant
On almost every table of this zi char (home-styled Chinese cuisine featuring à la carte dishes) joint, you’ll spot locals attacking plates of hor fun (flat rice flour noodles, S$16-S$48) that have been wok-fried with a bounty of fresh prawns.
Kok Sen Restaurant. 30 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089137. +65 6223 2005.
Daily noon-2pm, 5-11pm.
Slip off your shoes and experience ‘barefoot dining’ at Lagnaa, whose spread of South and North Indian dishes include mutton masala (spicy yogurt-based gravy, S$17) and fish curry (S$17) that will sort out your spice fix.
Lagnaa. 6 Upper Dickson Road, Singapore 207466. +65 6296 1215.
Liang Zhao Ji
It’s all about Cantonese braised duck here. You can ask for the fowl to be served over soya sauced rice, or in a comforting bowl of thick porridge (S$4-S$5). Drizzle the accompanying chilli sauce over the dish for an added kick.
Whampoa Market Place. 90 Whampoa Drive #01-07, Singapore 320090.
Na Na Homemade Curry
Keep an ice-cold drink close—at this hawker stall, you’ll be tearing into the fiery curry fish head (market price), brimming with juicy fish head meat and yam chunks.
Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre. 115 Bukit Merah View #01-47, Singapore 151115. +65 9106 4316.
New Ubin Seafood
This restaurant retains the unfussy décor of most hawker stalls, yet its kitchen turns out elevated plates of zi char. Think rice wok-fried with beef fat and foie gras satay (grilled skewered meat, S$7.50/stick). Sinful, yes, but oh so worth it.
Lam Soon Industrial Building. 63 Hillview Avenue #06-00, Singapore 669569. +65 6466 9558.
Mon 5.30-10pm; Tue-Sun 5.30-10pm.
Peony Jade is a stalwart for excellent Cantonese and Szechuan fare. Its menu features traditional dishes such as stewed beef brisket with parsnip and a medley of dim sum (bite-sized portions of food served in steamer baskets or small plates).
Keppel Club. 10 Bukit Chermin Road, Singapore 109918. +65 6276 9138.
Mon-Fri 11am-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm; Sat & Sun 10.30am-2.30pm, 6-11pm.
Sin Huat Eating House
Beneath the neon signs of Geylang, this roadside hawker stall prides itself on its crab bee hoon (market price), a comforting dish of the crustacean cooked with rice vermicelli in a lip-smacking, umami-rich broth.
Sin Huat Eating House. 659 Lorong 35 Geylang, Singapore 389589. +65 6744 9755.
Shi Hui Yuan Hor Fun Specialty
This two-generation hawker stall whips up a mean Ipoh-style hor fun (flat rice flour noodles). A moreish gravy is draped over silky smooth noodles, along with slices of chicken, duck and mushrooms (S$3-S$5).
Mei Ling Market & Food Centre. 159 Mei Ling Street #02-33, Singapore 140159.
Shish Mahal Restaurant
Dozens of North Indian and Nepalese dishes fill the menu of this restaurant. Dip your naan (Indian flatbread, S$2.90-S$5.90) into the Mahal Ka butter chicken (S$15.90), or pick at momo (S$10.90), which are traditional Nepalese meat dumplings.
Village Hotel Albert Court. 180 Albert Street #01-20, Singapore 189971. +65 6837 3480.
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
Use your hands to dig into this stall’s refined take on one of the city’s most revered dishes, bak kut teh (S$7-S$8) which features a peppery, garlicky soup, and morsels of pork ribs so tender that they slide off the bone.
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh. 11 New Bridge Road #01-01, Singapore 059383. +65 6533 6128.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
You’ll come for the tender steamed chicken hanging on the display of this hawker stall. But it’s the fragrant, al dente rice and complex chilli sauce that’ll have you dreaming about this dish well after you’re done eating.
Maxwell Food Centre. 1 Kadayanallur Street #01-10/11, Singapore 069184. +65 9691 4852.
Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice
You could choose between roasted chicken (S$3-S$4) and steamed white chicken (S$3-S$4) here, but why not try both (S$5)? Whichever you pick, don’t forget to spoon a generous serving of homemade chilli sauce on the succulent poultry for that added oomph.
Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre. 30 Seng Poh Road #02-82, Singapore 168898.
True Blue Cuisine
Step back in time at this Peranakan (Straits-born people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage) restaurant, whose old-fashioned opulence is matched by the time-honoured dishes on the menu, like itek sio (braised duck in sweet sauce, S$20) and chap chye (stewed cabbage with vermicelli and mushrooms, S$15).
True Blue Cuisine. 47/49 Armenian Street, Singapore 179937. +65 6440 0449.
Daily 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30-9.30pm.
Here’s something you won’t find anywhere else in the world—Whole Earth serves vegetarian Peranakan and Thai dishes that are big on flavour. Its star dish, Penang rendang (braised meat cooked in coconut milk and spices) is made using shiitake mushrooms instead of the usual chicken or beef.
Whole Earth. 76 Peck Seah Street, Singapore 079331. +65 6221 6583.
Daily 11.30am-3pm, 5.30-10pm.
Stride through this restaurant’s gilded entrance and be surprised by the authentic Thai dishes pegged at wallet-friendly prices. Crowd favourites include Thai papaya salad (S$18), Thai green curry (S$18-S$40), and pineapple rice with prawns and pork floss (S$15-S$30).
Yhingthai Palace. 36 Purvis Street #01-04, Singapore 188613. +65 6337 1161 / +65 6337 9429.
Daily 11.30am-2pm, 6-10pm.
The bold Indian flavours more than make up for this shophouse eatery’s modest yet comfortable space. There’s even a small play area to keep the kids entertained.
Zaffron Kitchen. 137 East Coast Road, Singapore 428822. +65 6440 6786.
Mon-Fri 11.30am-9.30pm; Sat & Sun 11.30am-10pm.
328 Katong Laksa
You can’t leave the country without sampling laksa (spicy coconut milk-based noodle soup). And 328 Katong Laksa’s rendition (S$6-S$7) is a shining example of the dish.
328 Katong Laksa. 51 East Coast Road, Singapore 428770. +65 9732 8163.