A charming balance of old and new, Chinatown is one of Singapore’s hottest dining enclaves. From hip cafes to local stalls serving up legendary bites, the list of choices is endless. Fret not though, this guide to where and what to eat in Chinatown will come in handy!
Iconic culinary creations
One of Singapore’s oldest cultural enclaves, Chinatown is a melting pot of diverse ethnicities, and a great way to get familiar with Singapore’s vibrant food landscape.
For sheer diversity of choice, head over to Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre. Our island’s largest hawker centre is home over 200 food vendors, selling sweet, savoury and spicy Singaporean staples. We suggest visiting Lian He Ben Ji Claypot to chow down on some Michelin Bib-Gourmand rated claypot rice.
Alternatively, pay a visit to Spring Court. First founded in 1929, this Chinese restaurant has been serving up traditional dishes for eight decades. To expand your palate by sampling iconic local dishes, we suggest ordering their Claypot Chilli Crab and their Deep Fried Soon Hock (Marble Goby Fish), both beloved seafood staples.
For a lighter meal, consider sharing plates of dim sum (bite-sized portions of food served in steamer baskets or on small plates).
Tuck into items like egg tarts, pork ribs with garlic and prawn dumplings at Yum Cha Chinatown. Pro tip: It’s a great breakfast option so consider popping by in the morning.
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Mei Heong Yuen Dessert. This joint specialises in Chinese desserts such as bird’s nest soup and yam paste, but you could also opt for other treats like durian mochi and one of their snow ice creations (which come in an array of flavours, from lychee to green tea).
Delights from around the world
Those looking to enjoy breakfast like a local can drop by Tong Ah Eating House along Keong Saik Road. First set up in 1939, this traditional coffee shop has been serving up piping hot cups of kopi (local coffee) and delectably crispy kaya (a traditional jam made from coconut and eggs) toast for decades.
For delectable Spanish tapas, drop by Esquina, along Jiak Chuan Road. First-time visitors and large groups who’re looking to indulge in a variety of flavours should consider ordering from the restaurant’s tasting menu. You’ll be able to savour dishes like Patagonian toothfish with iberico ham, pork jowl and octopus in a grilled corn sauce.
Foodies hankering for Australian-style barbeque can make a beeline for Burnt Ends instead. Located just down the street from Esquina, this unpretentious restaurant has a Michelin Star to its name, and is famous for its deliciously smoky meat dishes.
If you’re in the area during the day, check out the cafes in Chinatown. Pastry connoisseurs can experience Western pastries with a Singaporean twist at Keong Saik Bakery. For uniquely local tastes, we recommend trying their butter char siew (barbecued pork) buns and their kueh salat (glutinous rice topped with pandan and coconut milk pudding) cake. Flor Patisserie—located in the Duxton neighbourhood— is an alternative pit-stop for dessert lovers, with its delectable Japanese-style pastries, tarts and pies.