With its rich tapestry of multi-ethnic cultures and longstanding hawker tradition, Singapore is a treasure trove of big tastes with small price tags. From the world’s cheapest Michelin dish to traditional Malay desserts, great meals await travellers of all stripes.
Discover unforgettable tastes and deepen your appreciation of Asian culture through unique dishes …all without having to burn a hole in your wallet!
For a classic local breakfast
Jian Bo Tiong Bahru Shui Kueh
Price: S$2 onwards.
To experience a taste that evokes nostalgia in many Singaporeans, pay a visit to Jian Bo Tiong Bahru Shui Kueh. First established in 1958, the established third-generation hawker stall is a great way to experience a taste of Singapore that hearkens back to yesteryear.
A dish that many Singaporeans remember from their childhoods, shui kueh or chwee kueh (steamed rice cakes) possess a silky-smooth texture, and are often served with chye poh (preserved radish) and home-made chilli for a spicy and savoury kick.
The version served here is made fresh from 6am daily, alongside other delicious treats like chee cheong fun (rice noodle sheet rolls in yam cake and fried carrot cake).
Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre. 32 Seng Poh Road #02-05, Singapore 168898. +65 6753 7588.
Ya Kun Kaya Toast
Price: S$4.80 for a set meal.
Foodies with a taste for authenticity can break their fast like a local with this classic meal. Toasted slices of bread are spread with thick slices of butter and kaya (a traditional jam made from coconuts and eggs), for a snack that’ll sate both your hunger pangs and your sweet tooth.
For the complete Singaporean breakfast, you’ll want to pair this up with soft-boiled eggs and a hot cup of kopi (local coffee). Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a tried-and-true purveyor of this local staple, with decades of experience and a loyal clientele.
Most of this establishment’s outlets also serve up savoury dishes like Mee Rebus (noodles with potato-based gravy) and Mee Siam (rice noodles with gravy).
Ya Kun Kaya Toast (Family Café) at Clarke Quay Central. 6 Eu Tong Sen Street #01-31, Singapore 059817. +65 6534 7332.
For a full list of outlets, click here.
For beloved hawker staples
Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle
Price: S$3.80 for Soya Sauce Chicken Rice.
From local street cred to global acclaim, Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle made waves when it was awarded a Michelin star in 2016.
Famous for its mouth-watering roast meats and signature soya sauce chicken, this establishment is a great place for gourmands who’ve yet to cross a Michelin-starred experience off their bucket list.
The signature dish that this hawker boasts has a fragrant, herbal taste, and pairs well with either rice or hor fun (flat noodles). Other dishes we’d recommend include char siew (flavoured and barbequed pork) and siew yuk (roast pork belly).
Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle. 78 Smith Street, Singapore 058972. +65 6272 2000.
Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 10.30am-8pm.
Price: S$1–4 per dish.
The perfect pitstop for large groups, visitors with halal dietary restrictions and foodies who crave sheer variety, Michelin Bib-Gourmand-listed Hajah (Hjh) Maimunah offers over 40 dishes that exemplify the best of Malay cuisine.
Dig into local favourites like beef rendang (braised beef in coconut spice), bergedil (deep fried potato patty) and siput sedut (sea snails), Singapore’s spicy answer to French escargot.
Order a few dishes with rice, or bigger portions for sharing and tasting with your squad. Recommendations for the table include sambal goreng (stir-fry vegetables), and tahu telur (fried tofu, eggs and vegetables, presented as a tower and topped with peanuts and a spicy sauce).
Hjh Maimunah Restaurant. 11 & 15 Jalan Pisang Singapore 199078. +65 6297 4294.
For Asian-style desserts
Ah Chew Desserts
Price: S$3 onwards.
With wooden tables, traditional Chinese paintings and sweet treats served in blue and white ceramic bowls, Ah Chew Desserts is a time capsule that’s certain to charm visitors with its old-school settings.
The establishment’s menu of Chinese desserts encompasses both warm and cold dishes, including red bean soup and steamed milk egg custard. For a local twist on a Chinese classic, order a bowl of durian mango sago. Locally known as ‘the king of fruit’, durians can be an acquired taste, but will certainly be a memorable experience for adventurous foodies.
Liang Seah Place. 1 Liang Seah Street #01-10/11, Singapore 189032. +65 6339 8198.
75 Ah Balling Peanut Soup
Price: S$3 onwards.
Traditionally eaten by Singapore’s Chinese community during the annual Winter Solstice and family reunions, tang yuan (glutinous rice balls served in a sweet soup) has become a comforting everyday favourite for locals, and a great way to sample traditional Chinese desserts.
75 Ah Balling Peanut Soup at Golden Mile Food Centre first opened its doors in 1947, and has been serving their famous rice balls in warm peanut or ginger soup ever since.
Visitors can opt for traditional flavours like peanut, red bean and sesame, or opt for their modern-tasting matcha filling. If you’re watching your waistline, be sure to order the siew dai (less sweet) or sugarless options of their peanut soup—the friendly owners will be happy to accommodate!
Golden Mile Food Centre. 505 Beach Road #01-75, Singapore 199583. +65 6293 8702.
Mon-Fri 11am-8.30pm; Sat & Sun 10am-8.30pm.
For a full list of outlets, click here.
Haig Road Putu Piring
Price: S$2.50 onwards.
To taste a dessert that epitomises the term ‘labour of love’, pay a visit to Haig Road Putu Piring, which was featured on Street Food, Netflix’s popular TV series. Aishah Hashim, the proprietor of this chain of stores, is part of a family that’s been making putu piring (steamed rice cakes) for four generations.
Filled with palm sugar and topped with a generous helping of shaved coconut, this dish —which takes hours to prepare—is normally eaten for breakfast and during festive occasions.
Haig Road Market & Food Centre. Block 14 Haig Road #01-07, Singapore 430014. Daily 11am-10pm.