The street food is one of the best ways to enjoy the local food in Asia also at extremely cheap prices. Many times you can eat for € 1 or € 2 or a little more. Personally, I really enjoy eating in this type of street stalls, the so-called “hawkers” (street vendors in English). In Asia they usually eat at all hours and almost always do it on the street (almost no one cooks or eats at home), so the raw material is constantly renewed and usually, it is very fresh and freshly made food (except for the obvious cases of cutrerío). And Singapore evidently could not be an exception at Singapore Food Blog!
Singapore has, in my opinion, one of the best cuisines of Southeast Asia or together with Malaysia. In fact, it is one of the reasons that makes me adore this city-state. But it has the terrible reputation of being an expensive city. And it is certainly more expensive than the neighbouring countries and it depends where you go you have it insured. But … I have good news! Eating cheap in Singapore is possible. And the hawker’s food centres are the place to go and the most appropriate place to enjoy the authentic local food. They are also highly recommended in neighbouring Malaysia. For a price that can range between 4-6 SGD, you can enjoy a dish that will delight you at Singapore Food Blog!
Do not confuse these spaces with the food courts that are usually spaces in shopping centres and although they are also a good place to enjoy a meal, they are usually a little more refined and elegant. But Singapore is also a city that shines for its order, for its unpolluted spaces and for having a strict hygiene policy. With what many years ago decided to place all these street stalls in enclosed spaces where better control of sanitary conditions, which by the way are inspected periodically by the authorities. In this way, the positions acquire a stable permanence in a place where they are all collected under one roof.
How the Hawkers Centers work?
Each Hawker Center has dozens of positions, each with its specialities that delight locals and outsiders. You will have to go through them all to see where they sell what most catches your attention or more you fancy. You can take different products in different positions. And the drink is usually sold in specific positions too. When you already have in your tray what most tempts you, you will only have to look for a seat in any of the tables that are scattered throughout the space. That does not give you trouble sharing a table with other diners. It is the most normal thing in the world and also helps to socialize. See more at Singapore Food Blog.
They usually cover the spoons and forks or chopsticks (chopsticks). In that part of the world, it is eaten with a spoon and the fork is used as a knife. Although the most normal thing is that they give you either chopsticks or plastic spoons. At peak hours it will be a bit more complicated to find space to sit. So a good idea, if you travel accompanied, is that one keeps the table while the other buys the food. There it is customary to leave a package of tissues to store a table. So if you see it, you know that there you should not sit down. Maybe you can do the same. Also, the handkerchiefs will come in handy because there are no napkins. See more at Singapore Food Blog.
Almost all hawkers centers have public restrooms and sinks outside so they can wash their hands before eating. Something very common in almost all places in Southeast Asia is at Singapore Food Blog.
The 3 best Hawker Centers in Singapore
There are several hawkers spread all over Singapore, but these are what we consider my favourite places and where I can best enjoy the street food of Singapore.
Lau Pa Sat
Built by Scottish engineers, this hawker – rather large – is an architecturally beautiful space inside the “art” style. It is surrounded by large skyscrapers since it is located in the financial district of Singapore. Maybe, for this reason, it is a tad more expensive than others. In addition to stalls with local food of the style of “chicken rice” or different styles of noodles, in this space, you can also enjoy Indian, Korean, Japanese, and Thai; Malay … One of the strengths of Lau Pa Sat is the desserts.
The best thing about this Hawker Center is where it is located. It is right next to the Esplanade Concert Hall area, facing the “Harbourfront” and the bay and with incredible views of the skyscrapers of Singapore. With a bit of luck, you can even enjoy a concert or performance. Usually, there are enough young people. The noodles that I have eaten there are some of the best you may have had!
Maxwell Food Center
This is my favourite hawker in Singapore. And the times I’ve been in the city I’ve always made a visit to enjoy a lunch or dinner. It is located in the heart of Chinatown and most of the diners are local people. Chinatown is full of restaurants and places to eat, but this place has something special for me and the food is delicious. Find more at Singapore Food Blog. Of all that we have been being where you breathe more the authentic atmosphere of the hawkers, but that also means that there are fewer options focused on western palates. The specialities of this centre are mainly fish or seafood dishes. It is also a place where many people go to breakfast. The fruit juices are exceptional here.
Although there are many other recommendable hawkers such as the Tekka Market in Little India, the street stalls of the Chinatown night market and many other places in the city, if you plan to visit Singapore we recommend that you at least make a meal or dinner in one of these places. Sure you will not regret.