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Best Hawker Centres in Singapore for an ultimate foodie adventure

Hawker Centres in Singapore

As of now, there are 119 markets and hawker centres in Singapore. This blog is for the people who feel more than one lifetime is needed to choose from 119 hawker food stall options. If you're also on the lookout for the best hawker centres in Singapore, here's a quick list of the top 9 secret ones.

Before our readers open the top button of their jeans, here’s a little backstory. 

Who is a hawker & how did the hawker culture in Singapore start?

Hawker market culture

The hawker culture was brought to Singapore way back in the 1800s by its early migrant population. It evolved into old hawker food selling decades-old guarded generational food recipes in family-run food stalls. Such multi-ethnic flavour stalls from Malay, Indian, Chinese, or other origins came together in a licensed setting. These hawker market together under an open-air or enclosed setting came to be known as a hawker centre. 

 

The numbers ballooned from 11,249 in 1919 to over 30,000 by 1959 pumped by the high unemployment rate during the post-war years. The first modern hawker centre was built in 1922 at Finlayson Green followed by Telok Ayer Market. To be listed on the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Culture Heritage of Humanity. The hawker culture of Singapore has come a long way paving the way for a celebratory community culture over the decades. 

 

After Singapore became an independent nation in 1965, about 24000 hawkers were registered. Famous car parks and spots like Glutton’s Square became community spots for these hawker food stalls and later became known as famous hawker centres of Singapore. 

Why should you try hawker food on your trip?

Hawker food

Imagine being able to savour someone's great-grandmother’s delicacies which are carefully chosen and perfected over the years. The hawker food is also cooked with age-old authentic flavours from around the world. Singapore's renowned food scene, from festivals to gourmet summits, makes it a must-visit for any foodie.

When we talk about the hawker centre food today, there are guidelines placed to ensure hygiene.  Foodies with diverse palettes can rest assured about the quality of food in hawker market

 

Location & timing of the top 9 hawker centres in Singapore:

1. Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre (Guinness World Record Holder)

Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre

Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre

It is directly translated into English as ‘Old Market’. This is one of the oldest markets & an extension of the lineage ‘Telok Ayer Markets’ from the 1880s. It is most likely that Lau Pa Sat is one of the last hawker food stalls to experience authentic fully open-air street hawking. 

Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre, located on Boon Tat Street holds the Guinness World Record for the world's longest satay. It was 140.02 metres grilled by 150 staff members. Today, this centre has 104 hawker food stalls offering Vietnamese, Malay, Indian, and Chinese delights.

Location: 18 Raffles Quay, 048582.

Timing: Opens 24 hours

 

2. Chinatown Food Street (A must-try place)

Chinatown Food street

Chinatown Food street

Contrary to its name, Chinatown is “not exclusively Chinese”. It's a mix of Muslim masjids, and Hindu temples, each offering unique food delicacies. It is a mix of 5 culturally rich districts namely, Kreta Ayer, Ann Siang (Club Street), Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar (Duxton), and Bukit Pasoh.

From residential spaces with rickshaw pullers to a mixed bag of old and new spots. From commercial spaces and nightspots to traditional homegrown brands. This is Chinatown for you, hands down one of the best Singapore food hawker centres.

There's a free walking trail here. From temple to masjid, the infamous “Street of the Dead” Sago Street to lots of souvenirs in this hawker market.

 

Location: 2 Banda Street, 059962. (Behind Buddha Tooth Relic Temple)

Timing: 9 am to 6 pm daily


3. Maxwell Food Centre (YouTube’s Favourite)

Maxwell food centre

Maxwell Food Centre Singapore

Home to several food stalls featured on TV shows & YouTube channels, Maxwell is one of a kind. From fluffy appams to oyster rice, several $5 dishes to cold beers to wash it down. With Barry Manilow playing in the background, this is one hawker centre with an entertaining vibe. With 50+ hawker food stall here in the heart of Singapore, you're in for a treat.

 

Location: 1 Kadayanallur St, 069184. Central Business District. 

Timing: 8 am to 2 am.


4. Tiong Bahru Market (An all-rounder place)

Tiong Bahru Makret

Tiong Bahru Market Lane

If you're someone who likes to cook while they travel, this market is for you. It is all about fresh international produce at half the price. From Australian beef to orchid flowers, from bookstores to spices and dry goods. The Tiong Bahru Food Centre is a classic hawker centre that you just cannot miss. From Michelin-star duck recipes to age-old pig recipes, the stalls here have something for all your moods. 

 

Location: 52 Tiong Bahru Rd, 168716

Timing: 8 am to 5 pm

 

5. Changi Village Hawker Centre (Friendliest place)

Changi Village food Centre

A scene from Changi market

Built around 1975, this is one of the no-frills hawker stalls established out of the lot. The simple classic dishes are made from simple quality ingredients with tried and tested methods for decades. 

People love this market street hawker centre for its affordable rates, excellent variety, cultural diversity, and friendly sellers. This is a must-visit Hawker Centre while you're in Singapore. 

 

Location: 2 Changi Village Road, 500002.

Timing: 6 am to 2 am (Monday to Friday)

Opens 24 hours (Saturday and Sunday)

 

6. East Coast Lagoon Food Village (Beachfront view)

East Coast lagoon food market

East coast Lagoon food market Singapore

Nestled strategically at the beachfront, this is one of the most loved Singapore food hawker centres. It offers a variety of fresh seafood options across Asian and local cuisines. Surprisingly, it even has a lot of options for vegetarian foodies. It's particularly loved for its value for money. 

 

Peak afternoons and weekdays are not the best times to visit here because of the hot weather, limited tables and longer waiting times. It's usually packed on weekend nights. Do try the BBQ seafood here including several StingRay options. The food is amazing but the new hedge might make it a little hot as it blocks the cool sea breeze.

 

Location: 1220 East Coast Parkway, 468960.

Timing: Changes every day. Please check before going. 

 

7. Whampoa Food Centre (Value for money place)

Whampoa Food centre

Whampoa Food Centre

From the 1970s till now, this Singapore food centre has a lot of culture mixed in its food. Rated highest for its food, value for money, and atmosphere, this is hands down an extremely loved food centre. From duck rice to fish cakes, Rojak to yummy satay sticks on the go are most liked here.

You can judge the popularity of this hawker centre by its usually full car parking. So travel accordingly via local transport or taxis. Do check it out for the freshness & colourful variety of food here.  

 

Location: 91 Whampoa Dr, 320091.

Timing: 6 am to 10 pm every day.

 

8. Chomp Chomp Food Centre (For Nom Nom)

Chomp Chomp Food Centre

Chomp Chomp Food Centre

From BBQ to takeout, Chomp Chomp can be your favourite destination for a delicious munch. Juicy wings and meaty Satay are lined up on the street here. With endless seafood options, it offers classic Singaporean delicacies on the go. 

It's easier to get a seat and is a much cheaper market hawker centre from Lau Pa Sat. Even if your driver doesn't know about it, make sure to take the detour.

 

Location: 20, Kensington Park Rd, 557269.

Timing: 4 pm to 12:30 am every day.

 

9. Newton Food Centre (Rich Flavoursome)

Newton food centre

Newton Food Centre Singapore

From generational Chinese to authentic South Indian, iconic seafood to classic Singaporean. With tons of halal and vegan options, the variety here is insane. Who doesn't like chicken and pork satays at $1 per stick? Singapore sure is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Newton here will feel like a paradise of affordable delicacies from all around the world. Taxis can be an issue here but still, it makes the struggle worthwhile.

 

Location: 500 Clemenceau Ave N, 229495.

Timing: Opens 24 hours every day.

 

Which delicacy is worth trying in Singapore food hawker centers?

Various choices and limited space in the stomach. We have curated a delicious itinerary that will fit into your day without overloading your stomach. You can enjoy the legendary egg tart at Tong Heng in Chinatown, one of the oldest confectioneries in Singapore. No wonder it has existed for over 100 years now. Kampong Lor Mee is a Chinese hidden gem at the Changi Village Hawker Centre. Do try their ‘Chicken cutler lor mee’. It's heavenly and comforting. Its pork version is also available. The famous Banana Raja at Million Star Fried Banana is a real star. It's sweet, it's fried, it's heaven in a bite. If desserts are your thing then ‘commando dessert’ is a must-try. The chilli crab at the Newton food centre is a must-try. Its popularity blew up after its feature in the popular Crazy Rich Asians. Michelin wings here are a must-try as well. 

 

There's so much to stuff your mouth with and let the variety of tastes linger into your mouth for longer. This makes the hawker culture in Singapore worth being on top of your things to do in Singapore.

While Hawker food centres are very cost-effective however other aspects may put a strain on your budget. But you can experience the Lion City on a Budget. Check out our blog on Singapore for travel tips on affordable accommodation and activities to make the most of your trip without breaking the bank!

 

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