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The Essential Hawker Guide in Singapore

The Essential Hawker Guide in Singapore

8 Hawker Centres, 24 Stalls, this guide features 3 of the most popular stalls in each of these hawker centres. Showcasing all the local favourites - chicken rice / Hokkien mee / wanton mee / chwee kueh / yong tau foo / fishball noodles. This is THE essential hawker guide, time to feast away!
Burpple Guides
Burpple Guides

Winner of Singapore Hawker Master (Yong Tau Foo) in 2012, this place definitely lives up to its name. It's one of the few places that stuffs yong tau foo pieces with their homemade fish paste, guaranteeing freshness and none of that factory-made stuff. The major draw of this place is their superb stock prepared with ikan bilis, and the generous amount of fried ikan bilis that comes with your noodles. Be prepared to queue, as with all hawker stalls serving authentic, heartwarming food.

Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Foo. #02-87/88, Chinatown Complex Market
Mon - Sun: 0545 - 1500

Honestly, this stall makes us question why people are so obsessed about techniques like sous vide. When it comes to cooking perfect chicken, there is no need for all fancy techniques. The soy sauce chicken here is simply superb - succulent, flavourful, and extremely value-for-money ($7 for half chicken; $14 for whole). Paired with noodles tossed in a slightly sweet sauce, you'll need a moment with this dish. They also do really good char siew and sio bak! Make sure you order enough to make your 30 minute-long wait worth it, because you'll definitely want more.

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken, #02-127, Chinatown Complex
Mon - Fri: 1030 - 1900
Sat - Sun: 0830 - 1900
Closed on Wed

If you want claypot rice that's a cut above the rest, this is it. Cooked upon order, you'll get great traditional claypot rice cooked over charcoal, and the wait can stretch up to an hour. Tender chicken meat, salted fish, lup cheong, charred rice bits, excellent sweet sauce and chilli? Check. This is one of the best places you can get claypot rice at in Singapore, but don't go when you're ravenous because you might get really hangry!

Lian He Ben Ji Claypot Rice
#02-198/199, Chinatown Complex Market
Tel: 62272470
Mon - Wed: 1600 - 2300
Fri - Sun: 1600 - 2300
Closed on Thu

Wrapped in pandan leaves and stuffed with a generous amount of ingredients, Hoo Kee sure makes one of the best rice dumplings. They're huge because they're packed with whole chestnuts and lean pork. If you're feeling extravagant, go for the one with the salted egg. If not, try the one with mushrooms! The glutinous rice is fragrant, moreish, and perfectly cooked. This is one kickass ba zhang. And no, it doesn't have to be dragon boat festival for you to enjoy these.
Photo by Hoo Kee Bak Chang

Hoo Kee Rice Dumplings
#01-18, Amoy Street Food Centre
Mon - Sat: 0900 - 1500
Closed on Sun

The aunty here is really like the grandmother who makes sure you're well-fed. Exceedingly generous with ingredients, this stall keeps people coming back with their value-for-money noodles. The char siew noodles are loaded with boiled wontons, fried wontons, char siew, and veg. But the mushroom pork rib noodles are the star. Instead of char siew, you get a good amount of super flavourful, super tender fall-off-the-bone pork ribs atop a good serving of noodles. How awesome is that?

Tai Seng Noodle House
#02-123, Amoy Street Food Centre
Mon - Sat: 0930 - 1430
Closed on Sun

Another stall at Maxwell that has gained a following is Jin Hua, serving bowl after bowl of steaming hot fish bee hoon. Whichever way you like your fish soup - milky or non-milky broth, sliced fish or fried fish - you'll be satisfied here. You can get fish head bee hoon here as well, if that's your thing. Tasty broth, a good serving of sliced or fried fish, noodles, complete with the addition of tofu, seaweed, vegetables, and tomatoes for slight sweetness make for a good, hearty meal.

Jin Hua Sliced Fish Bee Hoon
#01-77, Maxwell Food Centre
Mon - Wed: 1100 - 2030
Fri - Sun: 1100 - 2030
Closed on Thu

You HAVE to go early to get your hands on their ondeh ondeh if you want to try it, because it sells out really quickly. And early means by lunch time at around 1230, which is a major bummer for those of us who are not early birds. Bite into the coconut-coated super soft ondeh ondeh and you get a burst of liquid gula melaka, which might tastes like liquid gold. They're handmade and addictive; it'll be surprising if you can stop at one. Their tapioca cake and muah chee (which is slightly different as they're filled with peanuts instead of coated) are superb as well.

Xing Xing Tapioca Cake
#01-31, Maxwell Food Centre
Mon - Sat: 0800 - 1400
(Sold out before 1300)
Closed on Sun

Tian Tian needs no introduction. Serving arguably the best chicken rice in Singapore, you'll never not see a queue at this stall. From the rice to the chilli, everything is worth raving about. The chicken, delightfully tender and juicy, sits atop a bed of perfectly cooked, fragrant rice. Have it with the ginger and chilli, with the latter getting its brightness from calimansi juice and not vinegar. Tian Tian truly captures what hawker food should be: cheap and so, darn, good. Even Gordon Ramsay can't beat it.

Tian TIan Hainanese Chicken Rice
#01-10/11 Maxwell Food Centre
Tue - Sun: 1030 - 2000
Closed on Mon

Good things come to those who wait. Especially when it comes to Old Airport Road's Toa Payoh Rojak. With more than 40 years of experience, they've mastered the art of making excellent rojak. The uncle attentively grills the yu char kueh to a crisp over charcoal, ensuring that you don't get soft, soggy pieces in your rojak. The combination of condiments is almost perfect, and the prawn paste they use is the star. Rojak is one of those dishes that you don't get bored of eating, because of the contrasting textures and flavours you get (sweet, sour, spicy, salty) with each bite.

Toa Payoh Rojak
#01-108, Old Airport Road Food Centre
Mon - Sat: 1200 - 2000
Closed on Sun

There are two kinds of people in life: those who like their hokkien mee wet, and those who prefer it dry. But Nam Sing may just please both crowds. Each spoonful brims with the aromatic, umami-rich prawn seafood stock that has been patiently fried with the noodles. Served simply with cut red chili, soy sauce, squeeze the lime all over to brighten up this dish, and slurp up this perfectly moist plate of noodles. Give them a ring before you go down, or count on your luck for them to be open, as they close the stall as they wish.

Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee
#01-32, Old Airport Road Food Centre
Mon - Sun: 1100 - 1900 (or when sold out)

Trust the perpetual snaking queue at Xin Mei Xiang; a favourite among many. The rich, intense prawn-based gravy is just viscous enough to pleasantly coat the noodles without being cloying - add black vinegar to bring it to another level. The noodles are topped with the standard braised pork, ngoh hiang, egg and beansprouts, they also include fried snapper flakes that lend a great texture. The key here is patience, you'll get to the front of the queue eventually.

Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee
#01-116, Old Airport Road Food Centre
Tue - Wed, Fri - Sun: 0700 - 1400
Closed on Mon & Thu

What makes Hui Ji's fishball noodles so good is their back to basics, rustic charm. At a mere $2.50 per bowl of handmade fishballs and noodles in delicious special sauce, it is undisputedly one of the most value-for-money hawker eats that provides both quantity and quality. Handmade fishballs. Addictively good chilli. Cripsy pork lard pieces. Need more convincing?

Hui Ji Fishball Noodles and Yong Tau Foo
#02-44, Tiong Bahru Market
Thu - Tue: 0700 - 1400
Closed on Wed

The top picks, popular finds and newly opened places in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, curated by Burpple editors!

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