As accommodation is quite expensive in Singapore and we still have about eight months of travel in more expensive countries ahead of us, we tried to keep the cost of food in Singapore down by eating at hawker centres most of the time. At these food courts, you’ll find a variety of cuisines and dishes, serving your current craving. The different food stalls serve good food for decent prices, but their great number makes choosing hard. There are nowhere napkins to be found, but they’ll come sell them for a dollar (Singaporean dollar) per pack at your table.
During our visit to Little India we lunched at the hawker centre at Tekka Centre, which houses shops as well. The centre is next to the “Little India” MRT station, so easily accessible from wherever you’re staying. We shared a very good Tandoori chicken (S$4) with a garlic (S$1.50) and a cheese (S$2) naan. God, we love naan, one of the great food discoveries during our trip! For dessert we had a honey prata (S$2), similar to a pancake and simply delicious. We don’t remember the exact stalls we bought these dishes, but they were close to each other. We were advised to order with the stalls where people are queuing, but sometimes you’re there at a calm moment and you just have to take your chances, as did we.
Before heading over to the Gardens by the Bay, we had lunch at the Golden Mile Food Court, a hawker centre not too far from our hotel. (Read about our stay at 85 Beach Garden Hotel in another blogpost.) Here we made our choices based on the queues in front of the stalls. First dish was fried hokkien prawn mee (S$3) from stall B1-34 on the ground floor. Brecht liked this noodle dish, me not so much. Second dish was fried kway teow mee (S$3) from stall 01-91 on the first floor, another noodle dish which I preferred over the first one. For dessert we just trusted our eyes and had a yummy blueberry muffin (S$1.40) from SLII Muffins, stall 01-97.
After exploring Gardens by the Bay we got hungry once again and decided to try our luck at Satay by the Bay, the food court/hawker centre in the park. It was crazy busy (probably because it was a Saturday night in the Christmas period) and it took us quite some time to secure a spot to enjoy our dinner. We had a spinach cheese pide (S$11) and a chicken pide (S$12), a Turkish dish (filled bread) that reminds of pizza. It was delicious, although a bit salty.
We couldn’t miss out on Maxwell Food Centre, said to be the best hawker centre in Singapore. Brecht tried and liked the famous Hainanese chicken rice. He ordered a chicken rice set (S$4.50) with one of the numerous stalls selling this popular dish. I had popiah (S$2.50), another famous Singaporean dish, kind of like a fresh spring roll. It was a rather small portion so I also had fried sweet potato dumplings (6 for S$3), very similar to what we in Belgium call “smoutebollen”. Yum!
Our last hawker centre was a bit more “upscale”, situated on Orchard Road, THE shopping street of Singapore. After loving our lunch at Teppan-Yaki in the Food Republic in Kuala Lumpur, we went to Food Republic @ Shaw House for lunch at He Niu Teppanyaki. Although the salmon from Brecht’s salmon set (S$13.90) was not as heavenly as in KL, it was good and he liked the vegetables here better. I had the chicken chop set once again, which was nice! There was show cooking just like in KL, but here one chef prepared the meat and another the vegetables, so they were ready at the same time.
It wasn’t all hawker centres during our stay in Singapore, we also ate at a restaurant or two. On a hot and beautiful night we went to Wings Bar, right in the centre of Clarke Quay. There’s a fountain where the four streets of Clarke Quay come together, all lined up with bars and restaurants. The streets are covered and equipped with outdoor airconditioning (what?!). Brecht had a nice Chili Con Carne (S$21.07) and I had half a rack of smoked honey BBQ ribs with bourbon (S$35.19). I can vouch for their “fall off the bone yumminess”. Notice the price difference with the hawker centres though?
We had lunch at The Hangar, on Arab Street. It’s a nice little coffee shop serving sandwiches and the like (in rather small portions). I loved the interior! Brecht had he salmon with dill aioli sandwich and I the lemongrass steak sandwich. Both were S$15.29 and both were delicious. They serve a free glass of water upon arrival, so we didn’t buy any drinks, which kept the the bill a tad lower.
Apart from a splurge or two we ate at some of the numerous hawker centres in Singapore. Definitely the cheapest option and a lot of choice. Our favourite dishes were the Turkish pide at Satay by the Bay and the sandwiches at The Hangar, but honestly we haven’t had any bad food in Singapore. Enjoy!