Singapore Food: Top 10 Must-Eat Local Dishes (& Where to Try!)

by Food & Drinks, Singapore14 comments

Singapore is not only known for its world-class airport facilities, heart-pumping theme parks, and awe-inspiring city skyline but also for its finger-licking dishes — after all, much like what the famous show of Crazy Rich Asians‘ had shown us, Singapore food is a wonder of its own!

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As time has it, Singapore’s seaport history surely gave way to a diverse culture with various Asian and Western influences, and this has been perfected for years. No matter where you go, you can enjoy a myriad of options: from cheap hawker center chows to heritage restaurants serving fresh seafood and hearty rice and noodle meals.

Traveling in Singapore is definitely a delight and in order to help foodies like you, I’ve put together a list of some of the most flavorful Singaporean dishes that you must try as you eat your way through this mega city!

Top Singapore Food

1. Chili Crab

Singapore Food: Chili Crab

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Ask any local about Singapore’s national dish and chili crab is bound to be a clear favorite! Truth be told, it was even voted as one of the world’s 50 most delicious foods in a survey by CNN.

So while in Singapore, make sure to enjoy these juicy crabs soaked in a sweet & spicy tomato and chili sauce and then pair it off with steamed or fried mantous (buns).

Where best to eat it? Try out the spicy chili crabs at Long Beach Seafood Restaurant found in #01-04 East Coast Seafood Centre, 1202 East Coast Parkway. This place actually serves a variation of the chili crab: the black pepper crab. Instead of the chili sauce, this signature dish is created with black pepper seasoning.

2. Chicken Rice

Chicken Rice

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Another contender for the nation’s most popular dish is chicken rice — also called as Hainanese Chicken. In this Singapore dish, the chicken is cooked in a blend of pork and chicken bone stock for a flavorful bite. After cooking, it is sometimes immersed in ice water to create a glazed look. The rice is then cooked in chicken stock, ginger, and garlic. Now of course, don’t forget the garlic and chili sauce before digging in!

Where best to eat it? Brave the long queues at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice found in 1 Kadayanallur St, #01-10/11 Maxwell Food Centre.

3. Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow

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Savor these wide flavorful rice noodles that are stir-fried with crispy bean sprouts, Chinese sausage, clams, dark soy sauce, and shrimp paste.

Relish in the filling meal with a distinct smoky or wok hei (‘breath of a wok’) flavor.

Where best to eat it? Hill Street Char Kway Teow found in 16 Bedok South Road, #01-41 Bedok South Market & Food Centre.

4. Nasi Lemak

Singapore Food: Nasi Lemak

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Delight in the different textures and flavors of the Malay dish: nasi lemak. The term translates to “rich rice”, perfectly describing the rice steamed in creamy coconut milk.

This national dish of Malaysia comes with fried chicken, ikan bilis (dried anchovies), roasted peanuts, egg, otah (grilled fish cake), and of course, sambal (chili paste). Switch up your meal with add-ons like ikan kuning (fried yellowstripe scad) and paru (beef lung).

Where best to eat it? Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak found in #01-106, Boon Lay Place Market and Food Centre, 221 Boon Lay Place.

5. Kaya Toast

Kaya Toast

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Start your day at a kopitiam (traditional coffee shop) and order a delicious kaya toast. This dish might seem simple at first but it’s a well-loved Singapore food. It basically consists of sweet kaya (pandan-flavored coconut jam) and a slice of butter that are sandwiched between toasted slices of bread. Typically, this is dipped in a mixture of soft-boiled eggs, pepper, and dark or light soy sauce.

To complete the authentic experience, sip on full-bodied kopi (coffee) with condensed milk!

There are also variations on this breakfast staple such as round buns, a baguette, or even crackers instead of the usual sliced bread. Other coffee shops, like Good Morning Nanyang Cafe, puts their own unique spin with the addition of caramelized orange peel.

Where best to eat it? Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee found in 7 Maxwell Road #02-95 Amoy Street Food Centre for traditional, char-grilled bread. Otherwise, Good Morning Nanyang Cafe found in 14 Scotts Road, #02-23 Far East Plaza and 32 Maxwell Rd.

6. Satay

Singapore Food: Satay

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Any trip to a hawker center will not be complete without your fix of satay. Relish in this delectable skewered, grilled meat, that’s typically served with ketupat (steamed rice cake), peanut dip, and sometimes cucumbers and onions too.

The meat can vary: pork, chicken, lamb, beef and so on. Personally? I like pork satay best!

Where best to eat it? Haron Satay found in 1220 East Coast Parkway, East Coast Lagoon Food Village.

7. Bak Kut Teh

Bak Kut Teh

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Bak kut teh, which translates to “meat bone tea”, gets its name from the Chinese tea that’s typically paired with this pork rib soup dish. Basically, pork bones and meat are boiled together with a delicate amount of herbs and spices.

Afterwards, it is served with tofu puffs, mushroom, rice, and you tiao (dough fritters).

Where best to eat it? Song Fa Bak Kut Teh found in 11 New Bridge Rd. (Upp Circular Rd, #01-01).

8. Sambal Stingray

Sambal Stingray

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Another well-loved hawker centre or Singapore street food fare is sambal stingray, also known as ikan bakar (barbecued fish) in Malay.

This Singapore invention is quite a treat as it is originally grilled in banana leaf in order to retain its natural flavor. To complete it, top it with some spicy sambal paste made from chili peppers, belacan (shrimp paste), shallots and spices. Balance your meal with the salty chinchalok or cincalok, a dipping sauce made of fermented krill/shrimp, lime, and chili.

Where best to eat it? Chomp Chomp Food Centre found in 20 Kensington Park Road.

9. Laksa


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A highlight of Peranakan cuisine, combining Malay and Chinese influences, laksa is a creamy coconut curry sauce that is often served with cut-up noodles and fried bean curd.

As a delicacy, laksa is offered in many variants and much like the other famous Singaporean dish, fish head curry, the Assam-style has hints of sourness from mixing tamarind.

Where best to eat it? Katong Laksa, a street food stall found at 328 Katong Laksa, 53 East Coast Road, Singapore.

10. Bak Chor Mee

Bak Chor Mee

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Chow down on the hearty bak chor mee, which translates to “minced meat and noodles”. This is a delicious bowl of noodles topped with sliced pork, dumplings, pork liver, and salted fish or fish cake slices coated in a spicy vinegar sauce.

You can also choose from different noodle types such as the mee pok (flat noodle), mee kia (thin noodle), bee hoon (rice vermicelli), mee sua (wheat vermicelli), and mee tai mak (rice pin noodle).

Where best to eat it? Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle found in Blk 466 Crawford Lane.

• • •

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• • •

Singapore Food: Top 10 Must-Eat Local Dishes


There are obviously a lot of other amazing Singapore food such as fish head curry, hokkien mee, oyster omelette, chwee kueh, durian, roti prata, popiah, and so many others!

But hopefully, this list is already a start to treating yourself to these delectable eats.

• • •

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  1. Alex

    Thank you for posting about best local dishes in Singapore. I love this blog.

  2. Sean Bryant

    Singapore since we were still a developing country and deserves its recognition as a simple, humble dish. Most of the Bak Kut Teh here are of the pepper variety with mild use of herbs like star anise.

  3. DM

    Its looking so beautiful, I love it. Thanks for sharing it………..


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