When tourists ask me, ”Which hawker centres should I go to?”, my reply will usually be
Maxwell Food Centre and
Tiong Bahru Food Centre.

This is largely due to the size and variety of the food offered, the ‘star’ stalls (ie Michelin-recommended), the affordable meals, and proximity to places of interest.

Other than the fact that they found a unique part of Singapore’s culture, hawker centres hold a special place in our hearts… those childhood memories, meals with families and friends, and delicious local food that just reminds us of home.

Here are some of the 10 must-visit food centres in Singapore (I know there are many more). With each, I also picked 3 representative stalls you can consider heading to as a point of reference: (Don’t ‘scold’ me for leaving some out, as they are indeed too many gems to choose from)

Tiong Bahru Food Centre
Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre has been one of Singapore’s favourites, and in fact the the first modern market to be built in a housing area in 1955.

Several well-known food items have in fact been synonymous with the name “Tiong Bahru”, from chwee kueh, pao, porridge to roast pork.

Stalls to queue for:
– Jian Bo Chwee Kueh. Many Singaporeans would agree that Jian Bo offers one of the best chwee kueh around, a simple dish of smooth and soft steamed rice cake topped with oily preserved radish.
– Zhong Yu Yuan Wei Wanton Noodles which isfamous of their ‘bu jian tian’ char siew, literally roast pork that doesn’t see the sky – that’s why the pieces are tender.
– Hui Ji Fishball Noodles and Yong Tau Foo. Not a widely publicized shop, but its queue in the morning easily beats many of the other popular stalls. Two words – the sauce.

Maxwell Food Centre
Maxwell Food Centre is one of those food centres that both tourists and Singapore locals go to.

I say this because some food spots get overly touristy and commercialized, but Maxwell is a convenient go-to for affordable credible Singapore food throughout the day till supper.

Many people venture to Maxwell for Tian Tian Chicken Rice, so much so that there are so many Chicken Rice stalls that sprouted out over the years, all spotted similar-looking medium blue sign boards.

But there is more to the food centre than that. China Street Fritters, Lao Ban Beancurd, Hoe Kee Congee, Lim Kee Banana Fritters, Fried Sweet Potato Dumplings are some of the regular favourites, many stalls have been there long before the multiple renovations.

Stalls to queue for:
Tian Tian Chicken Rice is probably one of Singapore’s most famous chicken rice stall. It’s winning formula to me has to be its rice – warm, fluffy, fragrant, good enough to just eat it with the chilli sauce.
– Jin Hua Sliced Fish Bee Hoon stall prepares Cantonese style fish head bee hoon soup, and its selling point is in its hot piping milk fish broth.
– Hum Jin Pang. What? $1 for 6 pieces of Hum Chin Pang (or peng)… but you have to fry the dough pieces yourself. These sweet dough are kneaded on the spot, deep fried in very hot oil, sugar coated and served in a bag of 6

Old Airport Food Centre
Old Airport Road Food Centrewas voted the champion after radion station 96.3 HAO FM started a search for Singapore’s Best Hawker Centre, with it getting twice as many votes as its nearest competitor.

The food centre located near Dakota MRT Station with over 40 years of history was built in 1972, then to settle street hawkers around Kallang Estate area.

With 168 food stalls, it is considered one of Singapore’s largest, and also houses many famous stalls. There is also a second storey which has 136 retail shops.

Stalls to queue for:
Xin Mei Xiang Zheng Zong Lor Mee 新美香卤面 for its flavourful “Food King Good” Lor Mee with gooey thick sauce.
Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wanton Mee 華記后港祖傳馳名雲吞麵 with noodles that come with an interesting gravy sauce, which leans more on the sweet side and goes well with the spicy-smoky chili sambal to balance off the sweetness.
– Roast Paradise 烧味天堂 for thick, fatty, charred, KL style Char Siew with a tinge of sweet-stickiness on the outside.

Chinatown Complex Food Centre
Chinatown Complex Food Centre located at Block 335 Smith Street is the largest hawker centre in Singapore with over 260 food stalls, also boosting the world’s first Michelin hawker stall.

Come here during lunch time, and you would find an interesting mix of the local elderly, office executive and curious tourists.

The food centre which has closed for renovations from March, has reopened 1st June. The renovation is reported to cost about $2.5 million for the upgrading of the building that is more than 35 years old.

Stalls to queue for:
Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle 香港油雞飯麵, the world-famous stall known for serving the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world.
Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao 中国拉面小笼包 offers great value for your money with delicious handmade Xiao Long Bao, Szechuan Spicy Wanton, and hand-pulled noodles.
Lian He Ben Ji Claypot 联合本记砂煲饭 located at the corner of Chinatown Complex Food Centre is one of the most popular claypot rice stalls in Singapore.

Hong Lim Food Centre
“Hong Lim” has well, been quite known for its speakers’ corner, but one mustn’t forget that the two storey food centre is a gathering of some of the best street food available in Singapore.

Many stalls at Hong Lim Food Centre continue to enjoy long queues.

Some of which are Heng Kee Curry Chicken Bee Hoon Mee, High Street Tai Wah Pork Noodles, Ah Kow Mushroom Minced Pork Mee, Teo Heng Porridge Stall, Hwee Kee Kway Chap, Hong Xing Handmade Fishball, Hiong Kee Rice Dumplings, and The Old Stall Hokkien Prawn Mee.

Either their original bosses or children are holding the fort, so we have the assurance that these local delicacies are still in same hands, at least for a good number of years.

Stalls to queue for:
Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee 欧南园炒粿條面 which is fried rice noodles almost evenly covered with moist egg, smoking hot when served, still with some of those addictive crispy pork lard.
– Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist has been around since 1965, and it really propelled into fame when it won the “Favourite Hawker” in the wanton noodles category by a huge margin, beating all the usual suspects.
Ah Heng Curry Chicken Bee Hoon Mee with chopped Hainanese chicken swimming in a bowl of coconut-ty and tasty gravy.

Amoy Street Food Centre
Amoy Street Food Centre Hawker Guide is one of my favourite hawker centres in Singapore for the sheer quality and quality.

It is located in the central business district continues to offer quality hawker fare at very affordable prices.

Located just a few minutes’ walk away from Telok Ayer and Tanjong Pagar MRT stations, the place is very crowded during lunchtime when office workers head down in droves for lunch, although that is also the only time most of the stalls are open.

It also boasts a wide range of stalls with both foods from older generations to newer, more modern stalls selling all kinds of food items from age old favourites like char kway teow to more ‘modern’ foods like ramen and muffins.

Stalls to queue for:
A Noodle Story. Famous Singapore style “ramen” with Japanese style charshu, soy-flavoured braised egg, Hong Kong style wantons, potato wrapper prawn fritter for that crunch.
Han Kee Fish Soup must be the stall with the longest queue at Amoy Food Centre at lunch hour, and can go up to 1 hour during peak periods.
Ah Ter Teochew Fishball Noodles offers noodles which are light and springy and go well with the spicy, tad oily sauce base.

Golden Mile Food Centre
Golden Mile Food Centre used to be where I go to after “settling stuff” at the Army Market upstairs – the place of relief for many army boys and NSMen. Buy in-camp things then go downstairs eat.

The food centre which was opened since 1975, has a good mix of stalls both upstairs and downstairs. Most of the Halal stalls are located downstairs.

There are many famous and worthy stalls here, such as Ah Xiao Teochew Braised Duck, Golden Mile Special Yong Tau Foo, Charlie’s Peranakan Food, Mr Baguette, Zhao An Granny Grass Jelly, Haji Kadir Food Chains (for Tulang and Roti John), and Koothurar Nasi Biryani.

Stalls to queue for:
91 Fried Kway Teow Mee 91翠绿炒粿條面 known for its healthier version of Char Kway Teow – no pork, no lard, added with toppings of chye sim.
– Yew Chuan Claypot Rice for fragrant rice which was topped with tender marinated chicken pieces, tasty Chinese sausages, fresh green vegetables and light traces of salted fish.
– Wedang for Halal Malay food from Tahu Goreng, Mee or Bee Hoon Soto Ayam, to Nasi Ayam (chicken rice), all at $3.00 per plate or bowl.

ABC Brickworks Food Centre
ABC Brickworks Food Centre is one of the first hawker centres to be built in Singapore in 1970, and is located at 6 Jalan Bukit Merah.

In terms of location, it is about a 10 minutes’ walk from IKEA, Queensway Shopping Centre, and there is another food centre Alexandra Village diagonally opposite.

The origin of its name is an interesting one, said to be named after “Archipelago Brewery Company”, the first commercial brewery in Singapore.

Stalls to queue for:
Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Mee
for Michelin-recommended Fried Prawn Noodles which is flavourful and with wok-hei.
Ah Er Soup which sells many different soups at affordable prices including Buddha Jumps Over The Wall and the Herbal Ginseng Black Chicken Soup.
– Fatty Cheong Roast serves some of the best Char Siew around in Singapore – nicely char, good balance of lean meat and fats, and melts in your mouth.

Bedok 85 aka Fengshan Food Centre
Located at 85 Bedok North Street 4, Fengshan Market & Food Centre is better known as “Bedok 85”.

The hawker centre is a go-to place for supper, bustling with Singaporeans from all walks of life as the stalls open till late.

Ask anyone where to find the best soup version of Bak Chor Mee, and many will say Bedok 85 Market.

Supper-goers typically travel for Xing Ji Rou Cuo Mian or Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee, known for their soup version of the local Bak Chor Mee added with minced pork, meatballs and sliced chillies.

Stalls to queue for:
Xing Ji Rou Cuo Mian with Minced Pork Noodle Soup which looked deceivingly light but was really flavoursome.
– Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee also stands out for its delectably divine, soupy bowl of Bak Chor Mee.
Shi Wei Da serving Satay Beehoon with sauce which was rich, unique and tasty.

Chomp Chomp Food Centre
Chomp Chomp Food Centre at Serangoon Garden is popular as a supper place, good especially when you have occasional late-night cravings for Hokkien Mee, Satay and Chicken Wings.

So plan your visit as most of the stalls start their daily business from 5:30pm onwards.

Something to note is many stalls serve similar hawker food, such as Carrot Cake, Oyster Omelette, BBQ Chicken Wings, BBQ Seafood, and Hokkien Mee. They all can be categorised ‘heaty’, and so quench your thirst with one of the many Sugar Cane juice stalls.

For a first timer, it can be hard to gauge which are the more note-worthy stalls, especially when there are no visual cues such as a queue. Food is generally sent to your table, but do sit somewhere near where you order.

Stalls to queue for:
Ah Hock Fried Hokkien Mee 亚福炒福建虾面 for semi-wet Hokkien Fried Prawn Noodles fried up skilfully by an old uncle, easily one of the most popular and known stall at Chomp Chomp.
Chomp Chomp Satay for juicy satay available in pork, chicken, beef and mutton, served with pineapple peanut sauce. Order a ketupat too.
– Ang Sa Lee Oyster Omelette. The oysters were plump and juicy, and its sour-spicy chilli deserve a mention.

Other Related Entries
Maxwell Food Centre Food Guide
Amoy Street Food Centre Food Guide
Zion Riverside Food Centre Food Guide
Hong Lim Food Centre Food Guide
Tanjong Pagar Food Centre Food Guide
ABC Brickworks Food Centre Food Guide
Alexandra Village Food Centre Food Guide
Market Street Hawker Centre Food Guide
Chinatown Complex Food Centre Food Guide
Bedok 85 (Fengshan Food Centre) Food Guide
Redhill Food Centre Food guide

Old Airport Road Food Centre Food Guide
Chomp Chomp Food Centre Food Guide

* Follow @DanielFoodDiary on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube for more food news, food videos and travel highlights. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Not mentioning Golden Mile’s Hainan Hokkien Mee, Burg by Project Warung and the world class 75 Ah Balling Peanut Soup in the description is blasphemous.
    Plus The fish soup just voted top 10 best Hawker Stall by Singaporean in 2018, also didn’t mentioned.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here