Popiah 薄餅 which is one of Singapore’s most popular hawker dishes, was actually traditionally eaten during the Qingming Festival Period.
People may pay respect to their ancestors then by eating cold food ”Han Shi” (fire was not allowed during the festival) such as Popiah.
These rolls filled with crunchy turnip strips and other vegetables, wrapped in a paper-thin ‘crepe’ are from the Fujian and Chaoshan provinces.
When it was brought to Singapore, the Popiah had been adapted to local culture and tastes. Thus, you may find similar versions elsewhere such as Taiwan’s run bing 潤餅.
In Singapore, you generally get two styles which are the Hokkien Popiah (tend to have bamboo shoots and pork) and the Nyonya Popiah (which includes prawn or crab meat), though there are others which are somewhere in between.
Here are 12 places in Singapore to satisfy your Popiah cravings:
My Cosy Corner
587 Bukit Timah Rd, #02-02 Coronation Plaza, Singapore 269707
Opening Hours: 10am – 7pm (Mon – Sat), 11am – 4pm (Sun)
First note, do not come here on Sundays for Popiah – these are sold on other days.
A non-descript eatery located at one corner of Coronation Plaza, My Cosy Corner is well known for its Laksa, Mee Siam and Popiah served Peranakan style.
The owner based the Popiah recipe from his aunt who is cookbook author Leong Yee Soo.
This Popiah ($2.50) came in a big and fat roll that was slightly on the soggy side, and some of the ingredients fell apart easily. So, I wished it was wrapped more neatly and tightly.
I must say turnip fillings were quite juicy (and wet) though, had delicious crunchy bits that are made of rice which is first sun-fried then deep-fried. Another draw could be the chilli with tanginess and distinct garlicky taste.
Between the Popiah and Kueh Pie Tee ($4.80 for 6 pieces), I preferred the later which came with crunchy golden shells.
Kway Guan Huat Joochiat Popiah
95 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427389
Opening Hours: 9am – 2pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Original Popiah & Kueh Pie Tie is well-known for making their own popiah skins the traditional way, for over 70 years since 1938.
They are said to painstakingly follow a family recipe handed down from their forefathers in Fujian province. In fact, some other famous Popiah stalls in Singapore get their supply of popiah skins from here.
On lucky occasions, you can see the Popiah skin being made on the spot by hand, with dough twirled in mid-air and then placed over hot pan to get that thin and chewy skin.
As this is in a restaurant setting, the price of $4 per roll is also higher than elsewhere. Though the portion is considered substantial.
I thought the best part of the Popiah, was yes, the skin – delicate yet resilient, packing all the ingredients in.
The fillings include a combination of turnips, carrots, bean curd, minced scallop and even crab meat cooked in a seafood gravy. There could be slightly too much sweet black sauce, that distracted from the flavours of the other ingredients.
Ann Chin Popiah
335 Smith Street, Chinatown Food Centre #02-112, Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm (Mon – Sun)
Ann Chin Popiah 安珍 is founded by Mr Lim Kam Chwee, who brought this from Fujian to Singapore in the 1940s.
The stall charges $1.60 per Popiah roll, and also include other varieties such as Kueh Pie Tee ($3 for 4 pieces), Yam Roll ($1.60), Deep Fried Spring Roll ($1.60), Curry Spring Roll ($1.60).
The popiah skin is freshly made, very different from those machine-made ones which are generally hard and dry. Generally delightfully thin and clear, and has a soft and rather chewy texture.
The selling point is the fried ‘mang kwang’ (turnip fillings) and the crunchy bits, deliciously combined with the other ingredients such as hard-boiled egg, lettuce, bean sprouts and peanuts.
The Popiah retains its moisture rather well, bursting with flavours, yet not breaking the fragile skin.
They have expanded with several outlets around the island, and can be found in some food courts. (However, as I usually get my rolls from Chinatown, not too sure if quality is consistent throughout.)
107 North Bridge Road #B2-12 Funan Mall, Singapore 179105
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 9:30pm (Mon – Sat), 8:30am – 8:30pm (Sun) Last order 30 min before closing
This is actually the Popiah I eat most regularly due to the convenience of accessing to a store.
I actually first had “Qi Ji” at the food court on the top level of Funan Centre – it was called Hock Heng Food Stall during my childhood days. It then moved to Shaw Gallery Food Court and continued to maintain its popularity (I remember there was always a family of brothers and sisters serving).
After then, some of the co-founders came out to set up Qi Ji, expanded the business, and used technology for several of its processes. The skin, sweet and chilli sauces continue to be produced in-house.
Qi Ji has many outlets all around the island, yet they managed to keep their quality more or less consistent.
The Popiah cost $2.30 for a regular, with prawn ($2.80), chicken ($2.80) and premium ($3.90) options, and contains turnip, egg, bean sprouts, garlic, lettuce, and a combination of sweet and chilli sauces.
The draw to many is the distinct sweet and thick black sauce that almost envelops the entire skin, giving the outer layer a slightly darker colour beneath.
Instead of peanuts, they use golden crispy bits which gives a good contrast with the moist turnip fillings.
Good Chance Popiah Eating House
Silat Avenue, #01-58 Block 149, Singapore 160149
Opening Hours: 11am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm, 9:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Good Chance Restaurant is founded in 1977 by Mr Hou Shen Hu, and one of the pioneer names when you talk about Hokkien-style Popiah.
However, this is largely known for its DIY-style of Popiah, located at Blk 149 Silat Avenue (They have closed the Jalan Besar outlet.) The business is currently helmed by 3rd generation owner “Ah Boy”.
Wrapping your own may be more expensive than your usual Popiah stall prices – 6 rolls at $19.80, 12 at $37.80, and 18 for $53.80.
Additional Chinese sausage, prawns and crab meat come at additional cost ($5.80 to $7.80). Some would consider this pricey.
The taste of the mang guang was rather old school, which reminded me of what my grandmother used to cook. The fillings are moist and yet does not cause breakage to the soft skin easily.
The thing about DIY popiah is the fun, bonding, and interaction it creates with fellow diners. You can always anyhow anyhow wrap, and include your favourite ingredients and sauces in the proportion you want.
Rojak, Popiah & Cockle
1 Kadayanallur St, #01-56 Maxwell Road Food Centre, Singapore 069184
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 8:30pm (Mon – Sun)
A stall’s name cannot get as straight-forward as this – “Rojak, Popiah & Cockle”, selling three of Singapore’s loved hawker dishes in a single place at Maxwell Food Centre.
Many locals would not have known that this stall is actually Michelin recommended with a “Michelin Plate”, because it is not that well-known or prominent.
To me, the Popiah is the real draw among the three items sold. (Klook calls their version a “burrito-like local delicacy”.)
The Popiah ($1.50 each, 2 for $2.80) is filled with stewed turnip, fresh crunchy cabbage, carrots, pieces of hard-boiled egg and ground peanuts. Quite good value-for-money.
The skin is thin and supple, while the fillings moist and quite soft, though I would think there are others which are more delicious around.
Old Long House Popiah
Kim Keat Palm Market & Food Centre #01-03, 22A Lor 7 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310022
Opening Hours: 6:30am – 2:30pm (Wed – Sun), Closed Mon, Tues
The Popiah stall located at Toa Payoh Lor 7 Kim Keat Palm Food Centre has been around since the 1930s, selling Hokkien-style Popiah, skin and Kueh Pie Tee.
There is no pork, lard, MSG, artificial colours, and preservatives added.
The Popiah ($1.80) is included with stewed turnip, freshly-grinded garlic and peanuts, fresh lettuce, hard-boiled egg, house-made spicy chilli sauce, crispy sole fish, and a small piece of crab stick.
What I liked were the crunchy bits (crispy batter?) which had a little bit of saltiness within, though I thought the fillings could be more packed and moist – was slightly on the dryer side overall.
Lagoon Famous Carrot Cake and Popiah
East Coast Lagoon Food Village Stall 40, Singapore 468960
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri), 8:30am – 10pm (Sat, Sun), Closed Tues
While this stall at East Coast Lagoon Food Village first started selling Carrot Cake, it eventually became quite popular for its Popiah.
The Popiah stall even won a “Best Popiah” award from City Hawker Food Hunt 2015.
Each Popiah ($2.20) came quite tightly wrapped with strong obvious garlicky taste. Among the ingredients, I spotted crab stick pieces which were not quite the usual.
A not-bad version which appealed due to the addictive crunchy bits, though I wished there was more mang Kwang fillings wrapped within.
Ping Kee Popiah
Sembawang Hills Food Centre #01-32 590 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574419
Opening Hours: 11:15am – 8pm (Tues – Sun)
This stall at Sembawang Hills Food Centre serves warm and indulgent servings of Popiah that is affordably priced at $1.70 per piece.
I loved how generous they were with the fillings and sauce. The ingredients tasted quite fresh with hard-boiled eggs pairing up with crunchy beansprouts, grounded peanuts and braised turnips. The bits of surprise are Chinese sausages.
Though I wished that the popiah skin could have been softer.
Also available is Kueh Pie Tee ($3.20 for 4 cups) which has the same fillings in cups of crispy crust.
Miao Sin Popiah 淼鑫薄饼
Balestier Food Market #01-06, 411 Balestier Road, Singapore 329930
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Fri), Closed Wed
For those of you who are familiar with Longhouse Food Centre and Lavender Food Square, Miao Sin Popiah has settled at Balestier Food Market some years back.
Eminent Plaza fans will get a sense of nostalgia here.
Run by veteran hawker Ong Chin Quay, the Popiah ($2) had skin which unfortunately was on the drier side, though the fillings were considered refreshing. Some may say light yet flavourful, some may consider slightly bland.
Bee Heng Popiah
500 Clemenceau Avenue North #01-12 Newton Food Centre Singapore 229495
Tel: +65 62520551
Opening Hours: 11:45am – 11pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Get your Popiah fix from one of the most Popiah-lar stalls at Newton. Bee Heng is one of the oldest stalls that claims to have been around since 1977, and also sells Satay.
However, do note that customers would require a minimum order of 2 ($4.40 for 2), so this may put off some individuals who want to order a Popiah as a side.
The Hokkien-style Popiah is said to be cooked with a traditional recipe passed down since 1930.
If you like your Popiah ‘neat’, without being too soggy or bursting out, then perhaps you would like it.
They just put a dab of the sweet and chilli sauce, so the outer layer remained quite ‘dry’ – though I think some may prefer a ‘juicier’ version.
7 Wallich Street, Guoco Tower #B2 – 31, Singapore 078884
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 8:15pm (Mon – Fri), 10:30am – 8pm (Sat), 10:30am – 7:15pm (Sun)
It is not common to find Popiah, Soups, Stews and Salads sold at the same place.
Homegrown Souperstar was created by the second generation of the family behind Fortune Food – a brand with more than 10 years of experience serving Singapore hawker delicacies.
They are probably the first in Singapore to do wraps (burrito style) using Popiah Skin, with interesting varieties.
Choices include Traditional Popiah ($3.30), Sesame Chicken Popiah ($5.10), Sweet Thai Chicken Popiah ($5.50), Seafood Wasabi Mayo Popiah ($6) and Masala Chicken Popiah ($5.80).
The Sesame Chicken Popiah ($5.10) with roast chicken wrapped in 100% homemade popiah skin makes a great grab-and-go.
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