Singapore Chinatown Tours – Our Handpicked Top 10 Must-Eat Local Food
When visiting Singapore, the top thing on any visitor’s list is to try the local delicacies in a city that is known as a foodie’s paradise. While good food is practically everywhere in the little red dot, Chinatown is one of the must-visit places for a gastronomic adventure as the district is home to an abundance of locally loved dishes that cannot be missed. Here is our top 10 collection of must-eat local food that you absolutely have to try if you are on a chinatown tour in Singapore.
1. Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle
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This absolutely tender chicken that has been lovingly cooked in soya sauce and served with springy noodles or rice is a favourite with locals. Often found in hawker centres, different stalls do the dish with their own variations, whether it’s through upping the ante on the sauce or changing up the sweetness of the flavours. One stall in Chinatown, Hawker Chan (now Liao Fan Hawker Chan), shot to fame after being awarded a Michelin Star, becoming the cheapest Michelin Starred food you could get in the world. You can pop by their new outlet on Smith Street or head to their flagship stall in Chinatown Complex Market and Food Centre.
Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle – Smith Street
78 Smith Street Singapore 059872
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 9:00pm
Blk 335, Smith Street #02-126, Chinatown Food Complex, Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: 10:30am to 7:00pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Fri), 8:30am to 7:00pm (Sat – Sun),
Closed on Wednesdays.
2. Crispy Beef Noodle and Fish Head Soup
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The beautiful thing about hawker centres in Singapore is that it’s pretty much tons of good food in one place. Also nestled in the Chinatown Complex Market and Food Centre is An Ji Crispy Beef Noodle and Fish Head Soup, possibly the nation’s oldest fish head bee hoon sellers. Give the crispy beef noodles a go for the fun crunchy texture of the noodles and savour the tender beef. However, the star of the show is undoubtedly the fish head soup which is richly flavoured, hearty and with excellently flavoured fish head that features sweet meat.
An Ji Crispy Beef Noodle and Fish Head Soup
335 Smith Street, Chinatown Food Centre, #02-193/194, Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 230pm and 4:30pm to 1030pm. Closed on Wednesdays.
3. Steamed Pork Dumplings / Xiao Long Bao
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Not precisely a local dish, xiao long baos are so well-loved by Singaporeans that it might as well be an honorary local dish. Besides, what’s Chinatown without a little dim sum? Usually, Din Tai Fung is the go-to for good xiao long baos but Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao gives them a run for their money. With each soup-filled dumpling going at $0.60, it’s an ultimate value-for-money steal that allows you to enjoy these thin-skinned beauties without breaking the bank. Indulge in delectable pork broth and well-flavoured meat inside the dumplings with the vinegar provided for a delightful explosion of taste in your mouth.
Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao
#02-135, 335 Smith St, Singapore 050335 (Chinatown Complex Market and Food centre)
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 3pm, and 5pm to 8.30pm daily, closed on Mon and Tuesdays.
4. Traditional Chinese Desserts
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Any hawker centre or food court will have the usual dessert suspects like ice kachang or almond paste, but for some quality desserts with a good selection, head over to Mei Heong Yuen Dessert. Whether you’re looking for something hot, cold or even savoury (they also serve dim sum bites), they have it. Try the glutinous rice balls, cheng tng or herbal jelly for a taste of the traditional. They also have a range of healthy pastes that are very popular because they taste good as well! Otherwise, you might let yourself be drawn to the snow ice range which is a multi-coloured array of shaved ice desserts with various ingredients. Get it to share or order it for yourself on a hungry day.
Mei Heong Yuen Dessert
No. 63 – 67 Temple Street
Opening Hours: 12pm to 9.30pm(Tuesday – Sunday). Closed on Mondays.
5. Oyster Omelette
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This dish is about as sinful as it sounds but you’ll not regret it one bit. Also known as orh luak, you can find it at Katong Keah Kee Fried Oysters along the Chinatown Food Street. The fluffy omelette is just on the right side of charred with fabulously juicy oysters tucked in it or tantalisingly on top. Brilliantly flavoured with coriander and spring onions for garnishing, it’s definitely a must-try dish.
Katong Keah Kee Fried Oysters
Chinatown Food Street: 335 Smith St Singapore 050335 (Chinatown MRT)
Opening Hours: 11am – 2am (Mon-Thurs), 11am -3am (Fri-Sun)
6. Frog Leg Porridge
Before you get squeamish about eating frog legs, it should be asserted that it tastes like chicken. Tiong Shian Porridge Centre serves congee which is rice that has been boiled to a regular consistency. Select from a wide range of porridges including the century egg porridge which is a perennial favourite with the locals, as well as raw fish porridge. The claypot frog with ginger is a popular side for your porridge and has a good kick that really lights up your mouth. Plus they open till late so you always have a place to go for supper if you ever get hit by a late-night porridge craving.
Tiong Shian Porridge Centre
265 New Bridge Road, Chinatown, Singapore 088745
Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 – 04:00
7. Minced Pork Noodles / Bak Chor Mee
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A staple in most Singaporeans’ diet, minced pork noodles or bak chor mee is a bowl of springy noodles tossed in a mouthwatering sauce concoction that includes soy sauce and vinegar. The noodles are accompanied by meatballs, minced meat and fried dumplings although the ingredients vary from stall to stall. Many know of the Michelin Starred Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles but many also declare High Street Tai Wah Pork Noodles on par or even better. Opened by the brother of the owner of the Michelin Starred outlet, their pork noodles share a family resemblance although it’s really subjective on which you prefer. Look for the long queue and get your bak chor mee fix!
High Street Tai Wah Pork Noodles
Hong Lim Food Centre #02-16, 531A Upper Cross Street, Singapore 051531
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 7:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
8. Stir-fried Ricecake Strips / Fried Kway Teow
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In the very same food centre, you can find one of the best fried kway teows in Singapore. The dish is made of kway teow (flat rice noodles) fried with a generous helping of dark sweet sauce with beansprouts, cockles and other ingredients. The Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee delivers painfully good fried kway teow that oozes sin but makes it worth your while. With an irresistible smoky scent (wok hei), crunchy beansprouts and egg coating the kway teow, you may just end up getting another plate.
Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee
Hong Lim Food Centre #02-17, 531A Upper Cross Street, Singapore 051531
Opening Hours: 6pm – 3:30pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun, PH
9. Egg Tarts
Source: Tong Heng Facebook
Among many Chinese pastries and snacks, the egg tart is one of the most popular in Singapore and where better to go than Tong Heng for a taste of this sweet pastry? Instantly recognisable thanks to the unique diamond shape of their egg tarts, each egg tart is painstakingly hand rolled and shaped by hand, ensuring the quality of every single one. Boasting a light, flaky pastry that cups perfectly wobbly egg custard that isn’t too sweet, this is undoubtedly one of Singapore’s best egg tarts that can rival any of the other stores from Hong Kong.
285 South Bridge Road Singapore 058833
Opening Hours: 9am – 10pm (Last Baking Round 8:45pm)
10. Yong Tau Foo
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Yong tau foo is usually a dish whereby you choose your own ingredients from what the stall has to offer, give your ingredient-filled bowl to the cook and tell them whether you want it cooked dry or with soup and what staple you would like with it. However, at Bai Nian Niang Dou Fu you can choose from a pre-set mix of ingredients, making it an easy process. The main draw is their delicious minced meat, fish and prawn paste rolls which are delicious and offer a good balance in the bowl. The soup is also well done with good flavour without being too heavy, making it a wonderfully tasty and light meal.
Bai Nian Niang Dou Fu
32 New Market Rd, #01-1144, Singapore 050032
Opening Hours: 9am to 9pm. Closed on Sunday, Opened on Public Holidays
Unsurprisingly, Chinatown is one of the best places to go for your local Chinese food fix in Singapore and there, you have a whole lot of scrumptious options to choose from to satisfy the foodie in you. Or better yet, go on a food trail and try them all!