Deciding what to eat in Singapore is a tough job. There are myriads of choice, be it fancy restaurants or traditional hawker food. If you’re coming to Singapore for a short break, these are 5 MUST EAT foods in hawker centers that are worth to try (and worth the wait).
1. Dong Po Colonial Cafe
Dad always told me to have breakfast. I will certainly be happy to do so in Dong Po Colonial Cafe. Immerse yourself in authentic traditional Singaporean breakfast ritual by ordering Hot Kopi (coffee with milk), Bostock (almond toast) and Long Cup. The ‘kopi’ (means coffee in Malay & Bahasa) is quite strong (it will surely keeps you awake) and not too sweet. Try to dip the Long Cup (long cake made in pipe – back in those colonial days of Singapore, they don’t have tray to mold the cake so used pipe instead) into the coffee. Somehow it makes the coffee much more delicious. Last but not least is the Bostock. Crispy, sweet, buttery, and the almond topping is generous and fragrant. Put down all your fancy fancy cake and try this one! Have your breakfast at Dong Po and you’re ready to start the day!
Dong Po Colonial Cafe: 56 Kandahar St, nearest MRT: Bugis & Nicoll Highway. Opening Hours: 8:00-18:00 (Mon-Thu), 8:00-22:00 (Fri-Sun).
2. A Noodle Story
Dry ramen Singapore style. If you’re looking for a good satisfying brunch, try this one. A Noodle Story is a new young gen hawker that becomes the latest hype. They only sell 1 item in the menu: the dry ramen. Each bowl comes with dry ramen, charsiu, shrimp wonton, onsen egg, fried noodle prawn, spring onion and the red crispy topping (not sure what it is). The plating is done very nicely, looks super enticing. The ramen noodle is thin, chewy and has a nice flavor on itself. The noodle just absorb all the sauce underneath and makes it easier to slurp. The shrimp wonton is very plump, juicy and sweet. I was surprised with the onsen egg, tastes a bit like herbal boiled egg – and the yolk is runny and creamy. Get ready to queue in this stall but hey..it’s totally worth the wait.
A Noodle Story: 7 Maxwell Rd (Amoy Food Centre 01-39), nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar. Opening Hours: 10:30 (Sunday closed).
3. Famous Old Airport Fried Oyster
It is so good you can taste the wok hei! There are so many good review on this one, so I hop on the bus to Old Airport Rd food centre, just to try this. Fried oyster (Orh Luak) is a unique Singaporean dish / snack that consists of egg, flour, basil, and of course those bouncy oysters. This stall offers a very (i mean very very very) delicious fried oyster. The egg and flour is so fluffy, savory, and yes, you can absolutely taste the wok hei (the flavor that comes out from the wok when food is fried) – and I personally think this is what makes this stall stands out from the rest. I also love the oysters (uncle is so generous in giving the oysters) – they’re so fresh, bouncy and doesn’t really taste like Sea. I previously had bad experience with fried oyster in other hawker centre because the oyster had funky smell and taste. But fret not, Famous Old Airport Fried Oyster serves you only the freshest and the original!
Famous Old Airport Fried Oyster: 51 Old Airport Rd (Old Airport Food Centre 01-54), nearest MRT: Dakota. Opening Hours: 11:00-21:00.
4. Bai Nian Niang Dou Fu
Total comfort food for rainy days (and hot days as well). If you go for shopping in Bugis street, make sure you go to the far end and you will see Albert Centre hawker food. Bai Nian Niang Dou Fu is located in the middle of the row of stalls. They sell a set of Yong Tau Foo, including the white bee hoon. You may choose with or without bitter gourd (I once tried the bitter gourd but I prefer to eat without it). You can ask for extra bee hoon too! Each bowl comes with 5 different YTF: the prawn ball, the minced meat ball, tofu and fish cake. Don’t be deceived by the clear soup. It may looks clear and bland but hey the soup is actually the soul of the whole bowl! It is light, peppery, a bit sweet, savory, very very comforting. Enjoying Bai Nian Niang Dou Fu during the afternoon is a good idea before stuffing yourself with dinner.
Bai Nian Niang Dou Fu: 270 Queen St (Albert Centre 01-106), nearest MRT: Bugis . Opening Hours: 7:30-21:00.
5. JB Ah Meng
Michelin star zi char style. JB Ah Meng is one of the resto I always recommend to a friend for dinner in Singapore. The must try items are: San Lou beehoon (burnt rice noodle), Stir Fried Lala (clams), Chilli Crab and Combination Tofu. The San Lou beehoon is literally overcooked fried rice noodle. The look might be unassuming but you know sometimes you just can’t judge a book by its cover. It’s delicious, full of wok hei, comes with lots of toppings (squid, prawn and egg), and is a good start for the entire meal. The lala comes with light sauce, it’s chewy and fresh, slightly spicy and garlicky. The Combination Tofu is actually a new item that I ordered – it turns out super good, the tofu is inarguably soft, creamy and leaves you wanting for more (I can seriously eat the whole plate by myself). Last but not least, don’t leave Singapore without having Chilli Crab! I have tried several outlets like the famous Jumbo (yes it costed me a lot) to the one in Makan Sutra (yes it’s much more affordable but sorry, not impressive at all) – and I came to conclusion that the Chilli Crab in JB Ah Meng is still the best (in terms of taste, portion and value). The huge legged crabs are drenched in sweet, spicy and eggy sauce. It fits me nicely because it’s not that extremely spicy and is very enjoyable. The crabs are fresh, the meat is thick, and oh don’t forget to wipe the sauce with fried mantao bun. It surely is a satisfying dinner and a great way to end your visit in Singapore.
JB Ah Meng: 534 Geylang Road Lorong 30, nearest MRT: Paya Lebar. Opening Hours: 17:00-03:00