Singapore is considered a street food paradise; the city is filled with hawker centers and long-standing family restaurants serving delectable and inexpensive street food. The city-state used to be part of Malaysia and so they have a lot of things in common such as diversity in race, culture, religion and of course – cuisine! We had an amazing experience trying out Malaysian food during our visit in Kuala Lumpur and so it would be interesting to see what Singapore has to offer. This is my second time in Singapore and this time I’ve done a little bit of research as to what to eat in the city. We’re talking about where to find the best chili crab, satay, laksa and a lot more.
On this blog, The Daily Phil takes you on a food trip featuring the must try dishes and the local’s favorite restaurants in Singapore. Let’s eat!
Satay @ Lau Pa Sat
For our first stop, we went to Lau Pa Sat Food Court also known as Telok Ayer Market to sample what many consider as the best satay in Singapore. Located in between high rise buildings, this hawker center holds a lot of historical significance as it is one of the oldest Victorian design structure in South East Asia. At around 7:00 pm, the Satay vendors will fire up their grills and set up tables and chairs in the middle of the street. We dined in at Stall 7 and 8 which seems to be the most popular. It proudly shows off pictures and screenshots of TV and newspaper features. We ordered set B which is composed of 15 sticks of chicken satay, 15 sticks of beef and 10 sticks of shrimp for SGD 41.00.
The chicken satay was really tender. Each bite was moist and succulent. There is a bit of heat coming through that is either because of curry, cumin or probably paprika, I am really not sure but it’s a peppery flavor that I only get from satay. The smokiness penetrates all the way through. The beef and shrimp satay were just as delicious. The peanut sauce is sweet and chunky, it reminded me of the one we had in “Mamak” in Sydney, Australia. It was a busy night for Stall 7 & 8 that we had to wait for about 45 minutes for our order. In the end, the satay exceeded our expectations and it was all worth it. Lau Pa Sat Satay Street is just walking distance from Raffles Place MRT Station.
The Verdict: 5.0 / 5.0
Address: 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582
Operating Hours: Open 24 hours but Satay Street begins at 7:00 pm
Chili Crab @ Wok Master
Chili Crab is considered an institution when it comes to Singaporean cuisine and one cannot afford to miss this dish when in the city. However, crabs can be a little expensive depending on the season so we were very fortunate to have stumbled upon Wok Master, a chain restaurant that offers some of the best deals when it comes to seafood. We visited their branch in City Square Mall in Little India which is just in front of our hotel. We ordered 2 huge mud crabs for SGD 52.00.
I struggled cracking the claws in the beginning until my sister realized that the staff had already cracked them half way through so all you need to do is split it open. It’s all about the sauce when it comes to Chili Crab. I remember the first time that I tried this dish back in 2017 in Makansutra, the sauce was really sweet and had very little heat to it but it was so good that I wanted to lick the sauce from the bottom of the plate.
This one is not as sweet, a little bit sour and lot spicier for sure. The spice is what you would get from green, unripe chili peppers that give it an herb like, slightly bitter aftertaste. Nonetheless, the dish was still mouthwatering and we got a lot of meat from the huge crabs. I could eat 10 cups of rice with this dish but we need to experience it like a local and so we paired the chili crabs with fried mantou instead.
The Verdict: 5.0 / 5.0
Address: 180 Kitchener Rd, #02 – 51 / 52, Singapore 208539
Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice @ Maxwell Food Center
Another dish that is considered one of Singapore’s national treasures is the Chicken Rice. A very simple, inexpensive yet flavorful meal composed of boiled chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in the same broth. There is an ongoing debate as to where to find the best chicken rice and one of them is Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice located in Maxwell Food Center. This hawker stall is well known among tourists and locals alike. Michelin awarded this humble store a Bib Gourmand and got positive reviews from the late Anthony Bourdain.
We decided to eat lunch here after visiting the nearby Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Don’t let the long queue that goes all the way to back of the store discourage you as the line moves very fast. I waited for about 10 min before getting my order of a medium plate for SGD 5.00.
The chicken is really juicy and tender. You can feel that silky texture once you take a bite. It’s like it created a glaze from its natural oils when it was boiled. Each slice is really tasty with the natural chicken goodness and aromatic ginger and lemon grass shining through. The chicken slices were seasoned with a “special sauce” before it was serve. It might be dark vinegar or light soy sauce but I’m not really sure. The rice is fluffy, fragrant and almost just as flavorful as the chicken that you can eat it on its own. The dish reminded me of eating “Arroz Caldo” except that this is the dry version. People hype about this chicken rice because it is indeed delicious.
The Verdict: 5.0 / 5.0
Address: 1 Kadayanallur St, #01-10/11 Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore 069184
Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 7:30 pm
Ya Kun Kaya Toast
Toast paired with half boiled eggs and coffee is a typical breakfast set up for most Singaporeans. Ya Kun Kaya Toast serves breakfast sets and claims to have invented Kaya Toast after the owner’s wife began serving sandwiches filled with Kaya, a spread made of coconut and pandan. On our last day in the city, we went to Ya Kun’s branch in City Square Mall for some light breakfast. I ordered the Kaya Butter Toast Set for only SGD 4.80.
I have never tried Kaya Jam before and it is very sweet and fragrant. It’s like a milder and smoother version of our coco jam with pandan scent. The half boiled egg is traditionally prepared with a dash of white pepper and some drops of dark soy sauce and so that’s what we did.
This combination highlights the contrast in texture and taste making it the perfect breakfast food. The sweet and crunchy toast compliments the creamy and savory egg. I could not get enough of the kaya jam and so I bought 2 jars in the supermarket to bring back home.
The Verdict: 5.0 / 5.0
Address: 180, 23 Kitchener Rd, #B2-K12, Singapore 208539
Operating Hours: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sungei Road Laksa
For our last stop, we walked our way to Jalan Berseh for some Katong Laksa at Sungei Road Laksa. We went here after dropping by at a small Catholic church nearby. There is only one item on the menu and that is the laksa which is systematically assembled by 3 women. One of them is scooping the laksa soup from a deep stainless pot that is heated over a charcoal stove. However, I was a bit intimidated by the staffs’ cold vibe and the numerous reminders on the storefront that says “pictures are not allowed”, “no chopsticks provided” and “no returning of orders”. I carefully abide by the rules and ordered one bowl of laksa which costs SGD 3.00.
I immediately took a sip of the rich, oily laksa gravy. It was really spicy. The heat is mild in the beginning but it intensifies with the next spoonful. The sweetness from the coconut milk cuts the spiciness coming from the sambal though. I can also smell and taste a little bit of a salty shrimp flavor. The noodles are cut in small strands that can be easily scooped with a spoon which explains why chopsticks are not provided. The toppings included fish cake and cockles which I haven’t had before. They taste like clams and pairs perfectly with the thick laksa soup. You may want to consider ordering 2 bowls at the onset because I am sure the small serving will only leave you wanting for more.
The Verdict: 5.0 / 5.0
Address: 27 Jln Berseh, #01-100, Singapore 200027
Operating Hours: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
We had a great time trying out the signature dishes of Singapore. I consider this food trip a success as we were able to check out not only the tourist favorites but also the places where the locals dine, both of which lived up to the hype and positive reviews online.
I envy the hawker system in this city which allows people to have access to a variety of delicious and affordable street food, something that we don’t have here yet. My favorites would have to be the Satay at Lau Pa Sat and Sungei Road Laksa. I would love to visit Singapore again in the future and discover more food finds.
We made a Singapore Food Vlog on our YouTube channel, The Daily Phil. Make sure to check it out to see what our food trip experience was really like.
This is The Daily Phil, conquering the world, one country at a time, using a Filipino passport.
Until next time, Travel Now, Bills Later!