The best dishes of 2017: Local

The best hawker finds and refined local plates of the year
By Nicole-Marie Ng |

There’s no denying that Singapore’s dining scene is incredible. And it just got better this year with new restaurants offering an abundance of heavenly plates. Welcome to our broadest ever roundup of the city’s best dishes – our favourite eats of the year.

Restaurants, Singaporean

Carabinero Hokkien Mee

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

From Po Restaurant

Yes, you can get excellent plates of Hokkien mee at coffee shops and hawker centres at a fraction of the price but the one from Po hits all the right notes. It boasts beautiful carabinero prawns and is served in such a comfortable setting that even your grandma would approve. The kicker? The kickass sambal that lights your mouth on fire but somehow has you reaching for more.


Ayer Rajah Food Centre
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Restaurants, Hawker


icon-location-pin Clementi

From Habib’s Rojak

Undeniably the best rojak we’ve had on the island in 2017. Habib’s is a second-generation Indian rojak stall that has more variety than most. We recommend the grilled marinated squid, fried potato balls and whatever else piques your fancy. The stall owner lightly fries your selection in a wok before serving it with a fab dipping sauce.

From $3.

Stall 68.

Bars and pubs

The Pork Chopper

icon-location-pin City Hall

From Loof

Chef Bjorn Shen, the culinary genius behind Artichoke and Bird Bird brings his ‘dude food’ leanings to Loof, one of the OG rooftop bars in Singapore. He’s helped revamp its menu to include over-the-top and greasy-in-a-good-way dishes like The Pork Chopper ($19), a take on the pork chops you get at a zi char joint. A cream cracker-battered pork chop is covered in salted veggie slaw between brioche buns to make for a sinful but satisfying local burger.


Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Restaurants, Asian

Steamed venus clams

icon-location-pin Tanglin

From Morsels

Morsels left its home in Little India for greener pastures at Dempsey earlier this year. The rustic barnyard-style house is a perfect match for chef Petrina Loh’s modern Singaporean cuisine that’s a twist on local comfort food. Our favourite is definitely her signature steamed venus clams that come in a sweet fig broth.



Nasi lemak

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

From The Coconut Club

Would you pay $12.80 for nasi lemak? We would. And here’s why. First, the fried chicken at The Coconut Club is par excellence – marinated in spices, crispy on the outside and succulent inside. Second, the rice is cooked in only the best coconut milk, not a UHT pack enhanced with artificial flavours. And third, we need to start supporting the next generation of chefs who want to not only keep our local food alive, but strive to make it better.



Crispy bullfrog

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

From VLV Riverside

Frog legs are always a supper staple so we’re happy to find a stellar version at VLV Riverside to fuel those post-clubbing munchies. The legs are lightly battered and deep-fried with ginger and chilli so it’s really finger licking good – we’ll choose this over chicken wings any day.



Chicken Rice, Sin Kee

Chicken rice

From Sin Kee Famous Cantonese Chicken Rice

For guilt-free chicken rice that won’t leave you feeling weighed down, head to Sin Kee. The fluffy rice is light yet aromatic and the steamed chicken is juicy but not greasy. It hits the spot without leaving you in a food coma.

From $5.

Blk 40, Holland Dr, Holland Village.

Curry rice, Beach Road Scissor Cut

Curry rice

From Beach Road Scissor Cut Curry Rice (Upper Thomson)

We’ve always been a fan of the original Beach Road Scissor Cut Curry Rice at Jalan Besar but let’s face it, the grimy interior is past due an upgrade. Enter the new Upper Thomson outlet – it still serves messy plates of delicious curry rice and an assortment of toppings but in a space that’s clean and retains its old-school charm. We can’t stop going back.

From $3.

244F Upper Thomson Rd, Ang Mo Kio.

Black pepper crab

Black pepper crab

From Eng Seng Restaurant

The black pepper crab here is unrivalled. Meaty crabs come coated in a silky black pepper sauce that’s sweet with a hint of liquorice – a far cry from the gritty and harsh renditions you find in other restaurants or zi char joints. Be sure to come early as crabs often sell out before 7.30pm.

$45 per kg.

247 Joo Chiat Place, Eunos.

Sup kambing, Barakath Mutton Soup

Sup kambing

From Barakath Mutton Soup

This dish isn’t a looker but its oh so tasty, especially if you’re a fan of offal. The thick soup is packed with mutton meat and you can also opt for other offcuts such as tongue or brain. Pro tip: we find that the soup gets tastier later in the night after it’s left to bubble for hours.


#01-10, Adam Road Food Ctr, 2 Adam Rd, Bukit Timah.  Photo: Makanarts

Chef eats

Restaurants, Korean

Chef Petrina Loh from Morsels tells us her favourite dish of 2017

icon-location-pin Outram

Kanpachi from Meta

“I love the combination of flavours and how the avocado brings out the fattiness of the fish while highlighting its sweetness. The yuzu adds some acid while imparting a light aroma and the basil and shiso help the dish come together in a rich yet refreshing way packed with umami.”

More to explore