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The best hawker centres in Singapore

Singapore's top hawker centres and the stalls worth queueing for

By Nicole-Marie Ng, Cam Khalid and Time Out Singapore editors

Looking for cheaper alternatives instead of these pricey restaurants when in the city? Eat like a local and guzzle your way through national dishes like chicken rice, nasi lemak, laksa, satay and more at these alfresco eating spots in the CBD. Championed by local food connoisseurs, these hawker centres in Telok Ayer, Chinatown, Amoy Street and Maxwell Road are sure to hit the spot.

RECOMMENDED: Six modern Singaporean hawkers and seven pioneer hawkers who've been around since your parents' time

East Coast Lagoon Food Village

Restaurants Hawker Bedok

Nothing beats dining by the beach. After a dip in the sea and sand, show off your brand new tan at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village for piping hot street nosh. The food centre is big on barbecued seafood and local fare such as chili crab, satay, mee goreng and popiah. With plenty of stalls serving up a variety of dishes, as well as seats catered for larger groups, stuffing yourself silly with food and beer at East Coast Park with fellow beach bums is sorted. Just watch out for the strong winds come night time.

TRY One word – satay. The barbecued classic is unbeatable here. Haron Satay has been around for a long time, and there's a reason why. Its generous servings of chicken, beef and lamb satay, paired with rice cakes and tasty peanut sauce, is an absolute favourite amongst beachgoers here. If you're brave enough,  Stringray Forever BBQ Seafood's barbecued sambal stingray ranks high on the heat-o-meter, and its serving-size is great for sharing. Craving for fried carrot cake and popiah? Lagoon Carrot Cake's seafood take on the dishes is one to try.

BEST TIME TO VISIT In the evenings after a day cycling through the park or out on the beach.

Putu Piring, Haig Road Hawker Centre
Photograph: Supplied

Haig Road Market

Restaurants Hawker Geylang

Whether you're down Geylang Serai for a bit of grocery shopping at its massive wet market, making a pit stop at Haig Road Market for a bite or two is an absolute must. Just a walk away from Geylang Serai Market, the hawker centre is the largest in the area, and boasts a plethora of stalls offering menus ranging from Indian, Malay and Chinese fare to Western delights and fusion food. 

TRY Satisfy your sweet tooth at Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring where the stall is popular for its gula Melaka-filled steamed rice flour cakes topped with grated coconut. For a taste of Malaysia, hit up Lin Yu Mei Sarawak Laksa & Kolo Mee. It's $4 for a bowl of kolo mee here, and it's served with a generous amount of egg noodles, minced pork and sliced char siew. But if you're looking for a way cheaper option, HJ Waliti HJ Mazuki's mee rebus and aromatic mee soto only cost $2.50 a bowl.

BEST TIME TO VISIT Putu piring makes for an excellent tea time snack – more so when paired with a piping hot cup of frothy teh tarek.


Boon Lay Place Food Village

Restaurants Hawker Raffles Place

For delectable hawker grub in the West, look no further than Boon Lay Place Food Village. The menu here comes with a wide selection, from your go-to nasi lemak to fiery seafood dishes, in reasonably low prices. Queues move fast here, and if you ever get stuck in one, the hawker centre has Wi-Fi to keep you busy too – just in case you end up in a particularly long queue.

TRY Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak's classic take serves coconut rice, peanuts and sambal with a selection of turmeric-coated fried chicken, fish paste otah or a tiny piece of deep fried fish – usually ikan selar – with edible pin bones. Ho Huat Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee also deserves a shoutout for its signature wet noodles.

BEST TIME TO VISIT One of the best hawker centres for supper, Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak is open till 3.30am alongside other stalls that keep the late night tummy grumbles at bay.

Hong Lim Market & Food Centre

Restaurants Hawker Chinatown

Built in 1978, Hong Lim Market & Food Centre was one of the first proper hawker centres in the Chinatown area (both the more well-known Amoy Street and Maxwell Food Centres nearby came later). It now hosts over 100 cooked food stalls across its two floors and mostly serves the ravenous CBD crowd with its host of award-winning stalls.

TRY A good number of the hawker stalls here have been in the business for several decades, the most prominent among these being the Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa, is known for its fruit juice mee siam. Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist serves delicious fresh prawn dumpling noodle and Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee is home to one of the best takes of the dish in Singapore.

BEST TIME TO VISIT Come slightly after lunch – 1pm to 2pm – to beat the horde and secure a table before the food sells out.


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