Best Hawker Centres in Singapore That Aren't Tourist Traps
The best way to savour cheap and good local grub in Singapore is to visit a hawker centre, where close to a hundred stalls are housed under one roof in a rather humid and non-air conditioned environment. But really, it’s a small price to pay for the insanely delicious local food you will get to try – your taste buds will thank you. Note: In a hawker centre, locals often chope (colloquial term for ‘reserve’) their seats by placing a tissue packet on the table before running off to queue for their food. So keep a look out for seemingly abandoned items whilst trying to find an empty table to sit at.

1. ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre

abc brickworks market and food centre
Address: Blk 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 150006 Said to be named after Singapore’s first commercial brewery Archipelago Brewery Company, ABC Brickworks Food Centre is Redhill’s well-known food gem with almost a hundred stalls to choose from. Roast meat stall Fatty Cheong is famous for its roast duck and for using the “bu jian tian” – literally translated to ‘don’t see sky’ – portion for its fatty char siew; while Jin Jin Hot/Cold Dessert offers a much-raved-about Power Chendol and Gangster Ice – its name reportedly a registered trademark. Many stalls stay open till midnight, making it a popular supper spot for hungry night owls to flock to. What to eat: Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee, #01-13, Open daily: 10am – 12am Jin Jin Hot/Cold Dessert, #01-20, Open Thu to Tue: 12pm – 12am , Closed on Wed Fatty Cheong, #01-120, Open Fri to Wed: 11am – 8.30pm, Closed on Thu Wow Wow West, #01-133, Open Mon to Sat: 10.30am – 9pm Bao Zai, #01-135, Open Fri to Wed: 10am – 10pm, Closed on Thu (Images: OpenRice users jameskhoosw, 2sun2moon, CEIL JOVEN)

2. Bukit Timah Market & Hawker Centre

bukit timah market and food centre
Address: 51 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 588215 Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre has become one of the more convenient hawker centres on this list, since the completion of Beauty World MRT station located next to it. This two-storey complex was one of Singapore’s earliest hawker centres built in 1975 and was also known as 7 Mile or chit ko. A wet market occupies the ground floor while a variety of street food can be found up the flight of steps. And while it’s recognisably smaller in size, you’ll find real gems here, such as He Zhong Carrot Cake, a third-generation run carrot cake stall with its iconic pancake-style and satay bee hoon experts Sin Chew Satay Beehoon. What to eat: He Zhong Carrot Cake, #02-185, Open daily: 6.30am – 10.30pm Xie Kee Hokkien Mee, #02-174 Leng Kee Fish Soup, #02-192, Open daily: 9am – 9pm Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon, #02-162, Open Wed to Fri: 5pm – 10.30pm, Sat & Sun: 5pm – 10pm, Closed on Mon & Tue Soyako, #02-166, Open Mon to Sat: 8am – 10pm , Closed on Sun See: 10 Best Stalls in Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre (Images: OpenRice users Jellylovesfood, wenxi, CEIL JOVEN, ktly)

3. Chinatown Complex Food Centre

chinatown complex food centre
Address: 335 Smith Street, Singapore 050335 Located a 5-minute walk from Chinatown MRT station, Chinatown Complex Food Centre is your best option for a local meal in the area. This two-storey building stands as Singapore’s largest food centre with over 200 food stalls, of which many have been run for decades, passed from generation to generation. Come by after 6pm, for a popular combination of claypot rice from Lian He Ben Ji Claypot and a bottle of craft beer from the resident hipster beer stall, The Good Company, whose owner would be more than happy to recommend you beer pairings with hawker dishes. What to eat: Hong Kong Mongkok Tim Sum, #02-097, Open Wed to Sun: 11am till sold out, Closed on Mon & Tue Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, #02-127, Open Mon to Fri: 10.30am – 7pm, Sat & Sun: 8.30am – 7pm, Closed on Wed Heng Ji Chicken Rice, #02-131, Open Mon to Sat: 3pm – 9pm, Closed on Sun Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Foo, #02-087, Open daily: 6am – 3pm Lian He Ben Ji Claypot, #02-198/199, Open Fri to Wed: 4.30pm – 10.30pm, Closed on Thu (Images: OpenRice users bsmint, mycc, EDEE.CHAN, Jellylovesfood)

4. Maxwell Food Centre

maxwell food centre
Address: 1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069184 Flanked by Tanjong Pagar, Telok Ayer, Chinatown and Outram Park MRT stations, Maxwell Food Centre overflows with tourists and locals alike, especially during lunchtime on weekdays as it offers good and cheap food to office workers in the Central Business District area. Winners against Gordon Ramsay in a 2013 hawker challenge, Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice is probably the most well-known stall here for its fragrant chicken rice, though loyal supporters of Ah Tai Hainanese Chicken Rice would likely beg to differ. What to eat: Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon, #01-77, Open Fri to Wed: 11am – 8.30pm, Closed on Thu Hainanese Curry Rice, #01-68, Open Sat to Thu: 11am – 11pm, Closed on Fri Tian Tian Chicken Rice, #01-10/11, Open Tue to Sun: 10am – 8pm, Closed on Mon Zhen Zhen Porridge, #01-54, Open Wed to Mon: 5.30am – 2.30pm, Closed on Tue Ah Tai Hainanese Chicken Rice, #01-07, Open Wed to Mon: 11am – 7.30pm, Closed on Tue (Images: OpenRice users Chiamhuiy, cheesemafia, FoodieFC, little_miss_foodie)

5. Old Airport Road Food Centre

old airport road food centre
Address: 51 Old Airport Road Singapore 390051 With a total of 168 stalls, Old Airport Road Food Centre is home to some of the best Hokkien mee, lor mee, satay, prawn noodles, as well as two soya beancurd stalls – Lao Ban Beancurd and 51 Soya Beancurd, famous for their original and almond-flavoured cold beancurd pudding that’s perfect for our scorching weather. Take the train to Dakota MRT on the Circle line and you’ll get there after a good three-minute walk. What to eat: Lao Ban Soya Beancurd, #01-107/127, Open Tue to Sun: 11am – 10pm, Closed on Mon Nam Sing Fried Hokkien Mee, #01-32, Open daily: 7am – 8pm Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow, #01-12, Open Mon to Fri: 10am – 12am, Sat & Sun: 9am – 12am Albert Street Prawn Noodle, #01-10, Open daily: 8.30am – 11.30pm, Closed on Alt. Mon Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee, #01-113, Open Fri – Wed: 9.30am – 3pm, Closed on Thu (Images: OpenRice users wenxi, feeohnah and Peh Yi Wen)
Written by Peh Yi Wen
Hawker Centre
Local Food
Peh Yi Wen
Yi Wen likens the gourmet world to a theme park that never closes – full of adventure with endless rides to discover. When not writing, she dabbles in calligraphy and gawks at lego displays.
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