This is a rough guide to the dizzying array of hawker food that is available in Singapore. Indeed, some believe it is perhaps Singapore's greatest attraction. Not only is (most of) it delicious, it is (generally) very affordable.

Just some general notes:

  • this list is NOT meant to be a ranking
  • this list does not seek to "promote" or "endorese" a particular vendor (although recommendations are welcome)

Let's go "makan" -- which is a local Malay word for "eat"

(Hainanese) Chicken Rice

This is officially known as Singapore's most beloved hawker dish. Originally, it consisted of 3 main components:

  1. Rice cooked in chicken oil and stock
  2. Steamed oily chicken meat 
  3. Chilli (secret recipe) often mixed with crushed ginger

 In recent times, it has undergone some variation, including "Malay" style Chicken Rice (fried chicken), roast chicken and other parts of chicken (inc. feet, liver, gizzard etc.).

At hawker centers, it often is served together on one flat plate. It might look something like this...

Hainanese Chicken Rice

In 2006, this would set you back between S$2-$4, depending on location, at a food court or hawker center, or similar. 

Chicken rice can also be ordered as a "set" with soup and vegetables. Something like this will set you back S$5 upwards...

Why should tourists try this dish?

Most uncomplicated and simple introduction to Singapore's food. Not spicy, not expensive, filling, and (usually) tasty.

Here is a list of best chicken rice stalls in Singapore that are highly rated by foodies and locals:


Ice Kacang 

This is a dessert available in most stores ranging from cooked food centers (where many locals go to for food when they do not want to cook) to hotel restaurants. It is basically a pile of shredded ice with toppings. Normal toppings are red beans, jelly, sweet corns and attap seed.

There are a lot of variants of ice kacang and the most common types are adding chocolate, durian or strawberry sauces. The prices ranges from $1-$10 depending where to buy it.

Try it, and you will want a second bowl.

Other classic Singapore and Singapore influenced dishes that you might want to try include:  Nasi Lemak, Hokkien Mee, Satay, Roti Prata, Wan Tan Mee, Yong Tau Hoo / Niang Doufu