Singapore is a melting pot of different flavours and cultures that is well worth visiting for the food alone. While Singapore is known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world, and in many cases that is true, this island nation is also home to a vibrant street and hawker food scene. Follow this guide to have an amazing day of delicious local food in Singapore for under SGD$20 (US$15) per person! Best of all, you can spread it out over multiple days, or have an epic one-day food adventure – every destination is reachable on the Downtown MRT line!
Beginning with breakfast, it’s hard to go past nasi lemak for a delicious way to start the day. Nasi lemak is the national dish of Malaysia and very popular in Singapore. The basic components consist of fragrant coconut rice, egg, anchovies (ikan bilis), peanuts, chilli sambal and cucumber slices. Other popular additions include fried chicken, fish or beef rendang.
A well-known nasi lemak stall in Singapore is ‘Selera Rasa Nask Lemak’ in the circular Adam Road Food Centre. The menu offers several variants of the popular dish ranging from the base ingredients to otak (grilled fish cake) and crispy fried chicken. It’s a popular establishment so you can expect a queue. This is a tasty and cheap breakfast you can’t miss!
Address: 2 Adam Rd #01-02 Centre Singapore, about a 10min walk from Botanic Gardens MRT (Circle or Downtown line)
Opening times: 7am-5pm weekdays, 7am-3pm weekends
Price: SGD$2.50-5.90 depending on components.
Still hungry? Why not go for a second breakfast? Another popular dish in Singapore is kaya toast. This is typically eaten for breakfast or as a snack during the day. There are a range of great options for kaya toast in Singapore, but it’s hard to beat the original branch of Ya Kun Kaya Toast. The warm crunchy toast is filled with kaya (coconut jam) and a thin slice of butter. Order soft boiled eggs on the side (as part of a value set) and pour in a little soy sauce to dip your toast into. Sit back and enjoy with a hot tea or coffee.
Address: 18 China St, Far East Square (near Telok Ayer Station, Downtown line).
Opening times: Open 7 days from 7.30am (8.30am on Sundays).
Price: SGD$5 for a set
After finishing your kaya toast, you might be ready for a bit of a break, but this is a food tour so let’s roll straight onto lunch! Head out to Jalan Besar in the Malay core of Singapore for another must try dish – a delicious bowl of laksa at Sungei Road Laksa. The laksa is still cooked in the traditional way over a charcoal flame and has an aromatic and comforting flavour. The broth is served with chopped noodles, plump cockles and sambal. The serving size is quite small, but don’t worry, you can order multiple bowls if you’re hungry! It is a very popular stall and typically has a snaking line of hungry people, but it’s well worth the wait.
Address: 27 Jalan Berseh (near Jalan Besar MRT station, Downtown line)
Opening times: Open every day from 9.30am except Wednesday
Price: SGD$4 per bowl
Hainanese Chicken Rice
If you managed to stop at just one bowl of laksa, you’ll no doubt soon be ready to go for lunch round two! Chicken rice is considered as one of Singapore’s national dishes and popular at hawker food centres. One of the most famous chicken rice stalls in Singapore is TianTian Hainanese Chicken Rice in the Maxwell Food Centre. The rice is extremely flavoursome and the poached chicken is tender and juicy, with chilli sauce served on the side. The line is usually long but it moves fast. Other notable dishes served in Maxwell include popiah (fresh spring rolls) and refreshing sugar cane juice, although whatever attracts a crowd is bound to be delicious. Most dishes are inexpensive so you can afford to try a few different options.
Address: 1 Kadayanallur Street, Maxwell Food Centre #01-10/11 (Near Chinatown MRT station, Downtown line)
Opening times:10am- 8pm, CLOSED ON MONDAY
Price: $5 per plate
Alright, we’re four meals down and we’re definitely getting full! To help preserve stomach space for the grand finale, jump on the Downtown line from Chinatown to Bayfront. In Marina Bay Sands, explore the many shops or treat yourself to an afternoon tea at TWG Tea, then explore the supertree grove and many indoor and outdoor gardens at Gardens by the Bay.
Soya sauce chicken rice and pork rib noodles
After finishing your break at Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, it’s time to head back to Chinatown for our final meal of the day. Known as one of the cheapest Michelin-starred street food stalls, Hawker Chan Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle is an experience you can’t miss in Singapore. The stall is well known for its pork rib noodles and soya sauce chicken rice. Both dishes are extremely fragrant and filling. It has two locations – (1) in the Chinatown Complex (original location) and (2) in a standalone restaurant near the Chinatown MRT. If you decide to eat at the restaurant, we recommend placing your order though the digital ordering system to streamline the process. Expect a long line at both locations if you go around peak lunch and dinner times.
Address: Chinatown Complex, Smith Street, restaurant 02-126 or 78 Smith Street (both near Chinatown MRT station, Downtown line)
Opening times: 10:30am to 3:30pm daily except Sunday (Chinatown complex), 10am to 9pm daily (Smith Street)
Cost: SGD$2 to $5 per plate depending on dish and location (Chinatown complex store is cheaper)
For as little as under SGD$20 we’ve filled a day with some of the best street food cuisine in Singapore. This is a great way to spend a day for any lover of street food and we highly recommend it to anyone seeking our advice! Let us know in the comments – how did your DIY food tour of Singapore go?
One final note…
The international travel situation is constantly evolving throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Singapore is currently only open to transit passengers, however this could change at short notice. We’re frequently researching the best options for travel once it’s safe again (check out our article on the 5 destinations to travel to once borders reopen), so be sure to follow our blog and our social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) for the latest updates! Thanks for reading to the end, here’s to a Better Break soon!