Finally! I had the chance to visit the land of SHIOK! I must say that all the delicious stories that I've heard about the food there is all true. Of course, before heading to the food loving country of Singapore, I spent some time researching. Little did I know, the day we arrived in Singapore was the same day as Chinese New Year. Most of the places I wanted to visit were closed but there were still a lot of other food places that was trading.
It was the hawker centres I looked forward to visiting the most. They are food court type places with stalls that sell amazing and affordable Singaporean dishes. It is something Singapore is renowned for. Each Hawker stall/shop is given a grade. The grading given by the National Environment Agency (NEA) is an appraisal for food stalls to ensure they maintain good personal and food hygiene, and housekeeping of their premises. Grades A and B means that the food and premises are both very clean and hygienic. You’ll find that majority of food stalls are either A or B grade. Singaporean cuisine is diverse and is predominantly influenced by cuisines such as Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Indonesia, Peranakan and Western. Other cuisines from nations such as the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and the Middle Eastern counties also exist in Singapore.
Here's what I ended up visiting during the trip:
Orchard Hawker Food Square
While walking along Orchard Road, we stumbled upon a small hawker center called Orchard Hawker Food Square. It is located corner of Orchard Road and Cavenagh Road. It is also the only hawker center on the main Orchard area. Everything from Chilli mud crabs to Hainanese Chicken is available here.
The Singaporean style Char Kway Teow (CKT) compared to the Malaysian version, is a mixture of Hokkien noodles and thin rice noodles. It also had more of thick soy based sauce that was a little bit on the sweet side, which I really liked. Lap cheoung (sausages) and oyster pieces are the dominant ingredients. Their CKT is different from what I'm used to but I really enjoyed it.
Hawker Food Square Center
100 Orchard Rd
Trading hours: 9am till late
Maxwell Food Centre
We were off to Maxwell Hawker Center the next day. It is located near Chinatown and it is home to Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken (rated by Anthony Bourdain as the best Hainanese Chicken he's had). Unfortunately, Tian Tian was closed but luck was still on our side as Maxwell Hainanese chicken was trading that day!
|Roasted Hainanese chicken|
|Hainanese chicken set|
At Maxwell Hainanese chicken, we tried their roasted Hainanese chicken (SG$4) and the original Hainanese chicken rice as a set (SG$6, which also includes a side of baby bok choy and soup). The rice was packed with so much chicken flavour with notes of garlic and ginger. Both versions of the chicken were succulent and well cooked but it was the skin from the roasted version stood out. These were two of the best Hainanese chicken rice that I've had.
I also got a very refreshing lime juice from a shop close by.
Maxwell Food Centre
1 Kadayanallur Street
Ah Meng Kopi
If you ever plan to visit Singapore Zoo or the River Safari, a Kopitiam named Ah Meng Kopi is a great place for some of those favourite Singaporean kopitiam dishes. Ah Meng was named after the Zoo's celebrity orangutan who passed away back in 2008. It's so sweet of the Zoo to name this establishment after her.
|Ice teh shake|
The seafood laksa and nasi lemak were both super tasty. The laksa soup was rich and flavoursome. The rice on their nasi lemak was pack with so much coconut flavour with notes of ginger just the way I like it. But it was the generous serving of Ice teh shake that I loved the most. It had a good balance of black tea and sweet milk flavours.
Ah Meng Kopi
Location: Zoo Entrance
80 Mandai Lake Road
Zoo Entrance 8.00am - 6.30pm (Monday – Friday)
8.00am - 7.00pm (Weekends & Public Holidays)
Tiong Bahru Food Market and Hawker Centre
Tiong Bahru is a huge hawker centre and one of the most popular amongst the centres in Singapore. Most of the stall here are either A grade or B grade. This place was truly food paradise and value for money is an understatement!
|Roast duck and roast pork combo|
We got a roast duck and siu yuk (roast pork) combo (SG$4) from the Original Tiong Bahru Golden Pig and Roasted stall. The duck was ridiculously succulent and had the most perfect glistening skin. The roast pork's crackling was perfectly crunchy and the meat was flavoursome and not salty.
|Fried carrot cake|
The fried carrot cake or char tow kway from Kampong Carrot Cake was awesome on so many levels. It consists of cubes of steamed rice flour and white radish, fried and garnished with spring onions. It had perfect wok hei and caramelised bits that made the dish tastier.
|Kaya toast with soft-boiled egg|
Then I also ordered some kaya toast with egg (SG$3) and a milo dinosaur ($1.80) from L21 Cafe. The smooth kaya spread (coconut jam spread) in the well-buttered white bread toast had a good balance of coconut and pandan flavours. The best way to enjoy kaya toast is by dunking the toast soft-boiled eggs (increase egg awesomeness with a dash of soy sauce & some white pepper). The amazing Milo dinosaur is a drink made from instant milo but topped with more Milo powder. This Milo is sweeter and has more malt flavour.
|Roti prata with egg|
Before leaving Tiong Bahru, we got hold of some roti prata with egg (SG$1.50) from Hannah Prata and Nasi Briyani. It's also known as roti canai. It was perfect buttery and flaky. The egg cooked inside the roti gave this dish a nice texture and added protein. The curry dipping sauce was full of flavour and had a nice consistency. I love the notes of flavour from the Kaffir lime leaves.
I also got hold of a sugarcane and lime juice from a Wang Wang Sugarcane close by and it was so refreshingly citrus and slightly sweet.
30 Seng Poh Road
Haji lane is a laneway full of botique fashion shops and cafes. It is very vibrant and reminded me a lot of Melbourne. We then stumbled upon a friendly hipster specialty coffee shop called CAD cafe. It was like a little sanctuary to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
They source their coffee beans from Toby's Estate Singapore where the beans are roasted locally. The cafe latté and flat white we had were fantastic. The coffees were medium to full body and the textured milk had perfect temperature. The service was good and the value of coffee is around the same as most cafes in Sydney.
23 Haji Lane
Malaysia Peddler Sidewalk
After Haji Lane, we decided to go for a walk towards lavender area and catch a train from Lavender MRT station. We then stumbled upon a food center called Kopitiam. It's a food court open for 24 hours.
I was craving laksa badly so we decided to get curry laksa (SG$8.50) from the Malaysian Peddler Streetwalk stall. It was a generous serving and the aroma was full of comfort. The broth was creamy with a potent curry flavour. It had a lot of kick but my palate was able to handle it easily. It had prawns, bean curd puffs, fish cakes, bean sprouts and thick rice noodles. It was indeed an amazing bowl of laksa.
Malaysia Peddler Sidewalk
Kopitiam Food Court at V Hotel Lavender (near Lavender MTR station)
70 Jellicoe Rd
Near Ang Mo Kioh MRT station is a shopping centre called AMK Hub and on the ground floor level of the shopping centre is a Kueh (or Kuih) stand called Kueh Village. Kueh refers to both sweet and savoury Malaysian and Singaporean treats, which most consists of rice or glutinous rice. Most Kuih favourites are available here such as kueh lopis, kueh lapis, kueh bengka etc.
(near Toast Box)
Ground level, AMK Hub
53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3,
You will find branches of Toast Box all around Singapore. It's Kopitiam joint that's great for a quick fix for some those favourite Singaporean meals and beverages. Ranging from laksa to kaya toasts and iced milk tea to lemon iced tea. It's also very convenient, as you will find most Toast Box branches located near MRT stations and inside shopping centres.
313 Orchard Road
Sun - Thurs: 730am to 1030pm
Fri - Sat, eve of PH & PH: 730am to 11pm
Tel 6634 2863
Maybe I'm bias because I'm Filipino and I grew up eating Jollibee's chickenjoy. But their beloved fried chicken is so Shiok! Glad that we were able to visit a branch of this popular Filipino fastfood chain during our Singapore visit. It is located at the top floor of the Lucky Plaza building, which is also dubbed as "Little Manila".
We ordered two of their combo meals, which were the spaghetti with 1 piece chickenjoy (SG$6.60 drink included) and 2 pieces of chickenjoy with rice (SG$6.60 drink included).
Jollibee serves Filipino-style spaghetti where the sauce used is quite sweet and includes hotdog slices and minced beef. The name chickenjoy says it all about their fried chicken. It tastes like happiness! It's a joyous experience starting from the crunchy rippled batter all the way to the tasty and juicy meat.
6th Floor, Lucky Plaza
304 Orchard Road
Operation Hours: Monday to Sunday 9.00am – 9.00pm