Posted by on 20 Feb 2023
Singapore’s food paradise is an apt reflection of this multicultural and global heritage. Our city’s most iconic dishes were brought to our shores by pioneers from all walks of life, and have since evolved to become uniquely Singaporean staples.
Whether you crave the taste of tradition or are hungry for innovative modern dishes, our guide to eateries serving up local flavours is bound to whet your appetite.
Our recommendation: Jumbo Seafood
One of Singapore’s most famous culinary creations and our country’s national seafood dish, chilli crab is a must-try during your stay in our city.
Created in the 1950s, this dish comprises succulent crab soaked in a delicious sauce made of tomatoes and chilli paste, and is bound to tantalise seafood lovers with its complex flavours.
You’ll find chilli crab sold at restaurants all over the island, but we recommend partaking in this dish at Jumbo Seafood. The establishment is located along the balmy beach of East Coast Park, and serves up other delicacies like fried cereal prawns, scallops with yam and codfish with radishes and chilli.
Jumbo Seafood at East Coast Seafood Centre: Block 1206 East Coast Parkway #01-07/08, Singapore 449883. +65 6442 3435.
Mon-Fri 4.30-10pm; Sat & Sun 11am-10pm.
Our recommendation: Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata
With its crisp exterior and soft, buttery insides, roti prata (South Indian flatbread) is a popular breakfast food that’s bound to satiate your carb cravings. This flatbread is said to have Punjabi origins, and was introduced to Singapore by South Indian migrants.
While the most traditional types of prata are served plain or stuffed with eggs, you’ll also find delicious varieties that are made with onions, cheese and garlic. The dish is usually served with a piping hot side of mutton or fish curry.
For a taste of this traditional staple, drop by Mr and Mrs Moghan’s Super Crisy Prata, nestled in a coffee shop along Joo Chiat Road. To avoid disappointment, we suggest paying a visit bright and early to beat the queue.
Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata: 300 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427551. +65 9794 3124.
Mon, Thu-Sun 6.30am-1pm; Tue 6.30-11.30am.
Our recommendation: 328 Katong Laksa
Ask Singaporeans where the island’s best laksa (spicy coconut milk-based noodle soup) can be found, and you’re bound to start a passionate debate!
A spicy noodle soup with Peranakan* origins, this dish is popular all across the region, with a rich, spicy flavour that makes it a great meal for a rainy day. White vermicelli noodles are drenched in a broth flavoured with coconut milk and dried shrimp, and topped with ingredients like prawns and cockles.
First-timers looking to introduce their palates to this delicious dish should make a beeline for 328 Katong Laksa. The stall has been serving up piping hot bowls of laksa for over two decades, and has a legion of long-time fans.
*The term is an Indonesian/Malay word that means “local born”, which generally refers to people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.
328 Katong Laksa: 216 East Coast Road, Singapore 428914.
Our recommendations: Lau Hong Ser Rojak, Habib’s Rojak
Just like our country, rojak (a sweet and savoury salad of vegetables, fruits and dough fritters) is a dish with influences from a melting pot of cultures.
This salad dish has a name that means ‘an eclectic mix’ in colloquial Malay, and features a diversity of ingredients coming together in a harmony of flavours. The dish is made with mixed vegetables, fruits and dough fritters drizzled with a sweet, dark sauce made of fermented prawn and chilli paste, sugar and lime.
If you’re looking to sample two distinct variants of this dish, we suggest visiting Lau Hong Ser Rojak at Dunman Food Centre and Habib’s Rojak in Ayer Rajah Food Centre. The latter serves up the Indian version of the dish, which is served with spicy peanut sauce and allows you to mix and match a variety of ingredients like fish cakes and battered prawns.
Lau Hong Ser Rojak at Dunman Food Centre: 271 Onan Road #02-14, Singapore 424768. +65 6346 6519.
Habib’s Rojak at Ayer Rajah Food Centre: 503 West Coast Drive Stall 68, Singapore 120503. +65 6873 7010.
Daily 11am-10pm. Closed on alternate Mondays.
Our recommendation: Candlenut, Labyrinth, Po, A Noodle Story
An abbreviation of the term ‘Modern Singaporean’, Mod-Sin cuisine transforms classic Singaporean hawker fare and traditional dishes with modern interpretations.
You’ll find a whole range of establishments serving up their own innovative takes on local staples, ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants to hawker stalls.
While it’d be impossible to give you the complete run down of the variety you’ll find in Mod-Sin cuisine, there are a few great places to start. You’ll find culinary delights like charred octopus with achar (Peranakan spicy mixed vegetables) at Candlenut and playful takes on chicken rice at Labyrinth.
Other establishments that serve up Mod-Sin cuisine include Po—which has transformed the traditional popiah (fresh spring roll with vegetables and assorted filling) into an ice cream dessert—and A Noodle Story, famous for fusing Japanese ramen ingredients with wanton (savoury dumpling) noodles.
Candlenut: 17A Dempsey Road, Singapore 249676. 1800 304 2288 (local calls only).
Daily noon-3pm, 6-10pm.
Labyrinth at Esplanade Mall: 8 Raffles Avenue #02-23, Singapore 039802. +65 6223 4098.
Tue-Fri 6.30-10pm; Sat & Sun noon-2.30pm, 6.30-10pm.
Po at The Warehouse Hotel: 320 Havelock Road, Singapore 169628. +65 6828 0007.
Daily noon-3pm, 6-10.30pm.
A Noodle Story at Amoy Street Food Centre: 7 Maxwell Road #01-39, Singapore 069111. +65 9027 6289.
Mon-Fri 11.15am-1.30pm, 5.15-7pm; Sat 11.30am-1.15pm.
Credits to Singapore Tourism Board