A culinary journey through history and flavours

Tian Tian Hanianese chicken rice
Maxwell Food Centre
Li Xin Teochew’s yellowtail fishballs in clear broth
Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre
Philip Colbert lobster installation on Marina Bay
The old post office now the Fullerton Hotel
Asian Civilisations Museum alongside the Singapore River
Chicken curry puffs
Satay stall
Chicken curry puff
Popiah from Lagoon Carrot Cake stall
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From humble beginnings to UNESCO recognition

Explore the vibrant world of Singapore’s hawker centres, where diverse flavours and cultures collide. These open-air markets offer a unique culinary adventure, not just for the taste buds but for the soul. With over 13,000 stalls representing Singapore’s multicultural landscape, hawker culture even earned UNESCO recognition in 2020.

Michelin Magic and Hidden Gems

We begin our voyage at Chinatown’s Maxwell Food Centre, where we savour the Michelin-recommended Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. Silken poached chicken bathed in fragrant broth dances with plump, flavourful rice, leaving us wanting more. Next, the aromatic laksa tantalises with its creamy coconut base and fiery kick, each spoonful a testament to culinary discovery.

Beyond Bib Gourmand: Nasi Lemak, Fishball Noodles and Duck Rice Delights

Downtown Core’s Lau Pa Sat, once a bustling wet market, now houses modern amenities. We indulge in the classic nasi lemak, fragrant coconut milk-infused rice adorned with runny egg, crunchy peanuts, and fiery sambal. Then, at Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles, the chef’s artistry unfolds as we customise our bowls with springy noodles and delicate fishballs. Each bite is a harmonious love song whispered in ingredients.

Exploring Singapore’s Hawker Centres

More Than Just a Meal

East Coast Park’s hawker haven offers a coastal escape. At Cheok Kee Duck Rice, the slow-cooked duck sings with tender flesh and rich flavours, while the Lagoon Carrot Cake stall provides the refreshing crunch of popiah, a street food icon. Finally, a golden curry puff and cooling sugar cane juice complete our East Coast adventure.

Connecting with Singapore’s Heart and Soul

Beyond the explosion of flavours, hawker centres showcase Singapore’s resilience and cultural fusion. Each stall whispers a story of immigrant spirit, weaving history and heritage into every dish. From the bustling streets of Chinatown to the modern vibes of the Downtown Core and the tranquil coast, each hawker centre offers a unique experience.

Embark on Your Own Adventure

So, skip the expensive restaurants and embark on a culinary adventure through Singapore’s hawker centres. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and aromas of these vibrant food markets. Savour the rich rewards Singaporean cuisine offers, from Hainanese chicken rice to nasi lemak, and connect with the city’s cultural core. Remember, you’re not just enjoying a delicious meal; you’re experiencing the heart and soul of Singapore. Just bring cash, a hearty appetite and a sense of adventure.

Text Martin Wray / photos Cammy Yiu