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Singapore Food: 10 Must-Eat Local Dishes (& Where To Try!)


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Rozanne Crouse



Singapore is a vibrant and diverse city-state nestled in Southeast Asia. While it is renowned for its modern skyline and bustling city life, one aspect of Singaporean culture that truly stands out is its incredible culinary scene. From hawker centers to Michelin-starred restaurants, Singapore offers a plethora of delightful dining options that cater to every palate.


When it comes to local cuisine, Singapore is a melting pot of flavors and influences. Thanks to its multicultural heritage, the culinary landscape is a beautiful tapestry of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Peranakan traditions. This unique blend has given birth to a plethora of delicious and distinctive dishes that are a must-try for any food lover.


In this article, we will take you on a gastronomic journey through the streets of Singapore as we explore 10 must-eat local dishes. From comforting classics to bold and flavorful creations, these dishes showcase the rich tapestry of Singaporean cuisine. And to make things even better, we will also share with you the best places to try them, so you can embark on your own food adventure.


Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor to Singapore, get ready to tantalize your taste buds and experience the mouthwatering delights that this vibrant city has to offer.


Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice is often hailed as Singapore’s national dish and is a true culinary gem. This deceptively simple dish features succulent steamed or poached chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth and a side of cucumber slices. The magic of Hainanese Chicken Rice lies in its flavorful combination of tender chicken, aromatic rice, and savory condiments.


The key to a perfect plate of Hainanese Chicken Rice is in the preparation. The chicken is meticulously poached to maintain its tenderness and juiciness, creating a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. The rice, cooked with chicken broth, garlic, and ginger, is infused with a sublime aroma and flavor. It serves as the perfect companion to the succulent chicken.


Pair this dish with an assortment of condiments, such as dark soy sauce, chili sauce, and ginger paste, to elevate the flavors even further. The rich, savory sauce complements the savoriness of the chicken, while the tangy and spicy chili sauce adds a delightful kick to each bite.


To taste the best Hainanese Chicken Rice in Singapore, head to the iconic Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stall located in Maxwell Food Centre. This renowned eatery has garnered a loyal following for its consistently delicious and well-executed chicken rice. The meat is tender, the rice is fragrant, and the accompanying condiments are perfectly balanced.


Alternatively, you can also try the famous Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice restaurants. With multiple branches across Singapore, they have perfected the art of Hainanese Chicken Rice and offer both steamed and roasted chicken options.


Whether you’re a chicken lover or simply seeking a flavorful and satisfying meal, Hainanese Chicken Rice is an absolute must-try dish in Singapore.



Laksa is a spicy and aromatic noodle soup that is beloved by locals and visitors alike. This mouthwatering dish combines thick rice noodles, fragrant curry broth, coconut milk, and an array of toppings to create a harmonious explosion of flavors.


There are different variations of Laksa throughout Southeast Asia, but the Singaporean version is a unique and delectable delight. Singaporean Laksa is known for its rich, creamy, and slightly sweet broth that is infused with a blend of spices, including turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, and chili paste.


The toppings for Laksa vary but often include succulent prawns, tofu puffs, fish cakes, bean sprouts, and cockles. The combination of these ingredients creates a diverse and satisfying texture profile with each spoonful.


One of the best places to savor authentic Laksa in Singapore is 328 Katong Laksa. This eatery has gained legendary status for its flavorful Laksa, featuring a harmonious balance of spices and a generous serving of toppings. Situated in the Katong neighborhood, this iconic stall attracts both locals and tourists who crave the best Laksa experience.


For a different twist on Laksa, head to Sungei Road Laksa. This stall is famous for its distinctive version of the dish, where the noodles are cut into smaller pieces and eaten with just a spoon. The flavors are robust, and the experience is unique, giving you a taste of the past.


Whether you choose the traditional or the unconventional, a steaming bowl of Laksa is a must-try dish in Singapore. Its combination of aromatic flavors and hearty ingredients will leave you craving for more.


Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow is a beloved Singaporean dish that features flat rice noodles stir-fried with a medley of ingredients, resulting in a tantalizing combination of flavors and textures. This savory and indulgent dish is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.


The star of Char Kway Teow is the rice noodles, commonly known as “kway teow,” which are stir-fried over high heat to achieve a smoky and slightly charred flavor. The noodles are cooked with a variety of ingredients such as shrimp, slices of Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, eggs, and crunchy greens.


The secret to a delicious plate of Char Kway Teow lies in the skillful wok technique, as the noodles need to absorb the flavors from the ingredients without becoming mushy. The dish is usually cooked in lard, which enhances the overall taste and richness.


For an authentic and unforgettable Char Kway Teow experience, make your way to Hill Street Char Kway Teow at Bedok South Road Food Centre. This stall has been serving up this delectable dish for more than 50 years, and its rendition of Char Kway Teow is flavorful and satisfying.


If you’re looking for a modern twist on this classic dish, head to Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee. Their version of Char Kway Teow includes fresh cockles, allowing you to enjoy a burst of briny flavor with each bite.


Whether you prefer the traditional or the contemporary, Char Kway Teow is a must-try dish in Singapore. Indulge in the aromatic flavors of this stir-fried noodle delight and experience the satisfying combination of textures on your palate.


Chili Crab

When it comes to iconic Singaporean dishes, Chili Crab takes center stage. This delectable dish is a true seafood lover’s delight, featuring fresh mud crabs cooked in a rich and spicy tomato-based sauce.


The star of this dish is the luscious crab, which is stir-fried with a fragrant blend of garlic, ginger, and shallots before being drenched in a tangy and spicy sauce. The sauce is a perfect balance of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors, thanks to the addition of ingredients like tomato paste, chili paste, and soy sauce.


Cracking and devouring the succulent crab meat, generously coated in the flavorsome sauce, is a truly indulgent experience. Pair this dish with steamed or deep-fried mantou buns to soak up the savory sauce for the ultimate gastronomic pleasure.


For a taste of the best Chili Crab in Singapore, head to Jumbo Seafood. This renowned seafood restaurant has multiple locations across the island and is famous for its award-winning Chili Crab dish. They use the freshest crabs and a secret, time-tested recipe to create a sauce that keeps people coming back for more.


Another must-visit spot for Chili Crab is Long Beach Seafood Restaurant. Established in 1946, this restaurant is credited with inventing the iconic Black Pepper Crab and has since gained a stellar reputation for its Chili Crab as well. The spicy and flavorful sauce, combined with the freshness of the crab, makes for an unforgettable dining experience.


Prepare to get your hands messy and relish every bite of the succulent crab meat smothered in the tantalizing sauce. Chili Crab is a quintessential Singaporean dish that you simply cannot miss.


Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is a beloved dish in Singapore that is often considered the national breakfast of Malaysia. This fragrant and hearty dish consists of coconut rice served with various accompaniments, creating a delightful medley of flavors and textures.


The rice is the star of Nasi Lemak, cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, giving it a fragrant and creamy taste. It is typically garnished with ikan bilis (anchovies), roasted peanuts, cucumber slices, and a hard-boiled or fried egg. Some variations of Nasi Lemak may include additional toppings such as fried chicken, fried fish, or sambal (a spicy chili paste).


What sets Nasi Lemak apart is the sambal, which adds a fiery kick to the dish. The sambal is made by blending chili peppers, shrimp paste, garlic, and other spices, creating a bold and flavorful condiment that complements the fragrant coconut rice beautifully.


For a Nasi Lemak experience you won’t forget, head to Ponggol Nasi Lemak. This legendary eatery has been serving this iconic dish since the 1970s and is known for its generous portions and aromatic flavors. The long queues outside the restaurant are a testament to its popularity.


Another highly recommended place to savor Nasi Lemak is Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak at Adam Road Food Centre. Their Nasi Lemak is known for its fluffy coconut rice and flavorful sambal, ensuring a satisfying and delicious meal.


Whether you have it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Nasi Lemak is a beloved dish that showcases the fragrant and diverse flavors of Singaporean cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in this national favorite during your visit to Singapore.



Satay is a popular street food in Singapore that consists of skewered and grilled meat, typically served with a savory peanut sauce. This delectable dish is a favorite among locals and visitors, offering a tantalizing blend of flavors and textures.


The meat used for Satay can vary, but the most common choices are chicken, beef, and mutton. The meat is marinated in a flavorful blend of spices, such as turmeric, coriander, and cumin, before being skewered and grilled over an open flame. This cooking method gives the Satay a smoky and charred aroma that enhances the overall taste.


What truly elevates Satay is the accompanying peanut sauce. The sauce is made from ground peanuts, mixed with spices, herbs, and sometimes a touch of soy sauce or tamarind for added tanginess. The result is a rich and creamy sauce that complements the grilled meat perfectly, adding a burst of flavor with every dip.


For an authentic Satay experience, head to Lau Pa Sat Festival Market. This bustling hawker center offers a range of Satay stalls, where you can sample different variations of this mouthwatering dish. Satay stalls such as Chuan Kee Satay and Hjh Maimunah Satay are highly recommended for their succulent meat and flavorful sauces.


For a unique twist on Satay, visit Haron Satay at East Coast Lagoon Food Village. Here, the Satay is marinated and grilled to perfection, ensuring a tender and juicy bite every time. The accompanying peanut sauce is also a standout, with its creamy texture and well-balanced flavors.


Satay is not only a dish but also a social experience. It is often enjoyed with friends or family, accompanied by a refreshing beverage. So, grab a skewer and dip it in the luscious peanut sauce for a delightful and satisfying taste of Singapore’s street food culture.


Bak Kut Teh

Bak Kut Teh, which translates to “meat bone tea,” is a hearty and flavorful dish that originated from the Hokkien-Chinese community in Singapore. This dish features tender pork ribs simmered in a complex broth infused with a blend of aromatic herbs and spices.


The broth is the heart and soul of Bak Kut Teh. It is made by simmering pork bones with a combination of herbs and spices such as star anise, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, and pepper. The result is a rich and robust broth that is both nourishing and comforting.


The pork ribs are then simmered in the flavorful broth until they become tender and almost melt in your mouth. The meat absorbs the aroma and essence of the herbs and spices, resulting in a delicious and satisfying bite.


Traditionally, Bak Kut Teh is served with steamed rice, fried dough fritters (you tiao), and a side of sliced garlic and chili padi. The garlic and chili padi can be mixed with dark soy sauce for a tangy and spicy dip that complements the richness of the soup and meat.


To experience the best Bak Kut Teh in Singapore, visit Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House. Established in the 1970s, this iconic eatery is famed for its peppery and robust Bak Kut Teh broth that is sure to warm your soul. The pork ribs are tender and the flavors are well-balanced, making it a favorite among locals and tourists.


For a unique twist on this classic dish, head to Song Fa Bak Kut Teh. This Michelin Bib Gourmand awardee has been serving Bak Kut Teh since 1969 and has maintained its reputation for high-quality and delicious broth. Their signature clear peppery soup is a standout, offering a different flavor profile that is still incredibly satisfying.


Indulge in the heartiness of Bak Kut Teh and let the flavors of the aromatic herbs and spices envelop your taste buds. This comforting dish is a must-try for anyone looking to savor the depth and complexity of Singaporean cuisine.


Roti Prata

Roti Prata, also known as “roti canai,” is a beloved Indian-influenced dish that has become a staple in Singaporean cuisine. This delightful flatbread is made from a dough that is stretched, flipped, and cooked on a hot griddle until it becomes crispy and golden brown.


Roti Prata can be enjoyed in various ways – plain, with a side of curry, or filled with savory ingredients. The plain version is flaky and tender, with layers that peel away with each bite. It pairs well with a generous serving of curry for dipping or drizzling over the top.


If you’re looking for a more indulgent experience, opt for a filled Roti Prata. Popular fillings include cheese, mushrooms, onions, minced meat, and even sweet options like bananas or chocolate. The fillings are folded into the dough before cooking, resulting in a flavorful and satisfying treat.


To taste some of the best Roti Prata in Singapore, visit The Roti Prata House. This humble eatery has perfected the art of creating light and crispy Roti Prata that keeps customers coming back for more. The dough is expertly stretched and cooked to achieve the perfect texture and taste.


If you’re in the Serangoon area, head to Mr. and Mrs. Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata. As the name suggests, their Roti Prata is exceptionally crispy, with a delightful crunch in every bite. They offer a variety of fillings to satisfy all preferences.


Whether you prefer it plain or filled, Roti Prata is a versatile and delicious dish that can be enjoyed any time of the day. Take a bite into the crispy, flaky goodness and let the flavors of curry or other fillings dance on your palate.


Wanton Mee

Wanton Mee is a quintessential Singaporean dish that showcases the perfect marriage of springy noodles, savory Char Siu (barbecue pork), and juicy wantons (dumplings). This simple yet flavorsome dish has captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and travelers alike.


The star of Wanton Mee is the noodles. They are typically thin, yellow noodles that are cooked to perfection, achieving a firm yet springy texture. The noodles are then tossed in a fragrant combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, and other seasonings, imparting a savory and umami flavor.


The dish is complete with delectable slices of Char Siu, which are tender and caramelized with a slightly charred exterior. Wantons, filled with a mixture of seasoned minced pork or shrimp, add a delightful burst of flavor and texture to the dish.


For an authentic Wanton Mee experience, head to the famous Kok Sen Restaurant. Located in Keong Saik Road, this eatery has been serving up delicious Wanton Mee since 1960. Their rendition of the dish is renowned for its springy noodles and well-marinated Char Siu.


Another popular spot for Wanton Mee is Fei Fei Wanton Mee. With multiple outlets across Singapore, this family-owned business has gained a loyal following for its flavorful noodles and wantons. Be sure to try their wantons in both soup and dry versions for a complete taste experience.


Whether you prefer your Wanton Mee dry or with soup, this dish is a satisfying and comforting choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The combination of noodles, Char Siu, and wantons creates a symphony of flavors that will leave you craving for more.


Fish Head Curry

Fish Head Curry is a unique and flavorful dish that combines the richness of curry spices with the succulent goodness of fish head. This culinary creation is a fusion of Indian and Chinese flavors, resulting in a dish that is both comforting and delicious.


The star ingredient of Fish Head Curry is, of course, the fish head itself. Typically, a large fish head, such as snapper, is cooked in a fragrant and tangy curry sauce, creating a rich and flavorful broth. The fish head is known for its tender, gelatinous meat that easily absorbs the flavors of the curry.


The curry sauce is a vibrant combination of spices, such as turmeric, chili, cumin, and fenugreek, cooked in a base of coconut milk and tamarind juice. The result is a robust and tangy curry that perfectly complements the sweetness of the fish head.


To experience the best Fish Head Curry in Singapore, head to Samy’s Curry Restaurant. Located in Dempsey Hill, this historic restaurant has been serving authentic South Indian cuisine since 1954. Their Fish Head Curry is a must-try, with its perfectly cooked fish head and aromatic curry sauce that will satisfy any curry lover’s cravings.


For a more casual dining experience, visit The Banana Leaf Apolo. This iconic restaurant has been serving delectable Indian cuisine since 1974. Their Fish Head Curry is highly regarded, featuring a generous portion of fish head immersed in a flavorful and spicy curry sauce.


Fish Head Curry is a dish that brings together the diverse culinary influences of Singapore. The combination of tender fish head and tangy curry is a delight for seafood lovers and curry enthusiasts. Don’t miss the chance to savor this unique dish during your visit to Singapore.


Where to Try These Local Dishes

If you’re eager to sample these delectable dishes in Singapore, you’re in luck! The city-state is dotted with numerous food establishments where you can indulge in the flavors of local cuisine.


For Hainanese Chicken Rice, head to Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice located in Maxwell Food Centre, or try Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice with their multiple branches across Singapore.


For a bowl of Laksa, visit 328 Katong Laksa or Sungei Road Laksa for a unique experience.


To satisfy your cravings for Char Kway Teow, visit Hill Street Char Kway Teow at Bedok South Road Food Centre or Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee for a modern twist.


For famous Chili Crab, dine at Jumbo Seafood or Long Beach Seafood Restaurant for an unforgettable seafood experience.


Indulge in the fragrant Nasi Lemak at Ponggol Nasi Lemak or Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak located at Adam Road Food Centre.


To enjoy Satay, head to Lau Pa Sat Festival Market and try stalls such as Chuan Kee Satay and Hjh Maimunah Satay.


For a taste of Bak Kut Teh, visit Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House or Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, both known for their flavorful broths and tender ribs.


Savor the crispy Roti Prata at The Roti Prata House or Mr. and Mrs. Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata, and delight in the flavors of Wanton Mee at Kok Sen Restaurant or Fei Fei Wanton Mee.


Lastly, for Fish Head Curry, head to Samy’s Curry Restaurant or The Banana Leaf Apolo and enjoy this unique blend of Indian and Chinese flavors.


Remember, these are just a few recommendations, and there are many more hidden gems and local eateries waiting for you to explore and discover in the vibrant food scene of Singapore.


So, embark on a culinary adventure and indulge in these local dishes at the various food establishments scattered throughout Singapore. Each bite will take you on a journey through the rich flavors and diverse heritage of this unique city-state.



Singapore’s vibrant culinary scene is a testament to the city-state’s rich cultural diversity and culinary heritage. From hawker centers to upscale restaurants, Singapore offers a plethora of delightful local dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.


Whether it’s the comforting flavors of Hainanese Chicken Rice, the spice-filled bowls of Laksa, the savory goodness of Char Kway Teow, or the indulgent sweetness of Chili Crab, each dish represents a unique blend of flavors that exemplifies the multicultural melting pot that is Singapore.


Exploring the local cuisine of Singapore is not just about pleasing your palate; it’s also a way to delve into the cultural fabric of the city. Each dish tells a story, reflecting the history, traditions, and influences of the different cultures that have shaped Singapore’s culinary landscape.


So, embark on a gastronomic adventure and taste your way through the streets of Singapore. Sample the authentic offerings at renowned establishments like Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, 328 Katong Laksa, and Lau Pa Sat Festival Market. Don’t forget to seek out lesser-known gems where the locals eat, as there are countless stalls and eateries waiting to be discovered.


From the vibrant and lively atmosphere of hawker centers to the refined settings of acclaimed restaurants, Singapore offers a dining experience for every budget and every palate. So, whether you’re a food enthusiast, an adventurous traveler, or a curious visitor, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the mouthwatering local dishes that make Singapore’s culinary scene so memorable.


Immerse yourself in the rich flavors, savor the unique combinations, and relish the diverse tastes that have made Singapore a food lover’s paradise. Discover the charm of each dish, enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, and create lasting memories as you embark on this culinary journey through the diverse and delicious local cuisine of Singapore.