A melting pot of deliciousness
Part of our new SG Eats 2017.
The inaugural edition of the Singapore Michelin Guide was the first in the world to award stars to hawker stalls: HK Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. Whether or not you agree with the choices, the move reminded us of what we know already: the diversity of our local culinary legends is one of the best parts about eating out affordably in Singapore, whether it’s chicken rice or a fluffy idli. These are the ones that delight us over and over.
The famous caterer has a bustling, two-storey spot in the heart of Kampong Glam that dishes out sublime nasi padang fit for a wedding. Just point and order downstairs from their 40 or so kampong-style dishes, and they’ll be brought to your table—inky, tender sotong hitam, beef rendang and ayam lemak. 11 Jln. Pisang.
One of the first Michelin-starred hawkers, Chan Hon Meng, has opened a bigger, air-conditioned spot across the street. So if you don’t want to queue for hours at Chinatown Food Centre, come here and use the automated ordering system and enjoy your soya sauce chicken rice, char siew rice and other roasted delights in relative comfort. 78 Smith St.
There’s no dearth of solid thosai in Little India, but we are staunch devotees of this over-70-year-old vegetarian establishment, which has two other branches in the hood. Often chaotic, Komala Vilas more than makes up for it with the food: the idlis are more pleasantly fermented than other places, as is the thosai batter, the accompanying chutneys are exquisite and the curries with set meals are delicious and homey. 76-78 Serangoon Rd.
The progressive zi char restaurant that started life decades ago on Pulau Ubin, then refashioned itself into a bit of an institution that attracted chefs and foodies alike, New Ubin Seafood recently moved once again to yet another far-flung heartland, but that won’t stop its loyal following. They stock fancy seafood like Pacific oysters and Scottish mussels, but stick to the seafood classics like the prawn rolls and the oyster omelet. 6/F 63 Hillview Ave.
There are several strong zi char contenders in Tiong Bahru, and there’s many a fan in the corner of Por Kee. The low-ceilinged indoor dining room is forever packed, as are the outdoor tables, the service is inconsistent and lackadaisical, but the food is outstanding. Get the champagne pork ribs, the fresh black pepper crab (they’ll bring you a live one to appraise first, of course) and the butter prawns. #01-02 69 Seng Poh Ln.
Established by the late M. Veerasamy in the ‘50s, this unpretentious and casual Indian eatery is pretty much an institution at Dempsey Hill for South Indian food lovers. Here, you’ll be dining on signatures like masala curry chicken, fish cutlet and fish head curry, all on banana leaves. The affable wait staff circle the floors with buckets of sides and rice, so if you’d like a top up, just raise your hand and you’ll have more food heaped on your plate. 25 Dempsey Rd.
This is possibly the oldest family-run nasi padang stall in Singapore. Operating out of a corner unit with plenty of outdoor and semi-outdoor seating, they are known for their authentic dishes like beef rendang, ayam bakar, ikan bakar and sambal goreng. Be warned, though: they sell out fast. 736/738 North Bridge Rd.