There's no doubt about it. Singapore is one of the world's great food cities. This tiny city-state has been a meeting place of different cultures for centuries, and those cultures have given the Lion City a culinary scene like nowhere else on earth. Singaporean and Malaysian traditions meet Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and British influences to make something that is completely its own.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Singapore, and get ready to stuff your face. There are absolutely tons of things to do in the city, but there are so many great things to eat here that you could spend weeks doing little else and still have a great time. Plus, no matter what you like to eat, there's something here for everyone, from the best street food in Singapore at the legendary hawker stalls to fine dining in Michelin-starred restaurants. In fact, in Singapore, the two aren't mutually exclusive. Even the hawker stalls here are recognized as some of the best in the world at what they do.
Singaporean cuisine is also very friendly to vegetarians. You can check out some of the best vegetarian restaurants in Singapore, or just trust that the menu wherever you go will have something to offer, because it usually does.
And while you're in this magical city, here are some of the dishes you simply have to try.
Singapore Food: Hainanese Chicken Rice
This is the dish that put Singapore on the map as a food destination, and it's still one of the best things to eat in Singapore. The rice is cooked in chicken fat, giving it an incredible flavor, and then it's served with slices of poached chicken and a dipping sauce made from ginger and green onions. It's simple, but it's absolutely perfect.
This dish is also quintessentially Singaporean in that it shows the influence of foreign cuisine. Hainanese chicken rice was created by Chinese immigrants from the province of Hainan but was adopted and adapted by the people of Singapore to make it something truly special. If you can only try one classic meal in Singapore, Hainanese chicken rice might be the one.
Singapore Food: Chili Crab
This is another dish that has put Singapore on the map, and for good reason. Fresh crabs are cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce made with chili, tomato paste, and soy sauce, which is absolutely delicious. Be sure to order a side of rice to mop up all that amazing sauce.
This dish was actually created in the 1950s by a man named Cher Yam Tian, who set up a roadside stall selling his creation. It was an instant hit, and today there are many different variations on the dish, but they all trace back to that original recipe.
Singapore Food: Laksa
This is a coconut curry noodle soup that is absolutely packed with flavor. The noodles are usually rice noodles, but sometimes egg noodles are used, and they're served in a soup made with coconut milk and curry. The soup is then usually topped with shrimp, chicken, or tofu, and it's absolutely delicious.
There are many different regional variations of this dish, but the Singaporean version is definitely one of the best. It's a must-try for any visitor to the city.
Singapore Food: Nasi Lemak
This is a classic Malaysian dish that has been adopted by the people of Singapore, and it's one of the most popular breakfast dishes in the city. Rice is cooked in coconut milk and then served with a variety of different toppings, including fried chicken, shrimp, eggs, peanuts, and chili sauce. It's a hearty and delicious way to start your day. It's also something you can find just about everywhere in the city, so keep an eye out for nasi lemak on local menus.
Singapore Food: Kaya toast
Speaking of breakfast, there may be no better way to start the day in Singapore than with Kaya toast served with soft-boiled eggs. Kaya is a type of coconut jam that is definitely delicious, and it's the perfect accompaniment to the soft-boiled eggs. You can find this dish just about anywhere in the city, but be sure to try it at one of the many traditional kopitiams, which are coffee shops that serve up simple but tasty meals like this.
Singapore Food: Satay
If you're a fan of grilled meat, then you'll definitely want to try satay. This is a dish of marinated meats that are skewered and then grilled, and it's usually served with a peanut sauce for dipping. It's a great snack or appetizer, and you can find it just about anywhere in Singapore. Just look for the grill smoke, and you'll know you're in the right place.
One of the great things about Singaporean satay is the variety you can find. The satay meat can be just about anything from chicken to pork to beef, and while peanut sauce is the classic accompaniment, you can get a variety of sweet and spicy sauces to accompany this dish. Get steamed rice on the side to make it more of a meal, or enjoy them as a snack while you're on the go.
Singapore Food: Pineapple Tarts
These are a must-try if you have a sweet tooth, as they are absolutely delicious. The pineapple tarts are made with a flaky pastry crust and filled with a sweet pineapple filling, and they are often served at festive occasions like Chinese New Year. You can find them year-round, however, so don't hesitate to try one (or two) whenever the mood strikes you.
Singapore Food: Rojak
Rojak is a type of salad made with various fruits and vegetables, all tossed in a sweet and sticky sauce made from tamarind, chili, and shrimp paste. It's a bit of an acquired taste, but it's definitely worth trying if you're looking for something different.
You can find rojak just about anywhere in Singapore, but it's particularly popular as a street food. It makes for a great snack or light meal, and it's definitely something you'll want to try if you're looking to step outside your comfort zone.
Singapore Food: Fish Head Curry
Admittedly, this may not sound like the most appetizing dish in the world, but it is a classic of Singaporean cuisine for reason. Fish head curry is extremely popular in Singapore, and it's an incredibly flavorful dish that may have you wondering why you haven't been eating fish heads all this time.
The curry is made with a variety of different spices, and the fish head itself is usually cooked until it's nice and tender. It's then served with rice and vegetables to soak up all that curry gravy, making for a hearty and filling meal. If you're looking to try something truly unique while you're in Singapore, this is definitely the dish for you. And if you're an adventurous eater, you'll have a great story to tell people back home. Think of the pictures you'll get!
Singapore Food: Char Kway Teow
Char kway teow is a noodle dish made with eggs, prawns, cockles, fish cake, bean sprouts, and Chinese sausage, then flash-fried with flat rice noodles into something truly magical. It's a bit of a greasy dish, but it's oh so worth it. You can find char kway teow just about anywhere in Singapore, but be sure to try it at a hawker center for the true street food experience.
Combined with fried noodles, it's not the healthiest food you could possibly eat, but it is one of the most classic and traditional. Check out the stalls in a food court and pick the one with the longest line of locals because it is almost certainly excellent.
Singapore Food: Nasi Goreng
This is another classic noodle dish that is popular all over Southeast Asia. Nasi goreng is made with rice, vegetables, and protein (usually cooked chicken, beef, or shrimp), then fried up into a delicious and filling meal. It's often served with a fried egg on top, and you can get it pretty much anywhere in Singapore.
Like the ever-popular nasi lemak, nasi goreng is a traditional Malaysian dish that has really taken hold in Singapore. This hearty and savory dish is an excellent way to enjoy the flavors of this region of Asia and one you'll probably find yourself seeking out again and again.
Singapore Food: Hokkien Prawn Mee
This is a noodle dish made with egg noodles, prawns, and pork, and it is super tasty. The noodles are cooked in a flavorful broth made with shrimp paste, and the whole dish is typically served with a side of greens. You can find hokkien prawn mee just about anywhere in Singapore, but it's especially popular as a street food.
If you're looking for a delicious and hearty noodle dish, this is definitely the one to try. The prawns and pork add a great deal of flavor to the noodles, and the broth is absolutely packed with umami. It's a bit of a messy dish, but it's definitely worth it.
Singapore Food: Bak Kut Teh
Pork rib tea might sound unusual, but it's a classic item of Singaporean food. Slow-simmered pork ribs are cooked in a herbal broth made with a variety of different spices, and the result is a rich and hearty dish that's perfect for a winter night. You can find bak kut teh just about anywhere in Singapore, but it's especially popular in the morning as a breakfast food.
This may not be the healthiest dish on this list, but it is usually a winner. The slow-cooked pork ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, and the broth is packed with flavor. It's definitely worth trying if you're looking for something hearty and filling. And it's the perfect dish to spend your time over on a rainy day in Singapore.
Singapore Food: Carrot Cake
You probably think you know what carrot cake is all about. But you're wrong. Carrot cake is a popular food in Singapore, but they make it differently from anyone else.
For a start, it doesn't contain carrot. Instead, the cake is made with grated white radish mixed with rice flour and then steamed. The cakes are then chopped up and stir-fried with eggs, garlic, and spring onion. You can have it with sweet soy sauce or without, but either way, it's a taste sensation.
If your mouth isn't watering after reading all that, check your pulse because you might be dead. Even a quick glance at what's on offer on the Singapore food scene should be enough to convince you that eating here is not like eating elsewhere.
Iconic dishes like bak kut teh, kaya toast, nasi lemak, and char kway teow are what have given food in Singapore such an outstanding reputation around the world. But really, there is so much on offer here that any guide can only hope to scratch the surface. If you really want to get to grips with Singapore's food scene, the only thing you can do is dive right in and be prepared to be overwhelmed.
Given all the great things there are to eat, it's probably lucky that Singapore also has some amazing hiking trails where you can burn off those excess calories. Check out the best hikes in Singapore for some ideas on how to get some exercise in between meals. After all, the only things you want to bring back from a trip to Singapore are souvenirs and memories of the incredible food you ate, not a bunch of unnecessary pounds.
And don't forget to leave your bags behind at a Bounce luggage storage in Singapore. Traveling light will make it much easier to focus on enjoying all the wonderful food available here.