Old Airport Road Food Centre
Built on the runway of Singapore’s old Kallang airport, Old Airport Road Food Centre is a favourite hawker centre for locals to get their fix of cheap good hawker food, though this hidden gem has become increasingly popular with tourists in recent years. There are over 150 stalls to choose from on the first level, and more sundry shops can be found on the second level. Popular picks that see long queues include Nam Sing Fried Hokkien Mee, Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee and Dong Ji Fried Kway Teow. Each stall has their own opening hours, do your research before you visit.
Maxwell Food Centre
Maxwell Food Centre is one of the more popular hawker centres with both Singaporeans and tourists in the heritage Chinatown district. It garnered international interest thanks to visits by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay to the Hainanese Chicken Rice at Tian Tian Chicken Rice, now a Michelin Bib-Gourmand recipient and a must-try dish at this hawker center. But if you’d rather skip the perpetually long queue, there are plenty of other stalls that locals love, like Zhen Zhen porridge and Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake.
It’s easy to get lost in Chinatown Complex Food Centre, home to the largest hawker centre in Singapore, with over 260 food stalls on its second floor, offering a generous variety of Singaporean street food fare. From the cheapest Michelin meal at Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, to international craft beer on tap at Smith Street Taps, there is a whole plethora of choice, all at budget friendly prices.
Tekka Centre’s first level houses a bustling hawker centre. Located in Little India, naturally you have to try the North and South Indian food stalls here. Allaudin’s Briyani specialises in tasty briyani rice dishes while Sri Tiffin is where you can get your fix of masala thosai. The name Tekka comes from Teh Kia Kah or Tek Kah, a Hokkien name meaning ‘foot of the bamboos’, a reference to the many bamboo plants growing along Rochor Canal.
Tiong Bahru Food Centre
Tiong Bahru Food Centre has 85 food stalls to choose from, with several hawker food stalls awarded Michelin Bib-Gourmand and The Plate awards – just look for the long queues. A breakfast favourite is Jian Bo Shui Kueh, with its steamed rice cakes topped with diced preserved radish and a dollop of chilli. Tiong Bahru Fried Kway Teow, Teochew Fish Soup and Lor Mee 178 are good places to start your eating journey, though Tiong Bahru does have many indie cafes and restaurants to check out as well.
Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre
The historic Lau Pa Sat or ‘the old market’ in the middle of Singapore’s Central Business District is a tourist favourite hawker centre, both for its convenient location near the attractions in the downtown area, and its unique octagonal shape and wrought iron arches with its iconic clock tower in the center. The small road next to the food centre is blocked off at nights to allow for satay sellers to take over, recreating a once-famous Satay Street under the stars.