Top 10 Must-Try Local Food in Singapore

Embark on a culinary journey through Singapore’s diverse foodscape – a fusion of local cuisines inspired by the country’s Chinese, Malay, and Indian beginnings. Whether you’re savoring $5 street eats or treating yourself to MICHELIN-starred extravagance, you won’t go hungry in Singapore. From mouthwatering chilli crab to durians, our team at Naumi has put together their top 10 must-try local food in Singapore for you to discover.

 

Mains

 

1. Singaporean Chilli Crab

Local food chilli crab

 

This classic dish needs no explanation – The Chilli Crab has earned its title as Singapore’s national dish for a good reason! Well-loved by Singaporeans and tourists alike, this dish is prepared by stir-frying crabs (most commonly mud crabs) in a thick, heavenly chilli and tomato-based sauce that is sweet, tangy and slightly spicy. Despite other variations such as the black pepper or salted egg yolk version serving up stiff competition in recent years, the classic chilli crab has continued to own its spot as the most well-received option amongst Singaporeans.  

 

For the popular classic go-to chilli crab in Singapore, check out Jumbo Seafood, No Signboard Seafood and Redhouse Seafood. 

 

Naumi’s pro tip: Don’t forget to order mantou (fried buns) as well. Once you’re done with your chilli crab, drench them thoroughly in the remaining sauce for that perfect finish. Eating chilli crab can get messy! Be prepared to dig in with your hands. Dress appropriately and avoid wearing white clothes 😀 

 

Address:

Jumbo Seafood: 20 Upper Circular Rd, #B1-48 The Riverwalk, Singapore 058416 (30 min walk from Naumi) 

No Signboard Seafood: 414 Geylang Rd, Singapore 389392 (30 min by train from Naumi) 

Redhouse Seafood: 3C River Valley Road 01-02/03, The Cannery, Singapore 179022 (30 min by train from Naumi) 

 

2. Hainanese Chicken Rice

 

The Hainanese Chicken Rice is another national dish that Singapore has claimed as its own. The best version of this dish is fiercely debated amongst foodies in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and depending on who you speak to and where they’re from, you’ll probably get a different answer. 

 

At first glance, this humble dish looks fairly simple and even plain, with several pieces of poached, white chicken served on top of white rice. After your first taste, however, you’ll definitely not overlook its modest appearance.

 

To create this dish, the chicken is poached at sub-boiling temperatures until it is perfectly tender, and the rice is cooked with a blend of chicken stock, pandan leaves, ginger and garlic to give it a rich, fragrant flavour. Paired with the classic “Chicken Rice chilli” or garlic chilli sauce, the symphony of flavours will have you coming back for more. For some of the popular Hainanese Chicken Rice spots in town, head over to Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, but be prepared to queue! 

 

Naumi’s pro tip: Commonly found in hawker centres, some stalls have the chilli sauce pre-packed in small plastic bags for takeaway customers. If you’re ordering for takeaway, make sure to ask for the chilli sauce as some stall-owners might forget to put it in your order! 

 

Address: 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice: 1 Kadayanallur St, #01-10/11 Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore 069184 (30 min by train from Naumi) 

 

3. Katong Laksa

 

Another local favourite, laksa is at the top of every food list in Singapore, and for good reason. Made up of a combination of rice noodle, shrimp and fishcake drenched in a thick, creamy coconut gravy, this delectable dish has gained recognition both locally and overseas for its unique, flavourful broth.

Laksa is inspired by Peranakan cuisine, and several versions of laksa exist today, including the Penang, curry and Assam versions, but none are as popular as the Katong Laksa that originated in Singapore which uses a special dried shrimp paste to give it a richer flavour. For some of the popular laksa spots in Singapore, try Janggut Laksa, 328 Katong Laksa and Katong Laksa by George. 

 

Address:

Janggut Laksa: 331 Upper Paya Lebar Rd, Singapore 534949 (35 min by train from Naumi) 

328 Katong Laksa: 101 Thomson Rd, #01 – K1, Singapore 307591 (20 min by bus from Naumi) 

Katong Laksa (George’s): 307 Changi Rd, Singapore 419785 (40 min by train from Naumi) 

 

4. Kaya Toast

 

If you’re looking for a good Singaporean breakfast, there’s nothing better than kaya toast, Singapore’s favourite local breakfast menu. Kaya toast is made up of two thinly sliced toasted bread with kaya (coconut jam), and a generous slab of butter in between. It is normally ordered together with two runny, soft-boiled eggs served on a dish and a cup of kopi (black coffee). 

To take it up a notch, locals usually season their soft-boiled eggs with pepper and dark soy sauce and dip their toast in the mixture for their breakfast. For some of the popular kaya toast spots in town, try the popular Ya Kun Kaya Toast or Good Morning Nanyang Café. 

 

Naumi’s Pro Tip: The traditional way of eating the soft-boiled eggs is by mixing the eggs with pepper and dark soy sauce to your taste and eating it directly from the dish—almost like you’re drinking from it. As weird as it sounds, this way of eating is commonplace in Singapore kopitiams (coffee shops). If you’re up for an authentic local experience, give this a try! 

 

Address:  

Ya Kun Kaya Toast: 190 Middle Rd, #01-09, Singapore 188979 (11 min walk from Naumi) 

 

5. Bak Kut Teh

 

Bak Kut Teh, or literally “meat bone tea” is one of the less popularized local favourite dishes in Singapore. Known for its flavourful soup base and tender pork ribs, this pork ribs soup comes in 3 different styles: the Hokkien version with a dark brown soup and a saltier taste, the Cantonese style with a strong herbal taste, and the Teochew style with a clear, garlicky and peppery broth (the common style served in Singapore). 

 

Bak Kut Teh is typically eaten together with steamed rice and a selection of side dishes including braised bean curd, steamed vegetables and groundnuts. For some of the popular Bak Kut Teh spots in town, try Song Fa Bak Kut Teh and Ng Ang Sio Bak Kut Teh for their peppery, Teochew style pork ribs soup. 

 

Naumi’s Pro Tip: The best way to eat Bak Kut Teh is to discard your utensils and use your hands! And do not forget to dip the delicious chunks of meat in the dark sauce for more oomph and flavour 😉 

 

Address:

Song Fa Bak Kut Teh: 3 Temasek Blvd, #B1-132, Singapore 038983 (13 min walk from Naumi) 

Ng Ang Sio Bak Kut Teh: 208 Rangoon Rd, Hong Building, Singapore 218453 (25 min by bus from Naumi) 

 

snacks

6. Rojak

Rojak or “mixed” in Malay, is an Indonesian dish that mixes a variety of vegetables and fruits such as cucumbers, Chinese turnips, unripe mangoes and pineapples in a thick, gooey, brown sweet sauce and topped with crushed peanuts.

At first glance, the dish and its ingredients might look like it has been haphazardly put together, but the sweet sauce, together with the juiciness and crunchiness of the different fruits and vegetables result in a surprisingly refreshing and flavourful combination. Normally eaten as a snack or an appetizer, this unique dish is definitely a must-try in Singapore! For some of the popular rojak places in town, try Lim Bo Rojak and Brothers Rojak. 

Address:  

Lim Bo Rojak: 1 Punggol Dr., #02-11, Singapore 828629 (50 min by train from Naumi) 

Brothers Rojak: 449 Clementi Ave 3, #01-211, Singapore 120449 (45 min by train from Naumi) 


7. Curry Puff

 

One of Singaporeans’ favourite go-to snacks, curry puff is a small, crescent-shaped pie with curry and potato filling encased in a baked pastry crust. Depending on the variation—Malay, Chinese, or Indian among others, the fillings and crust may vary from chicken to sardine and a layered, flaky version to a thicker, crispy pastry. While curry puffs can be dangerously addictive, beware not to eat too much as some stalls make them extremely spicy! For some of the popular curry puffs in town, head to Old Chang Kee, J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff and Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff. 

 

Address:

Old Chang kee: 230 Victoria St, #B1 – 13, Singapore 188024 (10 min walk from Naumi) 

J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff: 7 Maxwell Rd, #01-21, Singapore 069111 (25 min by train from Naumi) 

Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff: Blk 531A Upper Cross St, #02-36 Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, Singapore 051531 (30 min by train from Naumi) 

 

 

DESSERTS

8. Durian

 

Durians might have earned a bad reputation amongst some due to its overpowering smell, but for the more adventurous eaters, you definitely can’t miss out on Singapore’s national fruit! Also known as the king of fruits, durians are a soft, custard-like yellow fruit encased in a tough, thorny green husk. Apart from its distinctive appearance, its pungent odour is another unique characteristic that has garnered mixed reactions.  

 

Either deemed wonderfully fragrant or absolutely repulsive, this interesting fruit has won the hearts of many Singaporeans for its rich, creamy taste and has spawned other durian-flavoured desserts in Singapore, such as the popular durian sago. If you’re not game for the full-power durian, start with a durian-flavoured dessert. For some of the popular durian spots in town, check out 99 Old Trees Durian or Ah Seng Durian and head to Ah Chew Desserts for their durian-flavoured desserts. 

 

Naumi’s Pro Tip: If you’re intending to bring some durians home, be aware that durians are banned on trains and buses in Singapore due to its overpowering smell. In other words, transporting durians on public transport is illegal, so make sure to take a Grab or taxi! 

 

Address: 

99 Old Trees Durian: 1 Teo Hong Rd, Singapore 088321 (25 min by train from Naumi) 

Ah Seng Durian: 20 Ghim Moh Rd #01-119 to #01-122, 270020 (40 min by train from Naumi) 

Ah Chew Desserts: 1 Liang Seah St, #01-10/11 Liang Seah Place, Singapore 189032 (6 min walk from Naumi) 

 

9. Ice Cream Sandwich

 

One of the oldest traditions in Singapore is the ice cream carts that can be found dotted around busy tourist attractions around the city. Usually run by older ‘uncles’ or ‘aunties’, these carts serve blocks of ice cream in two ways— sandwiched between a colourful piece of bread, or between two pieces of crispy wafer. For a price of only $1 to $2, these ice cream carts are one of the cheaper options you can find around town and has become an integral part of Singapore’s street hawker culture. 

 

Naumi’s Pro Tip: As these carts operate outdoors, the ice cream tends to melt fast. If you want something less messy, pick the rainbow bread option! 😉 

 

10. Chendol

Cendol or Chendol is a type of shaved ice dessert topped with green strands of rice flour jelly, red beans, coconut milk, red kidney beans and gula melaka (palm sugar syrup). Some stalls also add other ingredients like diced jackfruit, sweet corn and durian to the dessert. Known for its bright green colour and sweet taste, this refreshing dessert is one of the local go-to treats to beat the sweltering hot weather in Singapore. For some of the popular chendol places in town, try Old Amoy Chendol and Nyonya Chendol. 

Address: 

Old Amoy Chendol: 335 Smith St, #02-008, Singapore 050335 (30 min by train from Naumi) 

Nyonya Chendol: 90 Whampoa Dr, #01-17 Makan Place, Singapore 320090 (35 min by train from Naumi) 


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