Maxwell Road Hawker Center
Hawker centers are the best place to experience the authentic flavor of Singapore as locals do. With over 100 different food stalls selling local foods and street snacks, the Maxwell Road Hawker Center is one of the biggest in Singapore. While the Hainanese Chicken Rice at Tian Tian Chicken Rice is a must-try dish at this hawker center, other stalls contain hidden delights, too. Look for the stalls with the most people, as most customers are locals who know which stalls are worth eating, and the food is definitely worth the queue.
Address: 1 Kadayanallur St, Singapore
Eight Treasures Vegetarian
Eight Treasures Vegetarian offers a traditional and healthy alternative to the spices of Singaporean and south-east Asian dining. Despite not using meat, the dishes are flavorful with fresh ingredients. The restaurant serves a surprising variety of dishes in a variety of shapes and forms, from soup with rich ingredients to mock meats that look and taste no different from their non-vegetarian counterparts. Situated in the middle of Chinatown, this reasonably priced restaurant is a good choice for groups both large and small to experience a healthy and authentic Chinese meal.
Address: 282 South Bridge Road, Singapore, + 65 65347727
Located in the center of Singapore’s Chinatown is the Grand Mandarina, an elegant venue that serves traditional Cantonese cuisine with a modern touch. The menu offers a selection of classics such as honey glazed barbecue pork, and fusion dishes such as deep-friend prawn in Wasabi mayonnaise for the more adventurous eater. The house’s signature dish is the Empurau fish, which needs to be ordered three days in advance. With seating for both small and large parties, the restaurant is a perfect place for a family dinner or a large gathering.
Address: #01/02-00, Thye Shan Mansion, 325 New Bridge Road, Singapore, +65 62223355
The Tippling Club is one of the Singaporean restaurants listed in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for several consecutive years. What makes the Tippling Club stand out from its fellow awardees is its unusual matching of food and cocktails. The Snowcrab is, for example, paired with the cocktail Smashing Good Thyme, a blend of rum, thyme, green pea and citrus. This ambient joint is an excellent place for an intimate dinner, but also with a certain degree of playfulness, as can be seen in its menu.
Address: 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore, +65 6475 2217
Another large hawker center in the middle of Chinatown, the Chinatown Complex offers a taste of the vibrant energy of authentic Singapore at bargain prices. The 260 food stalls offer a generous variety, from Thai curry to steamed fish head; from dim sum to seafood, this is a joint where you can grab a quick bite or gorge on a filling meal. Those who enjoy spicy food cannot miss the laksa, noodles and seafood in a rich broth of curry and coconut milk. For those who have a milder taste, the fishball noodles are an equally noteworthy signature dish of local Singapore.
Selfish Gene Cafe
Located at the edge of Chinatown among other cafes and eateries, Selfish Gene Cafe stands out with its fun and simple decor, a style that indicates the simplicity and freshness of its food. The menu items are fairly conventional, giving little surprises but also leaving no room for disappointment. The cafe is on the first floor of the building while a patisserie takes up the second floor. The establishment provides breakfast until the afternoon, and excellent sandwiches and desserts all day long, making it the perfect choice for brunch, tea or lunch.
Address: 40 Craig Road, Singapore 089678, +65 64231324
Situated on Neil Road just at the edge of Chinatown, Labyrinth offers fusion dining with unexpectedly creative quirks. The Fish and Chips Soup is surprisingly delicious, and their signature dish, the Chili Crab is bizarrely served with ice cream. The open kitchen behind the counter allows you to watch the chefs at work, while more traditional face-to-face sitting is also available for more intimate occasions.
Address: 5 Neil Road, Singapore, +65 62234098
Just as Singapore is a convergence point of many different cultures and cuisines in the south-east Asian region, Ding Dong features food from the region, but made with a modern twist that reflects the modernity of Singapore. The restaurant’s creative cocktails are made with fruits native to south-east Asia. Most interestingly, however, the restaurant has a “Feed Me” option, where the waiter serves a surprise selection of the most popular and tasty dishes. The restaurant’s interior and exterior evoke both traditional Asian motifs and a modern layout, reflecting Singapore’s multicultural background.
Address: 115 Amoy Street, Singapore, +65 65570189
My Awesome Cafe
For a more affordable yet just as atmospheric establishment, My Awesome Cafe, located at the edge of Chinatown, is a fantastic choice. The cafe is built in a traditional Chinese medical hall, and has retained the exterior and furnishings to create a vintage ambiance that feels like stepping back in time. It is a casual place, perfect for spending the lazy afternoon in with friends and a cold drink. The menu features food of both eastern and western cuisine, creating a fusion style that juxtaposes the traditional setting to truly showcase the fusion of eastern and western cultures in Singapore.
Address: 202 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore, +65 84280102
Situated just a short walk from the Chinatown MRT station, Momma Kong’s is a cozy, local establishment that boasts some of the best crab dishes in city. The interior of the small restaurant gives a homey and relaxed atmosphere. Freshness is paramount in seafood, and Momma Kong’s does not disappoint; the freshness of the crabs and other ingredients used is apparent in the full flavor of the dishes. This restaurant serves Singapore’s national dish, the Chili Crab, at its best, where the spiciness of the sauce and the rich flavor of the crab mix and compliment each other.
Address: 34 Mosque Street, Singapore, +65 62252722