You can’t talk about food in Singapore without mentioning the hawker centres that appeared on the local eating scene in the 50s and 60s. Hawker centers on the island, Singapore’s version of street food, were the government answer to dealing with the street food vendors that prepared food in bad hygiene conditions. The centres made up by various stalls were established near bus hubs and housing areas. There one can find famous local dishes (think chicken rice, hokkien mee, char kway teow and laksa) as well as Malay, Indian and Thai delights.
At the hawker centrer for a fraction of the price you get something no less satisfying than a meal in high-end restaurant. But sometimes it can be quite a daunting experience for foreign visitors to order food from the hawker centres. The ambiance of the place reminds of a bustling market on a weekend morning. There is no air-conditioning and one can feel the mixture of aromas that comes from the various stalls. People reserve their spots by placing packets of tissue paper on the tables. It is very common to share your table with other people, as the main policy of these places is order, eat and go.
Because there are hundreds of Hawker Centres with thousands of food stalls in Singapore selling an array of different dishes, finding the very best among the thousands of stalls can be very difficult and tricky. If you are visiting Singapore make sure to make your way to the Old Airport Road Food Centre, which is one of the oldest and most popular hawker centres in Singapore. Maxwell Road Food Centre, situated in the hear of Chinatown is another popular destination where you can taste the true flavour of Singapore. Amoy Street Food Centre is a hawker centre situated in the middle of the bustling business centre of the city, where one can find the best fish soup.
If you are new to the food scene in Singapore we recommend you try out these dishes on your first visit to the hawker centre. Satay, skewered meat on a stick, usually comes with a thick peanut sauce for dipping and rice wrapped in palm leaves. Chicken rice and chili crabs, which are Singapore’s unofficial national dishes, and tang yuan, a glutinous rice balls served in peanut or ginger soup.
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