Singapore is known for its hawker centers – market areas filled with stalls serving inexpensive food. These centers were set up to provide sanitary food at affordable prices near the business district and public housing areas. The hawker centers are a great place to find a variety of cuisines, and even of the cheapest Michellin starred dishes in the world (Tian Tian chicken rice anyone?). These are our top picks for the best hawker centers in Singapore.

  1. Tekka Center

If you’ve spent a few days travelling and are craving some good, homestyle Indian food, Tekka Center is the place to go. Whether it’s biryani, mutton keema, prawn vadai, or just some masala dosai that you’re craving, you’ll find it all here. Try out Allauddin’s for Biryani or prawn noodles at Whampoa Noodles (recommended by Anthony Bourdain himself!). Be sure to visit the wet market nearby – it’s the largest in Singapore.

  1. Newton Food Center

The best chilli crab in Singapore is probably at Newton Food Center. Alliance seafood was in the Michellin guide for their chilli crab and are a huge draw. However, you’ll see that there are many others serving exotic seafood including stingray and oyster omelettes. Most stalls here also show you the crab before they cook it, allowing you to pick exactly what you want.

Pepper Crab, Newton Centre, Singapore
  1. Maxwell Food Center

Maxwell Food Center, home to Tian Tian chicken rice is in the heart of the business district. Try the popiah at ‘Rojak, Popiah and Cockle’, or Hainanese Curry Rice (Stall 68) if you’d like to get something other than the chicken rice.

Tian Tian Chicken Rice, Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore
  1. Old Airport Road Food Center

I fell in love with Kaya Toast while I was in Singapore, and you cannot miss the toast at ‘Toast Hut’. I went back for seconds. The other big draw at this center is Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee which is best identified by the serpentine queues near it. The quality of the ingredients here is par none. If you’re a daring eater, you can even find organ soup here.

1.East Coast Lagoon Food Center

The best way to sample everything at a food center is to work up an appetite before you get there. Do the bike ride through East Coast Park before you stop at the food center so you can try it all! Also recommend sitting by the beach for an amazing view while you read. Try all the local favourite – char kway teo from Choon Hiang, popiah, carrot cake from Lagoon and satay from Haron satay. Explore, and see if you’re in luck and can find the Moreton Bay Bug here. And when you’re done eating, wash it down with an ice-cold glass of sugarcane juice. You’re welcome!

Moreton Bay Bug, East Coast Lagoon Food Centre, Singapore