Singapore’s food is fairly similar to that of Malaysia. Generally the same groups of people live in Singapore as do in Malaysia. Some say the only things to do in Singapore are eat and shop. I don’t know about that, but I do know that if you stick with eating you won’t go wrong.
Food in Singapore is not as cheap as in Malaysia, but it is still affordable. If you stick to hawker centres, you will be getting delicious food as well as great deals (a meal can easily be had for under S$5). I went to Tekka Centre in Little India and Chinatown Complex in Chinatown, but there are lots more (the Wikipedia link to hawker centres lists notable hawker centres in Singapore – start there for ideas).
Another way to eat affordably is to go to food courts in malls. It won’t be quite as cheap as a hawker centre (S$5-10 for a meal) but it won’t break the bank, either. I also found that the food at mall food courts was not as good as the food at hawker centres.
Here are some of the foods I ate in Singapore.
Kaya Butter Toast
Kaya is a coconut jam popular in Malaysia and Singapore. Kaya butter toast is just what it sounds like – butter and kaya on some toast. The best specimens of it are lightly browned on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside. This one we got from a random place in Chinatown heavily advertising kaya toast. It was delicious. Kaya toast is usually S$1-2. Here’s a guide to finding good kaya toast in Singapore.
Goreng pisang is simply fried banana. It’s tasty. Sweet and crunchy, and the banana is a little firm. I found it at a vendor on Chinatown food street (so the sign said). Here’s a list of good places. Should be S$0.60-1.
Hong Kong-style Dim Sum
At Chinatown Complex, there were several stalls selling ‘Hong Kong-style Dim Sum’. We got char siew buns and chive dumplings – both tasty! About S$2-3 per plate, which is 3 pieces of dim sum, as you can see.
Of course, Singapore has Indian food. I stayed in Little India and went to Tekka Centre twice in the two days I was staying there. I got some butter chicken the first night. It was pretty tasty. I don’t remember the exact price, but I’d say about S$3.
The best juice of my life
There’s this blended juice stall right next to Chinatown MRT Station. It’s got a bunch of options. There are single juice varieties, and mixes. If you’re looking for the best juice ever, order yourself a dragonfruit soursop juice. It is more than you might want to pay for juice, at S$4, but isn’t that nothing to pay for the best juice of your life? I thought so.
Singapore-style wonton noodles are very similar to the Malaysian style. I got some at a Food Republic food court on Orchard Road. It is served dry or in soup (I got it in soup), and has noodles, bok choy, char siew (barbecued pork), and wonton. It was about S$5. It was tasty, though a little too sweet for me.
Ginger chicken rice, aka worst meal of the trip
On the way to the zoo, we stopped at a food court next to Ang Mo Kio MRT Station. I got ginger chicken rice. It was mediocre, and cost S$5. Even though it wasn’t terrible, just not very exciting, it was the worst food of the trip. Really, I think that just says something about the quality of the food in Malaysia and Singapore.
On our last night in Singapore, we decided to splurge on a nice meal. It was at a place called The Pizza Place in Raffles City. I got fettucini alfredo, potato skins, and an IBC root beer. Yes, it was indulgent. It was about S$20. The fettucini was creamy and cheesy and I loved it, especially because that sort of thing is difficult to find and incredibly expensive in Korea.
Singapore is a delicious place to go. I know a lot of backpackers skip it, because it’s more expensive than many other places in Southeast Asia. But I think it’s absolutely worth a visit, and you can easily eat there on a budget!