When you’re in Singapore, it’s almost impossible to get by without eating at a hawker. Right now you’re probably asking yourself: what is a hawker? A hawker, sometimes referred to as a “hawker center,” is simply an open-air facility that houses dozens of small food stalls.
Hawkers are a staple of Singaporean culture, and many locals eat at these food markets at least once per day. They are a great place to socialize with friends, or just grab a quick bite to eat. The prices are generally cheap and there is always an excellent variety, no matter which location you choose.
Every hawker is unique, so trying out a few different places is the best way to discover the many flavors of Singapore. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest and best hawker centers to try out, as well as a few hidden gems.
Golden Mile Food Center
Located just steps away from the beautiful Mariana Bay in the Kampong Glam neighborhood, the Golden Mile Food Center is a favorite with both locals and tourists. The neighborhood is home to a rich local culture and architecture with a middle eastern flair. Be sure to stop in for some of Singapore’s famous chicken and rice!
Chomp Chomp Food Center
Craving a midnight snack? Then head over to the Chomp Chomp Food Center off of Serangoon Garden Way. They stay open after midnight and offer some of the best fried carrot cake in the city! If you’re looking for a healthier meal, don’t worry, because this hawker has dozens of vegan and vegetarian options.
Taman Jurong Market
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Singapore, head west to the Taman Jurong Market and Food Center. This three story hawker has it all. Want to rejuvenate your sunken spirits with some pork bone soup? They’ve got it. Looking to have a nice dim sum dinner for two? No problem. They have a little something for everyone!
Geylang East Market and Food Corner
This one is located near the infamous Geylang red light district, but don’t let that dissuade you! Geylang’s East Market provides top-notch food on a budget. Prepare to drink plenty of water with a plate of chili crab, or for more adventurous eaters, try a delicious serving of curried fish head!
Zion Riverside Food Center
To end a relaxing night out, there is no better place to eat than the Zion Riverside Food Center. Situated just north of the Alexandra Canal, this hawker offers a relaxed atmosphere, ample seating, and some of the best laksa soup in Singapore. Just sit back and watch the boats pass you by.
The great thing about Singapore is that no matter where you go, there is always a hawker center nearby. The food is cheap, the vendors are friendly, and at peak business hours, the energy is palpable. Every hawker, both large and small, has something unique to offer, so try out as many as you can!
Matthew Jones is a freelance writer and English teacher. As a former film industry professional, Matthew rubbed elbows with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Nowadays, he prefers the nomadic life. He has lived on four different continents, and enjoys writing about his many adventures abroad. In addition to his film blog, Matthew primarily writes about travel, education, personal finance, and small business. For more of Matthew’s writing, check out his blog.