16 Aug2005

Hawker centers are the best place to eat brilliantly and economically in Singapore. h1Following our Ultimate Fried Rice fiasco at lunch, we decided to head to the nearest Hawker Center to our hotel. The Newton Circus Hawker Center is the most “touristy” of them all and thus pricier but incredibly convenient – just a ten minute walk from our hotel. There are several of these centers throughout Singapore and you must check them out the next time you are there. Clean and safe, these centers feature the key dishes from three cuisines – Chinese, Indian and Malay – that dominate the Singaporean food scene. For five people, we ate over 7 dishes, had drinks and walked away for USD45 total compared to our USD120 lunch. This wonderful dish of kai lan with oyster sauce, fried garlic and onions and chillis was just USD3 or so. What follows here is a photo album of our dinner at the hawker center…

Giant prawns on ice ready waiting for diners (prices in Singapore dollars)…


Giant prawns grilled…


Pinsec or meat in wonton wrappers deep-fried and served with chilli sauce…


Char Kway Tiao (Fried flat noodles with shrimp and spices)…


Sate (different types of grilled meats on a stick served with peanut sauce)…


Chilli Crab (superb)…


A Hawker (can be a pain in the neck, just ignore them politely)…


Drinks on offer including fresh cane juice…


The “Manang” who made our fried rice…




  1. Gigi says:

    I’m on my second day of diet and I should have known not to check your site, Marketman! It was agonizing not to scoot to nearby North Park for a dose of the salted fish fried rice and now this, glorious food stimulations! The weekend seems so far away (My only break from the diet will be Sunday)!

    Salivating as I type this,


    Aug 16, 2005 | 8:03 am


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  3. wysgal says:

    This may be a silly question — but do we have similar hawker markets in Metro Manila? I recall going to one in Malaysia to buy dinner and the other people I was with were asking me if we had similar set-ups in the Philippines.

    I could only reply … “I think so …”

    Of course for the high-end crowd there’s Salcedo Market.

    Aug 16, 2005 | 12:30 pm

  4. berniej says:

    @wysgal: The closest thing I can think of is the row of eateries at the “estero” in chinatown (Manila).

    Aug 16, 2005 | 3:46 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    Bernie, didn’t they shut those estero places down because of hygiene issues? Isn’t it amazing that we don’t have the equivalent places here… it suits our cuisine well though a lot of our food is not cooked just before eating…

    Aug 17, 2005 | 12:18 pm

  6. dodi says:

    “Estero” stalls still exist but nowhere near the popularity they had in the late ’70s and 80’s.And yes, they are supposed to be closed because of unhygienic practices/habits. Sad, but like you, I have often wondered why we don’t have nightly community eating places like the ones in Malaysia, Indonesia or that Hawker center in Singapore. The nearest thing I can think of is the “DAMPA” in Baclaran, Libis or the one near the international airport although the prices for cooking and eating in these are really way up there!!

    Aug 17, 2005 | 3:52 pm

  7. Ivan M says:

    Interesting post…and even yummier pics!!

    They should bought back memories of my last Singaporean Food Fiesta in -whereelse- that teeming, cut-throat yet irresistably yummy Newton Food Circus.

    Unfortunately, I found out that the place is a tourist paradise(read: presyong taga to the bones!) In fact,mymost memorable experience there was, aside from the chili crabs and shrimps, was the way I my hawker tried to pull a fast one on this then first-time tourist.

    The shrimps (pictured above) was quoted as Sing $7.00 per order but turns out its for every 100 grams(or easily a piece). We were never informed of this got the shock of our Singaporean stay when we were handed our bill.

    My Singaporean friend had this to advice. “Never makan at the Newton lah, its for tourists!” Well, we were considered that when we visited.

    Next time, will try Lau Pa Sat in Chinatown.

    Aug 19, 2005 | 8:37 pm

  8. deepapric says:

    i’ve eaten a few times at lau pa sat and thank goodness i’ve never gotten any nasty surprises like that. i prefer it over newton — seems to be more organized, although the prices are about as touristy as those in newton. try the grilled stingray!

    great blog by the way! foodies rule!

    Oct 7, 2005 | 4:39 pm

  9. rampau says:

    I’m boycotting Singapore and Malaysia. I dont think I’ll feel good knowing that I can get hanged for 14 oz of drugs. I mean, what if somebody slips that into my luggage? Too creepy for me. It’s too barbaric!

    Dec 8, 2005 | 1:46 pm

  10. chick says:

    whenever we go to SG, I like buying chicken satay and sugar cane juice in the hawker centers! (and the nuggets too!)

    Aug 16, 2007 | 11:17 am


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