I love Singapore. No doubt about it. I love its people. I love the food. For one, I’ve never had a bad meal there. Babaw. But you should know this about me. I love to eat and I eat a lot. I get up each morning thinking of food — what to eat or what restaurants to try out. But I couldn’t say the same for cooking. I have a love-hate relationship with cooking. I only cook when I don’t have a choice or when I come across a good recipe. One week I’d be crazy busy in the kitchen experimenting on ways to make chicken more appetizing. Then the following week, you’d find me in bed, calling Jollibee or Wendy’s to have food delivered because I’m so lazy to prep, cook and wash dishes.
And I hate the grocery. Every other girl I know enjoys grocery shopping. I don’t. It’s a freaking chore to me. I hate it as much as I hate lining up to pay bills. I don’t get excited about huge supermarkets. Truth be told, I go to small ones because it’s easier to navigate and there are less choices. I hate having to choose among so many brands of tomato sauce or vinegar or even sugar.
That’s why I love to dine out. I can spend a few hours online searching for new restaurants to try. I can drive for hours just to have coffee and grilled cheese with bacon jam in El Union or to Clark, Pampanga to have lunch at Rumpa or Meat Plus. But I can’t stand grocery shopping. I’m in and out of the grocery in 30 minutes or less. Longer than that and I get cranky.
So it follows that food is one of the things I look forward to in my travels. In fact, I usually build our “itinerary” around food. In Singapore you’ll never run out of choices and most of them, if not all, are so yummy. Here are my low-cost and hawker favorites.
Toast Box’s Mee Siam
First time ever in Singapore and where did we head to? Toast Box. It was near our hotel during our first visit back in 2010. We needed something familiar yet authentic. Besides, we were tired and hungry and couldn’t walk far or waste time to look for better options. And we’ve been coming here ever since, at this branch in Victoria Street. No matter where we stay, we always make it a point to visit this branch. Always. It has become a tradition. Although we have TB in Manila, the franchise originated in Singapore.
So I love the savory sour taste of this dish. It actually beats the ones found in hawker markets. I know because I’ve tasted them, too. Breakfast sets and coffee here are better compared to TB in Manila so it’s still worth a visit.
Thye Hong’s Hokkien Mee
I can never leave Singapore without having my Hokkien Mee fix from Thye Hong. To be honest, if I can have this everyday, I would. My son is not very fond of it. He prefers Char Tway Keow but my daughter and I love this dish.
We have tried the ones in TionBahru and Lau Pa Sat but we always go back here.
Old Tiong Bahru BaK Kuh Teh
My ultimate comfort food. Nothing makes me feel more satisfied than a bowl of this simple, hot, peppery pork broth. Best eaten with rice and the meat dipped in thick soy sauce plus some chilies. It’s a meal made in broth heaven.
I have yet to try Founder Bak Kuh Teh. They say it’s the best Bak Kuh Teh in Singapore. So now I have another reason to go back to Singapore soon.
Address: 58 Seng Poh Rd, Singapore 160058
Loo’s Hainanese Curry Pork Chop
This is an institution in Tiong Bahru and I label it as the meal that almost got away. Find out why here.
Address: 71 Seng Poh Rd #01-49, Singapore 160071
Tong Ah Eating House
I rarely eat breakfast. I’m fine with just coffee in the morning. But when you’re in Singapore, you get up early for breakfast. Breakfast has always been Kaya or French Toast with Egg plus Singapore’s thick coffee. Breakfast was not included in our hotel accommodation during our last trip so I was tasked to find breakfast or brunch places in and near Tiong Bahru. And Tong Ah Eating House in Keong Saik came highly recommended.
But stick with the French or Kaya Toast with eggs sets. I tried another set one time which consisted of thin toasts with kaya and it was not as filling as our regular french or kaya toast set. I like this place because it has airconditioning and in humid Singapore, you don’t want to be all sweaty before noon.
Address: 35 Keong Saik Road
328 Katong Laksa
This has been on my eat list from the very time we set foot in Singapore back in 2010 and it was only this year that I got to try their famous laksa. Why only now? It’s far and not that accessible via MRT so a visit here was always pushed back. But now we have UBER and Uber in Singapore is way cheaper than riding the taxi.
Rice noodles were cut up so you can easily scoop using only a spoon. Creamy broth is a bit spicy but not so thick with generous serving of cockles and shrimp. All in all, it’s delicious however I was not really blown away. But then again, I’ve waited six years to get a taste of this laksa so expectations were quite high. It’s still worth the drive though.
Address: 53 E Coast Rd
Ah Chiang’s Porridge
My son was still hungry after our Bak Kuh Teh dinner so he ordered Chicken Congee for take away from this place. It was good according to him so I just have to take his word for it.
Address: 65 Tiong Poh Rd
Fried Kway Teow & Fried Oyster
I love oysters. If it’s on the menu, I would definitely order. I don’t really like the fresh ones or the shooters but the oyster omelette is wholly different. It’s crisp, gooey, briny and spicy sweet. The crisp part comes from the egg which is cooked until it’s about toasted brown, the mixture of egg and starch makes it gooey, briny is from the plump oysters which are heated or tossed in the pan a little so they remain fresh and the spicy sweet dipping sauce pulls this dish together. The whole dish is a play on texture and taste. I love it.
Address: #02-08 Tiong Bahru Market
Min Nan Pork Ribs & Prawn Noodles
My most memorable bowl of noodle soup because it was the first time I ate alone in a foreign country! Son and daughter were too tired from all the walking we did that afternoon in Katong that all they wanted was to stay in the hotel, rest and just watch TV. But my tummy had other plans. I was hungry and was really craving for something hot. It was soup weather as it rained the whole afternoon.
There are so many choices in Tiong Bahru Hawker Market (over 80 stalls, I think). It’s hard to choose but if there’s a line, it should be good.
And it really was. It’s an odd combination. Pork and Shrimp. In the Philippines, it’s either one or the other but not the two together. But this tasted quite good. It’s mild-tasting but flavorful soup. You can taste the shrimp as well as the pork. It’s balanced in a way that one doesn’t overpower the other. It has crunchy bits of pork, too. We call that chicharon. It added another texture to the noodle soup. I went back to the hotel feeling full and quite satisfied.
Address: #02-31 Tiong Bahru Market
Jin Bo Chee Kueh’s Chwee Kueh
I was surprised this was not sweet at all. These steamed rice flour cakes topped with preserved turnips are similar to our puto in texture but more dense. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it and that I would find it weird to eat but I actually finished the whole thing.
Address: #02-05 Tiong Bahru Market
178 Sharks Meat Lor Mee
I was curious about this dish. It’s kind of like our local Lomi and sounds like it as well however that was not the reason why I tried it. I was more curious about the shark fritters in the soup. Good thing the shark meat was not fishy at all. I rarely eat fish and I never cook fish at home. Worth a try when you’re in Tiong Bahru Hawker Market.
Address: 02-58 Tiong Bahru Market
Tiong Bahru Pau & Snack
The line at this stall was probably the longest when we had breakfast at Tiong Bahru Market on our last day. It was a Saturday so that explains it somehow. Young and old, locals and tourists line up for their famous pork buns. But the queue moves fast. The menu is in Chinese so I just had to make a gesture that I wanted 1 each for A & B, gave the cashier the money and got my pau.
Verdict: nothing special but then again, I was late for the pork buns. They were out of it when it was my turn. So I just got what was available which was similar to our Asado siopao and the other one had a filling that is similar to our buchi.
Address: 02-18 and 19 Tiong Bahru Market
Teck Sen Soya Bean Milk
Another one of those stalls with long lines. Funny how the sight of a long line is a strong influence on my choices. I was on my way to this stall that serves Sugarcane juice and coffee but then I passed here and I suddenly changed my mind. I got the cold soya milk and it was good. Cheap, too. I paid .80SGD for a large glass.
Address: 02-69 Tiong Bahru Market
We were lucky this was open on our last day in Singapore. It was closed the whole time prior. Apparently, it opens for breakfast and closes once food has run out which probably is just before lunchtime. That’s the reason we never had a chance to try the food here because lunch and dinner were the only times we went to Tiong Bahru Hawker Market.
Ali Corner is famous for Nasi Ayam Penget, deep-fried crunchy chicken served with rice and chili. The chili here is a winner. I love how it’s spicy, sweet and sour and it really goes with the chicken. So glad we finally got to try this before we left for Manila the following morning.
So you see, being hungry in Singapore is the best. It’s the city of hawker food centers. Cheap, delicious, and clean. And these are just some restaurants and food stalls from our last trip. I haven’t included the ones we went to in the last 5 years. But that’s for another post.
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