Ultimate Foodie Guide: Best Restaurants in Singapore and What to Eat
Except for its world-renowned attractions such as Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and Sentosa Island, Singapore has an excellent gastronomy that every foodie must experience at least once in their lifetime!
In case you’re planning a trip to Singapore soon and want to know all about the BEST places to eat in Singapore as well as THE most unique dishes to try, my complete foodie guide is here to help.
Scroll down to find my curated list of 21 must-try dishes in Singapore as well as my list of the best restaurants in Singapore for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and everything else in-between!
What to eat in Singapore - 21 Must-try dishes
I know, I know, I have prepared quite a HUGE list for you. 21 dishes is a lot and you’ll need at least 5 days in Singapore in order to experience everything once. But food is such an essential element of Singaporean culture (which is actually a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian influence) that I really believe it’s important to taste at least some of the items in my list below. Trust me, you’ll be mind-blown by the mix of spices, tastes and unique ingredients in Singaporean gastronomy.
Now, without further ado, let’s find out all about the best food in Singapore:
1 - Nasi Lemak
In case you’re wondering what to eat for lunch in Singapore, a plate of nasi lemak is your answer! Nasi Lemak is a Malay-inspired rice dish that comes in various combinations. If you’re expecting a plain rice dish, you’re in the wrong this time and you’re in for a world of flavors! The rice is first cooked in coconut milk, it is then combined with fried anchovies (bilis), eggs, peanuts and chili paste (sambal). And all Singaporeans know that a Nasi Lemak is as good as the quality of the sambal used! Most vendors have their own version of Nasi Lemak and they sometimes add fried chicken or fish in the combo as well.
PRICE: 4-5 SGD (3.00 – 3.70 US$)
RELATED READ: Your Best Singapore Travel Guide – Things to Do, Hotels, Restaurants and More
2 - Bak Kut Teh / Pork Ribs Soup
This is a Chinese dish that has become super popular in Singapore over the years. Bak Kut Teh is similar to a hearty soup and it’s made by boiling pork ribs in an aromatic water with garlic, salt and pepper (and sometimes star anise too). It’s boiled for so long that the meat becomes super tender and the liquid acquires a strong garlicky aroma. The soup is served with a bowl of rice and other small side dishes, depending on the restaurant.
The literal translation of Bak Kut Teh is “pork bone tea” because it is usually consumed with a cup of strong, hot Chinese tea. A must!
BEST RESTAURANT IN SINGAPORE FOR BAK KUT TEH: Song Fa Bak Kut Teh in Clarke Quay.
PRICE: 7-8 SGD (5.20 – 6.00 US$)
3 - Laksa
Regardless of which type of laksa you choose (asam laksa or curry laksa), you’re in for a treat! Laksa is a Chinese-Malay dish made of fish, broth and noodles. You’ll see that Curry Laksa is more popular in Singapore and it’s usually made with thin rice noodles, coconut milk, fish (optional: shrimp and cockles) and some sort of curry sauce or gravy. But although the curry version is super good, the true Singaporean Laksa is Katong Laksa, its unique treat being the fact that the noodles are cut into short strings.
BEST RESTAURANT IN SINGAPORE FOR LAKSA: Sungei Road Laksa, a hawker food stall best known for this exact dish.
PRICE: 4-6 SGD (3.00 – 4.50 US$)
4 - Nasi Biryani
You may have heard of Biryani before, a popular rice dish of Indian origins. Well, you’ll be happy to know that this dish is super popular in Singapore too! Nasi Biryani is basically a mixed rice with flavorful saffron and a protein (either chicken, beef, fish) on the side. The rice is also combined with different spices when cooked such as nutmeg or cinnamon for an extra kick. Vegetarian options are available as well.
BEST RESTAURANT IN SINGAPORE FOR NASI BIRYANI: IMAM Banana Leaf Restaurant
PRICE: 6-7 SGD (4.50 to 5.20 US$)
5 - Chicken Rice
Simple, but super delicious! Chicken rice (also called Hainanese Chicken Rice in Singapore) is exactly what you expect it to be – a comforting dish made of rice cooked in a delicious stock with ginger and garlic, plus tender chicken (make sure to request it de-boned). There’s also a sauce involved, sometimes a spicy chili sauce, other times a dark soy sauce – it all depends on the hawker stall you choose!
BEST RESTAURANT IN SINGAPORE FOR CHICKEN RICE: There are countless hawker stalls serving it; I recommend Tian Tian Chicken Rice or Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle – the only Michelin-star chicken rice stand? Yep, only in Singapore!
PRICE: 4-5 SGD (3.00 – 3.70 US$)
6 - Char Kway Teow
If you like stir-fry dishes, you’ll love this one! Char Kway Teow, although hard to pronounce, is an excellent, spicy Singaporean dish made of chunky, flat rice noodles stir-fried in a hot pan with eggs, soy sauce, chili, Chinese sausages, pork lard and shrimp paste or whole shrimps too. Sometimes you’ll also find a cockle or two in your char kway teow, especially if you serve it from a stall near the port.
PRICE: 3-5 SGD (2.20 to 3.70 US$)
7 - Fried Carrot Cake / Chai Tow Kway
Nope, it’s not a dessert and it has nothing in common with the carrot cake we all know! Chai Tow Kway is a traditional Singaporean dish found everywhere in the city, made of rice flour, shredded daikon radish and eggs. The composition is then shaped like rice cakes and it’s fried in lots of oil. Yep, it can be a bit heavy!
There are two fried carrot cake variations in Singapore: a ‘black’ one, fried with dark soy sauce, and a ‘white’ one, fried with eggs only.
What’s with the name, though? I know, this dish has no carrots at all, so it may all sound like a lie, but the name is actually given by the daikon radish used in the recipe which can also mean “carrot” in Chinese.
BEST RESTAURANT IN SINGAPORE FOR FRIED CARROT CAKE: Song Zhou Luo Bo Gao
PRICE: 2.50 – 4 SGD (1.80 to 3 US$)
8 - Dim Sum / Dian Xin
This Chinese-Hong-Kong-inspired dish is actually a set of several small dishes, with the intention to be shared (similar to tapas). From pork buns in BBQ sauce, chee cheong fun (dumplings), xiao long bao (cute little steamed buns) and more.
PRICE: 10-20 SGD (7.50 to 15 US$) for an entire dim sum set or dim sum buffet
RELATED READ: Where to Stay in Singapore – 7 Best Areas and Handpicked Hotels
9 - Wanton Mee
You’ll find the super popular noodle-based dish called Wanton Mee everywhere in Singapore at hawker centres. This dish consists of fresh egg noodles, vegetables, wanton (minced pork) dumplings and Chinese BBQ pork slices. It’s said to be inspired by Hong Kong gastronomy and it’s super flavorful and delicious! In Singapore, Wanton Mee is usually served with a tiny bowl of soup as a side and it comes in two different versions: spicy and non-spicy.
BEST RESTAURANT IN SINGAPORE FOR WANTON MEE: Guangzhou Mian Shi Wanton Noodle
PRICE: 3-4 SGD (2.2o to 3 US$)
10 - Chili Crab & Black Pepper Crab
Let’s talk about one of the national dishes of Singapore, my friends! Chili crab is a super famous dish in Singapore and there are two different ways of cooking it: chili crab and black pepper crab. Both of them are extra flavorful, the “chili” one being made of a spicy chili sauce. This is, in fact, a complex dish, as the crab meat is first boiled then fried, then combined with the sticky, yummy sauce.
Both versions are usually served with a side of fresh buns and dipping them in the chili or black pepper sauce is an absolute must!
WHERE TO EAT CRAB IN SINGAPORE: Long Beach Seafood Restaurant
PRICE: 100 SGD (75 US$). It’s not cheap, but it’s such a special dish to try in Singapore!
11 - BBQ Sambal Stingray
In case you’re wondering what to eat for dinner in Singapore, this is my suggestion to end your day with trying something new! This dish is true to its name – it’s a combination of stingray and sambal (chili paste) and it’s super delicious! The traditional way of serving the stingray is cut into small bites and wrapped in banana leaves, then grilled and eaten with some freshly squeezed lemon juice on top and sometimes even fresh shallots as well. It’s super flavourful!
BEST RESTAURANT IN SINGAPORE FOR SAMBAL STINGRAY: Chomp Chomp BBQ
PRICE: 10-12 SGD (7.50 to 9 US$)
12 - Fish Bee Hoon
Yep, another yummy noodle dish! And if you’re a fish fan, you’ll surely love this one. Fish Bee Hoon are rice noodles boiled in a flavorful fish broth with fish bones, served with veggies, herbs and evaporated milk as well. The dish was originally made of fish heads (waaaaaay back when Singapore was a poor country), but nowadays it’s usually made with fish chunks.
BEST RESTAURANT IN SINGAPORE FOR FISH BEE HOON: Jing Hua Sliced Fish Bee Hoon
PRICE: 5-6 SGD (3.70 to 4.50 US$)
13 - Bak Chor Mee
Bak Chor Mee is a popular dish in all of Southeast Asia and you can find some amazing combinations in Singapore as well. The traditional dish is usually made with noodles, minced pork, meatballs, fishballs, fisk cake and liver – so yes, it’s super hearty! There’s also a sour sauce involved and when it comes to the egg noodles, you can choose from thick ones (mee pok) or thin ones (mee kia).
Bak Chor Mee is usually served “dry”, so it’s not a soup, but it has plenty of sauce instead and it sometimes even comes with a small bowl of soup on the side.
PRICE: 5-8 SGD (3.70 to 6 US$)
14 - Fish Head Curry
If you’re not into extreme flavors or if you don’t like seeing a fish head on your plate, keep scrolling! But it would be such a shame, as the Singaporean fish head curry is actually pretty delicious. This dish has Indian origins and it’s made with red snapper head, curry and a mix of Asian veggies. There’s also a Chinese version which is milder, while the Indian one is richer in spices and it has a stronger taste. Both of them are worth trying if you’re up for a gastronomical adventure!
BEST RESTAURANT IN SINGAPORE FOR FISH HEAD CURRY: Samy’s Curry
PRICE: 20-35 SGD (15 to 26 US$)
15 - Orh Luak / Oyster Omelette
Oyster omelette is popular all around Asia and you HAVE to try it while you’re in Singapore. Orh Luak is a type of omelet made of a mix of potato starch and eggs, fried until crispy. Then the resulting omelet is mixed with bean sprouts and raw oyster and it’s served with a sour, vinegar chili sauce. The taste is rather strange and it may not appeal to all tastes and preferences, but I recommend trying it at least once in your lifetime.
BEST RESTAURANT IN SINGAPORE FOR OYSTER OMELETTE: Lim’s Fried Oyster
PRICE: 5-8 SGD (3.70 to 6 US$)
16 - Satay
This is another dish widely available in different parts of Southeast Asia. Satay is skewers with marinated meat, grilled over charcoal. You can find Satay in most hawker stalls around Singapore and you can choose from chicken, beef or pork satay. The skewers are usually served with a peanut sauce and a side of fresh cucumbers, onions and rice cakes.
BEST RESTAURANT IN SINGAPORE FOR SATAY: Alhambra Satay
PRICE: 5-6 SGD (3.70 to 4.50 US$) for a mix of 10 satays
17 - Rojak
If you love sweet and salty dishes, get ready for a real Singaporean delicacy! Rojak literally translates to “mixture” and it’s a different dish depending on where they’re serving it. There’s Chinese rojak made of pineapple, dough fritters, bean sprouts, all mixed with a shrimp paste and crushed peanuts. Then there’s Indian rojak made of potato pieces, dough fritters, veggies and fruit, usually served with a spicy-savoury sauce.
In short, regardless of which type of Rojak you’ll try in Singapore, get ready for a unique mix of flavors!
PRICE: 3-4 SGD (2.20 to 3 US$)
18 - Coffee, Kaya Toast & Soft Boiled Egg
Wondering what to eat for breakfast in Singapore? Heh, here’s your answer: kaya toast, a soft boiled egg and some coffee! This typical Singaporean breakfast has Malay-Chinese influences and it’s the best excuse to relax and catch up with friends over a cup of coffee. Kaya Toast is made of kaya (a traditional jam with coconut milk and sugar) spread on a piece of toast. You can also choose a soft boiled egg for breakfast, usually eaten with soy sauce and pepper. It may sound unexpected, but it’s the most popular breakfast combo in Singapore!
PRICE: A serving of Kaya Toast is usually 1 SGD (0.75 US$) and an entire breakfast can be around 3 SGD (2.20 US$).
19 - Tau Huay
Enough with the noodle dishes and grilled meats, it’s time for dessert! Tau Huay is one of the best Singaporean desserts and it’s made of beancurd tofu and sugar syrup. It’s creamy and flavorful, sometimes with soy milk added as well or different flavors such as mango or, a favourite of mine, sesame. You can either consume it hot or cold!
PRICE: 1.50 – 2.50 SGD (1.10 to 1.80 US$)
20 - Ice Kacang
I’m sure you’ve heard about shaved ice before and yes, it’s a popular dessert in Singapore as well. Ice Kacang is basically a tiny mountain of crushed or shaved ice served in a cup with different syrups of your choice, condensed milk and rose syrup on top. You can find it everywhere in the city, at numerous hawker centres!
PRICE: 1.50 SGD (1.13 US$)
21 - Last but not least: durian!
I’m leaving this one at the end of my list as it’s not really a dish, but a fruit. Durian is something you have to taste at least once in your lifetime, I swear! Many Singaporeans love it and it’s even called the “king of fruits”. Well, that must mean something!
Durian is a big, spiky, interesting-looking fruit but it’s mostly known for… being extremely smelly! Yes, durian is only for the fearless! Some say it has a strong smelly socks aroma, but if you ignore the initial wiff, you’ll discover a wonderful world of flavour! It’s sweet, very creamy… really, there are simply no words to describe its taste – I guess you’ll just have to taste it and see for yourself… if you dare!
FUN FACT: Even though most durian in Singapore is grown in Malaysia, they still consider it to be their national fruit!
NOTE: This fruit is SO smelly that it is actually banned from being taken on public transport or entering many hotels and buildings. Best to find an outdoor vendor for this one!
Best restaurants in Singapore
Okay, now that you know all about the good food in Singapore that you just HAVE to taste during your trip, let me share with you my list of amazing restaurants that should be on your list. I know I’ve given you one or two recommendations for renowned good restaurants in Singapore for each of the 21 dishes above, but I have some more places for you! Let’s see:
Best Hawker centres in Singapore
If you’re looking for cheap and good restaurants in Singapore where you can taste every street food available, be it Indian, Chinese or Malay-inspired, I have one answer for you: hawker centres!
A hawker centre is an open-air food complex where you’ll find numerous stalls serving all kinds of street food dishes for VERY, I repeat, VERY good prices. Most of them are located in the most famous spots in the city that are usually frequented by tourists and locals as well and they’re an important part of Singaporean culture.
Here are some of the best hawker centres in Singapore:
- Old Airport Road Food Centre
- Maxwell Road Hawker Centre
- Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre (Telok Ayer Market)
- Chinatown Food Street – this is where you need to go if you’re looking for the best Chinese restaurant in Singapore – you’ll have plenty of options to choose from!
- Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre
- Tekka Centre
Where to eat breakfast in Singapore
In case you’re looking for some cool spots to eat some nice food in Singapore (maybe some Kaya Toast and a soft boiled egg?) and to start your day properly, check out my list below:
- Ng Ah Sio Bak Kuh Teh – if you want to start your day with a big bowl of pork ribs soup;
- Heap Seng Leong – traditional spot for kaya toast open in the 50s;
- YY Kafei Dian – famous coffee shop for breakfast, their soft, crunchy kaya toast is a must;
- Group Therapy – amazing pancakes and coffee;
- Zion 91 An Shun Fish Soup – if you prefer a hearty Singaporean fish soup to begin your day with.
Best brunch places in Singapore
Brunch is hands-down my favorite time of the day! If you love brunch time as much as I do and you’re wondering where to eat in Singapore for the best avocado-rich dishes and colourful smoothies, check out the following places:
- Brawn & Brains – for tender eggs and avocado bowls. Also good for breakfast too!
- Tolido’s Espresso Nook – all-day brunch menu with pancakes, avo toast, scrambled eggs and everything in-between. This one is high on my list of nice restaurants in Singapore!
- Symmetry – everything eggs!
- Publico Ristorante – if you’re looking for the best Italian restaurant in Singapore that also has a brunch menu with açai bowls and avo toast, this one’s for you. The decor is also super beautiful!
- Daizu Cafe – an excellent Western-Japanese fusion restaurant that serves anything from pasta to eggs Benedict.
Where to eat lunch in Singapore
Okay, you have more than enough options for an authentic Singaporean lunch in my list of must-try dishes above. But what if you’re craving some sashimi? Or pizza? Or a coconut Thai soup or maybe a juicy steak? No worries, I got you:
- Omoté – if you’re craving some fresh sushi or a comforting bowl of noodles, you must be looking for the best Japanese restaurant in Singapore, right? Omoté is my recommendation!
- PizzaFace – for the best pizza in Singapore or anywhere in Asia, really;
- Opus Bar & Grill – definitely the best steak in Singapore for all meat lovers out there;
- The Coconut Club – best nasi lemak outside of hawker centres;
- Jai Thai – best Thai food in Singapore with affordable prices – such a nice combo!
Where to eat dinner in Singapore
After all the eating during the day, what can you do in the evening? Eat again, of course! Dinner is just as important as brunch, my friends, and if you’re wondering where to go for dinner in Singapore, I got you all covered. Below you’ll find my hand-picked list of dinner places in Singapore:
- Chang Restaurant – for the BEST Korean BBQ in Singapore!
- Restaurant Ibid – simply amazing, both the atmosphere and the food, but be sure to reserve in advance!
- Avenue 87 – very good food and reasonable prices;
- Buona Terra – excellent choice for a romantic dinner;
- Zafferano – a very good choice for the best dinner in Singapore with amazing views of Marina Bay.
- Olivia – This is one of my favourites for fantastic cocktails, a great vibe and delicious food;
- Burnt Ends – this BBQ restaurant was voted one of the world’s top 50 restaurants.
Fine dining in Singapore
After all these hawker stalls and street food, you might be willing to try some fine dining as well for a change, am I right? Well, you’re in the right place, as there are many top restaurants in Singapore that have world-class service and unique menus, perfect for special occasions! Here are my recommendations:
Where to eat in Singapore at night
Let’s say you get hungry in the middle of the night (or after a night out). Is there a solution? Of course there is, I told you that Singapore has it all! Here’s my list of great Singapore food places where you can eat at night:
- The Ramen House – an excellent ramen restaurant that’s open 24/7 and my top option if you’re wondering where to eat in Chinatown Singapore!
- Aromas of India – If you’re asking yourself where to eat in Little India Singapore at insane hours after the sun sets, this one’s for you!
- Cafeela – for late-night Singaporean dishes. Open 24/7!
- Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak – for a yummy nasi lemak up until 3:30 AM;
- My Awesome Cafe – coffee until 12 AM? I’m in!
BONUS: Where to eat in Sentosa
If you’re staying on Sentosa Island, you might be looking for some very good food places close to your hotel, so you won’t have to take a taxi to Singapore city centre. If that’s the case, the following list will be helpful for you:
- Tanjong Beach Club – fresh food served right next to the pool and a super fun vibe on Sundays;
- Trapizza – this is Shangri-La Sentosa’s beachfront restaurant and they serve amazing wood-fired pizza;
- The Cliff – for fine dining on Sentosa Island;
- Blue Lotus – another fine dining restaurant at Sentosa Cove. Their crab and their Wagyu beef is a must!
- Feng Shui Inn – modern Chinese dishes with a twist;
- The Kitchen Table – for an unforgettable brunch in Sentosa!
RELATED READ: Things to do on Sentosa Island, Singapore
Phew! This was quite a journey, but you have finally reached the end of my ultimate foodie guide for Singapore! In the article above I have told you literally everything you need to know to eat your way across Singapore.
I’ve included 21 must-try dishes while you’re in Singapore, as well as where to eat each of them. I’ve also given you my hand-picked recommendations for amazing restaurants for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and fine dining as well. Is there anything I missed? I highly doubt it!
In case you’re planning a trip to Singapore and you need more inspiration for things to do while there and where to stay, I recommend clicking here to find ALL my articles about this incredible city-country. Apart from that, have fun! Singapore is simply unforgettable!