Read this before your next CBD Hawker lunch
If you’re working in the CBD, there’s probably nothing you look forward more to than all the shiok hawker food that’s available during lunchtime. But lunchtime in the CBD is almost worse than going into a battlefield. With throngs of hungry office workers squeezing down narrow hawker centre alleys, you’re going to need a game plan. Especially if you’re a newbie to the CBD lunchtime scene. Here are 12 places you need to try at least once before you can tell everyone you work in the CBD. For those of you working closer to town, we’ve got you covered too with our Orchard Road guide.
Amoy Street Food Centre – Average Waiting Time: 10 – 15 minutes
1.Fried Kway Teow
The Char Kway Teow ($3) at this stall is not your average hawker center fried noodles. While it lacks that characteristic wok hei most wok-fried noodles have, it makes up for it by being extremely tasty. There’s just the right balance of sweet and savoury, and the deliciously fresh cockles come in generous portions. This is definitely one sinful indulgence that’s worth the post-carb food coma. If you’re a die hard fan of char kway teow be sure to try out the legendary Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee number 6 on our Chinatown guide.
Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 930am – 230pm
Address: #01-01 Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Rd, Singapore 069111
Is it wonton mee or is it ramen? Well, it’s technically both. Better known as a ‘Singapore Style Ramen’, this hybrid dish ($5.50) invented by two young Singaporean chefs is an interesting mix between our local wonton mee and Japanese ramen.
The springy egg noodles are tossed in an aromatic blend of garlic oil, and served alongside wontons, tender melty pork belly, half a ramen tamago and a potato shrimp dumpling. While I’m not inclined towards the potato shrimp dumpling, the other elements of the dish are impressive, especially if you consider the price.
Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 1115pm – 230pm / 530pm – 730pm, Sat: 1030am – 2pm
Address: #01-39 Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Rd, Singapore 069111
3.Piao Ji Fish Soup
There will be moments in life where you eat something so good, you feel as though no words could possibly do justice to the dish. This is exactly what runs through my mind every single time I have the Fish & Prawn Soup here ($12).
The broth is a masterpiece in itself with the sweetness of the seafood complementing the incredible depth of flavour from the fried shallots, dried sole, and crispy lard pieces. The fish and prawns here are also consistently fresh, and go excellently with Piao Ji’s homemade sauce of fermented soybeans and fresh chili.
The queue starts as early as half an hour before they open, so you might have to sacrifice most of your lunch time queuing for this. But if anything, this is definitely worth the wait.
Opening hours: Daily,11am – 3pm (Closed on Thu)
Address: #02-103 Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Rd, Singapore 069111
4.Yuan Chun Famous Lor Mee
People who aren’t fans of this sticky, sweet noodle dish will be converts once they’ve eaten a bowl of lor mee ($3) at Yuan Chun. The garlicky, starchy sauce that coats each strand of chewy noodle isn’t too sweet, and is perfectly balanced by the slight spiciness of the fresh chilies and garlic.
Opening hours: Wed–Sun: 7.30am – 3.30pm
Address: #02-79/80 Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Rd, Singapore 069111
Maxwell Road Hawker Centre – Average Waiting Time: 5 – 10 minutes
5.Tong Xing Ju Special Shanghai Dim Sum
The kind couple who runs this stall serves up delicious dumplings at just $4 for a portion of 8. They do it pan-fried or steamed, but we prefer the latter as it is less rich.
Both versions, however, have a juicy pork and chive filling that is so addictive, you’ll pop 8 of these babies in no time at all. If you’re a fan of spicy stuff, this stall also does a great hot and sour soup ($3). Speaking of dumplings, those who are willing to travel out the Chinatown should also try Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao, number 7 on our Chinatown hawker guide.
Opening hours: 11am – 8pm
Address: Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street Singapore 069184
6.Ri Xing Xiang Ji Sweet Potato Balls
These delightfully golden balls of chewy sweet potato flour are an absolute treat on a day you’re in a peckish mood for sweets. There’s an assortment of fillings like red bean ($0.70), pandan coconut ($0.70), and vegetables ($0.90), but nothing beats the simplicity of a plain sweet potato ball ($0.60) for me.
Opening hours: Weekdays 3pm – 8pm
Address: #01-76 Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street Singapore 069184
7.Zhen Zhen Porridge
Nothing says home-cooked comfort food better than a piping hot bowl of silky smooth chicken porridge ($3) at Zhen Zhen. This simple dish is given depth of flavour from the addition of preserved radish, spring onions, sesame oil, and fresh meat. It’s so good, you’ll be willing to perspire buckets to eat this on a hot day.
Opening hours: Wed – Mon, 530am – 230pm
Address: Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street Singapore 069184
8.Jin Hua Fish Beehoon
Jin Hua’s signature sliced fish bee hoon ($4) features a creamy fish broth with fresh fish slices and smooth coarse bee hoon noodles. It’s a satisfying, slurp-worthy lunch option if you’re not in the mood for Tian Tian Chicken Rice. This is one CBD hawker you won’t want to miss!
Opening hours: Fri – Wed, 11am – 8pm
Address: #01-77, Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street Singapore 069184
Market Street (Golden Shoes) Food Centre – Average Waiting Time: 15 – 25 minutes
9.Hock Gooi Hainanese Curry Rice
Everyone loves eating at downtown CBD is because the food is not only good, it is also cheap. Places like Hock Gooi are exceptionally ‘spoil market’ with their lunch sets starting at just $2.50. Their Hainanese Pork Chop Set ($2.50) comes with a crispy pork cutlet, tender savoury chap chye, and a sunny side up drenched in a robust curry. It’s little wonder the queue here starts even before 1130am.
Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 10am – 3pm
Address: Golden Shoe Hawker Centre, 50 Market Street, Singapore 048940
10.Market Street Teochew Kway Teow Mee
If you’re looking for a quick lunch option at Golden Shoes, this is your best bet. The queue is relatively short compared to other more popular stalls, but the food is worth squeezing through the lunchtime crowd for. Don’t have high hopes for the noodles if you’re a fan of the vinegary noodles. Instead, expect fragrant lard coated mee pok that’s mildly spicy. The soup definitely takes centre stage at this stall with a clean comforting taste and the bounciest fish balls you can imagine.
Opening hours: Weekdays, 6am – 2pm
Address: #02-38 Golden Shoe Hawker Centre, 50 Market St, Singapore 048940
This relatively new drinks stall selling Thai teas will quench your thirst as you battle for a seat or if you’re queuing in the sweltering stuffy heat at Golden Shoes. The Thai Milk Tea ($2.80) is less fragrant than the real deal in Bangkok, but it’s nonetheless better than many other versions I’ve had here. We preferred the Thai Green Tea ($2.80) as it packs a refreshing punch and is accented with floral jasmine notes.
Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 11am – 5pm
Address: #02-21 Golden Shoe Hawker Centre, 50 Market St, Singapore 048940
If the queue for Market Street Nasi Lemak is too long, try your luck at Golden Nur. They have an amazing Crispy Chicken Briyani that’s just as gratifying but the queue moves faster. The chicken drumstick has a ridiculously crispy skin that tastes superb with the fluffy basmati rice, magic powder, and tender chicken meat.
Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 630am – 8pm
Address: #02-02 Golden Shoe Hawker Centre, 50 Market St, Singapore 048940
Check out these CBD hawker food
Now that you’re equipped with this insider knowledge, don’t forget your tissue paper and umbrella because if there’s anything more important than getting your food, it’s ‘choping’ a seat first.