Chinatown food gems
Since young, a trip down to Chinatown would mean shopping for Chinese New Year goodies and decorations. However, with more and more food gems appearing in Chinatown, heading there for Chinese New Year shopping is no longer my only purpose. Here are some Chinatown food gems that are worth a visit the next time you’re in the area.
Steamov is one supper spot you can check out for its unique conveyor belt concept. Some of the soup bases offered include Tomato Pot, Herbal Duck Pot, and Sour Vegetable Fish Pot, and they set you back $5 each. Each skewer or clipped item is priced at $1, whereas bites on sticks with a flat end are priced at $3. Also, meat lovers would be elated to know that there are Beef Rolls ($10) and Pork Bellies ($8) available. To enjoy your hot pot session even more, pair your food with some of your own sauce concoctions at the sauce counter.
Check out our Steamov review!
Address: 325 New Bridge Road, Singapore 088760
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 6am
Tel: 9380 3883
2. DM Chicken
Over at DM Chicken, a 100cm DM Chicken + DM Prawn ($110+) platter awaits! Their platters come in 50cm and 75cm as well to accommodate smaller groups. Other than chicken, which is tossed in a savoury brown sauce, and spicy prawns, the platter also comes with a basket of Korean fried chicken and fries, two sets of lamb chops, a plate of squid ink balls, and a bowl of fruit salad. As an alternative, customers can also go for their a la carte Hotpot and BBQ buffet ($23.90+ for lunch, $28.90+ for dinner).
Check out our DM Chicken review!
Address: 191B New Bridge Road, Singapore 059423
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 12am
Tel: 6909 2758
3. Kok Sen Restaurant
Kok Sen Restaurant is known to have many signature dishes such as Big Prawns Bee Hoon Soup ($18), Big Prawns Horfun ($18), and Kung Pao Frogs Stir-Fried With Dried Chilli ($22). Out of these few listed, the one dish that really captured my heart was the bee hoon. Its orange-red broth holds a strong prawn flavour while bearing some spicy notes, which is what makes it addictive and fragrant. This dish comes with thick bee hoon, chye sim, and of course, big prawns. Another must-try here is the hor fun, which is brimming with silky rice noodles soaked in a wok hei-filled gravy.
Check out our Kok Sen Restaurant review!
Address: 30 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089137
Opening hours: Daily 12pm to 2.15pm, 5pm to 9:30pm
Tel: 6223 2005
4. Yum Cha
Indulge in dim sum with Yum Cha’s Weekday High Tea Dim Sum Buffet ($26.80++), which is available from 3pm to 6pm. The buffet offers over 50 types of dim sum dishes, enough for you to skip a meal for. You can expect classics such as Steamed Custard Bun With Salted Egg Yolk, Xiao Long Bao, Baked Mini Egg Tarts, and more! A little more to the special side would be their Squid Ink Dumpling and Truffle Mushroom Bun, which might really pique the interest of some.
Check out our Yum Cha review!
Address: 20 Trengganu Street, #02-01, Singapore 058479
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10:30am to 10pm, Sat-Sun 9am to 10pm
Tel: 6372 1717
5. Hao Lai Wu
Hao Lai Wu is what helps you get the best of both worlds—steamboat and BBQ. Their Steamboat And BBQ Buffet costs $24.80+ for weekday lunch, while dinner goes at $26.80+. On weekends, it’s $25.80+ for the entire day. Besides sliced meat, fresh seafood, and frozen food, you can also expect cooked food at Hao Lai Wu! Dishes they serve include mantou and pork dumplings.
Check out our Hao Lai Wu review!
Address: 8 Sago Street, Singapore 059012
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 3am
Tel: 6221 0065
6. Tang Kay Kee Fish Head Bee Hoon
Image credit: @tangkaykee
Hawker stall Tang Kay Kee‘s new concept at Hong Lim Food Centre serves up affordable lunch bowls! The Mixed ($5), which consists of stir-fried hor fun, pork slices, fish slices, vegetables, battered enoki mushrooms, and sous-vide egg, is known to carry a strong wok hei. Another all-time-favourite is their Har Cheong Gai (from $6). Unlike the usual har cheong gai that uses chicken wings, the ones at Tang Kay Kee come boneless and are served with their house-made mustard mayonnaise, which adds a sharp tangy note to the overall flavour.
Address: 531A Upper Cross Street, #01-70, Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, Singapore 051531
Opening hours: Mon 11am to 2.30pm, Tue-Fri 11am to 2.30pm, 5pm to 10pm, Sat-Sun 5pm to 10pm
Tel: 8157 2641
7. Ri Ri Hong Ma La Xiang Guo
When asked about their favourite ma la stall, the most common answer I get from my friends is Ri Ri Hong Ma La Xiang Guo. Instead of charging by weight, they price your ma la based on the type of ingredients you pick. Vegetables, meat, and seafood set you back $1, $2, and $3 respectively. After picking your level of spiciness and ingredients, you can then tell the stall owners if you want your ma la in gravy, or stir-fried till dry.
Check out our Ri Ri Hong Ma La Xiang Guo review!
Address: 32 New Market Road, #01-152, People’s Park Food Centre, Singapore 050032
Opening hours: Daily 10am to 9.30pm
8. China Street Rickshaw Noodles
If you are ever on a tight budget, China Street Rickshaw Noodles is the place for you! With just $1 in your pocket, you can get yourself a bowl of noodles out of the variety they offer—la che mian, mee sua, economy noodles, and bee hoon. While the last three names are pretty direct, la che mian is actually a dish that comprises thick yellow noodles and a broth made up of ikan bilis, and topped with a dash of fried onions to enhance the dish’s flavour.
Check out our China Street Rickshaw Noodles review!
Address: 1 Kadayanallur Street, #01-87, Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore 069184
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 6:30am to 1:30pm
9. Tong Heng
Image credit: @_whatsuppunk
If you are a huge egg tart lover, you would have definitely heard of the famous Tong Heng Egg Tarts ($2/piece). What sets their egg tarts apart from the others is the use of pork lard, which makes the crust extra flaky. The custard is delicate and wobbly, and it almost collapses out of the diamond-shaped flaky crust once you bite into the tart.
Address: 285 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058833
Opening hours: Daily 9am to 7pm
Tel: 6223 3649
10. Heng Kee Curry Chicken Bee Hoon Mee
Tucked away in Hong Lim Food Centre, Heng Kee Curry Chicken Bee Hoon Mee uses a three generation-old family recipe that’s been constantly refined until today, resulting in a loyal customer base that keeps coming back for more.
Their Curry Chicken Noodle ($5.50) is good comfort food, with their tasty broth accompanied by large pieces of chicken breast making for a hearty combination. For those craving a larger portion, their $8 version has a bigger serving, together with the option to choose your favourite chicken parts too.
Read our Heng Kee Curry Chicken review!
Address: 531A Upper Cross Street, #01-58, Hong Lim Food Centre, Singapore 510531
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 11am to 9:30pm
11. Dong Fang Hong Sotong Ball Seafood Soup
Few fishball noodle stalls make their fish balls from scratch, unlike Dong Fang Hong Sotong Ball Seafood Soup in Hong Lim Food Centre. Despite having only a single item on their menu, they’ve steadily become a perennial favourite in the area, patronised mostly by office workers.
The Large Sotong Ball Seafood Soup ($6.50) comes packed with ingredients like their handmade fish, meat, and sotong balls, with fish dumplings too, making for a scrumptious affair. Do note that the opening hours here are unpredictable.
Check out our Dong Fang Hong Sotong Ball Seafood Soup review!
Address: Blk 531A Upper Cross Street, #01-47, Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, Singapore 051531
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs 11am to 2pm
Heavily influenced by French cooking methods, Fatbowls is a casual lunchtime concept focusing on whipping up fusion pastas, rice bowls, and loaded mashed potatoes among others.
We recommend the Supreme Wagyu Rice ($14.40), where they showcase a house-special butter pilaf rice. Apart from their succulent Wagyu beef, the bowl comes decked with forest mushrooms, leek, an onsen egg, edamame beans, pickled radish with tobiko, and deep-fried potato strings too, all in one fat bowl.
Currently, they are closed till early March this year for a menu revamp.
Have a look at our Fatbowls review!
Address: 23 Bukit Pasoh Road, Restaurant Beurre, Singapore 089837
Opening hours: Mon 5pm to 9.30pm, Tues-Sat 12pm to 8.30pm
Tel: 9660 0597
13. Ah Gong Minced Pork Noodles
Image credit: Salvo Giullianno
Located within Maxwell Food Centre, Ah Gong Minced Pork Noodles serves $2.50 bak chor mee, adding to the list of cheap food in Chinatown. Their bak chor mee contains no MSG, and includes handmade ingredients such as meatballs and fried shallots. They also have Signature Claypot Noodles ($4.50), which comes with fried pork skin, handmade dumplings, and loads of crispy puffs of lard as a topping.
Address: 1 Kadayanallur Street, #01-02, Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore 069184
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10:30am to 3pm
14. Chef Leung’s Authentic Hand-milled Rice Noodle Rolls
Head to Chef Leung’s Authentic Hand-milled Rice Noodle Rolls for restaurant quality rippled chee cheong fun. Go for the Original ($2.80), which comes drizzled with soya sauce and topped with toasted white sesame seeds, crispy shallots, and shallot oil. To zhng up your chee cheong fun, get the Tuna with Onion Rice Noodle Roll ($4.50) or the Prawn Rice Noodle Roll ($4.50).
For a more filling meal, also order the Dried Oyster, Pork & Century Egg Congee ($5) with seasonal dried oyster and non-brined pork.
Check out our Chef Leung’s Authentic Hand-milled Rice Noodle Rolls review!
Address: 335 Smith Street, #02-096, Chinatown Complex, Singapore 050335
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 7am to 2pm (or sold out)
15. Xiang Xiang Cooked Food
Image credit: @WKB
For a quick bite, visit Xiang Xiang Cooked Food, which sells affordable old-school snacks that are made fresh daily. Their popular Sweet Potato Balls ($1 for eight) sell out pretty quickly, so you need to visit early if you wish to get a taste of it. Each ball features a crispy golden exterior and a mochi-like interior with a hint of sweetness from the sweet potatoes. Another classic snack is the Ondeh Ondeh ($1 for three), which has the iconic gooey gula melaka interior.
Address: 335 Smith Street, #02-68, Singapore 050335
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 6:30am to 11am
16. Eddy’s No.1
If you’re craving Western cuisine, head on down to Eddy’s No.1, where Chef Eddy offers Western-Asian fusion food in a hawker setting. The Duck Confit ($10) is a dish that is not commonly seen at a hawker stall. The tender duck has a mild, salty-spicy flavour, and is paired with your choice of either aglio olio or mashed potato. Alternatively, get the Mala Shrimp Spaghetti ($7.50), which features a blend of salty and spicy mala flavours, and a hint of Sichuan peppercorn for a numbing sensation.
Check out Eddy’s No.1 review here!
Address: 538 Upper Cross St, #02-52, Hong Lim Food Centre, Singapore 050538
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10:30am to 3pm
17. Whampoa Soya Bean
Whampoa Soya Bean serves good ol’ tau huay to keep you cool in Singapore’s hot weather. They have affordable tau huay and grass jelly desserts with toppings, all priced under $2.50. The Yam Paste Beancurd ($2) comes with a generous amount of housemade tau huay and orh nee. If you’re a fan of grass jelly, try their Taro Ball Grass Jelly ($2.50), or opt for the Beancurd Grass Jelly ($1.50).
Address: 335 Smith Street, #02-14, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, Singapore 050335
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9am to 4pm
Chinatown food for the win
Besides Clarke Quay, Chinatown is another stop along the NEL that offers awesome food. For more food places within Chinatown, check out our list of Chinatown Complex food stalls!
This article was originally written on 2 March 2018.