Maxwell Food Centre guide
Working in the CBD doesn’t necessarily mean eating atas salads and sipping on Starbucks all day long. There is plenty of affordable hawker fare around the area in places like Amoy Street Food Centre at Telok Ayer, and of course, Maxwell Food Centre near Tanjong Pagar. As this heritage hawker centre gets busy over lunch, options can be overwhelming, so here’s our list of stalls we think you shouldn’t miss when you’re at Maxwell Food Centre!
1. Old Nonya
Around since 1960, Old Nonya does homely Peranakan dishes. Get your money’s worth and order the Rendang Chicken ($4.50) rice set, which comes with a huge juicy chicken drumstick that’s well-coated in a rich, coconutty sauce, a side of achar, and fried bean curd skin. While I didn’t get to try it, the Laksa ($3) is supposed to be creamier and better than the other options in Maxwell.
Unit number: #01-04
Opening hours: Thur-Tue 9am to 9pm
Tel: 8366 9311
2. Sisaket Thai Food
Image credit: @mrdidijiak
Sisaket Thai Food does authentic, tasty Thai fare. Their creamy Green Curry Rice ($4.50) is decadent and rich, and goes perfectly with rice. Another addictive item is their sweet-savoury Phad Thai ($4), full of wok hei, while the Basil Leaf Rice ($4.50) is fiery hot. If you wish to dine with your family after work, you will be glad to know they also do Thai-style zi char.
Unit number: #01-85
Opening hours: Daily 8am to 2am
3. Zhen Zhen Porridge
Image credit: @nusfatclub
Zhen Zhen Porridge has commanded loyal queues for over 20 years with its Cantonese-style chok that boasts a thick and creamy consistency. Despite its popularity and long-standing history, prices are still kept low at $3 for a bowl generously topped with ingredients. Go for their sliced fish with shredded chicken and century egg ($3) to get the best of everything.
Unit number: #01-54
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 5:30am to 2:30pm
4. Yi Jia Chao Zhou Yu Zhou
Image credit: @minhizzzle
Directly translated, Yi Jia Chou Zhou Yu Zhou means “one house Teochew fish porridge fish soup”. The stall sees a constantly long queue at lunch hour, and no wonder. Order their Batang Fish ($3) and be treated to a clear, delicate broth boasting chunks of silky smooth fish slices.
Unit number: #01-66
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11am to 7:45pm
5. Hainanese Curry Rice
Image credit: @kcl9118
Hainanese Curry Rice may not be as popular as their competitors, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t as good. Doused in a rich, creamy curry sauce and topped with your choice of protein and vegetables ($1 per portion), this is one hot mess I will definitely order again and again. A must-get is their crispy pork chop ($1.50 per portion) and pork belly ($1.50 per portion) that goes really well with the curry.
Unit number: #01-68
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 11:30am to 6:30pm
6. Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
Everyone knows Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, and for good reason too. They hold a Michelin Bib Gourmand award for their lip-smacking chicken rice, and celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsey and the late Anthony Bourdain have eaten here.
Their rice is fragrant, and the chicken succulent. They are the most popular chicken rice stall in Singapore known to locals and tourists, with branches even in Hong Kong. Even so, prices here start from a friendly $3.50.
Unit number: #01-10/11
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am to 8pm
Tel: 9691 4852
7. Maxwell Fu Zhou Oyster Cake
Image credit: @kevinfmlim
Maxwell Fu Zhou Oyster Cake ($2) is one of the few stalls serving this soon-to-be-extinct heritage snack. Encased in the golden-brown fried cake are succulent oysters, prawns, and minced meat. Cilantro is also added to cut through any oiliness. The magic of this Fuzhou dish is its batter, which is made of a combination of ground rice and flour, resulting in an airy and crisp bite.
Unit number: #01-06
Opening hours: Mon, Wed 9am to 6pm, Tues, Thurs-Sat 10am to 6pm
Tel: 9344 1296
8. Green Leaf
Green Leaf does comforting Malay dishes like Nasi Lemak (from $3.80) and Lontong ($3). Prices are all kept below $5 here, and it is probably the cheapest Malay food stall in Maxwell Food Centre. Come here for their Soto Ayam ($3), boasting thick cuts of rice cakes, chunks of marinated fried chicken, and a tantalising sweet broth.
Unit number: #01-100
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7am to 8pm
9. 75 Peanuts Soup
Not to be confused with 75 Ah Balling at Golden Mile Food Centre, 75 Peanuts Soup only serves three things: their best-selling peanut soup, red bean soup, and tau suan, all of which are priced at only $1. The stall has been around for more than 70 years, now run by a pair of third-gen husband-and-wife team who make all three desserts from scratch.
Be sure to top up $1.50 for two glutinous rice balls filled with either sesame and/or toasty ground peanut, although these are factory-made. I highly recommend you go for the latter.
Unit number: #01-57
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7:30am to 2pm
10. Rickshaw Noodles
Selling bowls of noodles for over 70 years, China Street Rickshaw Noodles is one of the last stalls in Singapore selling this historical dish, which used to be sustenance for rickshaw drivers in Singapore’s early days. Prices start from $1 today, unlike the 2 cents it used to cost in the 1940s.
For something sinful, order their Economy Noodles ($1/$1.50) that has a nice chewy texture, and is coated in a sweet-savoury sauce. Top it up with other fried goodies like battered prawns ($0.40 each) to complete your meal.
Check out our full review of China Street Rickshaw Noodles!
Unit number: #01-87
Opening hours: Sat-Thur 5:30am to 12pm
11. Popo And Nana’s Delights
Specialising in Eurasian and Peranakan dishes, Popo And Nana’s Delights serves a different menu each day of only four dishes, with each set priced at only $6. The long hours of preparation that go into the making of each dish, coupled with the generous portions of homey, traditional favourites, make this stall a popular choice among office workers in the area.
Read our review of Popo And Nana’s Delights here.
Unit number: #01-70
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am to 3:30pm
Tel: 9171 0558
12. Tong Xin Ju Special Shanghai Tim Sum
Fourth-generation owner Sebastian Hu keeps his Shanghainese grandfather’s legendary guo tie recipe alive at Tong Xin Ju Special Shanghai Tim Sum, where the handmade fried dumplings ($4 for 8 pieces) steal the show with a special chilli sauce.
Read our review of Tong Xin Ju here.
Unit number: #01-92
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 11am to 8pm
Tel: 9662 3501
13. Ramen Taisho
Another husband-and-wife team who spent three years in Japan learning the art of ramen, Taisho Ramen makes fusion ramen that sells for under $10 a bowl. With interesting and local-inspired flavours such as Salted Egg Tonkotsu Ramen and a new Tantan Tsukemen, these cooks offer something intriguing to the hawker ramen scene.
Read our review of Ramen Taisho here.
Unit number: #01-32
Opening hours: Wed-Sat 11:30am to 9:30pm
Tel: 9831 1855
14. Fu Shun Jin Ji Shao La Mian Jia
Image credit: @rollingape_
This roast meat specialist is popular for its outstanding char siew, siew yok and roast duck, served with rice or QQ Hong Kong-style noodles (from $3). The queue at Fu Shun Jin Ji Shao La Mian Jia usually starts forming before they open for the day at noon, so go early!
Unit number: #01-71
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12pm to 8pm
15. Hup Kee Wu Xiang Guan Chang
Image credit: @jiamtaorotee
Another heritage stall that has been around since before the 1940s, Hup Kee Wu Xiang Guan Chang is one of the only Hokkien ngoh hiang stalls still standing. Unlike the more common Teochew-style ngoh hiang, Hokkien ngoh hiang has no mashed yam in the meat rolls, or prawn fritters. Not all of these ngoh hiang are handmade in the stall, but prices start from a very affordable $0.80 per piece.
Unit number: #01-97
Opening hours: Fri-Tues 11:30am to 6pm
Tel: 9651 3651
16. Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon
Image credit: @bittersweet.verve
Prices at Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon start from $4 for Cantonese-style fish soup that’s rich with flavour. For extra creaminess, ask them to add evaporated milk to your bowl of soup! You can choose between sliced and fried fish pieces, although I personally prefer the latter. Have it as is, or with your choice of rice or noodles.
Unit number: #01-77
Opening hours: Fri-Wed 11:30am to 8:30pm
17. Xing Xing Ondeh Ondeh
Image credit: @vanessa_kou
Xing Xing Ondeh Ondeh has been in business in Maxwell Food Centre for more than 40 years, selling traditional homemade kueh from $0.40 that are often sold out before the stall closes. They’re most well-known for their ondeh ondeh, with an oozy gula melaka centre, although their selection of other kueh is also stellar.
Unit number: #01-31
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7am to 1pm
Tel: 9863 2833
18. Ye Lai Xiang Tasty Barbecue
Image credit: @rockysam382
Come to Ye Lai Xiang Tasty Barbecue for old school Hainanese-Western food (from $7) the way it was first introduced to Singaporeans back in the 1970s. The meats here are served with the same signature brown sauce that was first created by the late Chef Leong while he was Head Chef in the British Navy. Each set comes with sides of crinkle-cut fries and a soft white bun, while baked beans only come with selected items on the menu.
Unit number: #01-94
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am to 2:30pm, 6pm to 8pm
19. Chee Cheong Fun Club
Image credit: @gnilray
Get KL-style curry chee cheong fun ($4) at Chee Cheong Fun Club, or go for their signature Hong Kong’s Memory Lane ($3.50), which tops its silky noodles with a house-made sauce that’s the combination of Singaporean sweet sauce, Malaysian black sauce, and Hong Kong sesame sauce. All their chee cheong fun is made fresh on the premises daily by hand with a family recipe.
Unit number: #01-38
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7:30am to 3pm, Sun 8:30am to 3pm
20. Ah Tai Hainanese Chicken Rice
Just two stalls down from the famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice is Ah Tai Hainanese Chicken Rice, run by Wong Liang Tai, who was head cook at Tian Tian for more than 20 years. The queues here are considerably shorter, although Ah Tai has its fair share of fans as well. We tried both the stalls in Maxwell Food Centre, and prefer the steamed chicken here! In the spirit of competition, a plate of chicken rice here also starts from $3.50.
Unit number: #01-07
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 11am to 7:30pm
Tel: 8137 6559
Cheap food at Maxwell Food Centre
Traditional or newfangled, there’s something in Maxwell Food Centre to tickle your food fancy. With its sprawling aisles and numerous stalls, there’s something for any kind of diet.
Address: 1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069184
Nearest MRT stations: Telok Ayer and Chinatown