Backpacker Foodie Guide to Singapore

When in Singapore, the best bet of any self-respecting foodie is to forget the fancy restaurants, at least for a while. If you want to get to know the Lion City, hawker food is where it’s at. Cheap, tasty and surprisingly diverse, it’s everything a backpacker wants in a meal.

To be honest, it’s extremely difficult to pick just a few dishes from the mind-numbing assortment that is available. But since it would take forever for us to finish enumerating the best of hawker fare, we’ll just stick to our absolute favorites. Make sure to have a taste of these, but don’t be shy of expanding your palate to other stalls that you find around the city.

Laksa

Price per Serving: around $4

We just cannot say enough good things about laksa. It’s a spicy rice noodle soup with a mix of coconut milk, beancurd puffs, fish, shrimp and cockles. It is at once satisfying and flavorful and we’re pretty sure will quickly become one of your go-to meals.

Our favorite laksa place is Sungei Roak Laksa, located somewhere between the New World Centre and Avant Theatre. It’s not as rich as other laksas, which can only mean that you’ll be coming back for a second serving.

Carrot Cake

Price per Serving: around $5

This certainly isn’t your typical carrot cake. It’s crispy, savory and doesn’t contain any carrot at all. Instead, it’s made with the visually similar daikon, which is grated, mixed with eggs and flour, and fried until crispy and golden brown. You’ll want to try carrot cake from different places, as each stall throws in its own mix of flavorings and toppings.

One of the best carrot cake places out there is Fu Ming Carrot Cake, located in the Redhill Food Centre. Here, they flavor their carrot cakes with a drizzle of soy sauce. Simple, but it allows the natural flavor and texture of the carrot cake to shine through.

Pork Rib Soup

Price per Serving: around $4

Perhaps calling this a soup is inaccurate. Locals actually call it pork rib tea. At first glance you may see why. It looks like nothing more than pork bones and scraps boiled in water. One taste, however, and you’ll be completely blown away by the complexity of flavor in this simple soup.

Each stall has a different spice mix so it’s hard to choose which one is our favorite. However, we do highly recommend Leong Kee Bak Kut The, which is not too far away from the National Stadium. Leong Kee serves Malaysian-style pork rib tea, which is more strongly flavored with herbs than most.

Kaya Toast

Price per Serving: around $4

While you’re in Singapore, you must try the quintessential Singaporean breakfast, kaya toast. It’s basically layers of bread toasted and slathered with coconut jam in between. It’s absolutely delicious on its own, but most Singaporeans prefer to eat it with soft-boiled eggs and a choice of either coffee or tea.

If you’re a kaya toast newbie, you must try Ya Kun Kaya Toast, which has over 40 outlets all over Singapore. If kaya toast isn’t your thing, you can opt for French toast or what they call “toastwiches”, also served with classic eggs and a hot beverage.

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