Must try Hawker Centres and Street Food Dishes in Singapore
A large part of Singaporean cuisine revolves around hawker centres, where hawker stalls first began around the mid 19th century and were largely made up of street food stalls selling a huge variety of foods.
These street vendors usually set up stalls by the side of the streets with push carts or bicycles and served cheap and fast foods to coolies, office workers and those that did not cook at home.
Although the street vendors provided early Singapore immigrants with cheap and fast meals, these stalls were unhygienic, due to the lack of supporting infrastructure such as waste disposal, a steady supply of fresh water and limited sanitation practices.
Starting in the 1960s, the Singapore government started enforcing more rules and regulations for street hawkers and relocated these vendors to more permanent locations with the construction of wet markets and hawker centres across the country.
Well-known hawker centres among tourists include Telok Ayer Market, Maxwell Food Center, Lau Pa Sat and Newton Food Centre.
Hawker centres are the place where people can experience all kinds of different cultural food in one place. Hawker centres, or open air food courts, have come to define Singaporean food culture.
Popular markets like Old Airport Road Food Centre in Geylang, Golden Mile Food Centre on Beach Road and Maxwell Road Food Centre in Chinatown offer the best of Chinese, Malaysian and Indian cooking, melded into foods that are uniquely Singaporean.
Some well-known Singaporean hawker or kopitiam dishes includes kaya toast, chilli crab, fish head curry, laksa, roti prata and Hainanese chicken rice, which is widely considered to be one of Singapore’s national dish.