Singapore will certainly never lack the elegance and grandeur of a Michelin-star meal. There are plenty of those along Orchard and Fullerton Road. If you want to get a taste of five-star dishes, you only have to walk along Marina Bay to experience classic French cuisines. Singapore is so well-known for its high-class and uptight lifestyle. Tourists are often intimidated about visiting it.
But while you can busy yourself looking for high tea promotion in Singapore, others are going to check out a list of cheap eats. Hawker centres are at the heart of Singapore’s culinary world. The government-build hawker centres are what started the move in the 1970s and 1980s. Soon thereafter, hawkers keep popping up on Singaporean streets and in markets.
The hawker food is an experience no one should miss when visiting Singapore. About 80% to 85% of Singaporeans eat hawker food regularly. Homecooked meals come only second, while eating out at fine dining restaurants happens at least three times a month.
A public hawker centre can usually be found on top of a wet market in a two-storey building. This assures customers that they get fresh meat, seafood, and vegetables from the market below. There are also public hawker centres that operate on their own without the element of having a wet market nearby. Many tourists, however, prefer hawker centres in wet markets.
Some private hawker centres hire hawkers from public centres because they have amassed a large following from their own stalls. They whip up their food in front of the crowd, which usually consists of tourists and business travellers. These public and private hawker centres have these in common: they are not air-conditioned, they represent food from Singapore’s ethnic groups, they have separate stalls for drinks, and they don’t allow table reservations.
From Five Guys, Popeye’s, to KFC, Singapore has it all in terms of fast-food chains. And why shouldn’t it? As one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia, Singapore boasts of an extraordinary culinary scene, tourist attractions (one involving its very own Changi International Airport), and nightlife. Your tour wouldn’t be complete without a late-night run to one of the 24/7 fast food chains along Singapore’s streets. Get a burger or a milkshake after a night of partying. Somehow, fast-food chains taste different when they’re in another country.
Japan is well-known for its convenience store food. These stores have become some sort of a mecca for tourists in Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and other parts of the country. In Singapore, convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, Cheers, FairPrice Xpress, and Star Mart are also stepping up their game. They’re not only offering frozen pre-packed meals, but they also have fresher choices.
You can get anything from Beef Rendang, Nasi Lemak, to Hainanese Chicken Rice. All you have to do is to pop them in the microwave oven for one minute and off you go with a hot and tasty meal. If you’re trying to live within a small budget, these convenience stores even have desserts in store for you. The food doesn’t have preservatives and usually lasts up to six days.
You don’t have to go broke eating at fine dining restaurants when you visit Singapore. The country is more than just about luxury brands and expensive Michelin-star restaurants. You can eat in Singapore for less than $2, depending on how creative you can be.