Among the many delicious aspects of our visit to Singapore has been the food. Our guide on the bike tour that first morning was blunt. “Every single Singaporean is a foodie,” he declared. Most people don’t cook at home, he said, at least in part because they can choose from such a vast profusion of excellent dishes, many available at rock-bottom prices. Of course it’s also possible to pay a lot in restaurants. Singapore regularly shows up on lists of the world’s most expensive cities. But it also is blessed with dozens upon dozens of so-called “hawker centres,” each offering a head-spinning number of Items to eat.
We did most of our eating in the centers. They’re are a bit like American food courts, except they lack air-conditioning and an industrialized approach to food production. A handful may have branches in a couple of centers, but most aren’t chains. Everything is cooked on the spot after the order has been placed. I read that Michelin’s recently published guide to Singaporean dining includes a number of hawker centre stalls.
Some of the offerings were too weird for us to consider:
Still, we were reasonably adventurous. At the recommendation of our bike-tour guide, we ate barbecued sting ray…
On our last night, we sought out one of the most beloved local dishes — Hainan chicken rice — at the stall in Chinatown where Anthony Bourdain swooned over its deliciousness (His photo is prominently displayed on the Tian Tian stall.)
It was tasty, but we thought our noodles with roast duck was even more irresistible. We gobbled both dishes down with stir-fried bean sprouts and good Singaporean beer, and the total came to just over $15 for the two of us.
There are so many things we didn’t have time to try — even at McDonald’s!
It makes me imagine coming back just to eat more.