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Dining at Hawker Centres in Singapore

Dining at Hawker Centres in Singapore

Hawker centres or kopitiams (coffeeshops) are uniquely Singaporean and found just about anywhere around the island. These places are open-air, so be prepared for a hot and noisy affair, considering that some house hundreds of hawker stalls and are thronged with locals. Meal standards do not differ much from place to place, though well-known stalls serving great food tend to attract perpetual queues.

Essential tips about Hawker Centres:

Reserve a table

Make sure to reserve a table before ordering your food so that the vendor will know where to serve you. However, certain stalls are “self-service”, meaning you’ll have to wait for your food at the stall before returning to your table. You can reserve a spot by leaving 1 member of your group behind to “stake your claim to the table”.

Know the price before eating

You are free to order from any stall within the hawker centre. Most stalls display their menus on pinboards above the stall front in English. Though some stalls may not list their prices, most do. You are free to ask the price of any food item. Subsequently, let the vendor know your table number. Ensure you settle the final price that you are paying before food is served. There have been cases of visitors being fleeced over the price of seafood at hawker centres.

Generally, you pay upon ordering

Rule of thumb here: Self-service stalls accept immediate payment. Non-self-service ones accept payment upon serving you your food. Older hawker centres might have drink store owners coming to you asking for your order. It is entirely alright to decline to order. In most other cases, you will have to go to the drinks store to place your order and give your table number.

No eating etiquette

Due to the confluence of many cultures, Singapore has no prevailing eating etiquette. Do not feel pressured if you see an Indian eating with his/her hands or an old Chinese man drinking beer with his legs raised on the seat next to him.

Enjoy to the full

Lastly, while the ambience might be uninviting at first, most visitors cite hawker visits to be their most memorable dining experience. Soak in the heat and noise whilst enjoying the wide variety of food! That’s the hawker way.

Famous Hawker Centres

The 3 most well-known food centres in Singapore are the Makansutra Glutton’s BayLau Pa Sat and Maxwell Road Food Centre. Listed below are the various other notable hawker centres.

Hawker CentreGetting There
Newton Food CentreAlight at Newton MRT station.
Chomp Chomp Food CentreBus 315 & 317 from Serangoon Bus Interchange takes you to Serangoon Gardens, where the food centre is located. The interchange is a short walk from Serangoon MRT station.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village Refer to “Getting To” East Coast Park
Old Airport Road Cooked Food Centre Take Bus Service 16 from Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, alight at bus stop “Old Airport Road Blk 39”

The best Hawker Centres in Singapore

Chomp Chomp Hawker Food Centre in Singapore Food & Drink

Chomp Chomp Hawker Food Centre in Singapore

Chomp Chomp is yet another place where you'll find great local food, though amidst a noisy and bustling atmosphere.
Singapore Hawker Centre
East Coast Lagoon Hawker Food Village in Singapore Food & Drink

East Coast Lagoon Food Village Hawker Centre in Singapore

The food stalls form a ring around the seating area, given you the feeling that you're surrounded with food. As with each food centre, there ...
Singapore Hawker Centre
East Coast Seafood Hawker Centre in Singapore Food & Drink

East Coast Seafood Hawker Centre in Singapore

If you are a seafood lover, this is the place to be! You'll find virtually all kinds of seafood at the hawker restaurants here.
Singapore Hawker Centre
Makansutra Gluttons Bay Hawker Centre in Singapore Food & Drink

Makansutra Gluttons Bay Hawker Centre in Singapore

One of the most well-known food hawker centres in Singapore
Singapore Hawker Centre
Newton Food Hawker Centre in Singapore Food & Drink

Newton Food Centre or Newton Circus Hawker in Singapore

One of Singapore's best hawker food centres, its well-ventilated spacious, and very accessible
Singapore Hawker Centre
Old Airport Rd Hawker Food Centre in Singapore Food & Drink

Old Airport Road Cooked Food Hawker Centre in Singapore

The food centre along Old Airport Road has been around for a long time. These days, after a recent renovation, the prices of the food ...
Singapore Hawker Centre

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