5 Amazing Singaporean dishes that expats love

You’ve probably heard that Singapore’s mainly known for one thing – food. And Singaporeans have cultivated a very distinct local taste, favourite foods that are clear winners in our hearts. But what do outsiders think of our food? Which are their favourites?

We’ve surveyed 20 well-travelled foodie expats living in Singapore and asked them which dish they love the most from their time here in Singapore. Dishes they’d toss and turn in their sleep thinking about at night back at home.

These were the most popular dishes:

1. Chicken rice.


“It isn’t merely just chicken and rice. The rice is so fragrant! It is cooked in the stock that was used to prepare the chicken, along with some basic herbs like garlic and ginger. It comes in 2 types, steamed and roasted. Some stalls dipped the steamed version in ice after its cooked, giving it a very unique and tender texture to the meat.

My favourite chicken rice is done by the fine folks of Tian Tian at Maxwell Food Centre. The rice is fluffy and the chicken packs a mouthful of flavour.” – Jonathan, England, Accounts Executive

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice

Address: Maxwell Food Centre #01-10/11, 1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069184

Opening hours: 11am to 8pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon

2. Chili Crab.


“Back home the crab is always cooked in your basic crab cake recipes but over here they have chilli crab, a mouth-watering dish cooked in a chilli gravy. It is served with deep-fried buns called Mantou, which is dipped in the gravy to absorb all of its goodness to be delivered right into your mouth. No Signboard Seafood has got to be my favourite. Yup, this stall is literally called No Signboard Seafood because they do not have a signboard.” – Marshall, Philippines, Growth Hacker

No Signboard Seafood
Address: 414 Geylang, Singapore 389392

Operating hours: 11am to 1am (Daily)


3. Laska.


“Katong Laksa serves up my favourite laksa. There are several Katong Laksa outlets near my place in Singapore so I got to try most if not all the different laksa stalls there are in Katong. 363 Katong Laksa’s has to be my all-time favourite. It has a milky, savoury gravy that is beautifully accompanied by thick and soft vermicelli noodles.” – Rahim, India, Business Development

363 Katong Laksa:

Address: 29 Lor Liput, Singapore 277740

Opening hours: 10am to 9pm (Daily)


4. Popiah


“Popiah’s an all-in-one. It’s a bunch of flavours happening in your mouth at once. Packed with turnips, carrots, bean sprouts and eggs in the popiah skin. The popiah aunty at the Old Airport Road serves up my favourite popiah. It’s inexpensive too, at $1.50, the popiahs just keep coming.” – Si Neng, Shanghai, Accountant

Qin Carrot Cake & Popiah

Address: 51 Old Airport Rd, 390051

Opening hours: 10am to 10pm (Daily)


5. Oyster Omelette


“The locals here call it ‘Orh Luak’. The depth of flavour and chilli sauce on the side makes me want to throw my hands in the air! I never thought eggs and oysters could be such a great combination till I came to Singapore. I love it!” – Sally, Indonesia, Human Resource Manager

Ang Sa Lee

Address: 20 Kensington Park Road #01-33, Chomp Chomp Food Centre, 557269

Author: Sanchez Barry writes for Expat Life at MetroResidences, a serviced apartment booking platform in Singapore. He’s a coffee junkie that can’t get past a day without his daily cup of joe. Or 3.

5 Tips for you to get more bookings on BonAppetour

Based on our tests, we discovered that our most successful hosts do these FIVE things that bring them more reviews & bookings from customers. As you are a part of our Super-Host Community, we want to help you build your business, and are sharing these tips with you today.

1.Show the guests you are a Verified host by wearing the BonAppetour apron during the experience

Wearing the BonAppetour apron symbolizes to guests that you are a “verified” host of the community, one who has passed all the verification criteria, and thus creates a sense of trust for you.

2. Give guests a brief introduction when they come in
It is always a great ice-breaker to give an introduction to guests when they arrive. We advise you to mention the following points during your introduction:

  • Introduce yourself and your co-host (if any). You can tell your names, what you do for a living, how many years you have been cooking since, some of your speciality dishes, your favourite thing about your city.
  • Tell them about how many times you have hosted on BonAppetour previously, and that we are in many cities – so that they can book on BonAppetour if they are traveling to another city next time.
  • Go through the menu for the evening briefly, and the inspiration behind putting together that meal – for example, if there are any seasonal ingredients etc.
  • Tell them that they are welcome to take pictures of the food & home, and share it on social media with the #bonappetour. (some guests may feel shy about taking pictures inside a home). We are rewarding every guest who posts a photo with #bonappetour with a $20 BonAppetour credit – and this will help give your experience more publicity!

You can say something like this:

“Hi Jane and Tom, welcome to our place! I am Mary, and this is my partner Jack, and we’re so happy that you’ve decided to spend your vacation with us. I have been cooking Italian food ever since I was a child. I learnt it from my grandmother……

I’ve been with BonAppetour for about 5 years already, and have hosted so many travelers from around the world. BonAppetour is actually in many cities around the world, mainly in Europe & Asia, so if you’re going there, you can browse their website for more food experiences.

I’ll be serving you an autumn inspired menu tonight, with 5 courses – A, B, C, D, & E.”

3. Feel free to take as many pictures of the food. You can share it on Facebook/Instagram with the #bonappetour – that way, we can also find your pictures there!

4. Remind your guests to leave you a review at the end of the experience

Reviews are the most important factor that new guests consider before booking the experience. Please ask guests to leave a review for you, on our TripAdvisor page, mentioning your name. You can ask for a review in a friendly way – something like this:

“Thanks so much for coming for our dining experience tonight. BonAppetour will be sending you an email to leave us a review on their Tripadvisor page, and it would be really great if you could leave us a positive review if you enjoyed the experience with us? This can help us share our food with more guests from around the world.”

5. Take a group picture during or at the end of your experience

With the group picture, we can help you to feature it on our social media channels – bringing you even more publicity. We will also be emailing the guests this group photo – to remind them to leave you a review – so this will serve as a great memory about the amazing dinner they had with you.

Post the photos on social media and tag us with #bonappetour.

Remember to take photos during the experience – whether it is with the guests, or of the food that you have cooked. You can also post the photos that you took on your own social media channels and #bonappetour

Facebook: BonAppetour

Twitter: @BonAppetour

Instagram: @bonappetour_official

If you have any ideas or questions about the tips above, please drop us an email at [email protected]

Bon Appetit!


10 Unusual Facts About Singapore Hawker Center Food

Think you know everything there is to know about Singapore hawker centre food? Time to find out:

1. Gordon Ramsay once battled against local hawkers in a Hawker Heroes challenge

Hawker Heroes challenge

Held in July 2013, the Hawker Heroes challenge saw Gordon Ramsay pitting his hawker food cooking skills – amassed in less than two days – against popular hawkers and establishments like Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, 328 Katong Laksa and Jumbo Seafood Restaurant.

The result? Based on a total of 3,000 votes, Ramsay won over locals with his chilli crab dish, but lost out in the other two dishes.

2. The world’s cheapest Michelin food can be found at a hawker center in Singapore

the world's cheapest michelin starred meal

The world’s cheapest Michelin-starred dish can now be found in a humble hawker centre – at a price of S$2. Initially dismissing the news of the Michelin’s interest in his stall as a joke, owner Chan Hon Meng now has a second outlet – a casual dine-in venue – to accommodate the surge in demand following his stall’s initiation to the Michelin Guide in July 2016.

If you haven’t yet sampled Chan’s mouthwatering fare at his original outlet, make a beeline for his ‘Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle’ stall in Chinatown Complex – but come prepared to wait out a snaking queue!

3. There’s actually a food tour that takes you to different Michelin-starred stalls and lets you skip the queues


Or join in a food tour that brings you the food – minus the queues. The popular The Great Singapore Food Tour – with Michelin Stalls promises the following: plenty of tasty Michelin-starred dishes, a professional tour guide who shares the stories behind the dishes and Singapore culture, meals enjoyed in the company of fellow foodies and hosts who stand in line on your behalf – so you get the food without having to endure those agonisingly long queues.

4. No dish is too weird to be served in a hawker centre (including turtle liver and crocodile paws)

hawker food

Dishes like turtle liver, crocodile paws won’t be out of place in an episode of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods – but these aren’t quite what you’d expect of the typical hawker stall. Other equally strange items include shark’s meat and frog legs (cooked in congee).

5. Hawker bars: Craft beer hawker stores could be the latest foodie trend


Craft beer stalls and hawker centres may sound like an unlikely combination, but this may just become the next local foodie trend – one that dates back to 1979, starting with Charlie’s Corner at Changi Village Hawker Centre. Thirsty for more uniquely Singaporean pairings of Hainanese chicken rice or satays with craft beer? Pop by at 3rd Culture Brewing Co. (Maxwell Food Centre) or Smith Street Taps (Chinatown Complex).

6. Fancy gourmet fare are popping up in hawker centres


Hawker centres aren’t just all about local favourites – fancy dishes are now making an appearance in food centres dotted around the island too. There’s Alibabar The Hawker Bar, an open-air bistro offering upmarket beers, gourmet burgers, tacos and pizzas. A Noodle Story is the go-to store for ramen-inspired noodles, The Burning Oak for succulent grilled meats and Stew Küche for stick-to-your-ribs German fare.

7. Cheese fried carrot cake? Truffle oil wanton mee? Hawker foods are now given an innovative twist


We’ve noticed unusual sightings at hawker centres recently, with traditional favourites being given a creative spin – from unassuming chicken rice and wanton noodles getting all glammed up with the addition of truffle oil, to fried carrot cake with cheese, slices of prata paired up with sambal sauce and crispy taro paste breakfast toast.

8. Hawker fare-inspired fusion food is trending


Our favourite hawker fare – like tender chunks of satay, aromatic kaya spread and ayam buah keluak – are sparking off a series of mouthwatering fusion fare, thanks to the creative minds (and tastebuds) from local dining establishments. The Quarters has put together a Satay Burger, a dish of juicy slices of pork meat sandwiched between rice patties, complete with peanut sauce served on the side. Hambaobao dishes out a different kind of burger – one that comes with a filling of ayam buah keluak and toppings of chap chye (mixed vegetables).

Looking to round out your meal with something sweet? Dig your spoon into an Pandan Tart a dessert that ticks all the right boxes with its creamy kaya custard filling and crunchy crust.

9. Singaporeans’ favourite food centre comes in tops third year in a row


With myriad stalls dishing out a diversity of cuisines – from fragrant plates of Hainanese chicken rice and the renowned Tian Tian Chicken Rice, to bowls of mee pok and sliced fish bee hoon – it’s no wonder that Maxwell Food Centre has been voted Singapore’s favourite hawker centre for the third year running in City Hawker Food Hunt, an annual campaign that dishes out awards to the best hawker stalls on the island. Other crowd favourites in the food centre include Weng Pan Cake, Hainanese Curry Rice (it’s stall no. 68) and Zhen Zhen Porridge.

10. ‘Choping’ seats is a practice that dates back to the 1970s


From tissue packets and umbrellas, to water bottles and name cards – we’ve used ‘em all to chope a seat at packed hawker centres. The origins of this practice is unclear, but it apparently dates all the way back to the 1970s. The evidence? A black-and-white photograph suitably titled ‘Chope’, in which parents eager to secure a place for their child at their school of choice used a variety of miscellaneous items to mark their spot in the queue.