For a tiny island in Asia, Singapore’s international reputation as a food paradise is well-deserved. But did you know that there are also dishes here that cannot be found in the places of their supposed origin – even though they are named after them?
One example is Hainanese chicken rice, which is named after an island in China. With succulent steamed white chicken heaped upon fragrant rice with a delicious garlic-chilli dip, this signature food item was actually created by our early Hainanese immigrants who were craving a taste of home.
The ‘Roti John’ was not in fact named after the man who created it. A baguette with egg and tomato sauce on the side, a Malay hawker was said to have created this for an Englishman in the 1960s when he asked for a hamburger.
Order coffee like a local
Although there are many modern cafés here, the best place to enjoy your cuppa and local food in Singapore is at the hawker centres or kopitiams – where you can personalise your drink in at least 20 ways according to sweetness and thickness.Find out more at
Looking for everything all at once?
Located in the heart of Chinatown, Maxwell Road Hawker Centre has over 100 stalls that provide one of the biggest varieties of local food under one roof in Singapore. Busiest during lunch and dinner times, this is a destination not to be missed should you want to try many dishes at one go.See reviews at
The best local haunt
Chomp Chomp Food Centre is famous for being one of the best hawker centres in Singapore, particularly so when it comes to late-night supper feasts. Don’t just take our word for it - join the crowds of locals visting the stalls.See reviews at
To chilli or not to chilli?
Regardless of the culture they grew up with, many Singaporeans enjoy enhancing the flavours of their local dishes with the taste of chilli. Tiny in size but potentially paralysing in terms of the spicy-factor, it is best not to go overboard if you are trying it for the first time!