Want to try the best hawker centre food? It’s not just about eating, it’s a way of life here. Singapore is home to something like 14,000 hawker stalls, and, at $5 for a satisfying meal at most places, what’s not to love? From prata to ice kachang, here’s a guide to different types of hawker food in Singapore that kids will enjoy too.
Here are 10 of our food court and hawker centre favourites!
#1 Chicken rice
Whenever we ask our readers to name their kids’ favourite hawker centre food (and their own, for that matter!), chicken rice comes first by a mile. It’s simple and satisfying, without a lot of ingredients, and great for fussy tummies.
#2 Kaya toast and eggs
Want a quick and hearty brekkie at a food court? Try kaya toast, which features coconut jam and a slab of cold butter sandwiched between two slices of bread. Dip the bread into soft-boiled eggs for a truly local experience! Apart from being available at hawker centres our go-to spots are Ya Kun Kaya Toast and Toast Box.
A thin paper crepe traditionally stuffed with cooked vegetables, egg, sweet sauce and peanuts, this is essentially Singapore’s delicious version of a burrito!
#4 Roti prata
This Indian fried pancake is not the healthiest dish on the menu but kids lap it up. Order it with egg or banana for nutrition (but we all know cheese tastes the best!). Usually available at hawker centres and various food stalls in Singapore and of course Little India.
Chicken and beef satays is a hawker food that’s always a hit with the kids! The peanut dipping sauce is reminiscent of crunchy peanut butter and tastes great with these meat skewers. It’s great party food, too and not just available at hawker centres, you can often order it online to be delivered.
#6 Wonton noodles
This Cantonese noodle dish features thin and springy egg noodles, meat dumplings and leafy vegetables. Order it dry (tossed in dark sauce) or in soup (clear broth) – your kids will love it either way.
#7 Fried rice
Overwhelmed with the choices available at the food court? A hot plate of fried rice is a quick and easy option the kids will love. If you’re extra hungry, order some sweet and sour pork as a side – it goes perfectly with the rice.
#8 Yong tau foo
This Hakka Chinese favourite hawker food lets you choose your preferred type of noodles, broth and ingredients. Consisting primarily of tofu or vegetables filled with ground meat or fish paste, it’s a dish that’s eaten dry with sweet sauce or served in a soup.
#9 Fishball noodles
Another popular hawker food, this hearty dish features your noodle of choice (thin or thick egg noodles, or rice noodles) served with bouncy fishballs and slices of fried fishcake.
#10 Ice kachang
This rainbow-coloured dessert, featuring shaved ice, syrup, jelly, fruit and other mysterious ingredients, is a godsend for hot afternoons. For drinks, try soy milk, calamansi lime juice or the many different fresh juices.
A hawker food guide for kids by type of cuisine
Kids love the many varieties of Indian bread, including chapati, prata, murtabak and naan. These breads are often crispy, come with a curry dip and have meat or sweet fillings that the kids can choose. Serve with a mild murgh makhani aka butter chicken. Kids should try thosai, an epic-sized Indian pancake.
Chicken and beef satays are always a hit with the kids! The peanut dipping sauce is reminiscent of crunchy peanut butter and tastes great with these meat skewers. But those with nut allergies should beware.
Let the kids sample fried noodles, fried rice, noodle soup, sweet and sour pork, and, of course, Singapore’s famous Hainanese chicken rice. These dishes are mild and serve as great introductory foods to Chinese cuisine.
Tread lightly with Thai dishes as most will simply be too hot. Spring rolls with sweet Thai chili sauce on the side are a good choice.
Don’t forget about desserts!
Banana fritters and mango sticky rice are kid-friendly post meal treats as are many tropical fruits, such as pomelos, lychees and rambutans, especially when pitted and cut into bite-size pieces.
Tip: If you expose children to new tastes and textures at a young age, they will slowly build their palates to find different cuisines acceptable as they grow. Check out hawker foods at Holland Village, Newton Circus, Tanglin Mall, Great World City, Parkway Parade, Plaza Singapura and, of course, La Pau Sat!