From prata to ice kachang, here’s a quick guide to ordering Asian food for kids in the local hawker market or food court.
If you’re new to the game or happen to show up in time for the lunch rush, hawker centres and food courts can be quite intimidating places to eat, especially if you have kids in tow. What to get? Where to order? How to get a table? And where exactly are the drinks? To make things a little simpler, check out this handy Top 10 list of hawker and food court items that your kids will love.
#1 Chicken rice
Whenever we ask our readers to name their kids’ favourite hawker dish (and their own, for that matter!), chicken rice comes first by a mile. It’s not the most nutritious local dish you’ll come by, but 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? 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! 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!).
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. Great party food, too
#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? 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 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 option, 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
Treat the kids to something sweet; this rainbow-coloured dessert, featuring shaved ice, syrup, jelly, fruit and other mysterious ingredients, is a godsend for hot afternoons.
A guide by cuisine:
For drinks, try soy milk, calamansi lime juice or the many different fresh juices. Singapore’s desserts are even more colourful – literally – than the main courses. They’re hot or cold, sticky or clear, wobbly or firm, healthy or sinful. Try the well-known ice kachang – a Malaysian dessert with ice, syrup, jelly and fruit. The kids will like to play with it if nothing else!
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 famousHainanese chicken rice. These dishes are mild and serve as great introductory foods to Chinese cuisine.
Tread lightly with Thai dishes as most dishes 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 dinner treats as are many tropical fruits, such as pomelos, lychees and rambutans, especially when pitted and cut into bite-size pieces.
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 child-friendly food courts at The Windmill at Holland Village, Tanglin Mall, Great World City, Parkway Parade, Plaza Singapura and of course, La Pau Sat!
Also try the cut fruit – a great healthy option! These stalls offer kiwis, mangos and tropical fruits on a stick.
Want more? See our Kids section!