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Singapore has amazing food, restaurants, and cafes. The Singapore food tour is the best way to find where the best spots in town are, and what dishes to try. I fell in love with the food in the small country, although I would never have tried some of the dishes if not for the food tour.

This article will cover some of the dishes on the food tour (not all as I don’t want to spoil the tour or give away the secret dish), and some of my other recommendations for where to eat when visiting Singapore.

Singapore Food Tour Overview

I didn’t know what to expect on my Singapore food tour. Surprisingly, it was only my second food tour in Asia, after the Hanoi food tour.  I knew Singapore had good food if only because of the world-famous, Michelin-starred street food vendor but I hadn’t even bothered to research which dishes I needed to try.

Twice, I’d planned to visit Singapore while I was in Malaysia, but it wasn’t until my last-minute decision to spend Christmas in Singapore instead of Vietnam that I finally visited the country, learned its history, and (perhaps most importantly), tried the Singaporean cuisine. In the end, the food became one of my favorite highlights in Singapore.

Normally, I say you should do a food tour as your first activity in a new country. Unfortunately, we arrived on Christmas Eve after the tour started, and there was no tour on Christmas Day. So we took the tour on the third day of our five days in Singapore.

The Singapore food tour with Secret Food Tours started at 9:30 a.m. (before it gets too hot) outside the metro station in Chinatown, about a mile to the west of the world-famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Our tour was relatively small – the only other guests were a family of four from Los Angeles. For some reason, even though the website said the tour should be 2.5 to 3 hours long, it was over in just two hours. But in those two hours, we were served far more food than we could consume in that timeframe.

Singaporean Cuisine

Bee Cheng Hiang

The first stop on our Singapore food tour was Bee Cheng Hiang, a shop that opened in Singapore back in 1933. They produce the best bakkwa – square sheets of barbecued pork jerky with its origin in China. More recently, Bee Cheng Hiang introduced a bacon-style “gourmet bakkwa” and even chili bakkwa for the local palate.

Bee Cheng Hiang

We each chose between beef or pork bakkwa and were given a small portion of our selection. I thought we’d get more, but now knowing how much food was to come on the tour, I’m happy with the small portion. However, I still need to go back sometime to try the other flavors and styles.\

Bakkwa at Bee Cheng Hiang

Nanyang Old Coffee

On the way to the next stop, our guide spoke about the history of Chinatown and Singapore in general. going into detail how the Dutch, British, Chinese, and Japanese all left their mark on the Country. Of course, that was readily noticeable in the restaurants and dishes available in the city.

Nanyang Old Coffee

The next stop tied in well with the history.  Nanyang Old Coffee opened in 1973 but is based on much older traditions of hawking coffee on the streets of Singapore in the 1930s. We each received a plate of toast with butter and kaya (coconut jam), and our choice of kopi. Kopi is the Singaporean way of saying coffee, and there are many different ways of ordering – hot or cold, with condensed milk or evaporated milk, more or less sugar, etc.

Toast with Butter and Kaya at Nanyang Old Coffee

I went with one of the more unusual drinks – iced yuan yang, a combination of coffee and tea similar to iced cham in Malaysia but in a different ratio. Although the coffee in SE Asia is mostly robusta beans, it was still nice, and I particularly liked the toast.

Chinatown Maxwell Food Market

Next, Jan took us to the Maxwell Food Market in Chinatown, a place we had visited ourselves a couple days earlier. The food court is similar to a hawker center, but not the same. Aside from serving really good food, prices were low which was a blessing as Singapore is one of the most expensive Asian countries.

Hokkien Noodles on the Singapore Food Tour

We had quite a feast at this market, including three dishes and a beer. Our first dish was Hainanese chicken rice -poached chicken and seasoned rice. The second dish was fried Hokkien noodles – prawns, squid, eggs, and noodles. I can’t mention what the third dish was as it’s the secret dish of the tour and I can’t spoil the mystery. I even tried the Tiger beer, which was surprisingly good for someone who doesn’t like beer.

Secret Dish on the Singapore Food Tour

I didn’t think any of the dishes were particularly exceptional, but I enjoyed them all nonetheless. More than anything, I just really enjoyed trying dishes I might never have ordered otherwise. That’s my favorite part of food tours. I’m usually quite adventurous and I’ll choose random items off a menu I can’t read, but that doesn’t guarantee I will pick good items.

Chinatown Complex Hawker Center

Finally, we made it to the climax of the tour. If I thought we had a feast at the Maxwell Center, I hadn’t seen anything. We weren’t able to finish all the food at the last top, and we barely made it through half the food at the hawker center. Here’s what was served:

  • Egg prata – an Indian roti in a Singaporean style, with curry on the side.
  • Popiah – spring rolls with radishes, eggs, cucumber, and peanuts that aren’t deep-fried (deep-fried would be a spring roll).
  • Kuey pie tie (Peranakan dessert golden cup) – a small pastry shell filled with radishes, chili, prawns, eggs, and a savory sauce.
  • Chendol – a Peranakan dessert with shaved ice, red beans, green beans, gelatin, coconut milk, and palm sugar.

Kuey Pie Tie on the Singapore Food Tour

I was truly fascinated by the hawker stands. One stand in particular had a few dozen people waiting in line, and our guide said there were days when the line was many times longer. Nearly all the food was Asian, particularly focusing on popular dishes in Singapore. As usual, the best places served just one single dish.

Chendol on Singapore Food Tour

Unfortunately, we only had 20 minutes at the hawker center to try all four dishes. We tasted them, but there was no way we could finish all the food. I really liked each item, particularly the kuey pie tie. Overall, I was really happy with all the stops on the tour, and the dishes we tried.

Selfie on the Chinatown Complex Hawker Center on the Singapore Food Tour

Other Great Meals and Restaurants in Singapore

The dishes on the Singapore food tour were just a fraction of what we ate during our 4 days in the country. We very quickly learned that Singapore is super expensive so we were limited in our budget. But this was Christmas after all, and a new country for each of us, so we splurged a little while balancing our budget with some cheaper meals.

Oriental Chinese Restaurant 东方美食

One of my favorite meals in Singapore turned out to be one of the cheapest. One night, we were wandering around Chinatown and stumbled upon a place with the most generic name – Oriental Chinese Restaurant. The first thing that caught my attention on the menu was the orange chicken. Considering I practically lived on orange chicken from Panda Express when I was growing up, I had to order it.

Orange Chicken at Oriental Chinese Restaurant

If you’ve ever watched Joshua Weissman on YouTube, you’ve probably seen his channel “But Better” where he takes common dishes from fast-food restaurants and makes them better at home. That’s exactly what this restaurant did. Simply put, it was the best orange chicken I’d ever eaten! The portion was massive, and it only cost us about $4 USD.

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beers

On Christmas Eve, we ended up at the Marina Bay Sands. We decided to splurge on dinner and went to Black Tap Craft Burgers for their award-winning burgers and shakes. My bacon cheeseburger was fantastic, as if I was sitting in New York and not SE Asia. I was just sad the CrazyShake I wanted wasn’t available.

Burger at Black Tap Craft

We paid $53 USD for my burger, a salad for Vanesa, a side of chips and pico de gallo, and two cocktails to celebrate Christmas Eve. That’s super expensive for a meal in Southeast Asia, but cheap compared to the other restaurants at the Marina Bay Sands, or compared to Western countries.

Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore

One more restaurant to mention is Pasta Fresca da Salvatore on the Boat Quay. We were craving a pizza one night and ended up there. While most of the restaurants and bars along the quay looked overpriced and had several people out front tempting customers in with cheap cocktails, our little Italian restaurant was the opposite. No one was out front luring us in, and the prices were reasonable.

Pizza at Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore

I’m really glad we ended up there as the quality of the food was fantastic. Our pizzas were properly Italian style using high-quality ingredients. We paid $21 USD for a pizza and two lemonades.

Booking the Secret Food Tour Singapore

The Singapore food tour runs every day of the week, although I believe a couple days have to use alternate stops when the main locations are closed. As of 2024, the price of the tour is $134 Singaporean dollars (~$100 USD), but check the Secret Food Tours website for current prices and availability.

The tour starts relatively early compared to food tours in other cities – at 9:30 am. In one sense, this is good as you’re more likely to avoid the heat and thunderstorms in Singapore. On the other hand, it’s a lot of food to eat for breakfast. You don’t really need to bring anything with you on the tour, other than a camera, some cash for any souvenirs, and a tip for the guide.

Further Reading

Planning to visit Southeast Asia? Here are some other articles you might like that will help you with your travels.

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Author Skye Class

Hi, I'm Skye. Writer, photographer, adventurer, foodie, teacher, masseur, friend, dreamer, etc. I think "normal" sucks. Let's aim for extraordinary. SkyeTravels seeks to find the good around the world, focusing on adventures, food and wellness. Be inspired. Be yourself.

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