World's Most Delicious Street Food
Risk Factor: very low
The Scene: Strictly enforced regulations and centralized hawker areas make Singapore one of the safest places to eat in Asia. Grades based on cleanliness and hygiene (“A” to “D”) are posted prominently at every stall. Inspections take place annually, and stalls with lower grades are checked even more frequently.
Where to Go: Chinatown has some of the best hawker centers, including Maxwell Market. Old Airport Road, in the suburb of Geylang, has a high concentration of popular stalls.
What to Order: Hainanese chicken rice; chai tow kway (radish cake); Hokkien mee (stir-fried noodles); roti prata (flaky bread with curry sauce); min chiang kueh (peanut pancake).
Spotlight: Hainanese Chicken Rice
Street-food guide Tony Tan explains the secret to this deceptively simple-looking classic.
“The chicken in this dish, a staple of China’s Hainan Island, has a jelly-like layer of clear fat underneath the skin. This surprising texture is achieved by boiling the entire chicken in a stock and then plunging it into ice-cold water—a sharp change in temperature that turns the fat clear and gives the skin the right level of firmness. The aromatic rice is cooked with chicken fat, sesame oil, and the fragrant herb pandan. Dip the chicken into the accompanying dark soy and chili sauces, and you’ll be eating just like a local.”