From street food to cultural classics, the hawker food phenomenon has become an integral part of the way of life for Singaporeans.

Hawker food was once considered just simple ‘street food’ but has become a significant part of Singaporean food culture.

It has been around in Singapore for many years, with the oldest of ‘hawkers’ dating back to the 1960s.

One of the selling points of hawker food is that it has a lot to offer. Due to immigrants who settled in Singapore, the majority of hawker dishes take inspiration from food dishes from Chinese, Malaysian and Indian cultures.  Over time these dishes, have become local favourites and have now become a part of their food heritage. 

It has become so popular that there are now ‘Hawker Centres’ where people can come and eat hawker food together.  All the food is prepared by hawkers, with them showcasing their ‘special dishes’.

Hawkers are people who sell things that can be easily moved from place to place. Quite simply,  street food vendors.

Many Hawkers specialise and refine specific dishes their whole life and then pass them on to future generations to carry on their legacy.

Hawker centres are essentially large food courts with stalls serving a range of food from full meals to snacks and drinks. They serve as ‘community dining rooms’ and are open during breakfast, lunch and dinner times. 

They promote social interactions and embrace people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Hawker centres have become a staple in Singaporean culture for not only the food but also how they bring people together. 

It is important to remember that for Singaporeans, it’s more than just food but a way to enjoy a meal collectively with loved ones. People from different walks of life come together and dine and bond over it.

Here are some classic hawker food dishes:

Chicken Rice

You’ll find this dish in every hawker centre without a doubt! Chicken rice is a daily favourite for Singaporeans so there is no surprise that this is a favourite. This dish can be eaten steamed or roasted.

Prawn Noodles (Prawn Mee)

Prawn Mee is made up of flavourful broths, fresh prawns and chewy noodles, a popular dish since it can be eaten at any time of the day.


If you can hold your spice, then this dish is for you. Laksa is a spicy noodle dish that is usually served with thick bee hoon noodles in an orange broth. It can be topped with the choice of chicken, fish or prawns.

So, if you ever find yourself in Singapore, pop down to a Hawker food centre and enjoy the best of what Singapore has to offer.