Besides the Chinatown Food Street, there are an abundance of other good hawker centres (or food centres) around Singapore’s Chinatown. The main difference between these “other” hawker centres and the Chinatown Food Street, is that these hawker centres provide a way more authentic local experience, way more variety, and way cheaper price to eat and drink. Here is a quick overview of the three hawker centres around Chinatown that I recommend to check out.
1. Maxwell Food Centre
Just across the street from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is the historic Maxwell Food Centre. It is most definitely one of the most famous food centres in Singapore. Even celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain did a segment of his television travel show, No Reservations, here at Maxwell Food Centre. To get a good taste of what is found at the Maxwell Food Centre you can check out ieatishootipost.sg food blog which sums it up quite nicely there.
Inside of Maxwell Food Centre.
2. People’s Park Food Centre
Just beside the People’s Park Complex shopping centre, is the People’s Park Food Centre. It is a sprawling food centre on the first floor serving a wide variety of Chinese food. Because of the influx of mainland Chinese people there, you will also find some nice food stalls selling handmade pork dumplings (just like how its made in Northern China). Its usually packed during lunch and dinner hours, so make sure you arrive alittle bit earlier to grab a seat.
Some of the fresh fruit stalls just at the entrance to the People’s Park Food Centre.
Inside of the People’s Park Food Centre.
Just outside of the People’s Park Food Centre. Notice the People’s Park Complex just next door.
3. Chinatown Complex
Just behind the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple on the same side as the Chinatown Food Street is the Chinatown Complex. The Chinatown Complex is a local market that sell produce and meats on the basement floor, clothes and accesories on the main floor, and lastly but not least, food on the second floor. It used to be a very grungy place with moldy tiles and rusting seats, but about 4 to 5 years ago a major renovation and revamp to the entire Chinatown Complex was done, which breathed new life into this market.
The food centre on the second floor is huge. I estimate that it probably has the most stalls out of all the other food centres in the Chinatown area. It is so big that they split the food centre into 4 sections, easily visible by the different colour code of each section: Yellow, Blue, Red, and Green.
My person favourite hang out is at the Yellow section. Why? Because its a great place to grab a few beers at a very reasonable price and to enjoy the beers just like how the “uncles” here in Singapore do it… over a few bottles ice cold beers, some barbecue meat on the side, and just chatting it up with some of your good friends until late at night! There’s no better combination than this!
One notable stall at the Yellow section for great beers at great prices is the Bavaria Beer stall. They sell one large bottle (650mL) of premium imported Bavaria Beer from Holland at only 5.00 S$ (Five Singapore dollars – at the time of writing). This is the only place in Singapore that I know of that sells premium beer at that price! Furthermore to make your enjoyment of your beverage more classy, they serve your beer in fancy half pint beer glasses.
My cold beer in its fancy beer glass. Just perfect.
The crowd at the Yellow section earlier on a Friday night. How many beer bottles can you spot?
The crowd at the Yellow section a few hours later on the same Friday night. How many beer bottles can you spot now?!
As I took the above picture, one of the drink stall owners give me a sly glance and proudly told me, “If you think this is crazy, wait until you see what a SATURDAY NIGHT will be like!”…. Sure enough that being said, I will probably be there on a Saturday night soon enough with my good friends enjoying a few good beers and having a few good laughs.
Have you been to other great food centres in Singapore or other food markets in the world? Please share some of your unique experiences in the comments below! Cheers!