The best fast food in Singapore's central business district can be found at Lau Pa Sat (Raffles Place MRT stop). This 150-year-old former fish, fruit, and veg market was converted into a collection of hawker food stalls in the 1970s. The market, which has recently undergone a facelift, is shaped like an octagon with eight alleys emanating from the center. There are about 75 different stalls to choose from, selling everything from curries and dosas to dumplings and pig organ soup. You are sure to find whatever it is you are craving. When in doubt, do what the Singaporeans do and join the longest queue!
Here are my top picks:
Shanghai deep-fried pork and spring onion buns from the stall in the center. These are to die for. Help yourself to a little plastic saucer of chili paste for dipping.
Thunder Tea Rice - Stall 01-26/31 - A healthier option with brown rice, herbs and tofu thrown into delicious combinations. Try their signature dish. I prefer to add the cold green broth to the rice bowl before eating.
Murtabak (stuffed roti prata) - get a plate to share from one of the Indian Muslim food stalls.
Mamacita's Costa Rican cuisine (near Thunder Tea Rice) - an unexpected but perennially popular stall.
Fresh lime juice or iced kopi (coffee) from the beverage stand in the center of the market.
Don't forget to bring your own napkins/tissues/wet wipes. Stalls don't give them out and they also come in handy to save your seat while you're ordering your meal.
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Hawker Center Delight
Anyone who knows or has been to Singapore is aware that this city-state has its fair share of hawker centers. These outdoor food markets feature a ton of vendors selling predominantly Malay, Singaporean, Indian, and Chinese food. While visiting a friend in Singapore, I made it a mission to visit two hawker centers in less than 24 hours.
While much of the food I ate was delicious, my absolute favorite dish was the fried "carrot cake." Consisting of neither carrots nor cake, this dish is made of radish "cake" stir-fried with eggs and a sweet sauce and topped with scallions. At the time, I had no idea what was in it, but I knew it was worth eating not once but twice.