A favorite area of expats living in Singapore—booming with trendy coffee shops, posh boutiques, and art galleries—the Tiong Bahru district is rich in well-preserved 1930s art deco architecture. The Tiong Bahru Market houses one of the city’s most famous hawker centers, with dozens of food stalls. Here, you might just have the best meal of your life for about five dollars. (Try the chicken rice!) Nearby, the diminutive Qi Tian Gong Temple on Eng Hoon Street is dedicated to the monkey god.

More Recommendations

Tiong Bahru: Hawker Market in Singapore

Singapore turned out to be much more of a food city than I’d imagined. The cultural influences of indigenous Malaysians mingle with foods and cultural forces of Chinese, English and Indian immigrants, making for a remarkably multidimensional stew of flavors and ingredients. Singapore is home to a number of “hawker markets,” collections of small vendors offering street food that seems a more authentic reflection of the local culture than one might find in restaurants. In Tiong Bahru, one of Singapore‘s many hawker communities, I was knocked out by the immense range of foods, many of which I’d never seen. My favorites were otak-otak, a mackerel paste seasoned with chilies and grilled in a banana leaf (pictured: a love-at-first-taste experience), and bee hoon, a mess of noodles, egg and vegetables.

The magic of Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru is one of my favorite local treasures. Why? the juxtaposition of old and new is most apparent here. The shophouses and the famous Tiong Bahru market evoke images of a young Singapore with the traditional way of life it represents, on the other hand the new cafes represent the westernization of society and our embracing of globalization. The existence of the old and new harmoniously makes it such a perfect encapsulation of Singapore and thus a must-visit for all tourists.

Information on this page, including website, location, and opening hours, is subject to have changed since this page was last published. If you would like to report anything that’s inaccurate, let us know at notification@afar.com.

Nearby highlights
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More From AFAR