10 Places to Get Singaporean Hawker Food in Manila
For when you can't go to the Lion City.
(SPOT.ph) Beyond the Michelin stars and fine-dining restaurants, Singapore is a great place to enjoy hawker food, a tradition which dates back to the beginnings of this city state that was once a fishing village. Hawkers or street-food vendors were a familiar sight, and perhaps the Singaporeans' only source of sustenance apart from the food they prepared in their kitchens. Today, many Singaporeans still depend on hawkers for their daily meals, and we can't really blame them: it's convenient, flavorful, and cheap. A trip to Singapore wouldn't be complete without eating at some of its well-known hawker areas like the Tekka Centre and Chinatown Food Street.
But what if you can't go to the Lion City? We round up the best places in the Metro where you can get your proper fill of Singaporean hawker cuisine to help you get started!
Makansutra is the brainchild of Singaporean entrepreneur KF Seetoh, whose dream is to preserve the Lion City's long-standing hawker culture and present it to the rest of the world. Walk around the 500-square meter space and you'll feel like you're in one of the fancier food courts of Singapore, like the one at VivoCity. The charming hawker hall boasts 11 stalls that offer classic Singaporean, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Indian dishes. Sample some of their best-selling chow such as the Oyster Omelette from Ah Tee or Gooba Hia's Braised Beef for an extraordinary street-food experience you won't find anywhere else (in the Philippines, at least).
Makansutra is at 2/F Building A, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City.
101 Hawker Food House
Believe us when we say this is one of Makati's best-kept secrets. Tucked in an inconspicuous corner of Legazpi Village, 101 Hawker Food House serves delicious Singaporean dishes that won't break the bank. The hole-in-the-wall's Hainanese Chicken will satisfy your 2 a.m. chicken rice cravings-succulent pieces of poached chicken breast paired with flavor-packed rice that's already good on its own. You won't regret fighting through the Metro's dreadful traffic once you find this gem!
101 Hawker Food House is at Urban Avenue corner Amorsolo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Ya Kun Kaya Toast
Kaya toast is a quintessential Singaporean breakfast sandwich made up of toast, sweet coconut jam (or kaya), and a knob of butter. Over the years, many variations of the snack have been done (with additions like cheese or a runny fried egg), but it doesn't change the fact that each serving goes so, so well with a cup of kopi or teh. Ya Kun Kaya Toast, a Singaporean coffee chain which has been around since 1944, brings you the full experience by offering set meals-try their Cheese Toast with Kaya that comes with two soft-boiled eggs and hot coffee or tea, and you're set for the day.
See a list of Ya Kun Kaya Toast branches
Bugis Singapore Street Food
Banawe may be well-known for its Cantonese restaurants, but there is one cuisine that's starting to pick up. Bugis Singapore Street Food offers Singaporean-Malay flavors at this foodie neighborhood in Quezon City. Go here for their Laksa, a traditional spicy seafood soup with chewy rice noodles swimming in rich and creamy coconut milk-based broth. Wash down the heat by trying their assortment of fruit juices, a staple hawker item at Singapore's Bugis market.
Bugis Singapore Street Food is at 78 Nicanor Roxas Street, Banawe, Quezon City.
Kopi Roti launched its first shop in Metro Manila in 2005, introducing kaya toast set meals as well as their famous buttery kopi buns to the local market. The restaurant has become a go-to breakfast or afternoon snack place for Quezon City residents with its branches in Katipunan and Tomas Morato. If you're craving something light, go ahead and order their Classic Kaya Toast. Also try their Roti French Toast, which is freshly baked bread dipped in a secret milky egg batter then pan-fried, if you're feeling a bit adventurous!
See a list of Kopi Roti branches
"Shiok" is a Singaporean expression that literally translates to "cool" or "great." Apart from their fun, hawker-inspired interior that screams shiok all over, their no-frills Singaporean dishes also shouldn't be missed. Grab the Fried Mantou with Chili Crabmeat sauce if you want something out-of-the-box; the golden fluffy buns will make you eat two, three, or more before you even realize it!
Shiok Shiok is at 81 Nicanor Roxas Street, Banawe, Quezon City.
Merlion's Cuisine set up shop in Alabang in 2016. Their open kitchen will remind you of the street-food stalls in Singapore-you'll see a slew of roast duck, soy chicken, and cured meats hanging atop a counter while most of their dishes are prepared right before your eyes. Have a taste of their Soy Chicken, which flaunts a juicy bite and thin, crispy chicken skin that's marinated in a dark sweet-salty sauce.
G/F Evia Lifestyle Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
Among the many restaurants along Lilac Street in Marikina, Singlish is one that's been there even before the strip became a popular food-trip destination. We can understand why it's still there-despite the restaurant's small space, Singlish guarantees big and bold flavors at affordable price points. Start with an order of their Roti Prata; the pan-fried flatbread is meant to be eaten with your hands and dipped in a robust curry sauce that's bursting with spicy notes. Have the Katong Laksa next, which is a symphony of aromatic herbs, thick velvety broth, al dente noodles, and perfectly cooked shrimp.
Singlish is at 60-C Lilac Street, Concepcion Dos, Marikina City.
Wee Nam Kee
If you want an accurate introduction to hawker-style cereal prawns, we suggest you head over to Wee Nam Kee. Known for their jumbo tiger prawns coated in a crunchy cereal mix, the restaurant will instantly be part of your catalogue if you're looking for no-fail Singaporean food. The Crispy Mantou Bread with Condensed Milk is also something to look forward to if you have a sweet tooth!
See a list of Wee Nam Kee branches
Goreng Goreng stands out because of the sheer simplicity of its Southeast Asian dishes layered with spices and herbs. Besides its homey vibe and picturesque interiors, the food at Goreng Goreng is something to look forward to: The Mee Goreng Mamak seems like your ordinary pancit, but with bolder and sweeter flavors. The egg noodles of the dish are evenly blanketed with a savory dark sauce that makes eating it delightful, and then finished with leafy greens to add a bit of crunch and depth.
Goreng Goreng is at 82 Liwasang Kalayaan Street, Marikina Heights, Marikina City.