If you don't already know, the tastiest Singapore food and dishes are found in hawker centres in the residential areas. And Newton Hawker Centre is one of the many except that it is very well known but the food is more expensive than hawker centres visited by locals.
There is also another problem. Hawker centres are not air conditioned and you will have to deal with Singapore heat when you enjoy your food. This is because hawker centres use natural ventilation in enclosed complex large enough to house in exceed of 20 to 30 food stalls selling all kinds of Singapore food and dishes. You can expect hundreds of diners at peak hours during lunch and dinner. In the topical Singapore weather, you can find sweat flowing down your forehead and your shirt soaking wet.
You still can get to taste popular Singapore food and dishes without the heat. The best kept secret is locals are flocking to food courts in shopping malls to take their meals. They love the settings because they get to eat their favourite food and they can beat the heat. Food courts are airconditioned and are professionally run. They serve many popular Singapore food but prices are on average 1 to 3 SGD more expensive than in hawker centres. For the tourists, there are several convenient food courts located in central parts of Singapore. Listed here are some along Orchard Road.
Level 4 @ Wisma Atria
Level 5 @ 313@Somerset
Basement 1 @ The Centrepoint
Basement 2 @ Ngee Ann City / Takashimaya
Level 6 @ Plaza Singapura
Basement 4 @ ION Orchard
Most stall assistants in hawker centers and food courts don't speak English proficiently, so ordering the dishes can be abit of guess work and with some surprises. There may be picture menu at some places and you can just point to order.
The downloadable food guide on travellerfoodguide.com is very useful because there is a section in every mentioned dish where you can mark a selection in English on the guide & a corresponding Chinese or Malay version is provided. Beside being able to communicate your selection, the guide is very helpful to customise the food when many Singapore food allow some kind of customisation. For example, we can order chicken thigh for chicken rice and there are "white" and "black" or roasted chicken. And if you don't like chili, the guide helps you remove the chili from you dish before it is too late.
Sure, we've had some bad food experiences in the Newton Circus, but as locals we are lucky inasmuch as we have the opportunity to go back repeatedly and check out more stalls. Which makes us gluttons, rather than gluttons for punishment.
One stall that has invariably satisfied is Number 61 - Goodmans Barbecue Seafood. We live very nearby and stroll down a couple of times per week to stuff ourselves with their Mee Goreng, Blachan Kangkong and whatever seafood tempts us on the night. The chilli squid is great - served in a rich, spicy sauce and always tender, we also love the stingray, and you can never go wrong with prawns. The only items that are pricey are the prawns, and no more so than anywhere else. We usually have one prawn dish, and fill up on the less expensive items.
The most difficult aspect of the night is cutting a path through the spruikers to get to stall 61.
You can find better food at other hawker markets (chicken rice at Tian Tian at Maxwells is legendary), but Newton doesn't deserve the bad rap it gets, besides - it's only 5 minutes walk from home.
Favorite Dish: blachan kangkong
I have been noticing so many comments and tips about Newton Food Hawkers. I decided to give it a visit since my first visit in Singapore. Well the place is nice and clean, like how a hawker's place should be it is more than satisfactory. Food tastes awesome, drinks like coconut water or sugar cane juice are fascinating. Price is not so high. It's seafood, what do you expect? If you want to taste something good, you gotta pay the price. That's how the rule goes. If one doesn't want to spend money, should make his/her own food. About this food market, everything is just fine, nothing to complain about.
Favorite Dish: So many to say. But I liked the Baby Squid with lemon grass and lime. King Prawns, Lobster, Shark fin soup, sting ray fins, Fried rice, noodles, Sugarcane juice with lemon, coconut water. so many delicious foods.
Yes I came here. It was 4am and with a group.
The Newton Hawker Center is one of those places that is on the tourist trail. It is open all night. It is near enough Orchard Road. And to be honest, Singapore is a small enough city to take a quick cab from anywhere and end up here.
Favorite Dish: This was done on my first night here. So technically it was already my birthday. So they all decided I should have BBQ Stingray. Wow. I was amazed. This one dish is something I’ve talked about for quite some time. Everyone who asks can hear all about it I liked it that much.
There are two things that you can do very enjoyably in Singapore: shopping and eating.
Together with the world class Western cuisine that you can find in this island country it is also home to one of the most diverse 'local' cuisines in the world. The fact that Singaporeans are made up by three large ethnic groups: Chinese, Malay and Indian means there is plenty of local delights to try.
One of the best places to sample them all is the Newton Food Center, also known as Newton Hawker Center.
In this outdoor center you can eat until you burst for very little money and all of the dishes you find here are authentic.
From chili seafood, roti john, murtabak, poppiah, nasi goreng to chicken wings and noodles this is the one place you need to go to if you're a fan of trying out new food.
Be prepared though that since it is a bit famous, the vendors do get too 'passionate' in offering their 'merchandise'. Just wave and look away when you're not interested.
Newton Circus is very much a hawker centre set up for tourists wanting to experience the 'traditional' way of eating in Singapore. In the past, hawkers would have their stalls set up all around town, offering their food on the streets. The government decided they no longer wanted these hawkers in the streets, therefore they set up hawkercentres all round town. Newton Circus happens to be near Orchard Rd. and is rather big, therefore it's become a tourist attraction.
The food is great, and the atmosphere is great. The prices, however, are a little higher than in the 'local' hawker centres. I would though, recommend you to visit this hawkercentre, as it's somewhat of an institution in Singapore.
Favorite Dish: Upon arriving, find yourself a table anywhere, they're all numbered, and they belong to no particular stall. Then, simply walk around the stalls and check out what they're offering. When you find something you like, order your dish using your table number. They will then bring the dish to your table. Be sure to specify the amount or weight of your order, you could be severely ripped off if you let the hawkers create a mammoth dish of prawn for example!
Have a Tiger beer and enjoy your food.
After closing for 8 months for extensive renovations, the famous Newton Hawker Center opened again on 1 July 2006 with much fanfare. I was at Newton Hawker Center on the opening evening and it was very crowded with tourists and Singaporeans alike. The stalls are numbered systematically so that you can remember which stall you placed your order from. The tables are also numbered accordingly in running sequence - you will need to remember your table number when you place your order. If it is not raining, you can sit outside in the open space and enjoy the evening breeze.
Do come early especially on Fridays and Saturdays - by 6 pm. By 7 pm it will be extremely difficult to find a table and you will have to wait for a table.
I hope that the aggressive touting which used to be rampant in the past will not recur again.
Favorite Dish: Favourite Singaporean dishes served at Newton Hawker Center include:
- Char Kway Teow (pan-fried rice noodles in black sauce with cockles and sliced fish cake)
- Oyster omlette
- Hokkien noodle
- Satay (skewered meat on a stick dipped in peanut gravy)
- Chilli crab
Alfresco dining. Street vendors were not allowed in Singapore when the city became more established for health reasons.
Not wanting to lose any of the great eats that such vendors offered, the government organised them to congregate at "Hawker Centres" around the city and the Newton Hawker Centre is one of the first of such places. The proper stalls and water supply ensured a more hygenic environment.
It had a bad rep in the past when touts would try to sell tourists seafood at absorbident prices, but these days, as touting is banned, it is a good place to dine in terms of the centrality of its location and the authenticity of its local fare.
The fishball noodles, chicken rice, satay, seafood and yes, don't miss out on the oyster omelette. Not forgetting "Hokkien Mee" (Hokkien is an ethnic chinese group that speak a dialect called Hokkien. Mee is a type of noodle).
All the foods offered at this hawker centre are very yummy if you are adventurous enough and love to try Singapore food.
Top off the dinner with fresh fruit juice (watermelon, orange, apple, pear, pineapple, etc) or sugar cane juice to help keep cool in the tropical heat.
Dinner can be inexpensive - from about US$4 per person (e.g., for Chicken Rice and fruit juice) but be prepared to have to pay quite a bit more if you order seafood.
Favorite Dish: My family and I love to eat Oyster Omelette from this Hawker Centre - tasty fresh oysters and savoury omelette with a special vinagary chilli sauce - can't get this anywhere else (about US$3.50).
I hate to be a spoilsport and think that Newton would fit a lot of people's tastes, but it is not as good as the East Coast seafood places or the Geylang hawker stalls. Newton is very centrally located and used to tourists.
Our 1st meal in Singapore was pretty expensive. We ate grilled shrimp and other seafoods but forgot to check the price first. Shrimp cost S$70 for one kg and we had grilled shrimp for 900 grams. Haha ... so this meal was most expensive meal of us in Singapore, it's about S$140 which we could spend it for a whole day.
Favorite Dish: Of Course, seafoods that we paid!
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