Feb 01 2012
Singapore may be famous for its street food, but in this sterile city-state only one place remains where you can literally dine on the street. After dark, busy Smith Street is blocked off from traffic to become Chinatown Food Street, where you can feast on fried noodles and Tiger Beer beneath the red lanterns.
While most of Singapore’s street-chefs have been corralled into hawker centres, on Chinatown Food Street they still work their culinary magic from stalls set up right on the footpath. First, settle in to one of the tables on the street then get in line at one of the food stalls to order and collect your meal.
Chinatown Food Street may not have as many options as nearby Maxwell Road Food Centre, but all the dishes on offer are Singaporean classics. The barbecued stingray from the Boon Tat stall is some of the best in the city and they do other seafood dishes like squid and fish served on banana leaves. As you might expect, the focus is on Chinese Singaporean dishes and other popular choices are the fried carrot cake, oyster omelettes, chicken rice, fishball noodle soup, and sinfully delicious char kway teow — a stir-fry of prawns, cockles, sausage, noodles and lard. If you’ve saved room for dessert try the ice kachang, a big bowl of shaved ice with fruit and syrup, which is very refreshing on a tropical evening.
Adding to its appeal, Chinatown Food Street is quite affordable. With the exception of the fresh seafood, most dishes cost around S$5 and a big bottle of Tiger Beer goes for S$6.90. While some Chinatown restaurants advertise lower beer prices, Food Street still works out to be the best value since there isn’t an extra charge for service. But do make sure you visit the ATM before dinner because payment is in cash only.
A simple dinner amid the sights and sounds of Smith Street has been a Chinatown must-do for more than 10 years, but the Singapore Tourism Board has big plans for a make-over. While it would be nice if Chinatown Food Street got some upgrades like its own bathrooms, it would be a shame to see this taste of Singapore’s past become over-commercialised.
Chinatown Food Street
along Smith Street
Most stalls 17:00-23:00
Nearest MRT: Chinatown
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