Besides the Chinatown Food Street, there are an abundance of other good hawker centres (or food centres) around Singapore’s Chinatown. The main difference between these “other” hawker centres and the Chinatown Food Street, is that these hawker centres provide a way more authentic local experience, way more variety, and way cheaper price to eat and drink. Here is a quick overview of the three hawker centres around Chinatown that I recommend to check out.
1. Maxwell Food Centre
Just across the street from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is the historic Maxwell Food Centre. It is most definitely one of the most famous food centres in Singapore. Even celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain did a segment of his television travel show, No Reservations, here at Maxwell Centre in which he sampled chicken rice at the Tian Tian Chicken Rice Stall.
2. People’s Park Food Centre
Just beside the People’s Park Complex shopping centre, is the People’s Park Food Centre. It is a sprawling food centre on the first floor serving a wide variety of Chinese food. Because of the influx of mainland Chinese people there, you will also find some nice food stalls selling handmade pork dumplings (just like how its made in Northern China). It’s usually packed during lunch and dinner hours, so make sure you arrive a little bit earlier to grab a seat.
3. Chinatown Complex
Just behind the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple on the same side as the Chinatown Food Street is the Chinatown Complex. The Chinatown Complex is a local market that sell produce and meats on the basement floor, clothes and accessories on the main floor, and lastly but not least, food on the second floor. It used to be a very grungy place with moldy tiles and rusting seats, but about 4 to 5 years ago a major renovation and revamp to the entire Chinatown Complex was done, which breathed new life into this market.
The food area on the second floor is huge. I estimate that it probably has the most stalls out of all the other hawker centres in the Chinatown area. It is so big that they split the food centre into 4 sections, easily visible by the different colour code of each section: Yellow, Blue, Red, and Green.
You can never go hungry at Singapore’s Chinatown. The above 3 places are probably the best hawker centres to eat at in Singapore’s Chinatown. They all have plenty of variety, and the prices for the meals there are quite cheap!