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Where To Have Your First Taste Of Singapore Hawker Food

Where To Have Your First Taste Of Singapore Hawker Food

For the two of us, making decisions doesn’t always come easy – particularly when it comes to food. We’re always arguing about what to eat and this problem escalated recently in Singapore when we wanted to give the local fare a try.

Singapore is famous for its hawker food but where do you start? There’s of course the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice which we’ve already fallen in love with but then there are many popular options such as the Chilli Crab, Char Kway Teow and Satay all worth trying at least once.

But we didn’t want to pay for each dish that we weren’t guaranteed to enjoy.

Fortunately we were told about Makansutra Gluttons Bay before our visit and that it was the perfect place to have our introduction to a variety of Singapore hawker food.

Makansutra Gluttons Bay

What separates Makansutra Gluttons Bay from the other, more famous hawker centres is that it provides alfresco dining overlooking Marina Bay which is great. But more importantly, they offer two “Sampler” packages in which you can try 7 to 10 Asian goodies from independent stalls.

First up was our refreshment, a glass of sugar cane juice infused with lemon.

Fresh Sugarcane Juice with Lemon

Then we were onto our first dish, assorted satay in a banana leaf cone. The chicken ones were truly delicious but there was one questionable stick in there that we just couldn’t identify. We eventually agreed that it was probably a fish ball but I guess we’ll never know!

Assorted Satay with Condiments in Banana Leaf Cone

Then it was the moment we had been waiting for – our sampler plate with portions of BBQ Chicken Wing, Char Kway Teow, BBQ Stingray and pancake style Fried Carrot Cake, all served on a banana leaf platter.

The first thing we tried from the sampler was the Fried Carrot Cake (Chai Tow Kway), one of the all-time favorite local delicacies in Singapore. Strangely enough, this dish has no carrot in it whatsoever. The main ingredients are actually radish cake and plenty of eggs and our sampler was off to a positive start as we didn’t mind the flavor at all.

Makansutra Gluttons Bay Sampler

The very popular Char Kway Teow was up next, which is translated as “fried flat rice noodles”. High in saturated fat, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to enjoy the Char Kway Teow and it’s definitely something that comes down to personal taste.

Rather than mess around with forks or chopsticks, we went straight to the use our fingers for the BBQ Chicken Wings (check out Kieron below!). Before you knew it, the wings were down to just bones and it was time to try the dish we had been waiting for since we first visited Singapore in 2008.

The barbecued stingray.

Although it seems exotic, stingray is actually available at just about every hakwer centre in Singapore. We eagerly dipped our forks into the tender flesh of the fish, ready for our first taste of stingray… and it was fantastic!

The two of us nodded at each other in agreement of how good it was but just seconds later, our mouths felt like they were on fire. We battled against the fiery flavors but unfortunately the spiciness of the stingray won out meaning that we couldn’t finish it all even though we desperately wanted to.

We later learned that the sambal (chilli-based sauce) could have been ordered on the side and we took a mental note for next time – it’s essential to have the BBQ stingray with this sauce but if you can’t handle hot foods like us, ask for it separate.

Us eating the Makansutra Gluttons Bay Sampler

We picked at our food for a few more minutes before our server took away our half-empty plates and returned just minutes later with a dish of Roti Kaya Fondue. These toasted brown bread fingers come with soft butter and coconut jam for dipping and for Amy, this treat was the highlight of her night!

Roti Kaya Fondue

Just when we thought it was all over, the time had come for dessert and we each had a choice of Chendol or Cheng Tng. Rather than decide, we ordered one of each so that we could try the two options on offer.

The Chendol (top of the photo of below) was made of coconut milk, green-colored jelly, shaved ice, palm sugar and red beans while the Cheng Tng (bottom) means the ‘cooling soup’ in Chinese.

They weren’t our cup of tea (we’d much rather a cheesecake or a couple of scoops of ice-cream) but it was great to see what the Singaporeans enjoy for dessert and to be able to give it a taste.

Chendol and Cheng Tng

With all that food in our stomachs, all that was left to do was sit back and relax with a Tiger beer. This was the ideal spot to watch the 9:30pm “Wonder Full” light and water show over at Marina Bay Sands, visible from our dinner table at Makansutras Gluttons Bay.

Tiger Beer overlooking Marina Bay Sands

Our Verdict: Most of this food we wouldn’t try again, though we’d definitely come back for the BBQ Stingray (remember: sambal on the side!). For the two of us, it’s difficult to go past our favorite Hainanese Chicken Rice from the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre and that’s where we’ll be heading first for hawker food the next time we’re in Singapore… yum, yum!

Our Makansutra Gluttons Bay Sampler (Menu A) cost us $26 per person. Menu B was available for $32 per person and replaced the BBQ Stingray with Soto Ayam and Chilli Crab however dishes change with seasons and availability which ensures you’ll get the best of what’s on offer!

Makansutra LogoThe Details

Makansutras Gluttons Bay
To order the Sampler experience, just call the Refreshment Stall Manager at 8350 6577 or email [email protected] to place your bookings (do give advance notice of one day).

Have you tried any of these foods before? What did you think?

14 Comments

  1. Posted August 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Have not tried any of these foods yet but looking forward to it when we get to Singapore!
    Vicky recently posted..5 Reasons Why I Love The Olympics

    • Posted August 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      This is the ideal place to start, then you can find out what you like and order it again and again! Plus don’t miss the Chicken Rice! Let us know how you go when you try the foods.

  2. Posted August 17, 2012 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    Good find! :D I’m contemplating on booking a trip to Singapore. I went there for an event three years ago and been wanting to go back
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..Travel Photo of the Week: For the Love of Films | Seoul, South Korea

    • Posted August 18, 2012 at 12:38 am | Permalink

      Do it! There are usually cheap flights there and although it’s a little more expensive than the rest of Asia, it’s a fantastic place to visit.

  3. Posted August 17, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I love the outdoor eating with view of the light show. A full belly and a tiger beer and all is good!
    jan recently posted..My Top Travel Memories – First Timers

    • Posted August 18, 2012 at 12:39 am | Permalink

      Life doesn’t get much better, does it? The climate is just perfect for outdoor eating too!

  4. Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    The food here looks AMAZING. I’ve never heard of barbecued stingray before – thanks for the note about the sauce! Satay is so, so delicious, too. I had some in Malaysia and assume that it’s similar to the stuff in Singapore. I could eat a whole batch right about now.

    • Posted August 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      We were expecting it to taste a little strange but it honestly was great! Satay does taste pretty similar in Malaysia – we would know since we had it as an entree to dinner just about every day we were there haha.

  5. Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Gluttons Bay, what a great name. Maybe it’s supposed to be a warning that you’ll walk out of there stuffed? I had no idea BBQ stingray existed, but thanks for the heads up – it’s now on my list of new and weird foods to try!
    Callie recently posted..SNAPSHOTS FROM LIMA

    • Posted August 23, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Haha it’s a warning we didn’t take! Definitely give it a try when you have the chance, it’s much more tasty than we ever could have imagined. :)

  6. Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Oh it kills me I wasn’t around to show you my favorite stalls in Singapore! Next time (there has to be a next time, right?)! :)
    Edna recently posted..Photo Essay: Olympic Torch Relay through Islington, London

    • Posted August 23, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Of course there will be a next time! It’ll be our 5th visit to Singapore too haha – maybe the F1 Grand Prix next year? We’re desperate to go to that!

  7. Posted August 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I love trying a wide assortment of foods wherever I go, so this place sounds like heaven to me! We will absolutely have to hit this up when we make it to Singapore! And I never thought of eating stingray… glad to hear it was so good! (And I don’t really do spicy food either, though for the past year or so, I have been working on my tolerance!)

  8. Posted January 19, 2014 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Agree with your choice for Maxwell Road Hawker Centre. Singapore first-timers can’t go wrong with that. The variety of foods, the excellent taste; and yes, the Hainamese Chicken Rice is probably the most famous dish there, together with the fish soup. Or basically, whichever queue is the longest! Nearby to Maxwell, if you walk through Ann Siang Hill you can also reach Amoy Food Centre, which has excellent meatballs and fish soup as well. Farther away from the heart of the town towards Serangoon area, you can also find awesome food in Chomp Chomp Food Centre.
    Andrew Darwitan recently posted..7 Wonders of Singapore

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