Food

10 Hipster Hawker Centres & Coffeeshops In Singapore That Are Reinventing Hawker Culture

Last Updated: November 27, 2017

Written by Peixuan Yong

If there’s one thing we locals can all agree upon, it’s that Singaporeans are crazy about food. Our hawker culture has become such a huge influence on our lives that it is almost impossible to live without our beloved char kway teow and kopi peng.

With the younger crowd being all about food aesthetics, hipster vibes and contemporary cuisine, it comes as no surprise that the recent shift in the food and beverage industry is also making waves in the hawker scene of Singapore. While we’re not about to lose our favourite hawkers for good, we can’t deny that the change is real.

You’ve probably seen them popping up all around your neighbourhood, these quirky food establishments that somewhat resemble the usual hawker places but not entirely so. From the fairy lights to the minimalistic layout and not to mention, the atypical food fare, you’ll definitely be blown away by this new influx of food stalls. 

Here’s a list of 10 hipster hawker centres and coffeeshops in Singapore that you should totally check out!

—Central—

1. District 20 @ M38 Jalan Peminpin

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Tucked away in the quiet industrial area of Jalan Peminpin, you’ll never quite notice this posh coffeeshop unless you’ve actually lived in the area. While it might not look like much just based on its exterior, the rustic setting of the dining area is bound to impress.

If you’re thinking of this eatery as just another fancy kopitiam, you’ve never been so wrong. The establishment is home to a variety of cuisines. From your regular zi char, to Asian fusion and grilled items, you’ll definitely find something suited to your taste buds here at District 20.

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Did we mention that the popular Seasalt eatery is located here too? There’s nothing quite like enjoying your favourite seafood without inflicting too much damage to your wallet.

Psst, they’ve even got free WiFi!

District 20: 38 Jln Pemimpin, Singapore 577178

2. Pasar Bella at The Grand Stand

As the saying goes, “Bukit Timah is the place where rich people stay.” It comes as no surprise then that the most atas hawker-style food place yet has to be Pasar Bella at The Grandstand Bukit Timah.

While much of the food fare is food truck-inspired dishes presented in a farmer’s market concept, the stalls have kept their cookery close to the signature Singapore style. Just take a good look at the well-browned crisp skin of that pork roast; that won’t look out of place in any atas restaurant!

Also, can we just say that the alcohol selection is absolutely on point here? I for one would never say no to a craft beer. 

Pasar Bella at The Grand Stand: 200 Turf Club Road, Singapore 287994

3. FIVE Square

There are days when work just gets the better of us and we can’t be bothered to wrestle the office crowd home. That’s alright, because you’ll still be able to get your hawker fix and wind down after a long day’s work in the central business district with FIVE Square.

Unlike typical coffeeshops, this place cooks up some pretty amazing Asian-fusion cuisine with artisanal beverages on the side.

If you’re a sports fan, you’ll be glad to know that you can also binge watch live telecasts of soccer matches with some chilled drinks – just pop by to the bar next door and enjoy the liquor of your choice at one of the cheapest rates in Singapore.

If you’re game for a round of pool or darts, you’ll be delighted to know that they have that too at this hipster coffeeshop.

FIVE Square: 1 Pickering St, #01-03 Great Eastern Centre, Singapore 048659

4. Essen at The Pinnacle

We know how the hippy youngsters have kind of a thing for cafe culture. If that sounds like you, you’ll love Essen at The Pinnacle.

Iconic cafe hopping foods have been repackaged into a glamorous food court. You’ll find all the gourmet burgers, wings, pizzas and seafood right there, all in one place.

If the yummylicious selection at Garcons and Two Wings aren’t already enough to entice you, just check out this impressively long bar counter. There’s really quite an extensive list of alcoholic beverages for you to choose from. Craft beers and ciders at a food court, are you kidding me?!

Essen at The Pinnacle: 1 Cantonment Rd #01-01, Singapore 080001

—East—

5. AlibabaR Hawker Bar

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Gone are the days where you’ll spot all the kopitiam uncles hanging out all day sipping their beers and catching the latest football matches. Football, beers and lepak-time ain’t just for the old folks.

At the AlibabaR Hawker Bar, even the youngsters can hang out with a bucket of bottled beer. Located in the Katong area, this is a bustling spot that’s hard to miss. 

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In the day, you’ll find regular kopitiam food served with a modern twist. The Hokkien Mee laced with an ample amount of crispy lard is our absolute favourite.

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By night, the space becomes a bar and bistro. Watch the bar light up and get busy with the drinks as the soccer crowd swamps in to catch the match that’s on for that night.

This might be the perfect place for you to chill out and hang with your homies if you’re an Eastie. 

AlibabaR Hawker Bar: 125 East Coast Road, Singapore 428810

6. The Bedok Marketplace

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Now, this is what you call a hidden gem. How many of you who frequent Simpang Bedok for supper have noticed this hawker centre located right above the supermarket? 

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This fairly recent revamped hawker centre hopes to deliver a brand new take on your hawker experience. You’ll find a good mix of the typical traditional hawker food fare along with new favourites of the hipster food culture.

The innovative and experiential recipes that you can find here come at a fraction of the prices of those at cafes and upscale dining restaurants. 

Make sure you try the delicious skewers from Burning Oak when you’re there! 

The Bedok Marketplace: 348 Bedok Road Level 2, The Bedok Marketplace, Singapore 469560

7. Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre – The Fareground

This one hasn’t even opened yet but we’re already super excited.

We know this hawker centre is still under wraps but this coming November 2017, a brand-new food joint in the East will be ready to greet its first customers. Hey hipsters in the Pasir Ris area, you’ve got a new hang out spot!

Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre Artist Impression 2

Credit: NTUC Foodfare

Just take a look at this artist’s illustration of what this food establishment will look like – we sure see a lot of yummy potential.

Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre: Pasir Ris Town Park, Singapore

—North—

8. Yishun Park Hawker Centre

  

You’ve definitely seen, or at least heard of this much-raved about hipster hawker centre. Here’s why this new addition to the hawker culture in Singapore is nothing short of awesome.

For budding foodie instagrammers, this would be a whole new hawker dining experience for you. From the vibrant colours of the pumpkin and beetroot noodles to the cartoon-inspired Happy Panda Salad Set, everything at Yummy Salad House screams, “Just take a picture of me already!” 

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If you’re going for visionary reinterpretations of local classics, give the Baked Roti Prata from Midas Every Touch Is Gold and the Chilli Crayfish Hor Fun from Xin Long Xing a try. We’re telling you, there’s no going back after the first bite.

Here at Yishun Park Hawker Centre, you’ll also find Erdinger on tap and various bespoke ciders. You’ll just know that this is a hipster establishment by looking at the drinks selection. 

What’s more, you can indulge yourself in a little bit of childhood nostalgia and have a go at the pinball machines with a beer in hand. Now that’s not something you see every day. 

Yishun Park Hawker Center: 51 Yishun Avenue 11, Singapore 768867

—West—

9. Timbre+

From the container stalls to the street art graffiti and neon signs, you won’t find a more hipster hawker centre in Singapore than Timbre+. This would not feel even a tiny bit like Singapore, if not for the local food repertoire and the classic slippers-and-shorts combination that you’ll spot on its patrons.

If you’re wondering what kind of food is served here, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the decent spread. The stalls have definitely taken local delights and stepped it up a notch.

Popular names like the Dancing Crab Shack as well as Wong Kee Noodles should be enough to draw you in.  

If not, come for the interesting Spanish Suckling Pig and layered food blocks by Food Anatomy.

Youngsters looking to chill out till late with their cliques will be glad to know that this establishment opens till after midnight with live music performances daily.

Timbre+: 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent, JTC LaunchPad @ one-north, Singapore 139957

10. Salute Coffeeshop

Decked in signature blue checkered tablecloths and striking coffeeshop red chairs, you’ll be able to spot this establishment from afar. Salute looks pretty much like your average coffeeshop at first glance till you get a glimpse of some of the menus. 

This hawker centre has not one, not two, but FOUR delicious cuisines for you to choose from, all under one roof. Not to mention, the dishes are plated very much like those that you’d find in fine dining restaurants, except at a much more affordable price point.

Cheap dining with a little bit of class? We can happily get down with that. 

Salute Coffeeshop: 119 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-40, Singapore 151119

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