Last Updated: July 7, 2019
Your mother was right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and you deserve the best that Singapore has to offer. A hearty breakfast really does wonders in both lifting your moods and providing you with the energy to power through the day.
Amidst the hype of all the fancy new brunch places popping up around the island, we thought to bring you a list of local places that open before 11am instead. From humble kaya toasts to intricate xiao long baos, we trawl Singapore to find you some of the country’s best affordable breakfast spots.
Tucked away in the arcs of Tai Thong Crescent sits an old coffee shop, unassuming yet constantly humming with activity. River South (Hoe Nam) Prawn Noodles 河南肉骨大虾面 has been generating serious buzz amongst food lovers for its simple, unfussy bowls of fresh prawn noodles.
The soup from the Big Prawns and Pork Rib Noodles (S$5.50) was robust and packed such intense and rich flavour that it was impossible to stop after the first sip. The delicious soup is a result of boiling a huge amount of fresh prawns and pork bones, which are left to simmer for over 24 hours.
The soup was accompanied by well-prepared noodles coated in thick, flavourful zhup.
You can choose from a variety of ingredients to go with your fresh prawns such as pork ribs, pig tail and baby abalone.
A popular haunt for many locals and executives working in the area, this is definitely one of my favourites.
River South (Hoe Nam) Prawn Noodles 河南肉骨大虾面: 31 Tai Thong Crescent, Singapore 347859 | Tel: +65 6281 9293 | Opening Hours: 6.30am – 4.30pm & 6pm – 4.30am (Tue – Sun), Closed on Mon
Singaporeans are blessed with several top quality bak kut teh stalls that introduced the meltingly tender slabs of pork ribs swimming in complex broths of herbs and spices. And Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Eating House 黄亚细肉骨茶餐室 is one of them.
The herbal Pork Ribs Soup (S$7.50) is strong in taste yet not too complex and overpowering, so it was very easy to make out the aroma of pepper and garlic. The combination of the two, together with pork ribs and a blend of herbs results in the hallmark robust flavour that Ng Ah Sio is best known for.
Universally adored by the masses for its traditional Teochew coffee shop atmosphere and choice pork ribs, expect the venue to be perennially packed, even for breakfast.
Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Eating House 黄亚细肉骨茶餐室 : 208 Rangoon Road, Hong Building, Singapore 218453 | Tel: +65 6291 4537 | Opening Hours: 7am – 10pm (Daily) | Website
Indulge yourself with a little piece of the Malay culture in Haig Road Food Centre with a humble bowl of mee rebus from Afandi Hawa & Family Mee Rebus.
A thick, rich broth coats the yellow noodles with delectable flavours. I’ve never been one to appreciate mee rebus (not really a yellow noodle fan), but the noodles here are definitely a force to be reckoned with. Done to al dente perfection, the noodles boast a springy consistency and were truly delicious.
Afandi Hawa & Family Mee Rebus: 14 Haig Road, #01-21, Haig Road Cooked Food Centre, Singapore 430014 | Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm (Daily)
If you’ve got a hankering for a good bowl of fish soup to start your morning right, look no further than Zion 91 An Shun Fish Soup. With a growing reputation for its unique take on the well-known Singaporean seafood dish, this one is a must-try.
In their Fish Soup (S$4.50), you can find breaded fish freshly fried to perfection. Served separately from the bowl of soup to maintain crispness, this is different from most fish soup stalls, which serves the fried fish bits immersed in the soup.
The soup is clear yet distinct in taste, nothing too complex but just enough with a slight piquancy. If you’re a fan of thick, creamy broths like me, don’t be shy to ask the Uncle to add evaporated milk to your bowl of soup for a thicker, concentrated flavour!
Zion 91 An Shun Fish Soup: Block 206 Toa Payoh North, #01-1197, Bee Chow Hng Eating House, Singapore 310206 | Opening Hours: 10am – 7pm (Mon – Sat), Closed on Sun
No. 1 Adam’s Nasi Lemak boasts a wide selection of set meal options we could choose from.
We settled on the Sutra Special (S$4.50) which consists of a piece of otah, a chicken wing, fried ikan bilis and peanuts, an egg and rice. The ingredients in the dish are delicious and the chilli was absolutely fragrant, however, the highlight has definitely got to be the rice.
Featuring a variety of long grain rice called the Basmati, which literally translates to “fragrant”, the rice has a typical pandan-like flavour. Coupled with the infusion of coconut milk, the rice is good enough to eat on its own.
No. 1 Adam’s Nasi Lemak: 2 Adam Road, #01-01, Adam Road Food Centre, Singapore 289876 | Opening Hours: 8am – 2pm (Wed – Mon), Closed on Tue
Toa Payoh Hwa Heng Beef Noodle 大芭窑华兴牛肉粉 is a legendary spot unbeknownst to only a handful.
The Beef Noodle Dry (S$4) came with a bowl of soup and a bowl of noodles coated in a very thick and flavourful gravy that was very stout in flavour.
I was also very pleasantly surprised to spot specks of minced beef swimming amongst the braised gravy. Just be sure to mix the noodles and broth well!
My guess is the beef slices were probably blanched raw to achieve the perfectly soft, tender consistency. Fragments of kiam chye (salted pickled mustard) are scattered over the dish for a slight sourness, preventing it from getting too jelak.
Toa Payoh Hwa Heng Beef Noodles 大芭窑华兴牛肉粉 : 29 Bendemeer Road, #01 – 01, Singapore 330029 | Opening Hours: 10am – 2.30pm (Wed – Sun), Closed on Mon & Tues
Easily making it into my list for being both the most and least favourite places to dine at, Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles 大华猪肉粿条面 is literally the quote “happiness is worth the wait” in a physical form.
We stood in a queue for almost 40 minutes just to acquire a bowl of minced pork noodles, but I would say we were handsomely rewarded for our patience.
I wouldn’t go so far as to label it the best bak chor mee (minced pork noodles) in Singapore, but I can understand the reason for its huge number of loyal followers. A perfect synchronization of vinegar, pork, noodles and chill, topped with delectable wontons — the Pork Noodle, Dry (S$5) is indeed a textbook ‘A’ grade dish.
The noodles grew on you the more you ate them, featuring a springy consistency that I really enjoy. My only qualm is that the serving was a little too small, and I was famished from all the queuing.
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle 大华猪肉粿条面: Block 466 Crawford Lane, #01-12, Tai Hwa Eating House, Singapore 190466 | Tel: +65 6292 7477 | Opening Hours: 9.30am – 9pm (Tue – Sun), Closed on Mon
The carrot cake is a dish almost all locals can identify and are familiar with. Since its humble advent on our shores, the chai tow kuay (literally translates to white radish cakes) have taken on several analogous forms; some are fried with sweet black sauce, some fried plain.
Not as decorated as many of its modern-styled counterparts, the folks at Song Zhou Luo Bo Gao 松州萝卜糕 stuck to their roots and have been producing traditional servings of White Carrot Cake (S$2.50) stir-fried with eggs, preserved radish and other seasonings, forsaking impractical decorative garnishes.
Comprising of a generous amount of chye poh (salted white radish) and garlic, the carrot cake is expertly fried to a fragrant heap of disarray.
Song Zhou Luo Bo Gao: Block 207 New Upper Changi Road, #01-18, Bedok Interchange Food Centre, Singapore 460207 | Tel: +65 6444 6440 | Opening Hours: 6.30am – 8pm (Mon – Sat), Closed on Sun
Trouncing scores of its congee counterparts to rank top in my “Porridge Hall of Fame” is Li Fang Zhou Pin 丽芳粥品. This humble little porridge stall was initially at ABC Brickworks Food Centre in Bukit Merah, then moved to Queen Street.
The key element that really impressed me was the consistency of the porridge, heavy yet very smooth throughout. Served with a piece of you tiao (fried doughstick), you get to choose from a wide array of dishes to go along with the porridge, such as shredded chicken, slices of fish and even salmon!
Li Fang Porridge 丽芳粥品: Block 270 Queen Street, #01-78, Singapore 180270 | Tel: +65 9634 7050 | Opening Hours: 7am – 10pm (Daily)
What’s better than enjoying a hearty serving of delicious roti prata and Indian cuisine? Enjoying a hearty serving of delicious Roti Prata and Indian cuisine in an air-conditioned restaurant!
Call me a “mountain tortoise” (slang for country bumpkin), but Springleaf Prata Place is the first air-conditioned prata house I’ve been to.
The Cheese Prata (S$2.50) was exceptionally good, and went along very well with the wide range of curries they had available. The crust was thin yet substantial, and the amount of cheese was very generous as well.
Fried to a crisp on the outside, yet warm and soft on the inside, this is definitely one of the better pratas I have eaten.
Kway chap lovers, rejoice! Gone are the days of worrying whether the delicious ingredients of pig stomach and intestines have been cleaned or washed thoroughly because they smell ‘funky’.
The Kway Chap (S$3.50) served at Guan Kee Kway Chup 源记粿汁 are sliced open and thoroughly washed, each piece looking clean and fresh without compromising on flavour. The accompanying zhup is slightly herbal, and the ingredients go very well with the slightly sour chilli sauce.
Guan Kee opens the latest in this list, at 11am instead, but it’s so good we had to include it in as a late breakfast option.
Guan Kee Kuay Chup 源记粿汁 : Block 210 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, #01-24, Singapore 310210 | Tel: +65 9739 6960 | Opening Hours: Sat & Sun 11am – 8pm (Tue & Wed, Sat & Sun), Closed on Mon, Thu & Fri
The magic formula to an exceptional breakfast: dipping greasy you tiao (fried doughsticks) into smooth, syrup-coated tubs of beancurd.
Situated beside the renowned Rochor Original, Beancurd City 豆花城 is actually the product of a dispute between brothers, both owners of each stall respectively. Frankly, I don’t find much of a difference between the two stalls, but many beancurd aficionados will beg to differ.
Beancurd City’s rendition of the Beancurd (S$1.20) has a very smooth consistency that we really enjoyed. Dipping the golden brown you tiao into the bowl of beancurd just sets you up for an experience so heart-warming and satisfyingly good, that you’ll find yourself smiling throughout the entire meal.
Beancurd City: 4 Short Street, Singapore 188212 | Opening Hours: 1pm – 10pm (Mon – Sat), Closed on Sun
Chin Mee Chin Confectionery is the place to go to if you’re looking for authentic traditional Singapore breakfast sets. Conventionally, this consists of kaya toasts, half-boiled eggs and a fragrant cup of kopi-o.
Be charmed by the marbled table-tops and wooden chairs, the hushed whir of its old-school ceiling fans and the simple plates and cutlery — a much familiar sight decades ago.
Be sure not to miss the Chin Mee Chin Kaya Buns. These lightly toasted buns are covered with a generous amount of kaya and butter which gently melts on account of the warmth of the buns.
Chin Mee Chin Confectionery: 204 East Coast Road, Singapore 428903 | Tel: +65 6345 0419 | Opening Hours: 8.30am – 4pm (Tue – Sun), Closed on Mon
When it comes to local breakfast delights, these steamed rice cakes need no introduction. Available in most hawker centres, the chwee kuehs come in five to seven pieces per serving. These are usually topped with diced preserved radish (chye poh) and chilli sauce.
The mark of a truly great chwee kueh is the perfect amalgamation of these elements.
Bedok Chwee Kueh 勿洛水粿, which has five branches now instead of just the one at Bedok, seems to have mastered the art of the chwee kueh.
You’ll never forget that first sumptuous bite of the combination of their steamed rice cakes. The perfect consistency with the sweet and slightly salty chye poh is complete with the spicy kick of the chilli sauce. Polishing every last bit of chye poh off the plate is mandatory, the “shiok ah!” after that is optional.
Bedok Chwee Kueh: 207 New Upper Changi Road, #01-19, Bedok Interchange Food Centre, Singapore 460207 | Opening Hours: 6.30am – 9.30pm (Daily)
Block 628 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, #01-96, Singapore 560628 | Opening Hours: 6.30am – 9.30pm (Daily)
Block 453A Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, #01-209, Chong Boon Food Centre, Singapore 561453 | Opening Hours: 6.30am – 7.30pm (Daily)
Block 448 Clementi Avenue 3, #01-32, Singapore 120448 | Opening Hours: 6.30am – 9.30pm (Daily)
Finding xiao long baos of good quality only in posh restaurants with steep prices are a thing of the past. These soup dumplings are a common sight in most hawker centres nowadays.
Not the most conventional of Singaporean breakfasts, Dong Ji Xiao Long Bao 东记手拉面小笼包 is, however, an all-in-one package.
The uneven circular cascade of ripples around the crown of each Xiao Long Bao (S$4) indicates that each dumpling is handmade.
The tender and smooth skin made of dough delicately enveloped mouthwatering portions of minced pork, amongst other ingredients, as well as a savoury serving of soup within that explodes with flavour in my mouth.
Dong Ji La Mian Xiao Long Bao 东记手拉面小笼包: 207 New Upper Changi Road, #01-14, Bedok Interchange Food Centre, Singapore 460207 | Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Daily)
Are there any other favourite Singapore breakfast dishes or spots you like? Leave a comment below and let us know!