11 best native Chinese food stalls in Singapore that offer more than just mala

For Singaporeans, whenever the topic of Chinese food comes up, we instinctively think of local favourites like bak chor mee, zi char, roasted meats, and more. But what about native Chinese cuisine from regions like Sichuan and Chongqing?

For those who think that native Chinese cuisine is limited to mala xiang guo, it’s time to broaden your horizons. Dishes like la zi ji (chilli chicken cubes), mapo tofu, mala grilled fish and BBQ lamb skewers possess lots of spice and bold flavours. Taste is subjective; some adore its intensity, while others find it too oily.

In the past, we had to specially make a trip down to Chinatown to have a taste of these delicacies. Well, not anymore. You’ll be surprised that over the years, various establishments have emerged at heartland kopitiams and hawker centres within our neighbourhoods. Join me as I hunt down the 11 best Chinese food stalls in Singapore that serve more than just mala.

1. Jiang’s Noodle House

native chinese food stalls - jiang's noodle front

Opened by the same folks of La Jiang Shan Hotpot just a couple of units away, Jiang’s Noodle House at Parklane Shopping Mall was an accidental find. This cosy noodle shop offers 21 types of noodles with interesting varieties like golden soup, mala, and braised beef in dry or soup options.

The clientele of this establishment consists mainly of foreign Chinese national students and adults, recognisable  by their distinct slang, which serves as an indication of the authentic food served here.

native chinese food stalls - jiang's noodle food

The Mouth-Watering Seasoned Chicken Cold Noodles (S$9.80) (my favourite!) is a bowl of cold la mian that comes with pieces of marinated chicken, peanuts, century egg wedges, cucumber slices, scallions and coriander doused in a chilli oil vinegar sauce.

The Crispy Chicken Chop Noodles (S$9.80) from the Golden Soup section comes in a bright yellow broth made of pumpkin and collagen chicken broth. It’s served together with pieces of black fungus and green cabbage with a plate of crispy chicken pieces by the side.

If you’re looking at ordering sides, why not get the Chopped Braised Pork In Grilled Bun (S$5.50)? The finely-pulled braised pork belly and leek pair complement the crumbly, flaky bun really well; just split it into 2 and share it!

35 Selegie Road, #01-10 Parklane Shopping Mall, Singapore 188307
+65 6530 3100
Daily: 11am – 10.30pm

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2. Ding Xiang Mei Shi

native chinese food stalls - ding xiang mei shi stall

If you’re visiting Geylang Bahru Hawker Centre, swing by Ding Xiang Mei Shi, operated by Mr and Mrs Zhang from Shandong, China. Although the stall has limited space, the couple handmakes their noodles, dumplings and xiao long baos in-house. There’s even a mini freezer by the side of the shop front, storing their handmade products for sale.

native chinese food stalls - ding xiang mei shi food

The Xiao Long Bao (S$6/S$12) pairs really well with their homemade chilli which packs some heat. My favourite dish over here is the Red Oil Chao Shou (S$6/S$7.80/S$9.60) where plump dumplings are soaked in a chilli oil-vinegar mixture, topped with loads of spring onions and coriander. The meat within is delicious and pairs really well with the tangy vinegar and chilli oil.

For fried food lovers, go for the Fried Dumpling (S$6/S$9/S$12) which has minced pork and loads of ku chye encased in a crispy skin. U can also slurp on a bowl of Hot and Spicy Noodles (S$5/S$6) and Minced Meat Paste Noodle (S$5/S$6).

Blk 69 Geylang Bahru, Geylang Bahru Market and Food Centre, #01-32, Singapore 330069
+65 9692 9169
Tue to Sun: 1pm – 9pm
Closed on Mon

3. Shen Yang Feng Wei

native chinese food stalls - shen yang feng wei

I’m pretty certain that the masses know about Tai Hwa Eating House at Crawford Lane, which houses a renowned Michelin-starred bak chor mee stall. However, focus your attention to the left, and you’ll spot Shen Yang Feng Wei, an under-the-radar Chinese food spot with an array of food pictures pasted all over the wall.

The owner, Chef Gao Pan hails from Jilin, China. He has been running the business for the past 14 years with occasional help from his wife. The menu offers about 20 choices for you to select  from, which is quite extensive for a single-person operation.

native chinese food stalls - shen yang feng wei food

If you arrive there on a rainy day, ordering the 酸辣汤 (Hot & Sour Soup) (S$6) will be the perfect choice. It’s generously laden with ingredients including enoki mushrooms, cubes of tofu, black fungus, carrot strips, minced meat and egg. The soup also has strong hints of pepper and vinegar for a spicy-tangy combo.

The 小笼包 (Xiao Long Bao) (S$7) are only hand-kneaded upon ordering. These delicious little morsels have a delicate skin with flavourful meat and are packed with a delectable stock. To get your noodle fix, the 炸酱面 (Zha Jiang Mian) (S$5.50) features handmade noodles that are served with a heap of shredded Japanese cucumber and the usual dark minced meat pork topping.

If you have additional stomach space, try the 锅贴 (Guo Tie) (S$7),which comes served with a crispy golden brown crust on top

466 Crawford Lane, #01-12, Singapore 190466
+65 9825 7208
Tue to Sun: 9am – 8pm
Closed on Mon

4. 友间厨坊 A Kitchen

native chinese food stalls - a kitchen stall front

A Kitchen 友间厨坊 has several outlets across Singapore. We visited the Punggol Plaza branch located in the basement and it boasts a spacious and comfortable dining environment.

We were taken aback at how reasonably-priced the meat skewers were. The Chicken Kebab, Pork Kebab, Beef Kebab and Lamb Kebab were going for just S$3 for 3 pieces. This place will entice beer lovers who enjoy eating meat and having their booze, with Tsingtao beer and China brands like Snow and Wusu available at just S$5 each.

The menu offers a diverse selection, including steamed dumplings for S$6, Grilled Scallops (S$4), Chinese Cucumber Salad (S$6), Mala Grilled Fish (S$28.80), Salted Egg Pumpkin (S$16), and more.

native chinese food stalls - A kitchen food

We tried the Lamb Kebab and Special Marinated Beef (S$3 for 3 pieces) skewers. The lamb was well marinated and flavourful with delightful pockets of fat. The beef was slightly spicy but decent as well.

We also ordered the Beef Fried Rice (S$6) which had just 3 simple ingredients— beef slices, short-grained rice and spring onions. Although it didn’t have a robust wok hei like our local-style zi char, it was still tasty and fragrant with the seasonings. Based on how authentic the dishes tasted, I was surprised that this restaurant chain is opened by a local Singaporean— the chefs are probably native Chinese.

168 Punggol Field, B1-05, Singapore 820168
+65 8644 5558
Wed to Mon: 11.15am – 11.30pm
Tue: 11.15am – 10pm

5. Thirteen BBQ Bar 十三烤吧

chinese native stalls - thirteen bar

Amidst an abundance of North-Eastern China cuisine available in Geylang, Thirteen BBQ Bar 十三烤吧 distinguishes itself with its offering of Hunan cuisine. Xiao Qi (小七), the owner from Anhui, China, hails from a family who dabbles in BBQ and food, and makes it a point to always improve the taste of the food by refining her recipes with her kitchen crew.

This comfortable eatery operates daily until 1am and does not have a GST or service charge. The menu offers a diverse range of dishes for patrons to enjoy.

chinese native stalls - thirteen bar food

We started our meal with the Supreme Soya Sauce Fried Noodle with Pork Belly (S$8), a personal favourite of mine. The chewy la mian exuded an impeccable fragrance, complemented by the perfectly runny and creamy egg, tender pork belly, and fresh green veggies— every bite was perfect.

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The Golden Pumpkin Slice Beef (S$16) had melt-in-your-mouth beef slices paired with vermicelli and an appetite-inducing broth which was spicy and tangy. We also tried the Roasted Green Pepper with Preserved Eggs (S$8) which was smokey and had a contrast in texture coming from the green peppers, chilli flakes and sesame seeds.

The Grilled Beef Skewer (S$1.20 each, min. 5 pieces) and Grilled Lamb Skewer (S$1.20 each, min. 5 pieces) were not only tender and juicy but also had a subtle cumin spice. On the other hand, the Grilled Slice Potato (S$1.50) had a subtle salted egg yolk flavour. The Bake Egg with Mince Meat in Foil (S$8) was also a winner for me.

27 Lorong 13 Geylang, Singapore 388670
+65 9807 9967
Daily: 3pm – 1am
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6. Jiang Nan Wei Dao 江南味道

chinese native stalls - taste of jiang nan

Chef Sun and his wife are natives from Shandong, China, and have been running Jiang Nan Wei Dao 江南味道 at Maxwell Food Centre for the past 3 years. Chef Sun used to work at Din Tai Fung and Paradise Group of restaurants before striking out on his own to start his hawker stall.

After many rounds of trial and testing, he has successfully mimicked the exact same seasonings used to fry the fried rice and marinate the pork chop. The dumplings and XO sauce are all handcrafted in the back-of-house kitchen as well.

chinese native stalls - taste of jiang nan food

We tried the Pork Chop Egg Fried Rice (S$6.50) and XO Egg Fried Rice (S$7.20). Indeed, the fried rice tasted like an exact replica of the restaurant chain’s signature dish. The pork chop was tender and flavourful as well. I could really taste the difference between the homemade XO sauce and over-the-counter ones, as the XO Egg Fried Rice possessed strong umami notes of the dried scallops.

We also tried his native Chinese dishes like the Prawn Wanton in Chilli Oil (S$6.50 for 8 pieces) which were silky soft and flavourful with the perfect blend of vinegar and chilli.

The Preserved Veg Fish Noodle Soup was appetite-inducing with its spicy and tangy broth. As I slurped the chewy la mian, bits of numbing pepper and chilli also got caught along for the ride. The whole combination paired really well with the muted fish slices.

1 Kadayanallur Street, Maxwell Food Centre, #01-62, Singapore 069184
+65 8342 9898
Sat to Thu: 12pm – 3pm & 5pm – 8pm
Closed on Fri

7. Gu Xiang Cun La Mian • Xiao Long Bao

chinese native stalls - Gu xiang Cun

Located within BK kopitiam at 211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8, Gu Xiang Cun La Mian • Xiao Long Bao is helmed by chefs from Shandong, a coastal province in China. Boasting a decade-long presence in Singapore, with previous locations including Kallang Bahru, the stall has an extensive selection of native Chinese favourites.

Besides the ever-popular mala hot pot, tuck into plates of Mala Beef Noodle (S$5), Sze Chuan Veg Shredded Meat La Mian (S$4.50) and an entire Fragrant Spicy Grilled Fish (S$19.90); perfect for sharing!

chinese native stalls - Gu xiang Cun food

We selected quail eggs, luncheon meat, lotus root, black fungus, beancurd skin, enoki mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, long cabbage, pork belly and sweet potato noodles for our Mala Hot Pot, totalling S$27, enough for our party of 5.

We also had the Spicy Chicken Cube (S$10) which had loads of dried chilli, Sichuan peppercorns and peanuts— absolutely delicious. The homemade steamed Shan Dong Dumpling (S$5 for 10 pieces) and Wanton w Chilli Oil La Mian (S$5) also hit all the right notes.

211 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, #01-01, Singapore 310211
+65 8615 8782
Daily: 10am – 10pm

8. Ai Shang 爱尚

native chinese food stalls - ai shang stall

If you find yourself craving for some Chinese grub while in the Yishun area, Ai Shang 爱尚 nestled within Kopitiam food court is one of the more affordable spots to get your fix. What’s so unique about this stall is the fact that aside from classic Chinese dishes, it also has innovative fusion selections that meld Chinese and Singaporean cuisines together.

native chinese food stalls - Ai shang food

The signature Laksa Dumplings (S$7.20) contains pork-filled dumplings and tau pok swimming in a luscious laksa broth. Thin skin, tender meat, flavourful coconutty broth— what’s there not to love?

The Laksa Gyoza (S$5.80) are filled generously with a rich and addictive laksa mixture, offering an interesting departure from the ordinary.

If you order the Yang Chun Noodles with Pork Ribs (S$7.80) and are looking for something to munch by the side, look out for the Value Meal priced at S$9.80 that includes 3 pieces of xiao long bao. The noodles come with a generous amount of pork ribs on top of stretchy noodles, all soaked in a savoury soup.

930 Yishun Avenue 2, Northpoint City, #B2-12, Singapore 769098
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9. Rong Xing La Mian Xiao Long Bao 荣兴拉面小笼包

native chinese food stalls - Rong Xing stall front

Situated within Redhill Food Centre is Rong Xing La Mian Xiao Long Bao 荣兴拉面小笼包, a small hawker stall run by folks from China, so you can expect authentic Chinese dishes like guo tie (pan-fried dumplings), xiao long bao, braised beef noodles, Sichuan noodles, and more.

native chinese food stalls - Rong Xing food

Go for the Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (S$4.50 for 6, S$6.80 for 10). Each delicate masterpiece has thin and supple skin encompassing a tasty meat and a full-bodied, flavourful broth.

For beef aficionados, ordering the Red Braised Beef Ramen (S$5.50) is a must. It comes with a pile of la mian, cubes of braised beef, large leaves of lettuce, black fungus, and is topped with a sprinkling of spring onions.

The Si Chuan Dan Dan Ramen (S$5) comes with minced pork and scallions submerged in a vivid red broth. For those who find the taste of dan dan noodles to be overpowering in general, Rong Xing’s rendition is pretty mild, featuring a zingy and light soup with a mild peanut taste.

85 Redhill Lane, #01-77, Redhill Food Centre, Singapore 150085
Mon: 10am – 8pm
Tue to Sun: 10am – 9pm

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10. Hong Peng La Mian Xiao Long Bao

native chinese food stalls - chinatown stall front

Hong Peng La Mian Xiao Long Bao in People’s Park Food Centre may seem just like another run-of-the-mill stall selling a variety of Chinese noodles and dumplings, but it’s so much more than that.

Interestingly enough, they also offer pig’s organ soup, congee and mee hoon kueh. You’ll be delighted to know that these are all priced reasonably, with sizable single portions going at S$4 to S$5!

native chinese food stalls - hong peng la mian food

The Dumpling in Spicy Sauce (S$5) features 12 pieces of red chilli oil dumplings, doused in a glistening mixture of chilli oil and vinegar, and generously crowned with bits of crispy chilli flakes, spring onion and coriander. You can also get the Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (S$5) for a basket of 6.

The Noodles with Bean Paste (S$4), or zha jiang mian, has a substantial portion packed with generous chunks of minced meat and cucumber shreds and slathered with black bean sauce. The noodles are springy and the sauce is robust, promising satisfaction with every bite.

32 New Market Road, People’s Park Food Centre, #01-1064, Singapore 050032
Daily: 11am – 9pm

11. Wan Wan Xiang

native chinese food stalls - wan wan xiang stall

While hunting for fishes at the various aquarium shops within the neighbourhood of Serangoon North Avenue 2, I stumbled upon Wan Wan Xiang at Coffee & Tea kopitiam.

This 9-month business specialises in a melange of noodle dishes and dumplings, overseen by a friendly lady owner, a Chongqing, China native. The region’s unique styles and flavours are imbued into the food she serves.

native chinese food stalls - wan wan xiang food

The Chongqing Xiaomian (S$5) with the lowest spice level consists of a bed of la mian at the base, minced pork, roasted peanuts, soybean sprouts and sliced spring onions. The minced meat is savoury and contains bits of grounded Sichuan peppers, which imparts a subtle numbing effect on the tongue. The peanuts, cabbage pieces and soybean sprouts add elements of crunch and texture to it.

The Hot and Sour Rice Noodles (S$5) has transparent strings of sweet potato starch noodles with the same ingredients as the Chongqing Xiaomian with the addition of green kelp strands which inject hints of umami-ness and saltiness. Remember to add a dash of black vinegar to elevate the experience.

Starting at 4pm daily, the stall also offers a selection of over 20 skewers, spanning from meats to fresh vegetables. You’ll also have the freedom to choose your desired level of spiciness. I recommend the Lamb (S$1.50), Shiitake Mushroom (S$1) and Broccoli (S$1).

151 Serangoon North Avenue 2, Singapore 550151
Wed to Mon: 11.30am – 9pm
Closed on Tue

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