I first became acquainted with char siew 叉燒 in primary school when my friend ordered a bowl of wanton noodles and picked out these reddish slices of meat for me. After that first encounter, I began to explore my options and soon fell in love with the saucy plates of char siew rice and when I was feeling adventurous, I would opt for roasted pork noodles.
This Cantonese delicacy has worked into the hearts of many and yet many of the truly good stalls that serve char siew rice remain more or less obscure to the younger generation. The following char siew guide has been created (with one or two horrible puns) to help fellow char siew lovers navigate their way to quality food. Let the goodness en-siew!
1. Hong Kong 88 Roast Meat Specialist
From Tampines to Bedok and its latest spot in Lavender, Hong Kong 88 Roast Meat Specialist is a hidden gem that serves beautifully charcoal-roasted meats that melt in your mouth.
Nothing says satisfaction like smoky, tender barbeque pork, with the perfect fat-to-meat ratio. Their bak kwa-like char siew is laboriously prepared in the stall daily, so do note that it might only be available from 11am onwards, despite their early opening hours.
153 Tyrwhitt Road, Qinan Building, Singapore 207566
+65 8225 2495
Tue to Sun: 9am – 3.30pm
Closed on Mon
2. Roast Paradise
Nestled in the corner of Old Airport Road Food Centre, lies Roast Paradise. A humble stall that manages to steal the limelight with its KL-style char siew and snaking long queues.
It’s really no surprise that they’re such a hot favourite, seeing that their Malaysian style of char siew is fattier, more caramelised and charred than others. For just S$4.50, you’ll get a decent portion of aromatic rice topped with thick cuts of char siew, drizzled with their special dark sauce.
3. New Rong Liang Ge Cantonese Roast Duck
Situated in an alleyway along Queen Street, New Rong Liang Ge Cantonese Roast Duck might be hidden but it’s not hard to notice with its crazy long queues. Their menu is extensive and wallet-friendly, with a normal plate of char siew rice priced at just S$3.
While their meats are not earth-shatteringly amazing, their sauce, on the other hand, will have you running back for more. Gooey, sweet and flavourful, this comforting sauce takes their char siew rice to a whole new level.
269B Queen Street, #01-235, Singapore 182269
+65 9451 9669
Daily: 7am to 9pm
4. Jiu Jiang Shao La
Besides selling exceptional roast duck, Jiu Jiang Shao La is also known for making a mean plate of char siew rice as well. If you love your barbeque pork on a slightly sweeter note, then you’ll love their sweet caramelised char siew, drenched in their signature dark, honey sauce.
I highly recommend their roast meat medley of roast duck, char siew, and roast pork belly for the ultimate meat feast at only S$5!
Block 20 Ghim Moh Road, Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre, #01-17, Singapore 270020
Thu to Sun: 10am – 2pm
Closed Mon to Wed
5. Fu Shun Jin Ji Shao La Mian
Bored of your normal char siew rice? Fu Shun Jin Ji Shao La Mian sells delectable bowls of eggy noodles topped with tender pieces of char siew! Established in 2008, this hawker stall has since become a crowd favourite over at Maxwell Food Centre.
You can choose between their lean or fat cuts, but be sure to give their lean cuts a try and you might just be surprised at how tender and juicy it is.
1 Kadayanallur Street, Maxwell Food Centre, #01-71, Singapore 069184
Daily: 10.30am – 8pm
6. Zhen Zhu Fang Roasted Delights
Listed in the Michelin Guide with a Michelin Plate for several years, Zhen Zhu Fang Roasted Delights is a must-try for all char siew enthusiasts. Known for their consistency and affordable pricing, their signature sauce and well-marinated smoky meat has a distinct Cantonese flavour, which sets them apart from other stalls.
34 New Market Road, People’s Park Food Centre, #01-1098, Singapore 050032
+65 6534 5404
Daily: 9am – 9pm
7. Hua Fong Kee Roasted Duck
I visited Hua Fong Kee Roasted Duck around lunchtime when the place was teeming with office workers on their mid-day break and while it was slightly tough to find a vacant seat, the servers at the hawker went out of their way to clear tables and promptly serve the plate of char siew rice.
Hua Fong Kee Char Siew Rice (S$3.50)
Unlike many other char siew stalls, the slices of char siew served here were thinner and of a smaller portion but they were very generous with the thick syrupy sauce which is always a bonus!
128 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310128
+65 6251 5192
Daily: 8am – 10pm
8. 金興香港燒臘 Kim Heng HK Roasted Meat
Kim Heng HK Char Siew Rice (S$4.30)
Located in a more mellow part of Serangoon, Kim Heng Coffeeshop houses one of the better char siew stalls in Singapore and it is fortunate that this coffeeshop was very easily accessible by bus. Kim Heng HK Roasted Meat’s char siew is tender, very flavourful and paired with sweet gravy and chunks of roasted pork belly, the char siew dish was sublime.
214 Serangoon Avenue 4, #01-88, Singapore 550214
+65 6283 3695
Daily: 8.30am – 7pm
9. 湘记烧肉叉烧饭 Xiang Ji Roasted Meat
Xiang Ji Roasted Meat is one notable char siew stall for they serve a good number of char siew dishes from wanton noodles to char siew rice. A fragrant roasted sauce is used instead of the conventional dark sauce to make the wanton noodles dish and the char siew they serve is tender, well-marinated and goes very nicely with the slightly sweet, but mostly savoury sauce used.
302 Choa Chu Kang Ave 4, Singapore 680302
Daily: 10am – 9pm
10. Fei Fei Roasted Noodle
The char siew at Fei Fei Roasted Noodle is juicy, fatty, and simply fantastic for this stall that specialised in Cantonese cuisine which refrains from adding red colouring to their meats. Many have the char siew here with noodles which come nicely sauced up and slightly spiced.
While this stall is a definite must-try, patrons who seek this plate of goodness out have to be wary of the closing hours of the stall for they run out of char siew rather quickly so make haste!
Blk 254 Jurong East St 24, Yuhua Village Market Food Centre, #01-28, Singapore 600254
Mon to Sat: 9am – 12.30pm
11. Tiong Bahru Lee Hong Kee Cantonese Roasted
Having been in the business for a long-time coming, it is impressive to know that the stall owners at Tiong Bahru Lee Hong Kee Cantonese Roasted still take pride in maintaining a consistently high quality of the roasted meats they serve. The char siew at this stall is very flavourful and paired with the sweet gravy, one can expect only good things from ordering a plate of char siew rice from this stall.
30 Seng Poh Road, #02-60, Singapore 168898
Fri to Wed: 9am – 8pm
Closed on Thu
12. Tien Lai Rice Stall
For simply S$2.50 a plate, one can get a nice serving of char siew rice at this more ulu food centre in Jurong, which is completely worth the money. While the char siew Tien Lai Rice Stall serves are mostly meaty, flavourful, and just splendid, it is advisable to visit this stall earlier at around 11am to make sure you do not get cuts of meat you’d rather not have.
For someone like me who is not exactly a big fan of fatty meats, I find myself getting disappointed when I arrive later and get fattier, less meaty cuts of char siew.
3 Yung Sheng Road, Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre, #02-66, Singapore 618499
+65 9671 9441
Sun to Fri: 9.30am – 1pm
Closed on Sat
13. Fu Shi Traditional Roasted
All you Northies are blessed to have this stall right at your doorstep. With over 10 years of experience at Shunfu Mart before relocating to Marsiling Mall, this stall is a gem that’s not to be missed.
Already evident from the running lines formed at the stall, the char siew rice/wanton noodle served at Fu Shi Traditional Roasted is absolutely brilliant. The slices of char siew are succulent, oozing with flavours and nicely-charred on the slightly reddish outer skin of the meat. The dark, honeyed sauce helps to tantalise your taste buds even further and does nothing but satisfy your every char siew desire.
34 Woodlands Street 12, Marsiling Mall Hawker Centre, #01-01/02, Singapore 738623
+65 9237 8157
Wed to Sun: 11am – 7pm
Closed on Mon and Tue
14. Alex’s Eating House
Alex’s Eating House Char Siew Rice (S$4)
Noted to be one of the stalls in Singapore to serve the best HK-style roasted meats, Alex’s Eating House definitely does not disappoint when it comes to serving quality char siew rice. The char siew here has the perfect combination of fatty and meaty and the only problem is that they are sold out rather quickly.
One can order a bowl of lotus soup for a mere S$1.50 which is fantastic for the steamy, slightly salty herbal soup helps to cleanse your palate after a hearty meal of tender meats and heavy sauces.
87 Beach Road, Chye Sing Building, #01-01, Singapore 189695
+65 6334 0268
Daily: 8am – 6pm
15. Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint
Kay Lee Char Siew Rice with Sio Bak (S$5)
Having heard of this famed char siew joint and learning from a friend that someone once paid a million dollars to buy Kay Lee’s char siew recipe over, I made it a personal quest to hunt this eatery out.
I found the char siew at Kay Lee’s to be unique in the way that they do not add unnatural colouring to their char siew meats, hence the blackened outer skin of the meat. The char siew, which is chopped in thick slices, was flavourful and had a lovely charred taste that was not overbearing in any way.
We ordered a mug of Kay Lee’s Ice Lemon Tea for we were told it was one of their signature drinks. It was definitely not a regrettable decision to downing the refreshing, sweet, and tangy drink after our rather hearty char siew meal was very lovely.
16. Uncle Louis Hainanese Chicken Rice
I’ve fallen into the habit of ordering my Char Siew Rice with Roasted Pork ($3.50) which is always a good idea when ordering from Uncle Louis Hainanese Chicken Rice. Apart from the succulent and drenched-in-sauce char siew, the roasted pork’s crispy crackling skin pairs very nicely with the more tender pieces of char siew.
Another thing I adore about the char siew dish served at Uncle Louis is that it comes with a nice steamy bowl of chicken & cabbage soup. Savoury and not too oily, the soup makes for a perfect accompanying dish with the char siew rice.
17. Lau Phua Chay Authentic Roasted Delicacies
While the glob of dark sauce coated over the char siew served at Lua Phua Chay may seem intimidating at first sight, one should not fret. In spite of the murderous-looking sauce, the flavours of the entire dish turned gory into glory for the sweet, tender char siew, paired with the savoury sauce and the fragrant rice made for one of the best char siew dishes I’ve ever had.
This stall is a definite must-try for all char siew or roasted meat fanatics!
120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-20, Singapore 150120
+65 9663 6862
Tue to Sun: 11am – 7pm
Closed on Mon
18. Fatty Cheong (Bukit Merah)
Located a short walking distance away from Lau Phua Chay, Fatty Cheong (Bukit Merah) definitely lived up to its name and reputation. While I was slightly disappointed that I had gotten there a little too late and they ran out of Roasted Pork, all my worries were forgotten when I dug into that purely char siew dish.
The char siew slices are fatty, moist and the sauce syrupy but not cloying. Paired with the sambal chilli, the twinge of spice gave the entire dish an extra kick of flavours that was simply fantastic.
6 Jalan Bukit Merah Lane 1, ABC Brickworks Food Centre, #01-120, Singapore 150006
+65 9882 4949
Fri to Wed: 11am – 8.30pm
Forming this list was difficult for the mere fact that many of the char siew stalls mentioned sell roasted meats of topnotch quality and it is hard to compare one to the other for each has its own unique style of cooking and whatnot. If any of these char siew stalls happen to be situated near your workplace or someplace within your neighbourhood, I urge you, char siew-lover or not, to give it a try!
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