Last Updated: February 24, 2020
It’s a no-brainer that Old Airport Road Food Centre houses an army of hawkers who have been conquering our hearts and stomachs with mouthwatering dishes since 1973.
The beloved food centre boasts a wide variety of stalls and is the place to head to for excellent local cuisine, making it one of the busiest spots during lunch and dinner hours.
While we can’t help you with choping parking spots and seats with packets of tissue, we’ve come up with a guide of go-to favourites that will help you decide what to eat amidst all the fantastic food.
In our opinion, Old Airport Road food centre is probably the best hawker centre in Singapore—here are 20 best stalls at Old Airport Road Food Centre.
If you’re craving char siew, you need to stop by Roast Paradise. Despite only joining the hawker community pretty recently in August 2016, the stall has already garnered quite the following.
Roast Paradise takes immense pride in their roasted gourmet pork which is cooked in a drum under charcoal for three hours, then basted with a sweet sauce for a shimmery layer of caramelisation.
It’s no easy feat to maintain such high standards, but the 300g Char Siew (S$15), which features a leaner cut of pork, will meet all the criteria of roasted meat lovers.
As the pork strips undergo a meticulous three-hour process of roasting, the juicy meat was infused with a burst of flavours even without the layers of fat. The caramelised skin had a prominent smoky aroma and crackled in my mouth.
Roast Paradise: #01-121 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3.30pm (Mon), 11.30am – 2.30pm (Lunch, Tue to Sun) & 3.30pm – 6pm (Dinner, Tue to Sun) | Facebook
Spot a long queue in a hawker centre? We Singaporeans love to join the crowd anyway (even if we don’t know what kind of food it is) because we know it’s going to be good.
Xin Mei Xiang Zheng Zong Lor Mee 新美香正宗卤面 is one of those stalls, and they sell out super fast.
The noodles in the bowl of Lor Mee (S$3/small, S$4/medium, S$5/big) are smothered in thick, goopy gravy infused with five spices and herbs, then topped with shreds of fresh fish.
This one is worth the long queue at Old Airport Road Food Centre—but get there early!
Xin Mei Xiang Zheng Zong Lor Mee 新美香正宗卤麺: #01-116 | Opening Hours: 6am – 2pm (Sun to Tue), 7am – 2pm (Wed to Sat), Closed on Thu
On days when you feel like having something lighter than a bowl of noodles or rice, Old Airport Road’s Homemade Springroll • Springroll Skin 富城食品自制薄饼•薄饼皮 rolls up some delectable yet straightforward popiah for you to snack on.
Wrapped in a thin, transparent layer of popiah skin, strips of cucumber, jicama and other veggies are layered with chopped peanut powder and stuffed in the Popiah (S$1.70).
The rolls looked rather small, but the filling was so fresh and crunchy with the sweet, nutty sauce of peanuts that it was pleasantly light and somehow still satisfying. You can always order another one anyway.
Homemade Springroll • Springroll Skin 富城食品自制薄饼•薄饼皮: #01-94 | Opening Hours: 8.30am – 11pm (Daily)
Curry puffs can sometimes be too jelak with an overpowering curry paste or dense due to a tough and thick pastry shell. But at Wang Wang Crispy Curry Puff 旺旺脆皮咖喱卜专卖店, these small baked puffs deliver the perfect balance of flavours and textures, with a creamy filling and crispy pastry skin.
Freshly baked on-site daily, the Crispy Curry Puff (S$1.40) wasn’t oily to the touch and had a beautiful golden-brown surface interlaced with layers.
Not only was the pastry shell flaky and surprisingly light, the curry filling of diced chicken and potato chunks was also moist and savoury, sweet with a hint of spiciness.
Wang Wang Crispy Curry Puff 旺旺脆皮咖喱卜专卖店: #01-126 | Opening Hours: 10.30am – 11pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
I’m sure you’ve seen bento sets like unagi or chicken teriyaki in the hawker scene. But at Unkai Japanese Cuisine you’ll find a menu offering cheap sashimi slices, hotate (scallops) and even oysters.
You don’t have to worry about the freshness as the Premium Fresh Oysters (S$18, half a dozen) were shucked upon order in the stall.
After seasoning with a squeeze of lemon and dashes of hot Tabasco sauce, slurp up the oysters to experience bursts of soft brininess. Who says you can’t treat yourself during lunch?
Unkai Japanese Cuisine: #01-89 | Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon to Thu & Sun), 4pm – 10pm (Sat), Closed on Fri
You can’t say you’ve been to Old Airport Road Food Centre without a visit to the famous Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee 南星福建炒虾面 to try the Hokkien mee fried with prawns, squid and eggs.
Be prepared to wait for 30 to 45 minutes to feast on the Hokkien Fried Mee (S$5) which comes piled with a mix of bee hoon and yellow noodles, fresh seafood and pieces of eggs soaked in a seafood stock.
It’s a hit because of the subtle smokiness of the wok hei and savoury seafood flavours slathered on the al dente noodles.
Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee: #01-32 | Tel: +65 6440 5340 | Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
Toa Payoh Rojak 大巴窑罗惹 is one of the rare hawker stalls with a system of queue numbers to make sure hungry customers get their share of the sweet and spicy rojak with flexible customisation of certain ingredients and level of spiciness.
I’ve had my fair share of this dish from Old Airport Road, and I have to give their version of Rojak (S$4) a thumbs-up — it was an eclectic and delicious mixture of fresh bean sprouts, spinach, tau pok and youtiao speckled with crushed peanuts, all drenched in the sweet and tangy shrimp paste dressing.
Toa Payoh Rojak 大巴窑罗惹: #01-108 | Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Thu to Tue), Closed on Wed
J. & J. Special Beef Noodle (J.J. 牛肉面) serves up beef noodles with high-quality beef at an affordable price, and the melt-in-your-mouth servings of braised beef slices and tendon were drool-worthy.
Plus they even serve wagyu beef with noodles or rice as well! Yes, WAGYU.
The Braised Beef Noodle (S$5.50/regular, S$7.50/large) featured flat noodles lightly soaked in the savoury sauce, braised beef chunks and a side of fresh onion slices.
The well-marinated beef was indeed tender and creamy with collagen, and the slices of onion gave a nice kick to the overall dish—definitely an exceptional experience at Old Airport Road Food Centre.
J. & J. Special Beef Noodles (J.J. 牛肉面): #01-162 | Opening Hours: 10.30am – 9pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon | Facebook
Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun’s numerous reviews have repetitively hailed them as one of the best chee cheong fun. The sceptic in me does wonder whether these rice noodle rolls with varied fillings like char siew, century egg, otah and prawns are all they’re cracked up to be.
Filled with pieces of smoky char siew, the Char Siew (S$2) had a thin and smooth skin garnished with fried shallots and spring onions.
The chee cheong fun soaked up the light soy sauce and chilli with bits of dried shrimp to ensure every mouthful of the rolls was full of intense, well-rounded flavours, enticing you to finish the plate in a matter of seconds. They are indeed worth the hype!
Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun: #01-155 | Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm (Daily)
The endless debate over Whitely Road Big Prawn Noodle versus Albert Street Prawn Noodles 亞峇街大蝦麵 hasn’t and probably will never conclude as everyone holds differing opinions of the dish.
When I was there, I decided to give Albert Street Prawn Noodles a try.
The bowl of Prawn Noodle (S$5.50/regular, S$8.50/large) brimmed with round noodles immersed in a semi-dark broth, with bean sprouts and prawns sprinkled on top.
I liked the ample portion as well as the careful balance of flavours in the soup, which thankfully wasn’t very oily. I can’t tell yet if it beats its competitor in my books, but it sure made me want to come back for more.
Albert Street Prawn Noodles: #01-10 | Opening Hours: 8.30am – 11.30pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
Yan Ji Seafood Soup 炎记海鲜汤 is the dark horse of Old Airport Road Food Centre. I tried the S$12 bowl which comes with two small crayfish, two prawns, minced meat and dory fish.
The soup broth boiled with the seafood was extremely rich in flavour depth and was delicious. The minced meat is also worth a special mention, which comes marinated with hua diao wine and has salted fish mixed in the paste.
Unfortunately, topping up soup afterwards means a more diluted version of the broth, so savour what you have in the little bowl that was boiled with all the seafood.
This stall truly serves up very underrated seafood soup without much of a queue compared to the other more popular hawkers. It is probably the food centre’s best-kept secret (up till this point anyway)!
Yan Ji Seafood Soup 炎记海鲜汤: #01-122 | Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm & 5pm – 8pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
Tucked away in the corner of the hawker centre, Rong Yi Local Handmade Pau 榮意本地手工包點 serves up handmade dim sum. Rong Yi Local Handmade Pau has five outlets islandwide with their flagship stall located in Bedok.
With all their steamed wares at our disposal, you’ll be honestly spoiled for choice. One pau you can’t miss is their award-winning Da Pau 大包 (S$1.60).
They weren’t kidding when they called this a big pau! This hefty pau is chockful of glistening chunks of chicken meat inside. Not to mention, there was a luscious coat of gravy oozing from the edges.
A thin and delicate skin coupled with that signature hard-boiled egg, you’ll know why this pau is so famous.
For a more exciting pau, the Coffee Pau 咖啡包 (S$0.80) is sure to take your tastebuds for a spin. I’ve only scratched the surface of what Rong Yi Local Handmade Pau has to offer so head down and we’ll pau (Chinese for “guarantee”) you’ll find something.
Rong Yi Local Handmade Pau 榮意本地手工包點: #01-01 | Tel:+65 8823 9696 | Opening Hours: 7am – 10pm (Daily) | Facebook
Italian food wormed its way in our hearts, and we would gladly let it stay there forever. Pasta Risotto promises not only our beloved Italian carbohydrate but also at affordable prices.
A husband-and-wife duo runs the business which has been around for about five years now. They pride themselves for serving only pasta and, more notably, risotto dishes.
Unlike most run-of-the-mill pasta shops in Singapore, Pasta Risotto’s Seafood Spaghetti Aglio Olio (S$6.50) was served al dente which is a huge brownie point. Mushy pasta is no-go from me.
Like their namesake, Pasta Risotto specialises in risotto, which is an uncommon dish in the sea of pasta hawker stalls. You’ll want your risotto to be starchy, creamy but still with movement as you shift the rice around.
Their Funghi Risotto With Cream Sauce (S$6.50) is one of Pasta Risottto’s popular items so you’ll want to try this out!
It isn’t every day that one can find risotto in a hawker centre and at such affordable prices too. So if you’re craving for Italian food that’s affordable, Pasta Risotto is a place you can go to.
Pasta Risotto: #01-09 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 9.30pm (Fri – Wed), Closed on Thu
Walking down the row of stalls, I was drawn to Hua Ji XO Fish Head Bee Hoon 华记XO鱼头米粉 solely based on the extensive queue it attracted.
Its bright yellow signage wasn’t hard to miss. I also noticed that everyone in the queue left with the same dish on their tray—a brimming bowl of fish head noodle soup.
Boasting a large serving, the Fish Head Bee Hoon Soup (S$6) was close to a ruler’s length high. The milky soup was almost overflowing out of the bowl, with a tower of fried fish. A satisfying lunch or dinner awaits.
Flash-fried to a crisp brown, it was mildly crispy and just the right texture. I managed to dig up a fleshy piece of fillet and was pleased to see how supple it was.
Have you ever had soup that was so addictive that you slurped up every last drop of goodness? Hua Ji XO Fish Head Bee Hoon is undoubtedly one of my top five contenders for the best fish soup ever.
The hearty broth is boiled with fish bones for a minimum of six hours, which extracts all the sweetness to produce a natural fish soup base. And the magic ingredient? Alcohol. If you ever need your fish soup fix, you know where to go.
Hua Ji XO Fish Head Bee Hoon 华记XO鱼头米粉: #01-118 | Opening Hours: 12.30pm – 10pm (Fri – Wed), Closed on Thu
Western Barbeque is your old-school Western stall that promises plates of fried and grilled goodies that are sure to make your gym day worth it! With numerous accolades, you know you’re in good hands.
One of their best-selling items, the Pork Chop (S$10), features a generous butterflied charred pork chop with a delightful buttered bun. With a good portion of fries and winning garlic sauce, it’s well worth your time.
Western Barbeque: #01-53 | Tel:+ 65 6440 8934 | Opening Hours: 11am -11pm (Daily) | Facebook
A romp in any hawker centre without a serving of fried oyster omelette is a little sacrilegious. Here at Old Airport Road Food Centre, you get your Fried Oyster (S$4) with a saucy serving of drama as well.
Plastered right in front of the stall is a huge sign that reads a note exclaiming ‘Buy Original, Say “NO” To Copy!’ and right beside the stall is Famous Kallang Airport Fried Oyster 佳龙美食 with a similar sign that reads, ‘Real Original Since 1991 Say ‘NO’ To Fake’. If you want to get all the “tea” on these two stalls, you can read all about here.
But for now, we shall focus on the food.
His version is crispier than those found outside as the younger generation prefers it that way. I enjoyed seeing the hearty eggs and flour chunks, unlike the loose and scattered version commonly found outside.
Each chunk of the fried oyster had a perfect proportion of egg and flour, along with decent saltiness. The flour pieces were not overly starchy and carried a chewy texture.
Though small, the oysters were fresh and fragrant. They did not have the dreaded rancid taste that many poorly-cooked oysters carry.
Famous Old Airport Fried Oyster 驰名旧机场炒蚝煎: #01-54 | Opening Hours: 11am – 2pm & 5.30pm – 9.30pm (Mon, Wed to Fri), 11am – 9.30pm (Sat), 4.30 pm – 9.30 pm (Sun), Closed on Tue
Having moved to Old Airport Road more than a decade ago, Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wanton Mee 華記后港祖傳馳名雲吞麵 served easily one of the best wanton mee in the East. Yes, yes, highly debatable, but we’ll leave it for another article.
Hua Kee’s Wanton Noodles (S$3.50/S$4/S$5) is known for their springy noodles that are made to their specifications. Thin, chewy and entirely coated with a spicy, fermented sauce you’ll be slurping down every last drop.
Not only that, with the tender char siew, chicken feet and crunchy lard bits, you’ll want for nothing more.
Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wanton Mee華記后港祖傳馳名雲吞麵: #01-02 | Tel: +65 8468 2931 | Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm (Wed to Mon), Closed on Tue
Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow (老夫子炒粿条) is where you’ll get the quintessential plate of char kway teow. With long queues and an entry in the Michelin Bib Gourmand (2019) you won’t be disappointed with this plate.
Here each plate of Fried Kway Teow (S$5/S$8/S$10) is fried to order so do expect a little bit of a wait time for your plate. There are both White or Black versions depending on how you like your Char Kway Teow.
With a good amount of wok hei and a surprisingly well-balanced sauce, this the Michelin Bib Gourmand selection is well-worth your time.
Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow 老夫子炒粿条: #01-12 | Tel:+65 83334828 |Opening Hours: 11.30am – 11pm (Mon to Fri), 10am – 11pm (Sat & Sun)
To-Ricos Guo Shi (多丽哥粿汁) has many names, some know it by ‘Blanco Court Kway Chap’ or more specifically ‘Blanco Court Food Centre (3rd Storey)’. Either way, a kway chap by any other name will still taste as good from here.
Also earning themselves a spot on the Michelin Bib Gourmand 2019 list, this is quality kway chap alright. The often-heard complaint about kway chap has to be ‘the smell’ the offals and innards possess. A mark of a kway chap stallworth their salt is how the offals and innards taste.
What you want your offals to be is clean-tasting and a good bouncy texture to them—which is what you’ll find at To-Ricos Guo Shi (多丽哥粿汁).
Coupled with smooth, silky, fat sheets of kway teow in a dark sauce and fatty pieces of pork, it’s an afternoon made.
To-Ricos Guo Shi 多丽哥粿汁: #01-135 | Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm (Wed to Fri & Sun), 10.30am – 3pm (Sat), Closed on Mon & Tue
Old Airport Food Centre is truly a treasure trove of delectable treats—turn a corner, and something tasty awaits. From gossamer-thin chee cheong fun to hearty bowls prawn noodles, it’s hard to pick what to have for dinner.
But you know what, it’s a great problem to have!
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Old Airport Road Food Centre
51 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390051
51 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390051