What to Eat at Newton Food Centre

What to Eat at Newton Food Centre

A guide to helping you decide the best local foods to try at Singapore’s food paradise in the heart of town!

Calling all foodies, this is for you!

If you don’t already know, Singapore has a reputation for being a food paradise. Whether it’s  cheap hawker fare or specialty fine dining restaurants, there’s bound to be something to tantalize your taste buds! It’s totally understandable if you feel spoilt for choice, and cannot decide where to go for your next meal. Well, Newton Food Centre definitely deserves a spot as a top contender –  a gateway to all the sumptuous local delicacies, you’ll get a taste of everything good and yummy there.

Image Credit: Ania Mendrek

First established in 1971, the Newton Food Centre has lived up to its expectation of being a food hub for tourists, and has successfully appealed to the tastebuds of locals as well. Having been temporarily closed for renovations in 2016, the food centre is now back with a bang – where more than 80 bustling stalls await you!

Before you feel overwhelmed by the myriad of food choices available, here’s a list of the tastiest dishes and which stalls they are from. Get ready to salivate!

1. Chilli Crab and Sambal Stingray

Image Credit: jh_tan84

Image Credit: Amy W

It would be a gross understatement to say that Newton Food Centre is famous for its seafood. After all, there are around 30 stalls serving up their own rendition of your favourite dishes – with this much competition, you know that they all have to be good to stay in the game. Unsurprisingly, the most popular dish is one that has propelled Singapore’s name worldwide; chilli crab! Listed at #35 out of the World’s 50 most delicious foods, this dish comprises of a stir-fried crab doused with a hearty tomato-based chilli sauce. Eating this is an experience in itself, and you have to get your hands dirty before you can savour the succulent, flavourful crab meat. Definitely worth the mess! Crabs and other shellfish tend to be priced in terms of their weight, and the average price of a crab between 750g and 800g is $36.

The sambal stingray is also another hot favourite, pun intended. After the stingray has been been barbecued and infused with a rich smoky flavour, it is drenched with sambal chilli. This sauce is a mix of chili peppers, shrimp paste, fish sauce, lime juice, and other spices that come together to make your mouth water. Although it may be spicy for some (like me), it is hard to resist this perfect combination of flavours, so just get your drinks on standby. Stalls tend to sell this dish in varying sizes, and the prices may range from $12 to $20.

One of the most highly raved about seafood stalls at the food centre has got to be Alliance Seafood (#01-027), which clinched the Michelin Bib Gourmand Awards in both 2016 and 2017. It opens daily from 1pm to 2am (except for Wednesday), so head on down to try out the chilli crab, sambal stingray and other delectable seafood!

2. Fried Prawn Mee

Image Credit: Jpatokal

Fried prawn noodles, referred to affectionately as Hokkien Mee by locals, is a staple in the Singaporean food experience. Deviating from the original Fujian version, this dish is made by stir-frying a combination of thin yellow noodles and vermicelli with concentrated chicken stock, prawns, squid, pork belly, and beansprouts. The result? A delicious savoury meal that guarantees you a pop of flavor with each mouthful! Squeeze the lime over the noodles to get a punch of acidity, and mix in the sambal chilli if you’re feeling adventurous.

If you want to go for the gold and try out Newton’s best fried prawn noodles, check out Kwang Huat Prawn Noodle (#01-015), which serves a generous portion at an inexpensive $5 a bowl. Known for opening a bit later in the day, pay it a visit if you are there for dinner or supper.

3. Oyster Omelette

Image Credit: Terence Ong

Even though it might look deceptively simple, this oyster dish definitely has an unprecedented depth of flavour. The most unique thing about the omelette is that starch is added to the egg batter when it is being fried, creating a thick and chewy texture that is crisp around the edges. Fresh oysters are added to the wok, and their natural sweetness complement the omelette well. Personally, this dish is my favourite comfort food, and I don’t think I could ever get tired of this eggy goodness!

Given that the whole store is dedicated to the dish, it’s no surprise that Hup Kee Fried Oyster Omelette (#01-073) does it well. It offers both the Oyster Omelette and the ‘Oyster and Egg’, which is a variant that does not contain starch. Prices range from $6 to $10 and the store opens daily from 6pm to 1am (except for Wednesday).  

4. Popiah

Image Credit: Insatiablemunch

Popiah, which is Teochew for ‘thin pancake’, is a yummy snack that is cut up into bite-sized portions. It is similar to a spring roll, where the thin crepe-like skin wraps around a chock full of fillings. The most fundamental ingredient is shredded turnip soaked in stock, but other components like sweet sauce, egg, lettuce and prawns may be included as well. Each bite promises to pack a whole punch of flavour, so you’d probably be going at it mouth after mouth.

Bee Hiang Popiah (#01-012) is a top favourite among Singaporeans, and has been featured in the local newspapers for its brisk business. Each row of popiah is sold for $2.20, and there is a minimum of two rows per order. The stall is open from 11.45am to 11pm daily (except for Monday).

5. Satay

Image Credit: ProjectManhattan

Meat on a stick – what could go wrong? Satay is a form of skewered meat, typically chicken, pork or mutton, that is grilled over a charcoal fire. The skewers are then served up with peanut sauce and fresh side dishes, such as raw onions, cucumbers and ketupat (a diamond-shaped rice dumpling). Since there is typically a minimum order of either five or ten sticks per type of meat, this fuss-free dish is perfect for sharing between you and your other ravenous friends!

For our Muslim friends, Satay Sedap (#01-067) is a recommended halal option, and even offers unique satay options such as skewered prawns. Otherwise, if you would like to try out pork satay, TKR (#01-50) is a non-halal option that offers skewers at $0.60 each. In addition, they are popular for their barbecued chicken wings, which are sold at $1.30 each. The stall opens daily, from 10am to 2am.

6. Nasi Briyani and Chicken Tikka Masala

Image Credit: Garrett Ziegler

Singapore is renowned for being a diverse and multicultural city, and this is reflected in our food as well. Aside from dishes that have Chinese or Malay origins, Newton Food Centre also boasts a variety of Indian food stalls.

One of the most fundamental Indian dishes, Nasi Briyani, is a staple food that consists of long grained rice mixed with different spices, meat (either mutton, chicken, beef or fish) and sometimes even egg. The dish is made appetising not only by its depth of flavors, but also its aromatic fragrance and vibrant colours.

Chicken Tikka Masala | Image Credit: frothymilk

Many people like to pair their staple with a sauce or soup based dish, such as the Chicken Tikka Masala and Kambing Soup (Mutton-Soup). The chicken tikka masala is essentially a chicken curry dish, but is made unique by the addition of a cream base (such as yoghurt) and a special masala spice mix. On the other hand, kambing soup is a hearty bowl of soup that consists of tender mutton meat that has been stewed in tomatoes, celery, onions and other herbs. The abundance of herbs and spices in both these dishes creates a rich flavour, and you’ll keep going back for more.

To get your hands on some tasty Indian cuisine, Indian Palace (#01-044 and #01-064) has been touted as one of the best stalls to do so. While prices may seem a little higher than that of other dishes in the food centre, they are certainly worth it for the authentic Indian flavours. The stall is open daily from 8am to 1am.

7. Drinks – Sugarcane or Coconut Juice

Image Credit: MyguideSingapore

While you’re enjoying all those delicacies, you’re probably craving for something to quench your thirst. Instead of reverting to your usual favourites like Coke or Sprite, the best drinks to have with Singaporean cuisine are…Singaporean drinks! Most of the drinks stalls at Newton Food Centre will not only offer a selection of canned drinks, but also local specialties like sugarcane and coconut juice. These options are as fresh as it gets – watch as the shop owner work his magic, and turn those sturdy sugarcane shoots into a refreshing drink right before your very eyes.

8. Traditional Desserts

Cheng tng (top), ice kachang (bottom left) and tau suan (bottom right) | Image Credit: Kyle Lam (top), Grace (bottom left), Lim Ashley (bottom right)

We all have a stomach for food… and a separate one for desserts! To end your food journey at Newton Food Centre, try out some traditional desserts to wrap up your entire meal. Available in both hot and cold options, these desserts are not only refreshing but also help to cleanse your palate. Local favourites include cheng tng (a clear sweet soup that has gingko nuts, white fungus, dried longans, dates and other nutritive ingredients), ice kachang (a mountain of shaved ice that conceals beans, jelly and corn underneath) and tau suan (split mung beans and fried dough fritters).

To satiate the sweet tooth, try these desserts out at 88 San Ren Cold and Hot Dessert (#01-005). Prices of the desserts range from $2.00 to $4.50. The stall is opened daily from 11am to 11pm (except for Wednesday).

Some pro tips to remember…

Aside from knowing what to eat at at the Newton Food Centre, here are some insider tips to maximise your dining experience there:

– Hawkers may approach you with their menus, or even help you find a table to settle at. Don’t feel obliged to have to order from them, and turn them down politely if you are not interested.

– If you are buying seafood dishes that are priced by weight, make sure they weigh it in front of you and confirm the total price with them before you make the order.

– Singaporeans tend to reserve their tables with packets of tissue paper or name cards, so avoid those tables that have been choped (“reserved”)!

– Bring your own packets of tissue to reserve tables, the tissue will definitely come in handy too.

– Sharing is caring! Since there are so many dishes to try, buy a few different types and share them among your friends so everyone gets a taste of everything.

– Stalls at food centres tend to only accept cash, so make sure you have some on hand.

– The food centre really comes alive at night, so head there for a late dinner or supper if you want to soak in the local atmosphere.

Now that you’re well equipped with everything you need to know, don’t hesitate any longer and head down to the Newton Food Centre – it’s time to makan (“feast”)!

About Author

Lydia Lee
Lydia Lee

A linguistics student, Lydia suffers from the occupational hazard of thinking too much about the quirks of language. She yearns to see more of the world and its people, and cannot wait for her next adventure to soak in more beautiful sights and sounds. Before she can do that again, her perfect day would include taking a slow walk, having a warm cup of coffee, and being immersed in a good book.

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