It’s undeniable that Newton Food Centre is one of Singapore’s most well-known hawker centres, albeit for both positive and not-so-positive reasons.
Although it was featured on Crazy Rich Asians for being the place to visit for Singapore delicacies, it has often been harshly critiqued by foodies here for its average but costly food offerings.
Still, we feel it doesn’t deserve the bad reputation Singaporeans have conferred upon it. If you look past the throngs of people, its touristy label and the cost, Newton Food Centre does have an impressive collection of eateries jam-packed in one convenient location.
Now that it will be closed for three months from Nov 1 to Jan 31, 2023 for repairs and renovation works, there’s no better time than now to try out some of its famous street food.
Aside from the big names such as Hup Kee Fried Oyster Omelette, Soon Wah Fishball Kway Teow Mee and Heng Carrot Cake, here are five other stalls you should get a last taste of before the food centre closes for renovations.
1. Newton Tian Xiang Big Prawn Noodle
Newton Food Centre, 01-60, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North
Open: Daily (5pm to 3am)
It isn’t always easy to find good food past 12am, especially on weekdays, so cherish Newton Tian Xiang Big Prawn Noodle while it’s still open. The stall operates until 3am every day to fix your late-night cravings.
The recipe for the rich and sweet broth used in its prawn noodle soup (from S$6.50) has been passed down from generation to generation since 1963. Although the prawn noodle is also available dry, we are partial towards the comforting soup base, especially on a cold night.
Upon ordering your bowl of noodles, you can choose between kway teow (flat rice noodles), mee sua (wheat vermicelli), yellow egg noodles and mee pok (flat egg noodles), or opt for a combination of two. While prawn noodles are typically served with yellow noodles, mixing it with kway teow can provide a lighter option for supper.
What to order: Pork ribs prawn noodles (from S$8.50), prawn noodle soup (from S$6.50)
2. Hai Yan BBQ Seafood
Newton Food Centre, 01-11, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North
Open: Tuesday to Thursday, and Sunday (4pm to 10pm), Friday and Saturday (4pm to 11pm)
No hawker centre could represent Singapore without selling the iconic chilli crab dish. Newton Food Centre happens to have plenty of stalls selling this dish at fairly affordable prices, including Hai Yan BBQ Seafood.
Established in the 1980s, Hai Yan BBQ Seafood is a family-owned stall that specialises in barbecued seafood. It has collected many accolades that are proudly displayed on its storefront.
Fans of the stall swear by its chilli crab (S$40) as a delicious and value-for-money option. The dish features fresh crab doused in sweet and spicy gravy. Of course, no chilli crab meal is complete without ordering fried buns (S$6) to accompany the rich sauce.
While it’s not halal-certified, the stall does not use any pork or lard in its dishes.
What to order: Chilli crab (S$40), cereal prawn (from S$20), sambal kang kong (from S$8), fried buns (S$6)
3. 22 Best Satay
Newton Food Centre, 01-22, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North
Open: Tuesday to Sunday (3pm to 11pm)
A trip to Newton Food Centre wouldn’t be complete without having satay. Though claiming this is the best satay on the island may start a heated debate, 22 Best Satay is definitely up there on the list.
It is halal-certified and offers unique skewer options you won’t find at many satay stalls outside Newton Food Centre. Aside from chicken, mutton and beef satay, the stall also serves babat satay, also known as tripe skewers (from 80 cents a stick).
There is a minimum order of 10 sticks per customer, so remember to go with a bigger group and share the dish. Pair the satays with its ketupat (S$1 per piece), a Javanese rice cake, which has a perfectly chewy texture.
What to order: Barbecued prawn (S$2 per stick), babat (80 cents per stick), chicken (80 cents per stick), otah (80 cents per piece), ketupat (S$1 per piece)
4. Bangkok Express
Newton Food Centre, 01-04, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North
Open: Daily (11.30am to 9.30pm)
While it’s known for its local delicacies, Newton Food Centre also houses other stalls serving Southeast Asian cuisines.
Bangkok Express is one such stall. The stall offers Thai cuisine, and while it may not have the cult following that certain stalls in Newton Food Centre have, it’s definitely a well-loved option.
Those who’ve eaten here have raved about its well-priced seafood tom yum soup (S$7) for its sweet aroma and sharp flavours. Others also enjoyed its pad thai (S$5), a stir-fried rice noodle dish, and its basil chicken set (S$6) that features rice, a fried egg and basil chicken.
The stall is one of the more affordable options at Newton Food Centre. If you are dining solo, it’s a good option for standalone meals and offers a variety of dishes to choose from.
What to order: Pad thai (S$5), basil chicken set (S$6), seafood tom yum soup (S$7)
5. Stingray Goh Chew Kee Seafood
Newton Food Centre, 01-19, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North
Open: Sunday to Thursday (4.30pm to 11.30pm), Friday and Saturday (4.30pm to 1.30am)
Though it’s located further away from the main area and may require a bit of effort to find, this hidden gem is worth it.
The halal-certified eatery has standard offerings such as sambal sotong (from S$13) and baby squid (from S$15). The barbecued stingray (from S$13) is tender with a sweet flavour from the sambal chilli – great for those who can’t stomach too much spice.
Those dining alone can also opt for its mee goreng (from S$6). It’s a fried yellow noodle dish tossed with tomatoes, beansprouts and shrimp for that extra bit of flavour.
What to order: Barbecued stingray (from S$13), sambal sotong (from S$13), baby squid (from S$15), mee goreng (from S$6)