One of the greatest things about Singapore is the plethora of food options that are available 24 hours a day. Getting home from the club at 5am on a Sunday morning and need something for the impending hangover.
No problem. Murtabak to the rescue.
There are basically four levels of eateries here. Let’s start with the most basic, the coffee shop.
A coffee shop is a collection of little mini eateries. They usually have fewer than 5-6 stores and a few of the shops are always open 24 hours a day. A defining characteristic of coffee shops is the fact that they are all open air establishments. Generally they are located near either groups of HDB apartments or near where big groups of people are, like office buildings or around bars and pubs.
Next on the list are food courts. Food courts are nearly the same as they are on the USA. Except, they may have some great food in them and it isn’t filled with fast food joints. Food courts are “indoor”. They are located inside of malls and office buildings. The number of eateries they have sits between a coffee shop and a hawker center. Because they are inside of buildings, they aren’t open 24 hours a day. They generally have air conditioning, an important distinction.
Next on the list is the most Singaporean, the “Hawker Center”. These are mega eating centers. Imagine an outdoor flea market in the US, now substitute the stores with little eateries, that’s a Hawker Center. Food is cheap, and quite good. You’ll have a large variety of food to choose from. Western burgers and fries to Chinese dumplings or Indian curries, it’s all availabe here. And the best part, you’ll only spend $2-8 for a meal.
The final entry of places to eat, restaurants. These are stand alone establishments. They have air conditioning. And can be either really cheap or ultra expensive. They have their own sit down tables and napkins are standard issue unlike all the other eating options, where you share tables and provide your own napkins.