Hawker fare tells the story of Singapore’s rich history. Which is why it was no surprise when hawker culture was recognised by Unesco in 2020. While over this past year we have had to enjoy many of our favourite dishes from home, we look forward to returning to the charming hustle and bustle of the dining scene soon.
In the meantime, here’s something to get excited about. Singapore Airlines has been collaborating with SATS on their hawker brands accelerator programme, as a way to enhance the airline’s Popular Local Fare initiative. Kicking off in September, Singapore Airlines will be helping to keep Singapore food culture alive and well by serving many of the best dishes onboard.
For a limited period in First Class and Business Class on selected flights departing from Singapore, passengers will be able to pre-select their preferred hawker dishes via the airline’s ‘Book the Cook’ service.
Take a look at what’s on the menu.
Chicken rice: Boon Tong Kee
In 1979, Thian Boon Hua opened a humble, Cantonese-influenced chicken rice stall in Chinatown. It quickly gained fame for the silky white chicken and perfectly cooked rice. With support from his family, he has expanded the business, transforming Boon Tong Kee into eight restaurants around the country. It is also listed as the recommended chicken rice brand in Michelin Singapore Guide form 2017 to 2019.
Ban Mian: Qiu Lian Ban Mee
In the late 1980s, an enterprising housewife came up with a delicious soup recipe for ban mee (noodles served in soup). Soon after opening, customers flocked to Qiu Lian’s stall for her tasty handmade noodles. The rich soup broth is made using pork and chicken bones, anchovies and then left to simmer for hours. She is often credited as spearheading the ban mee trend in Singapore. Ready-to-cook versions of her dish are now available at supermarkets as well.
Bak Kut Teh from Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
Yeo Eng Song started off selling bak kut teh (pork rib soup) at a stall along Johor Road in 1969. He later moved to a coffeeshop on Victoria Street in 1975 and eventually, to what has become the iconic outlet along New Bridge Road. Yeo’s business has further expanded to 13 outlets in Singapore, as well as overseas in Indonesia, China, Taipei and Thailand. These days, it’s the second generation who are responsible for serving up piping hot bowls of peppery pork rib soup. The soup is brewed from quality ingredients sourced from around the region. Song Fa was awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2016 and has since held on to this accolade for four consecutive years.
Wonton Noodles: Kok Kee Wonton Noodle
In 1985, sisters Hong Choy Ing and Hong Choy Chan joined forces to open Kok Kee Wonton Noodle. It quickly became known for its springy noodles mixed in a secret sauce. It was at just 13 years old that Choy Ing started working at a wonton noodle stall and fell in love with the heritage dish. With all of those years of experience under her belt, she went on to create her signature sauce. The first store was located at Lavender Food Square and over the years has gained the loyalty of many Singaporeans across several generations. Soon after moving to Foch Road in 2019, Kok Kee Wonton Noodle was given the Singapore Top Heritage Food award in 2020.
Chicken Dum Biryani: Bismillah Biryani Restaurant
Bismillah Biryani Restaurant originally started out as a simple coffee shop stall in 2003. The biryani, naan and tandoori items developed a following and eventually the shop moved to Dunlop Street in Little India. It was here where the focus shifted to perfecting the biryani. The rice and meat are cooked together, ensuring that all of the spices and flavours are soaked up. Perfection was verified when they received their first Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2016 – with four more in the following years.
Prawn Noodle Soup: Beach Road Prawn Noodle House
Beach Road Prawn Noodle House dates back all the way to the late 1920s. Lee Pee Tuan started out as a street hawker selling prawn noodles in a make-shift store. His son, Lee Seng Hoon, began helping out at just eight years old. After running a stall along North Bridge Road in the ’50s, they moved the business to a coffeeshop along Beach Road in the ’70s – which is where the name Beach Road Prawn Noodles was derived. In the ’80s, they settled in at the current East Coast Road location.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about. Find out more about the airline’s ‘Book the Cook’ service here.