Hip hawkers and atas food courts have been popping up around town. Serving burgers, pastas, fusion food and more, these places serve upscale food without the prices. Here are six of the biggies:
Alibabar The Hawker Bar
This hip hangout has recently expanded from their East Coast digs to open up a new branch in Alexandra’s Park Hotel. The East Coast flaghip is an upscale kopitiam by day, serving ramen from Ramen Bar Suzuki, gourmet burgers courtesy of Burger Bar and French food from Immanuel French Kitchen. By night, the place transforms into a hawker-bar where you can get craft beers and still order up plates of chicken wings and pizzas.
The Bedok Marketplace
One of the newer upscale hawker places, this place has rows of stalls that look like shophouses. The stalls here all serve different things, some of which you may be hard-pressed to find on a normal day out. Ones to look out for include Ballistic Meatballs, a meatball-specialty stall that makes their meatballs fresh daily; SPies & All Things Nice, which specializes in Asian-inspired pies like chicken laksa and beef rendang shepherd’s pie, and Chop Chop Selections, a meat-centric stall with chargrilled T-bone steaks and pasta mee goreng.
Essen at The Pinnacle
What better place to start a hip hawker than in a hip HDB in Duxton? The cold drinks stall has a wide range of beers, from Tiger and Heineken to Rekordelig and Corona, alongside Two Wings chicken wings (which has a branch at the original hip hawker Salut). The wooden and slightly industrial-looking space also dishes out pizzas and French-style mussels. But one of the best stalls must be the collab between Enoch’s and Immanuel French Kitchen, which created Garcons—a French stall serving dishes like sous vide 12-hour pork belly and duck rillettes.
Lau Pa Sat
The revamped and historic Lau Pa Sat is quite different now, but there are a few stalls worth mentioning for their upscale reincarnations. There’s now Japanese shabu-shabu and yakitori stall Azmaya Yakitori Teppan, which serves bentos and teppanyaki dishes; Craft Salad Bar, a build-your-own salad stall with unusual dressings like wasabi mayo and pesto; Delicious Cafe & Pasticceria, a bakery that’s got a drool-worthy display that compares to any other CBD sweet shop; a pizza place aptly named Thin Crust Pizza by Kevinbakery and even a Filipino lechon (spit-roasted pork) stall, Mang Kiko’s Lechon.
Of course Capitol Piazza had to have an fancy food court amid all the high-end restaurants and cutesy cafes. While this place still mainly focuses on traditional Singaporean dishes you’d find in any other food court (with higher prices, obviously), it’s got a couple of stalls that fall into the hip hawker category. First off, a River Valley Indonesian restaurant IndoChili has set up shop to offer more family-style dishes like sate ayam. There’s also Delhi 6, an Indian stall specializing in northwest Frontier cuisine with hearty dishes of mutton gosht biryani and tandoori murg gulnar. The most intriguing of the lot has to be 90 Gastro Bar, a stall offering cocktails and Asian-inspired desserts.
Probably the first hip hawker to open in Singapore, this one’s got tons of good food to choose from. There’s Stew Kuche, a German-style hawker with the usual suspects like sausage and pasta; Immanuel French Kitchen that serves duck confit and sous vide pork belly; Seasalt, a seafood stall with fish and chips and Thai-style whole fried fish in delicious sweet-sour gravy and newcomer Jack Ripper, a gourmet burger stall.