18 best foods in Chinatown including Si Chuan skewers, Japanese omakase, & more

Chinatown is a history-steeped enclave often bustling with crowds who are on the hunt for everything from mouthwatering local fare, souvenir boutiques, to long-time cultural landmarks.

The food stores, of course, take up the bulk of the town. Take a stroll along any street, and it’s likely you’ll chance upon at least one eatery cookin’ up these best foods: peppery Si Chuan Chinese cuisine, familiar local delights, ultra-fresh Japanese omakase, or smokey Korean barbeque.

If you only take to Chinatown once a year to pick up bakkwa just before the Chinese New Year, you’re missing out on a whole lot more delectable delights the rest of the time. Read on, because we’ve rounded up the best food places in Chinatown, including Chinese, local, Japanese, and Korean eateries!

China food in Chinatown

Xiao Long Kan Hot Pot

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Craving hot pot while you’re in Chinatown? Xiao Long Kan hot pot is a great place to visit for authentic Cheng Du flavoured broths and a wide assortment of fresh ingredients.

The soups are brewed with 90 ingredients and with a rich beef tallow base, with the Traditional Spicy Soup being the restaurant’s must-try broth.

Decorated with red lanterns, detailed wooden partitions, and weighty tables and chairs, the restaurant boasts an interior that’s much like a traditional Chinese inn. It’s the ideal dinner spot for family, groups of friends, and special occasions too.

Address: 20 Smith Street, Singapore 058934

Get 10% off Xiao Long Kan hot pot when you purchase cash vouchers on Chope.

Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant (老成都川菜馆)

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Even Si Chuan locals have praised the full-flavoured dishes at Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant, which they say recall the tastes of their hometown.

This casual restaurant in Chinatown is a go-to for Singapore locals and Chinese residents alike, offering a spread of dishes true to a Si Chan palette.

The crowd-favourites here include the Chilli Grilled Fish (S$29.80), which is fish seasoned with peppers, pickled chilli, and beans, and the Old Chengdu Chilli Chicken (S$16.80), which is a diced chicken fried with mouth-numbing peppercorns and chilli.

You can also find other interesting dishes like Cold Mala Sticks, Garlic Crayfish, and Mala Pig Brain.

Address: 80 Pagoda Street, Singapore 059239

Get 10% off Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant when you purchase cash vouchers on Chope.

Chong Qing Grilled Fish

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Really, why visit this restaurant if you’re not going to order the signature Grilled Fish dish, served in five explosive flavours?

The first restaurant to bring this delicious seafood dish to Singapore, Chong Qing Grilled Fish doesn’t disappoint when it comes to crispy fish marinated in flavourful hot broths.

From Pickled Vegetable for a sour, spicy kick, to Black Bean for a rich, savoury taste, the Grilled Fish is best enjoyed with your loved ones huddled around the table.

Address: 18 Mosque Street, Singapore 059498

Get up to 30% off Chong Qing Grilled Fish when you purchase cash vouchers on Chope.

Dating Fish (鱼你有约”音乐主题餐厅”)

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Credit: Koipy (left)

Ever since the pandemic restrictions eased, Dating Fish, a unique music-themed restaurant has reopened its karaoke room doors to let you enjoy belting out your favourite tunes alongside family and friends.

That’s right, this China food restaurant in Chinatown offers free KTV sessions for everyone who dines there; you can head upstairs to one of the karaoke rooms for a singin’ good time after you’re done with your meal.

Food-wise, you have to have a taste of the restaurant’s highly-praised Stone Cask Fish. It’s a unique dish featuring fresh, bouncy fish and hot, flavourful soup, served in a cask.

Hot stones lie at the bottom of the “pot” to keep the broth piping throughout the meal, making it a perfect rainy day treat.

Address:12 Mosque Street, #01-01, Singapore 059492

Make a reservation at Dating Fish on Chope.

Frog Meat Fish Head (美蛙魚頭自助火锅)

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Calling all fish head and frog meat lovers in Singapore: this Chinese steamboat restaurant in Chinatown is just for you.

Frog Meat Fish Head, true to its name, serves signature fleshy song fish head and tender bullfrog meat alongside its fresh assortment of hot pot ingredients. We mean fleshy, because you can find generous portions of meat on the fish head as well as just the right amount of melt-in-your-mouth fats.

Die-hard fans of fish head and frog meat should most certainly opt for the Mala Fish Head and Frog Leg Soup, a broth that brims with chunks of fish and frog, and one that’s perfectly marinated with mala flavour.

There are also other regular hot pot broth flavours to choose from like pork bone and tomato soups, so there’s something for everyone at this Chinese restaurant.

Pssst! Even if not for the frog meat, Frog Meat Fish Head is still worth visiting for the free-flow bubble tea – though we wouldn’t recommend ruining your appetite with too much boba during a buffet.

Address: 5 Mosque Street, Singapore 059485

Make a reservation at Frog Meat Fish Head on Chope.

Oriental Chinese Restaurant (东方美食)

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Our personal top choice of China food in Chinatown, Oriental Chinese Restaurant offers a huge, delicious selection of both Northeastern Chinese and Si Chuan dishes at highly affordable prices.

On the menu, you’ll find cold dishes like Shredded Spicy Tofu and Spicy Pork Tripe, the perfect appetisers to kickstart your feasting, as well as a sumptuous assortment of hot dishes including Fried Chilli Lala.

The star dish? The skewers. From pork belly to fried man tous (buns), the sticks are freshly barbequed over the fire and peppered with a flavourful spice blend. For the uninitiated, they’re the equivalent of satay or lok lok, but Chinese style.

Located a short walking distance from Chinatown MRT, this casual eatery is hard to miss because of its distinctive red signboards that span three storefronts – because that’s how popular the Oriental Chinese Restaurant is.

Despite being always busy and bustling, the restaurant doesn’t typically require you to wait long for a table, since its staff are so efficient at ushering the groups who arrive.

A worthy supper spot in Chinatown, the restaurant is open from 10am to 6am every day of the week.

Address: 195 New Bridge Road, Singapore 059425
Contact: 8811 2000

Food in Chinatown Complex Food Centre

Xiang Xiang Cooked Food

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Credit: @chiutax/Instagram

Looking at these crispy, golden sweet potato balls is enough to make our mouths water. Well, us, and the many who rush to purchase these snacks each morning so that they sell out within mere hours.

Xiang Xiang Cooked Food’s Sweet Potato Balls, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, are priced at just S$1 for eight pieces. They’re a total steal, if you ask us.

You can also find other nostalgic snacks like freshly made Ondeh Ondeh (S$1 for three pieces), Tapioca Kueh (S$1 for three pieces), and Putu Mayam (S$1.60 for two pieces).

Bring your parents or grandparents along when you visit, because you’ll be treating them to the familiar flavours from their childhood. They’ll enjoy good food and happy memories all at once!

Address: 335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Food Centre, #02-68, Singapore 050335

Chef Leung’s Authentic Hand-milled Rice Noodle Rolls

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Not your run-of-the-mill chee cheong fan, Chef Leung’s rice noodle rolls are made entirely in-house – from the rippled, thin rice noodles, delicious housed-brewed sauces, to chilli that’s prepared fresh each day.

Chef Leung’s Authentic Hand-milled Rice Noodle Rolls is a hawker store within Chinatown Complex Food Centre, which serves a simple five-flavour menu of rice noodle rolls: Original (S$2.80), Char Siew (S$4), Prawn (S$4.50), and Tuna with Onion (S$4.50).

Put the sauce-drenched pieces of rice noodles into your mouth and you’ll enjoy a burst of Hong Kong flavours in your mouth, all for under S$5 at Chinatown!

Address: 335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Food Centre, #02-096, Singapore 050335

Lian He Ben Ji Claypot

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Credit: @ivancpk/Instagram

One of the most famous claypot rice stalls in Singapore, Lian He Ben Ji Claypot stands out because of the fluffy texture of the rice grains and just right smokey, charred flavour that’s a must-have when it comes to claypot rice.

The queues are always, always snaking, so be sure to call and make a reservation before you head down.

Address: 335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Food Centre, #02-198/199, Singapore 050335
Contact: 6227 2470

Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap (金记潮州卤鸭)

Credit: Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap/Facebook

Kway Chap but with a twist, Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap is served not with regular braised eggs but Japanese-style ones with a soft, golden centre, as well as yam rice in the shape of a ball.

Here, you can enjoy a Duck Rice Bento, complete with tender braised duck, offals, bean curd, soft-yolked eggs and yam rice balls, all for just S$8.

Address: 335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Food Centre, #02-156, Singapore 050335

Old Amoy Chendol

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Old Amoy Chendol boasts a recipe that’s been passed down for three generations: it’s shaved ice topped with fragrant gula melaka from Sabah or Sarawak, creamy cold-pressed coconut milk, charcoal-cooked red beans, and soft pandan jelly worms.

These refreshing bowls of traditional dessert are made fresh every day. And, believe us when we tell you they’re melt-in-your-mouth good.

Address: 335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Food Centre, #02-008, Singapore 050335

Japanese food in Chinatown

Beppu Menkan Restaurant

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Japanese might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re scouring for the best foods in Chinatown but there are a surprising number of these food gems here, and one of which is the Beppu Menkan Restaurant.

Beppu Menkan Restaurant is best known for its ramen, though, not your typical ramen – instead, ramen with extra-fiery flavours.

The restaurant has many ramen flavours on its menu, including creamy Buttercorn Ramen and Oniyama Jigoku (ramen noodles with crispy karaage). For most, the restaurant gives you an option to up the spice level from one “chilli” to eight “chillis” worth – it’s a challenge for even the mala da la (highest spice level for mala) eaters.

Besides ramen, the Japanese restaurant’s also loved for its 12-course Omakase (S$176 for two pax), which reviewers say is fresh, with a complex blend of flavours, and beautifully plated too.

Address: 3 Pickering Street, China Square Central, #01-32/33, Singapore 048660

Make a reservation for Beppu Menkan Restaurant at Chinatown on Chope.

Kakurega (The Lair)

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Kick back at the end of a busy day in the cosy abode of Kakurega, which translates directly to “hideout” in Japanese. Located in the heart of Chinatown, the bar boasts an intimate setting and traditional Japanese-style decor, offering the perfect retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The winning combination at the restaurant? Charcoal-grilled yakitori and tummy-warming sake. The skewered meats are cooked to tender perfection and sprinkled with a dash of salt for a balance of flavour.

If you’re not sure what to order, then try the Bara Bara (pork belly), Mozzarella Chizu Maki (creamy cheese wrapped in beef short plate), and Negima (chicken thigh with leek) – crowd-favourites – for starters.

The generous selection of sake available also makes this bar an alcohol connoisseur’s paradise. There’s even an Unguided Sake Experience available for you to savour the assortment of alcoholic beverages at your own pace.

Address: 12 Smith Street, Singapore 058926

Get the Unguided Sake Experience for S$67 instead of S$134 on Klook. You can also make reservations at this Japanese restaurant on Chope.

Nanbantei Japanese Restaurant

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The first Yakitori restaurant in Singapore, the Nanbantei Japanese Restaurant serves delightfully succulent sticks of grilled meat and vegetables – Chicken with Leek, Negima (S$5.60), Nanban Yaki (S$6.50), and Sweet Corn (S$7.10) – each seasoned simply with salt and pepper.

Should you be worried about leaving the restaurant still hungry, don’t, because it has rice and noodle options available too. The Yakitori Don Set (grilled sticks over Japanese rice), for one, lets you chow down on smokey skewered meats without missing out on your share of pearly carbs.

Address: 133 New Bridge Road, Chinatown Point, #02-40, Singapore 059413

Make a reservation for Nanbantei Japanese Restaurant on Chope.

Kazan Japanese Cuisine

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Credit: @samlivestoeat/Instagram

An affordable Japanese restaurant on our list, Kazan Japanese Cuisine is a hawker store located on level two of Chinatown Complex, and it lets you order a delicious Unagi Set for just S$8.

Drizzled with sweet unagi sauce, the fillet-sized eel is fleshy, tender, and just the right amount of smokey – a wallet-friendly steal for tasty unagi don in Singapore.

Address: 335 Smith Street, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, #02-001, Singapore 081006

Korean food in Chinatown

Gum Gang Won

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End your search for a Korean eatery with vegan options at Gum Gang Won in Chinatown!

This fusion restaurant lets you enjoy Korean and Chinese cuisine with vegetarian and vegan alternatives, as well as K-BBQ for meat lovers.

Reviewers note that the staff at this restaurant will ask whether you take garlic, onions, and eggs when you make an order, which shows how thoughtful they are at accommodating those with a vegan or vegetarian diet.

The basic BBQ Set, priced at S$42, includes Pork Belly, Pork Bulgogi, Chicken Bulgogi, and Fresh Prawn, enough to feed two adults. For those with a bigger appetite, you can also opt for the BBQ Set C (S$62), which offers more choices and servings of meat.

Address: 55 Temple Street, Singapore 058600

Ssikkek Korean Grill BBQ

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This Korean barbeque place in Chinatown is best for casual group catch-ups over lots and lots of sumptuous grilled meats and vegetables.

The eatery’s simple setting might not be a draw in itself, but it does make it easy for you to grab a bunch of friends and head down, impromptu, for a filling buffet feast.

On weekdays, a lunch buffet is priced at S$14.90 per adult and S$9.90 per child. For weekday dinner buffets and weekend buffets, you have to pay S$24.90 per adult and S$18.90 per child.

Since the restaurant lets you chow down on free-flow ingredients, condiments, and side dishes, we’d say: worth it.

Get 10% off when you purchase S$60 cash vouchers for S$54 on Klook. You can also make a reservation at this Korean BBQ restaurant on Chope.

Jang Won Korean Restaurant

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Credit: Kay Keat Khoo/Google (left)

Whether you’re hoping to get a K-BBQ fix or slurp an ala-carte bowl of tangy kimchi stew, you’ll be able to do so at Jang Won Korean Restaurant.

This Korean eatery, tucked away within Chinatown, serves various cuts of meats for your barbeques alongside free-flow side dishes – kimchi included, of course.

Looking for a slightly more budget-friendly option? Go for the Thin Pork Belly Set (S$58 for two pax), which features pork slices alongside a variety of vegetables, choice of stew, and one Gyeran Jim (steamed egg). Or, you can also up your meat game with other sets that serve more cuts of meat, priced between S$68 to S$78 for two.

Should you desire a more intimate setting to satisfy your cravings alongside your loved ones, request the restaurant’s private rooms, which accommodate up to 15 pax!

Address: 44 Mosque Street, #01-01, Singapore 059522

Related read: 16 group-friendly restaurants in Singapore for big groups and big appetites