Breakfast has been touted as the most important meal of the day and Singapore has a wide variety of local breakfast options.
But sometimes, you just want something different. So whether you are an expat craving for a taste of home or a foodie hankering for a break from your usual breakfast, HungryGoWhere has done the job for you. We tracked down breakfast dishes available in Singapore from 11 different cusines, and threw in our favourite homegrown breakfast as added bonus.
Feast on an Indonesian bubur ayam one day, Spanish churros the next, or slurp up some Taiwanese mee sua and soya bean milk. Pick your favourite breakfast place now.
AMERICAN-STYLE PANCAKES | AMERICAN | Hot, fluffy pancakes are a popular breakfast choice in America and one that Singapore has embraced with open arms. Every new cafe worth their coffee beans are flipping out pancakes, one stack after another- some with the usual butter, jam and syrups, and some with more adventurous flavours and bizarre toppings. We like the hotcakes served at Cedele's all-day dining restaurants. Filling plates of sweet pancakes that come in three flavours — blueberry, apple cinnamon or caramelised banana ($13.90), these come with an option of sides; either bacon rashers or sausages. You can slather on butter and maple syrup before you tuck in. Other worthy options can be found at Strictly Pancakes, Hatched and Food for Though, take a look.
VEGEMITE ON TOAST | AUSTRALIAN | Toast slathered with vegemite (Australian food paste made from leftover brewers' yeast extract) will do for a typically Aussie morning meal, but why settle for just that. At The Plain cafe at Duxton, the all-day breakfast dishes have a decidedly Down Under spin. Opt for the Dean's breakfast - sourdough toast spread with vegemite and melted cheese and topped with a deliciously runny poached egg (half portion $7, full portion $13). Vegemite also features in the humpty dumpty and vegemite soldiers ($7.50), sourdough bread cut into toast sticks, slathered with butter and vegemite. Eat these by dipping into whole, soft-boiled eggs.
CANTONESE 'JOOK' OR CONGEE | CHINESE | Although Singapore is more used to calling this thick, rice-gruel dish 'porridge', congee is a popular breakfast dish in China and one that is readily available in Singapore. While the cooking style varies depending on which region of China you are in, the thick, white porridge where the grains of rice are barely discernable is the Cantonese style of cooking and commonly known as 'jook'. Available in almost every hawker centre and coffee shop, this go-to dish is comforting and easy to digest and a popular dish for upset tummies and for when you are feeling under-the-weather. Congee is a hard dish to get wrong, but for one that is consistently good go to 88 Zhou Pin at Toa Payoh West Market and Food Court. We like ours with shredded chicken and topped with peanut and spring onions ($2.50 at 88 Zhou Pin). We like that this bowl comes with a portion of youtiao (fried dough sticks), dunk in for a contrast in textures. They open at 7am so early risers take note. A more expensive option is at stand-alone restaurant Rice Roll and Porridge house at Killiney Road. Here the youtiao has to be ordered separately ($2) but you get a whole plate of chopped dough stick to go with your chicken congee ($4.50).
FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST | ENGLISH | The traditional English breakfast; the 'full works' or the 'fry up' is a hearty morning meal consisting of several elements and food groups. Traditionally English, but readily available in countries with UK-influenced cultures (such as our own). While this is served at most of Singapore's all-day-breakfast eateries, we were directed to the princely plate served at Sarnies on Telok Ayer Road by a few British expats who swear by the quality of ingredients used. The fry up ($24.90) consists of two eggs (fried or scrambled), an artisanal pork sausage, home made baked beans (full of chunky tomatoes and onions). two slices of buttered sourdough bread (they source this from a local bakery), grilled mushrooms and home cured crispy bacon. Generous helpings, quality products and homemade goodness make this a worthy start to any day. The English breakfast varies slightly from place to place, other additions may include sautéed potatoes, hash browns and grilled tomatoes. England-natives may be used to the addition of black pudding (pig's blood sausage) as part of their breakfats plates - we hear there are restrictions on importing this into Singapore, so you wont find it anywhere.
CROISSIANTS AND COFFEE | FRENCH | At the heart of a French breakfast is the bread, or viennoisserie. A croissant and coffee will do for a start-of-the-day meal in France, but if you are hungrier go for more varieries of rustic, country bread slathered with creamery French style butter and fruit preserves. At Cafe Gavroche's weekend-breakfast menu (which is served till 2pm on weekends), they attempt to re-create the Parisian cafe experience. From sipping a pot of French-brewed coffee ($9) to sidewalk tables facing a very quiet Tras street on the weekends. The breads are baked in-house and the flaky croissants (plain or chocolate-filled) both smell and taste of high quality butter - beurre d'insigny ($2.50). A few of those are enough to fill us up, but we also recommend you try the ultra simple dish of pain, beurre, confitures ($7). Two slices of fresh baked baguette served with butter and blood orange, strawberry and apricot jams. Baguettes are usually hard work, but this one yields at first bite. A crunchy exterior that gives way easily and is pleasant to chew. The butter and jams are of high quality. So simple, so excellent.
BUBUR AYAM | INDONESIAN | Indonesia has their own version of a breakfast porridge. The bubur ayam is a shredded chicken congee that traditionally comes with the option of numerous toppings - chopped scallion, crispy fried shallot, celery and fried keropok. The one we found at Geylang Serai Market (#02-131) is an exceptionally affordable bowl at $1.50 but it is bereft any toppings other than a few scatterred spring onions. It is however a generous portion filled with flavoured, shredded chicken and tongcay (preserved salted vegetables). More like teochew muay in texture, the rice remains whole while swimming in a starchy, tasty broth. For more susbtance, order a side of steamed chicken. The chicken here is thick cut and succulent and can be bought for ($2) a portion. The stall operates from 6am-3pm.
IDLI AND VADAI | SOUTH-INDIAN | It is hard to pin down one particular dish as a typical Indian breakfast. Like China, breakfast staples differ and depend on which state/province you are in. In South India, it is the idli (steamed, rice and lentil cakes) and crisp-fried vadai (doughnut-shaped lentil fritters) that gets people fuelled up for the day. Our preferred spot to get this is at the aptly named Murugan Idli shop. As soon as you sit down, a banana leaf covered plate comes with four chutneys slopped on - coconut, corriander, mint and tomato. The tomato-lentil mix and the coconut chutneys are our preferred dip ins. For a filling meal, order two idlis ($1.75 each) and treat yourself to one twice-fried vadai ($1.75 each). The idlis are soft, fluffy discs of fermented, steamed rice. Dense enough to hold, yet porous enough to soak up the sambhar (lentil soup) that comes with it. Pair this with south indian filter coffee ($2.50) which is frothy from being hand-pulled.
NASI LEMAK | MALAYSIAN | Like India or China, there are several choice breakfast dishes one can feast on in Malaysia. We chose the nasi lemak (rice cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaf, served with sides) for its easy availability in Singapore and its versatility. Most hawker centres have at least one stall selling this rice dish, and even coffee shop chains like Toast Box sell these in leaf-wrapped packs in the morning hours. If done well, the rice is fragrant enough to be eaten on its own. At the popular, Malay family-run Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak, you can order a set that comes with either fried chicken or fried fish (ikan kuning or yellow/gold-banded scad) and sides like a fried egg, peanut and ikan billis and sambal chilli ($4 per set). You can opt to pad up your breakfast plate with additional sides like otah (steamed fish paste), sausage, fish cake, hot dogs or begedil (potato patties) ($0.50-$1 each). The sweet chilli sambal lends good balance to the savoury, crunchy peanut and anchovy mixture and when all stirried together, packs a flavour punch.
KAYA TOAST SET | SINGAPOREAN | While we could chose to eat breakfast from a different country every day of the week, if there is a breakfast set that is uniquely Singaporean, it is this - kaya toast with soft-boiled egs and a kopi or teh. At the heart of a good kaya toast is the kaya (coconut spread made with added eggs and sugar). We like the not-too-sweet but extremely fragrant version of Killiney Kopitiam - it can even be bottled for sale (a great gift for visiting tourists or family abroad, $4.80) This is then slathered on a crisp slice of toast with thick slabs of frozen butter patted on before being sandwiched with another slice ($2.20 for two pieces). Crack open the eggs to reveal runny, soft-cooked insides that should be drizlled over with soy sauce, add white pepper if needed. Dip your toast into the eggs and enjoy. Wash all this down with your preferred kind of syrupy Nanayang-style coffee or tea and have yourself a Singapore-style brekkie.
CHURROS | SPAINISH | Churros, the Spanish breakfast staple, has many fans in Singapore. The fried dough sticks (termed the "Spanish youtiao" after the Singapore version of fried dough sticks) are making appearances on restaurant and cafe menus islandwide. While usually served as dessert, we tracked down a few spots that serve this sinful treat at breakfast. At Common Man Coffee Roasters, for $12 you get five, chewy, sugar-dusted churros served with chocolate sauce (served 10am-6pm). Spanish Doughnuts, the churros-only cafe at Orchard Central opens its doors at 11 am (a tad late for brekkie but nevertheless), the dough sticks are thinner, more crispy and fried only upon order. Order a set of the churritos ($9.90) served in a handy cone with space to hang the three sauce containers (white, milk and dark chocolate sauce). This makes for a convenient breakfast on-the-go. For more places in Singapore that serve churros, read this.
SHAO BING, YOU TIAO WITH SOY MILK AND MEE SUA | TAIWANESE | When asking around for a traditional Taiwanese breakfast, all fingers point to the lorongs of Geylang and to Yong He Eating House, which is open 24 hours. When we visited them at 9am - just in time for the first meal of the day - our order included youtiao ($1.20), these were more chewy than crispy crullers, and were the size of our arm. When dipped in warm soy bean milk, it was quite a meal. Be warned, the warm soy bean milk ($1.40) is a tad salty - a flavour that takes some getting used to. Also order the mee sua ($4), Yong He's version is thick and starchy with a strong peppery flavour and chock full of noodles and shredded pig intestines. We also had high hopes of finding, crisp and flaky shao bing ($2.60) but were disappointed with the dry, meat floss flat pancakes we ordered. They tasted as though they had been lying out for a while.
BREAKFAST BURRITO | AMERICAN (TEX-MEX) | Like their all-day-dining options, Baja Fresh Mexican Grill's (book a table here) breakfast dishes are sizable burritos aptly filled with 'first meal of the day' carbs and proteins. These wraps are a staple in most American-influenced Mexican restaurants and a good choice for a hearty breakfast. The tightly packed burrito wraps come in two sizes (8" for $4.95 and 12" for $7.95) and are flour tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, sautéed potatoes and melted cheese. You have the option of adding smoked ham ($2.95-$3.95) or chopped up sausages ($1.95-$2.95) to your burrito. Every order at Baja Fresh comes with free flow nachos and unlimited servings from their salsa bar - not bad if you are looking to fill up.