It may not look like much: at first glance, it looks like a number of stalls crammed into the ground level of a carpark building. But this collection of food stalls happens to be one of the most popular public hawker centers on the island, outperforming the others in informal polls.
Since it opened in 1973, Old Airport Road Food Centre has hosted some of the finest family hawker enterprises, selling near-legendary satay bee hoon, char kway teow, and rojak. Today, 168 stalls make up the hawker center component on the ground floor, selling inexpensive but delectable Singapore and international favorites. You'll only need to spend about SGD 5-7 (about $4 to $5.50) for a belly-busting meal at the Old Airport Road Food Centre: awesomely great value typical of Singapore's hawker centers.
Your guide was brought to the Old Airport Road Food Centre by Makansutra and its founder, Singapore food enthusiast K.F. Seetoh. "Old Airport Road has been around for very long, it's got very good food, a very good reputation," Seetoh told us as we waited for our order. "You get stuff from breakfast all the way to supper. And there's a huge carpark beside it - it's one of the main factors of a good hawker center. All good hawker centers have got huge carparks."
Seetoh then ordered four Old Airport Road favorites for us, his guests: pictures and an account of the eating experience follow in the next few pages.
- How to get there: Old Airport Road Food Centre is located in the Katong neighborhood east of Marina Bay. Ride the Singapore MRT and disembark at Dakota MRT Station (Circle Line; CC8). The Food Centre is 140 yards west of the station exit. Old Airport Road Food Centre on Google Maps. For more on using Singapore's efficient transport system, read our article about Riding Singapore's MRT and Buses with the EZ-Link Card.
- Nearby accommodations: the neighborhood of Katong, where Old Airport Road is located, happens to host some of Singapore's top budget hotels - see this list of Katong and Joo Chiat budget hotels for details.
- Hawker history: For more on Singapore's hawker culture, read our introduction of Singapore hawker centers, or check out our list of top ten hawker centers in Singapore. For a Singapore event that puts the spotlight on the world's best street food, check this out: The World Street Food Congress Convenes in Singapore.
- Government lowdown: Visit the official government-run page on Old Airport Road Hawker Centre.