Ask any Singaporean what they think the national pastime is, and the answer is likely to involve food. And there’s no better way to taste our diverse food culture than through the most popular local snacks in Singapore! From all-time favourites to local spins on well-loved snacks, there’s no shortage of snack options when you’re in Singapore! Already hankering for a quick snack? We’ve rounded up the best must-buy snacks in Singapore for the next time you’ve got the munchies.
Popular savoury local snacks from Singapore
1. Curry Puff
Succulent chicken chunks, fork-tender potatoes, and a sliced egg, all wrapped up in a buttery layer of pastry. Drooling yet? Curry puffs are definitely one of the most popular local snacks enjoyed by Singaporeans of all ages. And no one does these savoury treats better than Old Chang Kee, a traditional snack chain from Singapore that has been in the curry puffs business since the 1960s!
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: Have you ever yearned for some comfort food late at night? These Frozen Mini Curry Puffs (available on Old Chang Kee) will satisfy your snack cravings, any time of the day!
If you watched Crazy Rich Asians, chances are you were caught by the street food scene featuring local Singaporean delights – one of them being the iconic satay. Also known as ‘sate’, satay refers to seasoned meat skewers cooked over a charcoal grill. Served in bite-sized portions perfect for sharing, satays are definitely one of the most popular local snacks in Singapore!
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: Purchase a pack of Leo Satay Unskewered Hainanese Chicken Satay (available on Leo Foodstuff Official Store) for a delicious, fuss-free option for your next barbecue party!
3. Bak Kwa
Another one of the most popular local snacks in Singapore would be bak kwa (or 肉干 rou gan), a sweet-savoury barbecued meat snack traditionally made of pork. First introduced by the Chinese immigrant community in the 19th century, bak kwa uses a charcoal-grilled preparation method that imbues the meat with an irresistible smoky aftertaste. The iconic local snack often comes in thinly-sliced squares (this makes it very hard to stop at one!), and is particularly indispensable during Chinese New Year!
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: You don’t have to wait till Chinese New Year to satisfy your bak kwa cravings. Treat yourself to some Bee Cheng Hiang Sliced Pork (available on Bee Cheng Hiang Official Store) today! Looking for some halal snack options in Singapore? Check out the Halal Beef Bak Kwa (available on CS Foods)!
Popiah (or 润饼 run bing) is a popular local snack in Singapore perfect for satisfying mid-afternoon hunger pangs! Originating from the Fujian province in China, traditional popiah consists of an assortment of steamed or stir-fried vegetables paired with an array of sweet sauces.
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: Consider yourself a true popiah fan? Make your own homemade popiah with your loved ones with this DIY Popiah Set (available on Yikowei Popiah & CNY Pastries Official Store)! If you’re too lazy to roll your own popiah, grab a pack of Ready to Eat Vegetable Popiah (available on Foodcrumz Official Store) instead!
Next up on the list of well-loved Singaporean snacks would be vadai (pronounced ‘vah-dye’). Originating from India, vadai is a popular staple at Singapore’s pasar malams (or night markets). In Singapore, the famous snack is made from legumes or potatoes moulded into the shape of discs. They’re topped with ingredients such as vegetables, ikan bilis, and even whole prawns! Vadai is best enjoyed with a side of fiery green peppers. Hence, this popular local snack in Singapore is definitely not for the faint of heart!
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: If you want ready-to-eat vadai you can prepare at home, check out Shekin Vadai (available at Aaza Mart HALAL Frozen)! You can browse the Aaza Mart for more halal snack options in Singapore!
6. Salted Egg Fish Skin
We thought salted egg yolk might have been just a passing trend, but it looks like Singaporeans’ love for salted egg yolk will never end! This is why IRVINS Salted Egg Fish Skin (available on IRVINS Official Store) cannot be left out of the list of popular local snacks in Singapore. Founded in 2015, homegrown brand IRVINS Salted Egg has since expanded to 12 different markets worldwide. Their signature product, the crispy and highly addictive salted egg fish skin, has also become one of the best local halal snacks in Singapore!
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: Get your salted egg yolk fix with IRVINS Salted Egg Yolk Fish Skin (available on IRVINS Official Store)! Spoilt for choice? Opt for the IRVINS Variety Bundle (available on IRVINS Official Store), which offers a curated selection of IRVINS’ signature salted egg fish skin, potato chips, and cassava chips.
A steaming plate of biryani is never complete without a side of crisp, savoury poppadom. Also known as pappadum or appalam, it is a popular local snack that has the hearts of Singaporeans young and old. Furthermore, they are prepared by deep-frying or open-flame cooking, giving the famously addictive snack its distinctive crunch! No wonder it is a must-buy snack in Singapore!
Try this popular in Singapore snack now: Who says snacking has to be unhealthy? Get your hands on Uncle Saba’s Poppadoms (Original) (available on Shopee Supermarket) for a plant-based, gluten-free treat! What’s more, it expands the halal snack options in Singapore!
8. Potato Chips (with local twists!)
Singaporeans’ love for local Asian flavours has not gone unnoticed by homegrown snack producers. Cue in potato chips, one of the most popular local snacks in Singapore. Since the salted egg craze that led to the popularisation of Singaporean snack brands like IRVINS and The Golden Duck Co., potato chip flavours in Singapore have only gotten bolder. Think laksa and beef rendang flavoured chips!
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: Gear up for your next Netflix binge session with popular local cuisine-inspired potato chips by Singaporean snack brand F.EAST, like the Egg Prata with Fish Curry Potato Chips (available on F.EAST Official Store)! Like your snacks with a bit more of a kick? Challenge yourself with some Mala Potato Chips (available on Delyco Official Store) instead!
Popular sweet local snacks from Singapore
9. Kaya Toast
When it comes to popular sweet snacks in Singapore, no other local treat comes close to the kaya toast. It was first introduced in Singapore by Hainanese chefs working on British trading ships in the early 20th century. Local coffee shops then began offering kaya toasts on their menu, leading to the eventual popularisation of one of the most famous local snacks in Singapore. Kaya toast is essentially made up of two slices of charcoal-grilled or toasted bread slathered with kaya, a fragrant, coconut milk-based jam, and finished off with a generous slab of cold butter. Pair it with some soft-boiled eggs and a cup of hot kopi (coffee) or teh (tea), and you’ve got yourself the perfect Singaporean breakfast!
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: There’s no way we can talk about kaya toasts without mentioning Killiney or YaKun, our go-to for afternoon tea breaks. Transport yourself back in time with Killiney’s nostalgia, with the Killiney Kaya (available on Killiney Singapore).
10. Muah Chee
For many Singaporeans, looking out for the aunty (or uncle) armed with a pair of scissors and a pushcart loaded with pillow-soft glutinous flour was the key highlight of trips to pasar malams growing up. With origins that can be traced back to South China, muah chee is a mochi-like Singaporean snack popular with adults and children alike. The preparation process is deceptively simple. Simply divide steamed glutinous rice flour into bite-sized mounds, and toss them in a mixture of crushed peanuts and sugar. The result? Deliciously soft yet chewy balls of dough make stopping at one an incredible challenge.
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: If you prefer having these sweet treats delivered to your doorstep, you have to check out Yikowei’s Muah Chee (available on Yikowei Popiah & CNY Pastries Official Store). It comes in both traditional peanut and black sesame flavours. Alternatively, you can channel your inner pasar malam aunty or uncle and make your own fresh muah chee with this easy rice cooker recipe!
11. Pandan Chiffon Cake
Light, fluffy and moist: the classic pandan chiffon cake never fails to win the hearts of Singaporeans and tourists alike. Characterised by its distinctive green hue, the pandan chiffon cake marries the much-loved Asian flavours of coconut and pandan. No wonder it is a popular local snack in Singapore!
Try this best-loved snack in Singapore now: Nibble on a slice of Pandan Chiffon Cake (available on Old Seng Choong Official Store) for the perfect tea time snack! If traditional pandan chiffon cakes are too dull for your liking, perhaps the trendier Gula Pandan Cake (available on Bakers & Bakes Official Store) will pique your interest. We’re sure the Gula Melaka drizzle will make for an Instagram-worthy shot.
12. Ang Ku Kueh
In Singapore, ang ku kuehs (also known as red tortoise cakes) are commonly eaten during joyous and festive celebrations. An example is the baby’s first-month celebration, to signify longevity and blessings. Traditionally, ang ku kuehs are filled with mung bean paste. Today, there exist many modern renditions of this much-loved local snack in a variety of flavours. This includes black sesame, peanut, and even durian! With so many to choose from, it comes without a doubt that ang ku kuehs are a must-buy snack in Singapore!
Try this popular local snack in Singapore now: Fancy some ang ku kuehs to have at home? Check out this Lek Lim Ang Ku Kueh (available on Lek Lim Nonya Cake Trading Pte Ltd), or try the Rainbow Lapis Happy Kueh Box (available on Rainbow Lapis SG Official Store) to sample a wide variety of nonya kuehs!
13. Durian Puffs
A list of popular local snacks in Singapore is not complete without mention of – yep, you guessed it – durian. From durian snowskin mooncakes to durian ice cream and other durian desserts, Singaporeans can’t seem to stop coming up with different ways to enjoy the king of fruits. One of the most well-loved durian desserts in Singapore is the durian puff, a light choux pastry filled with durian-flavoured cream that’s perfect as a tea-time snack!
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: Satisfy your durian puff cravings with eCreativeCake’s Durian Cream Puffs (available on eCreativeCake Official Store), one of the best halal snacks in Singapore! For more durian puff recommendations, check out our guide to the best durian puffs in Singapore.
Next up on our roundup of popular local snacks in Singapore is ondeh-ondeh, a glutinous rice ball dessert filled with gula melaka (or palm sugar) and rolled in dessicated coconut. Originating from Indonesia, the much-loved sweet treat first reached our shores between the 1950s to 1960s and quickly became popular with Singaporeans of all ages. Eating ondeh-ondeh, however, should come with a fair amount of caution, as they are known to burst open with a single bite!
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: Satisfy your sweet tooth with some good ol’ Ondeh-Ondeh (available on Rainbow Lapis SG Official Store)! Share the joy and surprise your loved ones with an Ondeh-Ondeh Cake (available on Emicakes Official Store).
Growing up in Singapore, there’s no way you could have never tried Milo (available on Shopee Supermarket). The malt-based chocolate drink is so popular in Singapore, it has transcended its status as a nutritious snack beverage to become a cultural icon with locals. From the iconic Milo trucks that are staples at large events to partnerships with Singapore’s top athletes, Milo is definitely the nation’s favourite beverage!
Try Singapore’s best-loved beverage now: Beyond the classic packet Milo, you can now enjoy a wide range of innovative drinks and snacks featuring the same chocolatey goodness! Fancy yourself a Milo peng but too lazy to head to the kopitiam downstairs? Get your hands on a Milo Activgo Nutri Peng (available on Shopee Supermarket) for your ice-cold Milo fix!
16. Kueh Lapis Sagu
Known for its distinctive, multicoloured layers, the kueh lapis sagu (also known as rainbow lapis) is an older local snack that remains particularly popular with children in Singapore. As a popular must-buy snack in Singapore, this traditional Peranakan dessert is notorious for how labour-intensive it is to make. Thankfully, one bite into its sweet, chewy layers would be enough to convince you that it’s worth all that effort.
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: Sink your teeth into some Kueh Lapis Sagu (available on Rainbow Lapis SG Official Store) for your next tea time snack! In charge of snacks for your next gathering? Treat everyone to a blast from the past with this colourful Kueh Platter (available on Rainbow Lapis SG Official Store)!
17. Kueh Lapis
Not to be confused with the multi-coloured kueh lapis sagu, kueh lapis (literally ‘sweet layer cake’ in Bahasa Indonesia) is a famous Dutch-Indonesian snack that has won the hearts of many Singaporeans. Also known as ‘thousand-layer cake’, kueh lapis is known for its multiple rich, buttery layers. The popular local snack loved by Singaporeans is put together through a painstaking process of ladling batter onto each layer bit by bit until all the batter is used.
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: Life’s short – treat yourself to some Kueh Lapis (available on Daribellsg Official Store) and consider your next tea time halal snack in Singapore sorted! Psst, check out our roundup of the best kueh lapis in Singapore for more recommendations!
18. Potong Ice Cream
Potong ice cream remains one of the most popular local snacks for beating the Singapore heat. Back in the 1980s, ice cream sellers would make their own potong ice cream from scratch and peddle them door-to-door. Coming in a distinctive rectangular shape, this well-loved sweet treat is typically made from the base ingredients of coconut milk, skimmed milk, corn starch, and sugar. Can you guess what was the most popular potong ice cream flavour back then? That’s right, it’s the red bean flavour! The red bean potong ice cream remains a favourite with Singaporeans today, but this sweet treat has definitely evolved to include flavours such as pulut hitam, chocolate, and of course, durian.
19. Wafer Ice Cream
What’s your favourite childhood memory? For us, it’s definitely racing downstairs to the ice cream cart when the ice cream uncle rings his bell! Push cart ice cream is an indelible part of our food culture, and it is a must-buy snack in Singapore. In fact, there are few other local snacks that remain so popular with adults and children alike! From raspberry ripple to chocolate, push cart ice cream is known for its wide variety of flavours and customisation options. One of the most popular customisation options is to have your block of icy goodness sandwiched between two crisp wafers!
Try this popular snack in Singapore now: Relive your childhood with Magnolia Wafer Ice Cream (available on F&N Creameries (S) Pte Ltd Official Store), available in classic flavours you’d find at traditional ice cream carts. Think raspberry ripple, chocolate, yam, and durian! Alternatively, channel your inner ice cream uncle with these Traditional Wafer Biscuits (available on TheDailyMart) you can use to make your own push cart ice cream at home!
Take a walk down memory lane with these popular local snacks from Singapore
Take a break from the trendy new cafes and fusion hawker food with these good ol’ must-buy snacks in Singapore. Keen to find out more about our local food culture through traditional snacks in Singapore? Try your hand at making some nonya kueh from scratch! Otherwise, these best rendang spots in Singapore will probably be up your alley if you love a spicy kick. Don’t forget to shop our Great Shopee Sale here!
This article was updated on 20 June 2023. Additional research done by Li Jike.