Hainanese cuisine is often overlooked and generalised.
If you’re muttering “Isn’t it just Hainanese chicken rice,” under your breath now — we’re here to prove you wrong.
Before we get started, here’s a quick history behind Hainanese cuisine in Singapore. Compared to the Hokkiens, Teochews and Cantonese in China, the Hainanese were among the last to arrive in Singapore. Due to their difficulties in communication and comparatively underprivileged backgrounds, many ended up as cook boys and waiters in the British and Peranakan households.
While these positions might have deterred many, their occupations proved to be an advantage for the community: the Hainanese became the first Chinese in Singapore to master Western cooking and table craft, resulting in dishes like Hainanese chicken rice, fried pork chop, meat pies and Hainanese steamboat. They eventually ventured into the F&B and hotel industry on their own in the post-WWII years.
If you’re ready to revisit the dialect’s spectacular heritage and food, look no further than these best Hainanese restaurants in Singapore.
(Hero and featured image: Three Hungry Tummies)
Scroll down for the best Hainanese restaurants in Singapore:
Easties won’t be strangers to Jin Wee Restaurant — an unassuming Kopitiam-styled eatery along Upper East Coast Road. On every table, you’ll be sure to find a serving of the diner’s Hai Nan Pork Cutlet a mountain of chopped pork cutlet drizzled in a tangy tomato-based sauce, complete with slivers of sweet onion and waxy potatoes.
If you’re wondering what the giant clay pot is at the entrance of the shop, it’s home to individual chicken soup clay pots that have been simmering in the vessel for hours on end — resulting in fall-off-the-bone meat and a clear, comforting broth packed with flavour.
(Image credit: @hansbaobao via Instagram)
928 East Coast Road, 459117
Easily one of the most popular Hainanese restaurants in Singapore, Chin Chin Eating House draws upon almost nine decades of experience to offer diners authentic dishes today. The dishes here are quintessentially Hainanese, and range from steamed chicken rice, to chap chye, mutton soup, and of course, pork chop. If. You wanted to venture out of the usual fare, the restaurant does other zi char staples like the Prawn Paste Chicken and Cereal Prawns equally well too.
(Image credit: @alfccw via Instagram)
19 Purvis Street, Singapore 188598