Over-indulging your taste buds whilst on vacation in Singapore is quite inevitable; enjoying the city’s culinary delights, whether they be noodle soups served at holes-in-the-wall street stalls, or delectable mud-crabs at one of the city’s numerous 5* restaurants, often becomes the most memorable experience of a trip here. Singapore’s epitome multiculturalism and its obsession with quality means that fantastic food is abundant, and as expensive or affordable as you’d like it to be. Take advantage of the city’s mix-bag heritage, give up the carb-free diet for a few days, and dive straight into Singapore’s most venerated gastronomic delights.
Whilst we’re sure you’ll need no help navigating the extensive menus of Singapore’s premier dining establishments, allow us to guide through the sometime overwhelming maze of the city’s many hawker joints.
Hawker centres are open-air food markets brimming with innumerable food stalls, most offering just a single, delicious, dish. These centres are uniquely Singaporean, and offer a glimpse into the culinary prowess of this incredible city. Here’s our guide of the most delicious hawker meals you should look out for when visiting Singapore.
This seemingly simple noodle dish hails originally from China, yet various addictions over the years has turned it into a uniquely local dish in Singapore. Favoured by locals and by far the most widespread meal you’ll find advertised, hokkien mee is made of rice or egg vermicelli noodles cooked in prawn stock, and then fried along with fresh prawns, bean sprouts and shredded omelette. Add some sambal sauce and lime for extra zing and Bob’s your uncle.
Hainan Chicken Rice
Another local staple is this mouth-watering dish which also originated in China. Much lighter than the fired hokkien meee, this dish consists of poached chicken with ginger and shallots, served on a bed of boiled rice along with a sauce of mixed chilli, soy and oil. Aromatic and exquisite as can be, dig into this dish for breakfast as the locals do.
This Chinese-Malay spicy dish may not be the best choice for breakfast (unless your stomach is lined with lead), but it will certainly tantalize your buds at any other time of the day. Thick rice noodles are cooked al dente, and served in a very rich and Moorish coconut sauce and topped with fresh prawns, fish cakes, bean curd and several other enigmatic goodies. Order yours with a side-serving of otah-otah (spicy mackerel fritter), and a healthy dose of chilli for that truly magnificent burst of flavour. When in Singapore, there’s really only one place to head to for laksa: 328 Katong on East Coast Road.
If you managed to actually eat a whole bowl of laksa all by yourself, first of all kudos to you, and secondly, you may want to look for a refreshing rojak for your next meal. The only kind of ‘salad dish’ found in abundance, rojak is a somewhat eclectic mix of all flavours (salty, sweet and spicy), in one neat bundle. Variations abound and can include cucumber, pineapple, mango, tropical fruits, bean sprouts and the obligatory fried fritters and prawn chilli paste to boot. Yep, rojak is also highly addictive and goes to show that even a salad in this neck of the woods is anything but simple and boring.
Here’s a dish for all Indian food lovers. What starts as a simple flat bread in most other countries morphs into one of the most delicious meals in Singapore. Grilled and filled with all sorts of goodies, either savoury or sweet, the roti is then rolled and dipped into various curry sauces. The perfect late-night snack!
Nah, not what you’re thinking. Singapore’s version of this unassuming dessert, called chai tao kway, actually has no carrot it in, is not sweet and, if we must be honest, looks like an absolute mess. Yet if the taste-look ratio is any indication, let us assure you that this delectable dish of lard-fried red radish topped with garlic, chilli and soy tastes as delicious as perhaps it doesn’t look. The lost-in-translation moment which gave rise to the English name of this dish is due to the fact that in Chinese, the word for red radish is the same as that for carrot!
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