Southeast Asia’s fastest growing nation – Singapore is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines and adventures. A gem of a land, Singapore has everything, from tall buildings, amusement parks, abundance of nature and food that’s lip-smacking in every way. Beyond the larger-than-life skyscrapers and urban green gardens, Singapore is all about the food.
When it comes to ‘things to do’ in Singapore, your itinerary will mostly revolve around food. From hearty dishes to snacks and kueh, here’s your ultimate dining guide to the real Singapore food!
Image courtesy: wantonmee.com.sg
Influenced by the rich cuisine of Hong Kong, this Singaporean Wanton Noodle Dish is a significant part of this nation’s culture. The Singapore version is typically eaten dry, drenched with some light sweet sauce, slices of pork char siew and wanton dumplings filled with pork, with a small bowl of soup. This one can get quite spicy if you don’t warn the hawker for your taste as they mix chilli into the noodles. The non-spicy version has tomato ketchup mixed in.
Some of the Best Wanton Mee Stalls in Singapore are: Fei Fei Wanton Mee, Kok Kee Wanton Mee, Parklane Zha Yun Tun Mee House, Eng’s Wanton Noodle House.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
Most certainly, this one can be called Singapore’s national dish. First blanched in boiling water and then dunked in an ice bath before being sliced, a well-prepared chicken has tender meat tinted with a thin layer of congealed fat. Its rice, cooked in chicken fat, chicken stock, pandan leaf as well as ginger and garlic, is aromatic and fluffy.
Experience the Hainanese Chicken Rice at: Wee Nam Kee, Uncle Chicken Rice
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This famous Singaporean dish is rich, spicy and finger-licking good. Giant, fresh crabs are first deep fried then drenched in generous portions of thick chilli sauce that flows over the crabs when presented to you in a plate. To eat like the locals do, order a set of man tou (Chinese wheat buns) to go with the crabs and dip them in the piquant sauce for, and you’ll have experience Singapore street food at its best.
Revel in the flavours of Chilli Crabs in Singapore at: Red House Seafood Restaurant, No Signboard Seafood, Crab Party, Long Beach Seafood
Singapore food is not all about non-vegetarian fare. Vegetarians – here’s something for you! Kaya Toast is an absolute delight at many vegetarian restaurants in Singapore. Whether it’s for breakfast or afternoon tea, the combo of thinly sliced toasted bread slathered with kaya – a thick jam made with coconut, sugar; and a square of butter to go with a cup of coffee. You can also eat them with black sauce-drizzled half-boiled eggs for a traditional Singapore food experience. Some stalls also sell the kaya spread, in case you want to bring a jar back home for friends and family.
Munch on the Kaya Toast at: Tong Ah Eating House, Chin Mee Chin Confectionary
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No food guide to Singapore is complete without the super yummy Laksa. Laksa is a dish created from the merging of Chinese and Malay cuisine, otherwise known as Peranakan culture. There are two main types of Laksa – Curry Laksa and Asam Laksa. Curry Laksa is more predominant in Singapore, while Asam Laksa is more commonly found in Malaysian regions like Penang. In fact there are loads of variants of Laksa, differing in the type of fish used, broth and even noodles. Traditional Singapore Curry Laksa uses vermicelli, coconut milk, tau pok (beancurd puffs), fish slices, shrimp and hum (cockles).
Relish the delish Laksa in Singapore at: 328 Katong Laksa, Sungei Road Laksa, Janggut Laksa
Bak Chor Mee
Bak Chor Mee (or minced pork noodles) are blanched thin egg noodles tossed in oil, black vinegar, a feisty chili paste, and served with minced pork, pork balls, pork dumplings, pork slices, bits of crispy pork lard, and, in some cases, umami-packed pieces of dried sole fish that has been fried to a crispy, golden hue. Typically, the dish is ordered ‘dry’ to savour the full flavours of the sauce and you can choose between chilli or ketchup, and the type of noodles that you would like. Noodle choices are normally either mee pok (a flat noodle) or mee kia (thin noodle), while some stalls offer bee hoon, mee sua or mee tai mak as well.
Where to get it: Tai Wah Pork Noodle, Tai Hwa Pork Noodles, 58 Minced Meat Mee, Seng Hiang Food Stall
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Hey, hey vegetarians, here’s another delight! Rojak means mixed. This dish is basically a selection of ingredients all mixed together with sauce. There is Indian street food rojak and there is Chinese rojak. For Indian rojak, choose ingredients like tempeh (a type of soybean product), tofu, potato to make it vegetarian. They will chop it up and mix it with onion, green chilli, cucumber and serve it with a sweet orange-red sauce.
If you prefer something fruitier, go for the Chinese version as it has pineapples in it! The sauce that goes with Chinese rojak is brownish-black in colour.
Are you the one who ditches the done-to-death food to try local flavours while travelling? Explore these food and shopping packages which will make you travel like a local anywhere in the world.
Places to try: Rojak Line, Gokul Vegetarian
Those bite-sized, colourful little cakes you’ve seen at local buffets or at cake shops and bakeries are kuehs. Traditionally made from rice, tapioca or glutinous flour, kueh is a broad term that includes items like cakes, cookies, dumplings, puddings, biscuits and even pastries. Often steamed, they can also be baked, and are typically flavoured with grated coconut, coconut cream, pandan leaves and gula melaka. Nyonya (or Peranakan) Kueh is a popular version. Switch up your afternoon tea delight with these colourful cubes cakes.
Sweet treats of Kuehs are available at: Ji Xiang Confectionery, Lau Tan Tutu Kueh, Kim Choo Kueh Chang, Rumah Bebe
Hokkien Prawn Mee
Singapore Hokkien Mee features a combination of fried egg noodles and rice noodles in a rich prawn stock with cubes of fried pork fat, prawns, fish cake and squid. Some vendors add pork strips as well to add more flavour. This dish was the creation of post-war Hokkien noodle factory workers who would gather along Rochor Road and fry any excess noodles they had.
Best Hokkien Prawn Mee Stalls: Eng Ho Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee, Ah Hock Fried Hokkien Noodles, Chia Keng Fried Hokkien Mee, Original Serangoon Fried Hokkien Mee
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Does this name ring a bell in your Indian mind? Roti Prata is nothing but Paratha and curry that went to Singapore for higher studies and made this nation its home. A Singapore breakfast staple, roti prata, also nicknamed the “Asian croissant,” is a South Indian, flour-based flat bread fried on the griddle with ghee (clarified butter). Crisp, flaky, and buttery, it is usually served with a side of fish or mutton curry and, for children, sugar. Order your roti prata plain or with egg.
Where to get it: Mr. & Mrs. Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata, Sin Ming Roti Prata
Would you ever be able to imagine Singapore without Marina Bay Sands or the iconic Merlion? In the same way, it is impossible to imagine Singapore’s culinary culture without its rich heritage of street food. Do not forget to miss out on including these places in your itinerary when you plan your vacation to Singapore. Check out these super interesting Singapore tour packages!
Written by: Aashima Kadakia
Creative ninja and a true follower of ‘Work, Save, Travel, Repeat’, I love to travel, experience places and bring back stories for a lifetime. Born and brought up in Ahmedabad, I like to visit the same old places, the same cliched tourist spots and destinations, but choose to see the unexplored in the old places. Always inclined towards the mighty mountains in their debate with the beaches!