One of the best things I love about being in Singapore, is the food. This country is my second home, a multi-cultural diversity is reflected in the variety of local cuisine it has to offer, from Chinese to Malay, Indian to Peranakan.
These food are very common in Singapore and you can find it almost everywhere. They may not be the top favorite for some of you. After all, food is a very subjective matter. And you may have other recommendations for your overseas friends. But to my overseas readers, I hope these food let you have a taste of the local culture and have a uniquely Singapore experience.
#1 Chicken Rice
Known as Singapore’s ‘national’ dish. This delectable dish can be found at almost every dining spot, from humble hawker centres to high-end restaurants.
The chicken rice is a dish that consists of succulent steamed white chicken cut into bite-size pieces and served on fragrant rice with some light soy sauce. The dish is topped with sprigs of coriander leaf and sesame oil, and accompanied by a garlic-chilli dip.
The cooking method hails back to its Hainanese roots. The chicken is steeped in boiling water or blanched till it is fully cooked, before soaking it in cold water to ensure the meat remains tender. In a local twist, the chicken can also be roasted or braised in soya sauce for a different taste.
#2 Fish Soup
Fish soup has always been my go-to hawker dish because it’s one of the healthier options that still manages to keep me feeling full and satisfied.
There are two versions: one is Teochew-style with steamed slices of fish in a clean, light broth, while the other is Cantonese-style with deep-fried slices of Dory or Mackerel fish in a milky broth paired with some kind of noodle or a steaming bowl of rice.
While other food stalls add some twists in their fish soup by adding bits of fried ikan bilis (anchovies) and fried egg floss. If you happen to be in North area, visit the food shop in A’posh Building at Yishun Avenue 6. Absolutely, you have to queue up to 30 minutes.
Don’t leave Singapore without trying laksa. Laksa is basically a noodle dish with chicken, prawns or fish cake served in a rich and spicy curry coconut milk broth or a sour assam (tamarind or gelzugur) broth.
When it comes to finding the best Laksa in Singapore, it is still arguably whether the most famous “Katong” laksa is the best. To me the taste are all the same! (haha!)
Being around North area, 928 Yishun is a must-visit destination for laksa fans. However, brace yourself for the long queue that can seem endless because this place is just downright popular too.
#4 Chili Crab
This Singaporean iconic seafood dish is a must try to complete the gastronomic exploring journey of any travelers. It has been promoted by The Singapore Tourism Board as one of Singapore’s National Dishes, and can be found in seafood restaurants and even in hawker centres all over the island. It is traditionally eaten with bare hands as a means to savour the juicy crab meat with its sweet and spicy chilli sauce. This dish is often pair up with steam or deep fried buns (also known as mantous).
#5 Curry Fish Head
Fish head curry is a dish in Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine with Indian and Chinese origins. The head of a red snapper is semi-stewed in a Kerala-style curry with assorted vegetables such as okra (ladies finger) and eggplants. It is usually served with either rice or bread, or as a shared dish. Although it is generally not categorised as cheap hawker fare.
These dishes will definitely make you feel like you have traveled to another country, and would even take you to a lane of history.
When planning to visit Singapore, prepare to feast not only on the marvellous scenery but also on the food, because these must eat dishes are definitely something that you should add to your bucket list.