Singapore (Chinese: 新加坡 ) is a foodie’s paradise. Throughout Singapore’s long history, it has welcomed culinary influences from both the East and West. So, whether you like French, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai, Italian, or Malay, you’ll find at least one highly reviewed restaurant or hawker in this Asian city-state. For first time visitors, it can be quite overwhelming to choose the “perfect” place to get your grub on. Honestly, you can’t go wrong wherever you eat in Singapore. If you want to eat like a local, however, you should take a quick look at this article. In this short piece we’ll go over six classic Singaporean dishes you must try at least once on your trip. So, if you’re ready to book a hotel in Singapore and makan like the locals, read on!
Chili or Pepper Crabs
Singaporeans have an obsession with crabs. There are literally dozens of crab concoctions being invented by the day in Singapore. The most indispensable crab dishes, however, are chili crabs and black pepper crabs. As you might’ve guessed from the name, chili crabs are covered with a spicy tomato-chili sauce that gets sweeter as you continue to eat the meat. Most chili crab restaurants will give you a few fried buns to dip in the luscious chili sauce. For people who want a less spicy (and less messy) alternative to chili crab, just ask for a black pepper crab. The best crab restaurants tend to be on Singapore’s picturesque East Coast. To ensure you’ve got a good restaurant, just ask how they prepare their crabs. The best restaurants first boil the crab and then fry them. A few notable crab restaurants to research include the Red House Seafood Restaurant and No Signboard Seafood.
The influence of Malay cuisine is pervasive in Singapore. One of the most popular Malay dishes to check out is called Mee Rebus. This noodle dish combines egg yellow noodles in a thick sauce made of potatoes, soybeans, shrimp, curry powder, and peanuts. Most of the time this dish comes with a hard-boiled egg and a lime wedge on top. You can find this sweet & spicy dish at many hawkers throughout the city, but the most famous hawker is probably Inspirasi Stall in the Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre.
Laksa is one of the signature Peranakan dishes in Singapore. To put it simply, Peranakan culture refers to the fusion between Malay and Chinese residents of Singapore. The true Singaporean version of laksa contains white noodles, cockles, and shrimp all mixed into a spicy curry-coconut base. If you think this dish will be too hot for you, you might want to look for what’s called a Katong laksa, which is generally less spicy. A few popular laksa stalls across Singapore include Sungei Road Laksa and 328 Katong Laksa.
Oyster omelets, known as “Orh Luak” in Singapore, are beloved even by people who say they don’t like oysters. Since the eggs are whipped with a ton of potato starch, the taste of the oysters isn’t really the highlight of this crisp meal. Instead, the oysters add a hint of flavor that compliments the overall dish. A few places you can get your hands on this interesting recipe include Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine and Ah Orh Seafood Restaurant.
There are many dishes near and dear to Singaporeans’ stomachs that have Indian and/or Islamic influences. One such dish is called Nasi Biryani. Although there are Malaysian versions of this popular meal, Indian Briyani is usually made with basmati rice, turmeric, curry chicken, and a few crackers. There are, of course, a wide variety of meats, veggies, gravies, and even dried fruits you can add to this dish to spice up the flavor. A few great restaurants to try out a traditional Briyani include the IMAM Banana Leaf Restaurant and Sheikh Indian Pakistani Food.
Char Kway Teow
Yet another popular hawker food in Singapore is called Char Kway Teow. Sometimes called Orr Kway Teow, this inexpensive meal is a standby for laborers who needed to pick up a ton of energy really fast. Most Char Kway Teow hawkers in Singapore make this dish with a fish cake, eggs, pork, sausages, and rice noodles. A few other recipes incorporate shrimp, chives, and cockles. If you’re interested in trying this hearty dish, try the Hill Street Char Kway Teow or the Lao Fu Zi Char Kway Teow.
One Last Tip Before You Book Your Flight To Singapore
In case you’re interested, Singapore hosts the world-renowned Singapore Food Festival every July. This event is a great opportunity to try as many of Singapore’s divine dishes in a relatively limited time span. In addition to tasting the best food Singapore has to offer, you’ll enjoy live music, outdoor events, and even a few special cooking workshops with Singapore’s most famous chefs. Anyone interested in learning more about this fabulous event can find great info on Singapore’s official site www.visitingsingapore.com