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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

A foodie nation

What and where to eat in Singapore
ST701 Editorial Team - December 30, 2011
By: Noor Farihah
| More
A foodie nation Photo: Carrot cake, a local favourite

What makes Singapore so unique is not just its melting pot of different cultures and races, but also its identity as a gastronomic destination. The blend of cultures can only mean that Singapore is where you can find a wide variety of delicious food, ranging from the local Malay, Chinese and Indian delicacies, to international cuisines hailing from France and Italy.

Local delights

As with any country, Singapore boasts of food specialties which may not be found in other countries. Here are some Singaporean staples:

Satay: Marinated pieces of skewered meat, barbequed over charcoal to bring out its aroma and juiciness. Best eaten with accompanying thick peanut gravy and rice cakes known as ‘lontong’ or ‘ketupat’.

Bak kut teh: Pork ribs painstakingly boiled in soup infused with traditional herbs and spices like pepper, garlic, cinnamon, five spices, star anise, cloves, fennel seeds and dang gui. This dish is best served with fragrant white rice, salted vegetables and other accompanying dishes. Sometimes it may also be served with Chinese tea, which is believed to ‘neutralise’ the fatty contents of this dish.

Prata: The humble prata has come a long way from being a plain piece of kneaded dough fried on both sides and eaten with the Indian dhal (chutney cooked from vegetables and dhal beans). In most eateries today, you can find many varieties of prata, ranging from sweet to savoury. There is the egg prata, paper prata, ice cream prata, chocolate prata, etc. You can also ask for your prata to be served with fish head curry, another specialty in Singapore.

Fish head curry: This dish is basically fish head cooked in mouth-watering gravy of spicy red curry, brinjals and lady’s fingers. There are a few variations to this dish, depending on the racial influences of Chinese, Indian and Peranakans in Singapore; but one thing in common is that it is best eaten with white rice.

Bak chor mee: Many Singaporeans lament that they miss this dish the most when they are overseas – springy al dente flour noodles tossed in special sauce or broth and served with minced meat, pork slices, pork liver, sliced mushrooms, meat balls, bits of deep-fried lard and a slices of lettuce. More traditional hawkers usually serve this dish with a few small pieces of fried crispy sole fish as garnishing.

Carrot cake: Unlike the American dessert with the same name, the Singaporean carrot cake is a main dish of flour diced and fried with eggs, radish, turnips and oyster sauce; then garnished with spring onions. Some hawkers would add lard to the dish for more flavour. There are two versions to this dish; the ‘black’ version includes the addition of a dark sweet sauce.

Char kway teow: This Singaporean favourite is fried in a similar manner to the carrot cake, except that instead of flour, it consists of a mixture of flat, broad noodles (known as kway teow) and yellow noodles. In addition to the carrot cake ingredients, char kway teow also consists of bean sprouts, Chinese sausages and fishcakes. You also have the option of adding cockles to your dish.

Chilli crab: No visit to Singapore is complete without trying this favourite dish, which can be ordered at most eateries serving seafood. Juicy, succulent crabs are slowly cooked in a thick tomato and chilli-based gravy, resulting in a dish best eaten with fried golden man tou. It can also be eaten with white rice and other accompanying dishes such as oyster omelette, fried vegetables etc.

Rojak: Another favourite, this is a local take on salad – mixed fruits and vegetables tossed in a sticky sweet and slightly spicy fragrant sauce, topped off with ground peanuts and dough fritters.

Where to eat

Singapore is brimming with good eating places that will leave you spoilt for choice. Besides the usual shopping centres and restaurants, you can easily find food centres and coffee shops serving good food in many neighbourhood estates.

Here’s a quick guide you can refer to for good, affordable food in the different areas of Singapore:

North

Adam Road Food Centre

Chomp Chomp Food Centre

Shunfu Food Centre

 

Central

Newton Circus Food Centre

Lau Pa Sat Food Centre

Zion Road Food Centre

 

East

Simpang Bedok (an entire street with a line-up of eating joints)

Bedok Corner

Changi Village

 

West

Boon Lay Food Centre

Ayer Rajah Food Centre

Seah Im Food Centre

 

 

 

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