As we wait with bated breath for the official rollout of the Air Travel Bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore (expected to start “within weeks,” according to officials), we’re already looking forward to all the dining hotspots to add to our bucket list. Here’s the ultimate guide to navigating the food paradise that is the Lion City.
Singapore’s rich culinary heritage has been defined by the humble hawker centres scattered all across the island: Step into any hawker centre and you’ll come across a dizzying array of dishes and food traditions — anything from regional Chinese cuisine, traditional dishes from the Malay Archipelago and South Asia, and uniquely Singaporean plates that you won’t be able to get your hands anywhere else.
Here’s our guide to some of the dishes you simply can’t miss when you’re in Singapore.
Nasi lemak is arguably one of Singapore’s most iconic dishes. Typically consisting of coconut rice, fried chicken, eggs, peanuts, and a generous side of sambal, it’s the perfect dish for any time of the day.
Kueh are well-loved traditional snacks that are the amalgamation of the many food cultures present in Singapore. Check out these old-school bakeries that still produce these labour-intensive treats.
Biryani is a fragrant dish made with long grain rice, tons of spices, and pressure-cooked meats. Nasi biryani is the local take on the dish but read on for its many variants.
Prawn noodles consist of egg noodles, fresh prawns, and a flavourful broth that’s made with an artful combination of prawn heads, pork ribs, spices, and sauces. Read on for why this winning combination deserves a dedicated visit.
Teochew porride (also know as muey) consists of grain cooked in broth. It’s usually accompanied by braised and minced meat, and steamed fish.
Head to these traditional bakeries for a satisfying snack, be it pandan chiffon cake, egg tarts or mini muffins.
Curry puffs are the quintessential Singapore snack. These golden pastries are stuffed with fillings such as potato, fish, and egg.
Available in variations of steamed, roast, and soy sauce chicken, this dish might be one of Singapore’s most beloved culinary treasures.
Whether you like your chilli crab sweet, spicy, or even with a more tomato-based sauce, this list is sure to hit the spot.
Kaya today can be found in traditional Nyonya and Hainanese variants, with the former boasting a rich pandan flavour and deeper green hue, and the latter being sweeter and brown in colour.
The beloved dish has its roots in South India, with ‘roti’ meaning bread and ‘prata’ or ‘paratha’ meaning flat in Hindi. The recipe is simple but in no way does that undermine how satisfying it is: dough is flavoured with ghee, before being stretched and fried to golden brown perfection.
Think a stir-fried plate of umami goodness, comprised of yellow and thick vermicelli noodles married with a lip-smacking broth of pork bones and prawn heads, which is then elevated with prawns, squid, pork belly strips, egg and crispy fried pork lard.
Available in soup and dry variants, these Bak Chor Mee options are perfect for a delicious, quick fix on any day.
The best part of any rainy day is slurping a hot bowl of soup — and one of our favourite has to the herbal and peppery broths of Bak Kut Teh.
Here are some of our favourite laksa variants and where you can get them in Singapore.
Take a deep dive into this unique Chinese community in Singapore and its delightful dishes.
This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.