1. Hokkien Mee
Egg hokkien noodles and rice noodles combine in this popular dish joined by egg, prawns, pork, squid, sambal sauce and a soaking of lime for tang. For a truly tantalising authentic experience, venture out of the city to Geyland Lor 29 at 396 East Coast Rd, or Ah Hock Fried Hokkien Noodles at Chomp Chomp visit Singapore’s famous hawker centre Lau Pa Sat and make a beeline for the Hup Kee Hokkien Mee stall.
2. Chicken Rice
This is a dish best-enjoyed hawker-style. Tian Tian chicken rice comes recommended by chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain as well as Australia’s own Tetsuya and is found in Chinatown’s Maxwell food centre. The rice is cooked in chicken stock, topped with poached chicken and served with chilli sauce. Delicious.
3. Kaya toast
This sweet snack comes from melding toast with kaya (Singapore’s sweet version of Vegemite) coconut jam (that’s made from sugar, coconut milk, eggs, butter and pandan. Most often eaten for breakfast, when you’re visiting it is good any time of the day. Try it at Singapore’s coffee houses, in particular, Ya Kun Kaya Toast.
4. Roti Prata
South Indian cuisine is a key essence of multicultural Singapore, and this pancake flatbread is one of the stars. It is usually can be eaten for breakfast or supper, and isor served with curry or sugar. Like a crepe, ingredients can be added and you will often see the roti with egg or onion in Singapore. It’s best to buy one that is hot and fresh from a stall.
5. Chilli crab
Recognisably Singaporean, you must not leave without trying chilli crab. The catch is fresh thanks to the abundance of Singapore’s coastline but the dish really sings because of the chilli, garlic, vinegar and tomato sauce served with the crustacean.
A perennial favourite, satay sticks are sold in Singapore in tens and come with the addictive peanut sauce. This is a popular Malay dish, found in hawker centres and best enjoyed under the stars at places like Boon Tat Street, Chinatown Food Street and Makansutra Gluttons Bay alike. A convenient street food, it would be remiss to walk pass the many stalls without buying some.
7. Bak Kut Teh
This meat tea is the Singaporean version of chicken soup. A hearty meat broth made from pork ribs and stewed with fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves and star anise makes it almost medicinal. There’s another style too with fewer herbs. Try both.
A Singaporean take on the fish cake, Otak otak is a snack of fish meat and spice wrapped in banana or coconut leaf and roasted over charcoal. Try as a side dish in restaurants or as a shopping sustenance from stalls in the afternoon.
Imagine a massive fresh spring roll, and you have some idea of popiah. The dough wrapping has been compared to a crepe and the filling is finely-grated turnip and other stir-fried vegetables like with bean sprouts and carrot. Chinese sausage, shrimp peanuts, tofu, egg and lettuce are added along with chilli and sweet dark sauce, ending with a sprinkling of peanuts.
10. Nasi Lemak
A dish that is commonly eaten for breakfast that has been adopted by Singapore is nasi lemak. There are two versions, the original Malay rice with anchovies, fried fish, nuts, cucumber and egg and the Chinese version with deep-fried chicken or fish cake. Both are readily available in Singapore but the most famous stall is in the Adam Road food centre.