Many different countries have brought their recipes and food traditions to Singapore making it a paradise for food bloggers. If you are looking for outstanding street food, then make your way to the nearest hawker center where mom-and-pop-type establishments are sure to fill the bill. Additionally, there are great places for date nights and special celebrations.
Here we have collaborated together some of the most popular foods in Singapore that you should try when visiting.
8 Street Foods to Try in Singapore
Hawker centers are a favorite to many diners in Singapore. These centers are similar to food courts in a mall setting and offer a variety of foods in a very small area by numerous vendors. While you will find small hawker centers on many corners, the largest of these have up to 250 vendors offering great food like rice dishes, porridges, poultry, fish and much more. Others prefer to buy from vendors pushing carts down some of Singapore’s streets.
In 2018, there were three hawker stalls that received a Michelin star for the quality of their food and their service. That is really saying something!
Hainanese Chicken Rice
Often considered one of the national foods of Singapore, no trip would be complete without trying Hainanese chicken rice. In order to make it, the chicken is first poached and the fat skimmed off. Then, the fat is allowed to congeal before it is used to coat the chicken and flavor the rice. While you will find many different varieties, pandan leaf, ginger and garlic are often added to give the dish its aromatic aroma.
While you may want to scream when a frog jumps at you from the bushes, eating frogs is a wonderful tradition in Singapore. Frog porridge is often served in two ways in Singapore. The first way is to simply place the cooked frog in a wonderful porridge and serve it. Most prefer the second way where the juicy frog is sauteed with soy sauce, wine, and green onions. It is not uncommon to see various alternatives to basic frog porridge including a spicy chili version and a more milder ginger one.
It is hard to imagine that the stingray uses to be considered a poor man’s fish until an enterprising Malaysian immigrant invented Sambal Stingray. First, the fish is barbecued on a banana leaf before a variety of toppings including spices, shallots and shrimp paste are spread on top. When you try Sambal stingray, consider having them serve it with a squirt of calamansi juice and fermented krill.
Bak Kut Teh
Legend has it, the dish Bak Kut Teh was first developed by a poor Chinese shopkeeper who was trying to feed a begging stranger from his own limited resources. However, when you dine on this meat bone tea, chances are that you will be coming back for more. The recipe for this dish has been passed down for generations with people putting in their own special blend of spices in this rib-based soup that has been simmered for hours.
Long Beach Seafood originated the original chili and tomato chili crab in 1956, and it was soon followed by one bathed in black pepper. Today, foodies in Singapore can find both variations with the black pepper one often served with a scrumptious jackfruit sauce. Of course, you will need to try them both to make up your mind which one you prefer.
Char Kway Teow
Flat rice noodles, dark soy sauce, bean sprouts, blood cockles, and Chinese sausage slices are stir-fried together to make Char Kway Teow. Foodies will find this dish extremely interesting because of the contrast of textures found in it. This dish is usually prepared as a single serving so that the rice noodles will brown properly.
Fish Head Curry
Assuming that you can overcome an aversion to eating fish heads, then you may think you have gone to paradise when you eat fish head curry. Most hawkers make the curry with coconut milk. Make sure to try several versions of this curry from Indian-cuisine street vendors as those based on Northern Indian recipes tend to be spicier while those from Southern Indian recipes tend to be sweeter.
If you are staying in Singapore for a while, try all the different versions of Laksa. According to Migrationology, you definitely need to try this dish consisting of vermicelli noodles, bean curd cooked in a basic coconut sauce that is often prepared with shredded mackerel and mangosteen. Since you are likely to fall in love with this healthy dish at first bite, try the variations containing pineapple, onion, mint, chili, and cucumbers.
8 Dinner Foods To Try
It is easy to see why Singaporeans flock to the endless restaurants after work. There are so many different choices to choose from. The mixture of different cultures makes Singapore a great place to try the best meals from around Asia. Going out to dinner is seen as an important cultural activity, and you are welcomed to join in the fun. Consider these choices when eating dinner in Singapore.
While this dinner dish is heavily influenced by its Hong Kong roots, those living in Singapore have definitely made it their own. Often served with a chili ketchup, diners often feast on wonton mee made with barbecued pork and leafy vegetables with choy sum being a particular favorite.
Xiao Long Bao
It is not unusual to be served a variety of dim sum for dinner. One you will want to try is Xiao Long Bao. Most places will serve these dim sums in a basket and are usually stuffed with minced pork and broth. The best ones often made with 18 folds before being finished with a spiral twist on top.
Bak Chor Mee
Bak Chor Mee is a flavorful dish originating in China, but Singaporeans have perfected the techniques to make this dish delicious. This noodle dish is usually made with fish balls, but you can find mushroom variations. While you can find bak chor mee served as a soup, the version served with a sauce made from vinegar, chili and oil are highly recommended.
Made from a combination of different noodles that usually includes fried egg noodles and rice noodles. This dish is a delight to the eyes as well as the palette. It is usually fixed with fish cake, fried pork fat, prawns and squid. Seth Lui suggests adding some pork strips as a wonderful idea as they perfectly compliment this dinner dish in Singapore.
Many people who grew up in Singapore admit that they miss Nasi Briyani the most when living in another country. This dish is usually made with basmati rice, but another long-grain rice can be substituted. The rice is then flavored with ghee or a flavored butter along with garlic, yogurt, and various spices. Many different variations exist including tandoori chicken, mutton and fried mackerel.
Originating in China, Mee Siam is made with Siamese noodles flavored with a sweet and spicy sauce usually containing a shrimp and bean paste. Most restaurants serve this dish accompanied by a beancurd puff, boiled egg and bean sprouts.
There are two popular versions of rojak served for dinner in Singapore. Chinese immigrants brought along their recipe for bean curd puffs, radishes, cucumbers, bean sprouts, pineapple, and dough fritters. The other variation comes from India, and it is served with a red potato sauce.
Singaporeans often eat two variations of duck rice. One choice uses white rice along with roasted duck meat while the other choice uses yam noodles and braised duck meat. While you will find some hawkers serving this dish, consider saving it for an upscale meal where this dish is the main entree on the menu.
Breakfast Foods to Try in Singapore
Since the average person in Singapore often works an 11-hour day, many choose to start with a hearty breakfast. There are blurred lines regarding what foods should be eaten during which meals, but you will find some great breakfast choices that are a great way to start the day.
White bread is spread with a wonderful layer of coconut-egg mixture resembling egg curd before it is folded in half to be eaten in this dish. The origins of this dish lay in Malaysia, but Singaporean residents have definitely adopted it. The best kaya toast is made with bread that is cut about 1/2-inch thick, so it is crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside after being toasted. Kaya jam only lasts about a month and must be kept in the refrigerator, so you are unlikely to find this option unless you dine out in Singapore.
While you will find many variations of nasi lemak in Singapore, they all are made with rice cooked with coconut milk. You will often find it served by hawkers of Malaysian ancestry where it is fixed without many spices and served with boiled eggs, peanuts and anchovies. In the Chineses version, the rice is often an emerald green because it is prepared with pandan leaves. The Chinese version is often served with chicken, curried vegetables or fish cakes.
First, a carrot cake made with Chinese radishes is prepared. Then, the cake is crumbled and cooked again along with eggs, spices and other ingredients resulting in a very flavorful hash-like dish. You can also get a dark version incorporating soy sauce into the ingredients before it is cooked on the grill giving the dish a smoky flavor. Seth Lui is right when he lists this as one of the top 30 foods in Singapore that you must try.
This scrumptious food is prepared by mixing rice flour and water together. The mixture is then poured into special cups where it is steamed. Then, the completed rice cakes are topped with diced preserved radishes before a generous topping of chili sauce is added to create a finishing touch.
This dish that finds its ancestry in Indonesia is stir-fried noodles with various ingredients added in. While there is little doubt that mothers used to clean out the refrigerator and put whatever was left in this dish, today mee goreng usually incorporates tofu, greens, and potato. It is normally served with a sweet chili sauce.
Similar to a thick oatmeal, this dish is often made with fish and garnished with some vegetables. Unlike American rice that gets pasty when thick, this one retains its creamy texture through the use of Jasmine or other types of rice.
Savory on the inside and crisp on the outside, roti prata is a great way to start the day. While most of these flatbreads are crispy, you will find some more tender. While served at any meal, breakfast is a great time to try this food along with a bowl of chicken curry for dunking.
One of the best ways to start the day is with soft cooked eggs. While these eggs are boiled in water for five minutes, they are not allowed to get hard like those served in Western countries. Instead, crack them open and let them run onto your plate. Expect the white to be barely showing any color and the yolk to be just slightly congealed.
Dessert Foods to Try
The blending of various cultures leaves Singapore an amazing place to eat dessert. From icy cool options like cendol and iced kacang to warm choices like apom berkuah and ondeh ondeh, there are many great desserts to try in Singapore. The great news is that they are easy to find, so leave room for dessert!
While all Cendols start out with the same basic base of coconut, rice flour noodles, shaved ice, and palm sugar, you will find many different toppings available. If you have been wanting to try durian, then this dessert is a great place to do it. You will find Cendol served as a dessert drink in many parts of Southeast Asia and it’s usually served in a bowl in Singapore.
Originally made from shaved ice and red beans, this dessert resembles a snow cone in many ways. Today, you can find a variety of toppings offered with most of them having a fruit base. Others offer a chocolate topping or some other creative twist. Regardless, eating an ice Kacang is a great way to cool down on a warm summer day.
Durian Mousse Cake
While the spiky durian fruit can be an acquired taste, if you find that you love it, then try some durian mousse cake. A lighter-than-normal sponge cake serves as the base for this cake featuring the durian, fresh cream, and gelatin as a filling. It is served in many homes as a special holiday treat.
The Smart Local recommends eating grass jelly if you are looking for a great way to cool down. In order to make grass jelly, chefs take a plant from the mint family, boil it and let it cool until it congeals. Then, it is combined with shaved ice and just a squeeze of lime.
This cake is often served with hot milo as a midday snack. It is a light chiffon cake flavored with pandan leaves. CNN has named the pandan cake as the national cake of Singapore so you will want to try this light-green cake that is usually served without any frosting or toppings.
Mango pudding is a great way to end almost any meal. The key is to use perfectly ripened mango and blend them with evaporated milk, gelatin and other ingredients making the mangos sweeter. This dish is so beautiful when served with fresh fruit on top that it is served at many high-end restaurants in Singapore.
Served with a bowl of banana dipping sauce, Apom Berkuah is a savory pancake with a unique blue swirl in the middle. The blue swirl comes from Bunga Telang flowers that grow naturally throughout much of Southeast Asia. The banana dipping sauce is a great accompaniment to these savory pancakes.
These cute little glutinous rice flour pastries are filled with palm sugar. In order to make them, chefs first make the rice flour balls that often have tapioca pudding in them. Then, they inject the palm sugar before boiling them. Finally, they are rolled in coconut and create an amazing treat that squirts the sugar into your mouth as you take your first bite.
With so many delicious dishes available you will want to stay in Singapore for a while to enjoy them all. Plan time in your itinerary to eat some of these different foods that are famous in Singapore as they are each unique. The awesome food found in Singapore is one of the reasons you will want to come soon, stay longer and visit regularly.