Top 10 Food you must try when travelling to Singapore

Singaporean cuisine has always received enthusiastic feedback and elicited cravings from out of town visitors. Let’s find out which are the top ten foods you must try when you come to Singapore!

1.   Hainanese Chicken Rice

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True to its name, Hainanese Chicken Rice originates from Hainan, a region in China. This dish was introduced to Singapore by the early Hainanese immigrants and has become the number one must-try dish when you visit Singapore. It is rather simple and easy to whip up. The ingredients include steamed chicken meat, fragrant rice (cooked with chicken oil and broth) and mixed with a tinge of red chilli and ginger. One has to take note of the cooking time to preserve the taste and the chilli helps bring out the flavour. However, making the dish too spicy will have the opposite effect. When cooking the chicken, it must firstly be steamed and then dunked in cold water to make the meat soft and tender.

A serving of Hainanese Chicken Rice usually comes with a bowl of clear chicken soup and is served with a few slices of cucumber and tomato as well as chilli paste and sweet soy sauce. You can always visit Maxwell Food Centre or Checkers Restaurant to try this delightful dish. It is definitely a must-eat meal when visiting Singapore.


2.   Curry Fish head

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The famous curry fish head come from a mixture of Indian, Chinese and Malay cuisine and is the number two dish in Singapore. Curry fish head is very popular amongst local Singaporeans. This dish was first introduced to Singapore by the Malay Indians from South India, steaming the head of the red snapper fish with vegetables and curry. Tamarind is also added to really make the flavour memorable. The Chinese eat this dish together with plain rice or dip small buns into the curry sauce. This is an excellent way of eating, especially for those who are unable to withstand the spiciness of the curry. The best curry fish head restaurant is located along McCallum Street. Muthu’s Curry is another popular place for the Singaporean Indians to taste this heavenly dish. The fresh fish meat, together with the tasty curry and a glass of ice lemon tea definitely makes your day.


3.    Kaya Toast Bread

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Kaya toast bread is a traditional food for all Singaporeans. One bite and you will immediately fall in love with it. The kaya sauce is made of coconut, egg, sugar and pandan leaves. There was common saying that once you taste this kaya sauce, you will instantly feel bliss. This kaya toast bread is usually served with butter, two half boiled eggs and a cup of thick aromatic coffee.  You may soon become addicted to this dish!


4.   Chilli Crab

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Chilli crab should definitely be on your culinary bucket list when you visit Singapore. You must specify that you want Sri Lankan crabs, the biggest of which weighs around 2.5kg. Chilli crab gravy is usually mixed with chilli sauce and sour plum juice (which can only be found in South-East Asia). Besides eating the crab, it is highly recommended to use the chilli gravy as a dip for your buns, be it steamed or fried ones. This will certainly be one to remember! There as many excellent restaurants selling this dish along East Coast Road. As the area has become somewhat of a tourist hub, the pricing can be on the higher side but it is still popular amongst travellers. The best restaurant in East Coast Road is Jumbo.


5.   Nasi Lemak

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Strictly speaking, Nasi Lemak is a Malay dish but it is considered a breakfast staple amongst many Chinese and Indians in Singapore. Making the delicious Nasi Lemak begins with plain rice which is then cooked with coconut juice and pandan leaves. There are in fact two types of Nasi Lemak. The classic Nasi Lemak comes with anchovies, peanuts, fried fish, cucumber and an egg. The second type comes with a fried chicken wing, hotdog, fish cake, curry vegetables and luncheon meat. The two most famous areas for the second type of Nasi Lemak are Chong Pang and Changi Village. The chilli in the Nasi Lemak is very important as it brings out the tastiness of the dish. You may see Nasi Lemak served in a banana leaf wrap which is said to add extra aroma. One popular food stall selling Nasi Lemak is at the Adam Road Food Centre.


6.   Bak Kut Teh

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This is a unique concoction where pork ribs are cooked and steamed together with herbs, spices, cinnamon, fennel and coriander. This dish truly reflects Singapore’s multi-racial and diverse cultures. bak kut teh cooked with herbs in soup is just one type of cooking method. The pork ribs may also be pepper soup, which is not as thick. You can easily find stalls selling bak kut teh along the streets of Pasir Panjang which open until late in the night. The most well-known stall is on Joo Chiat road and is open 24 hours daily. You can eat this dish with rice or noodles. Due to its popularity, there are “do-it-yourself” packs for making bak kut teh at home so that you can conveniently make the dish from the comfort of your home or even buy these as souvenirs for others.


7.   Char Kway Teow

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There are many ways of cooking char kway teow. The traditional method is to fry noodles together with soy sauce, belachan, bean sprouts, chives, sausage and cockles. Sometimes, pork lard is added to make it even more delicious. Over the recent years, the cooking of char kway teow has become healthier, using more vegetables and less oil. Maxwell Food Centre is famous for its char kway teow, as is Princess Terrace Café. You can either choose to add cockles or shrimps. If you are heading to a nightclub, we suggest you visit Zion Road Food Centre beforehand to enjoy a hot plate of char kway teow to avoid any regrets later.


8.   Chwee Kueh

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Chwee kueh is a very common dish in both Malaysia and Singapore. Plain rice is compressed into powder form, placed into round moulds and sent for steaming. The main ingredients for this dish are radish, shallots, shrimps and chilli. Chwee kueh is usually eaten for breakfast or during tea time and is considered a street snack.


9.   Otah

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Otah is very popular in Asian countries. The direct translation from Malay is “big brains”. Fish otah is the most common but there are many other variations including shrimps, squid, prawns and even fish head. It is usually served as a side dish alongside either Laksa or Nasi Lemak. You can easily find otah almost anywhere in Singapore and there should be at least one otah stall in every food centre.


10.   Laksa

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The main ingredient of Singaporean style Laksa is coconut milk. There is also Assam Laksa. The soup gravy for Assam Laksa whch has a creamier soup base. You can find good tasty Singaporean style Laksa at Joo Chiat Road. The Laksa noodles are cut into small strips so that one can easily scoop the noodles with the delicious soup. Princess Terrace Café also serves laska with set meals. When you visit Singapore, remember to try laksa!

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