If you don’t know by now, let us tell you that hawker centres are the places to find the best food in Singapore. Whilst five star dining at Michelin starred restaurants does have it’s merits, for cheap local food, you can’t find better than visiting your local hawker stalls. The question is, how do you know what’s good? Let us take you through a comprehensive list of the most delicious flavours of Singapore.
Bak Kut Teh
This soup comes from a legend about a poor beggar who was served leftover pork bones and what he was given looked so much like tea that hence, the name was born. A simple dish, but with sharp flavours like star anise and pepper, you should feel invigorated after trying this sworn tonic for your health.
Similar to many noodle dishes that can be found in Hong Kong, this dish is served with sweet sauce, char siu pork and wanton pork dumplings. Soup is served on the side, if you prefer to have it ‘wetter’. You can order this spicy or not, with chili sauce being mixed into the noodles for spicy and tomato sauce for non. The dumplings can be deep-fried or served like soup dumplings.
Deep-fried carrot cake might sound like the stuff of dreams (or nightmares) but it’s actually nothing like what you might order in a cafe. It is made instead with eggs, preserved radish, and the carrot cake is actually white radish flour cake, which resembles a white carrot, hence the name. You may also see this with molasses added, or with the cake fried on top of an egg.
The Cantonese favorite can be found all over Singapore, and should be shared. Order a selection of dim sum and try as much as you can. We recommend barbecue pork buns, xiao long bao, siew mai and chee chong fun.
The breakfast item of champions in Singapore is usually served with soft-boiled eggs and consists of a standard slice of white bread, toasted, smeared in egg or coconut kaya, and then covered with butter. The bread can be substituted for a baguette or round rolls. Served with soft-boiled eggs, salt, pepper and soy sauce, this takes eggs and soldiers to a whole new level.
Chili or pepper crab
These are the two most famous styles of cooking crab in Singapore, served with either sweet, spicy chilli and tomato sauce or with black pepper sauce. Eaten with fried buns to be dipped in the sauce, the crab is a national specialty for a reason. The crabs are boiled first and then fried, and you might even see the new trend of salted egg crabs in your local hawker centre.
A mix of Malay and Chinese cultures has resulted in this, a perfect hybrid of flavours and tastes. There are lots of variants, depending on the type of fish used but laksa is the most common in Singapore. Using vermicelli, coconut, beancurd, fish, shrimp and cockles and whilst some stalls will have their own styles, you can guarantee that whatever you choose will be delicious.
Curried fish head
There is a lot of debate about where this dish came from, and many will say that it is South Indian but some will also argue about it’s Malaysian or Chinese origins. Using half or the whole head of a snapper, it is served with curry, okra and aubergine and varies in flavor between sweet or spicy.
Stay tuned for part two of our list!