FoodFindsAsia | 8 Iconic Singaporean Dishes You’ve Got to Try — If you consider yourself something of a foodie, then you’ve got to give Singapore a visit. The small size of this island nation belies the fact that it’s teeming with cuisine from all over the world, with each dish made even more unique with local twists and flavours. Indeed, you’ll never run out of places to eat in the Lion City, whether it’s at any of the restaurants and hotels near Singapore Airport or even in unassuming hole-in-the-wall stalls and hawker centres.
Want to make sure you don’t miss out on a complete culinary experience while in Singapore? Check out this list of iconic dishes you definitely need to try during your trip to this amazing country:
Though better known as a popular Singaporean breakfast staple, kaya toast is available virtually any time of the day. It’s of little wonder why; both locals and tourists alike can’t seem to get enough of this local delicacy.
Put simply, kaya toast is comprised of two toasted slices of white bread that have had butter and coconut jam spread on them. For those looking for a more filling and satisfying meal, these two slices can be combined to make a sandwich. This sandwich can then be dipped into a mushy mixture made of soft-boiled eggs and a dash of soy sauce. Don’t let the simplicity of this dish fool you, as the flavours meld surprisingly well together.
Another breakfast and snack staple among Singaporeans is this bread commonly found in Southeast Asian and Indian homes. Because of its soft, flaky texture, some people have described it as a crepe or croissant in flatbread form.
Though you can technically enjoy it on its own, roti prata is usually served with either a vegetable- or meat-based curry dipping sauce. Roti prata can also be paired with meat viands or served with other savoury ingredients such as cheese, onions, and mushrooms.
If you were to ask any Singaporean what their comfort food is, congee would likely be their answer. Often served piping hot, this Chinese rice porridge conjures up warm memories of home for many locals. Congee is usually served plain but can be made more flavourful by adding toppings such as century eggs, tofu, vegetables, and chicken or pork.
Both locals and tourists alike have come to love this Malay dish of meat skewers grilled over coals. Made with chicken, beef, pork, or mutton, this dish gets its trademark yellow colour and tangy flavour from the addition of turmeric. While satay is usually served with a peanut dipping sauce, those who want an extra kick to their meal can choose a spicy cucumber-based relish dip instead.
Any visitor to the Lion City is sure to be encouraged to try out this decidedly Singaporean dish. Laksa is a curry-based soup made with a coconut milk base, rice noodles, prawns, fish cakes, and chicken. Because the dish is influenced by both Chinese and Malay cuisines, there are plenty of laksa variations available across the country.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
This is another deceptively simple-looking dish that has a lot of delightfully complex flavours. To make this dish, a whole chicken is first poached in a pot. The resulting chicken stock and fat are the secret ingredients used to cook the rice and make it oh-so-tasty and irresistible. Of course, the cooked chicken is served in small slices along with the delicious rice. For added flavour, the chicken slices can be dipped in a variety of sauces, such as chilli, soy sauce, or grated ginger.
Widely considered to be one of the country’s national dishes, chilli crab represents a big part of life and culture in the city-state. Large mud crabs are stir-fried and cooked in a sauce of tomatoes and chilli. Eggs are then incorporated into the sauce to make it thick and runny.
If you’re not a fan of spicy food, don’t worry. Even though it has the word “chilli” in its name, it’s actually not extremely spicy. That said, it’s sweet and savoury and makes for a wholesome meal to be shared with family and friends.
Char Kway Teow
This is another staple in many hawker markets and street food centres all across Singapore. It’s no surprise why, as it’s not only affordable, but also extremely delicious. Depending on how hungry you are, it can either be a filling snack or a full meal.
To make this dish, flat rice noodles are stir-fried in a wok over high heat with pork fat and a medley of ingredients. These ingredients include soy sauce, chilli, shrimp paste, prawns, fish cake slices, bean sprouts, squid, and lobster, to name a few.
Given its wide variety of dishes, Singapore is a great place for foodies to go on a gastronomic adventure. If you’ll be visiting the Lion City for the first time but don’t know what meals to try, this list should give you a good idea of what to start with.