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Singapore Chilli Crab

Singapore Chili Crab - Red chilies, tomato sauce, soy sauce, sugar and coriander leaves adorn a mud crab from Malaysia...

Photograph by Gnarfgnarf


Four cuisines and a National Pastime

Singaporeans, like most Asian, eat non-stop, although not in large single quantities and portions as westerners may do. We nibble throughout the day, snacks, soups, sweets, fruits etc. Singaporeans talk about food, where to go next, swap ideas on good spots. Eating out is relatively affordable at hawker centres, or very costly at high end eateries. There is no need for frozen dinners when food offerings beckon at every corner.

Visitor's guidebooks typically recommend long lists of restaurants. But this is unrealistic in an environment where modest food stalls are hidden gems of delicious cuisine. Our suggestion? Walk down any bustling area such as Chinatown, Arab Street or Little India. Look where the locals are gorging themselves and do the same... Because of its multicultural heritage, Singapore's menus include the best of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan cuisines. Singapore chili crabs may be the only truly Singaporean culinary creation.



Chinese Dishes >>

Bak Kut Teh - "Meat Bone Tea", pork ribs simmered in herbal broth

Wanton Mee - Noodle soup with pork and shrimp dumplings

Chai Tow Kueh - Fried cakes of rice flour and radish

Char Kway Teoh - Stir-fried flat noodles with soy sauce, shrimp past, pork

Hainanese Chicken Rice - Steamed chicken with fried rice in chicken fat

Hokkien Mee - Noodle soup with pork and shrimp dumplings



Indian Dishes >>

Fish Head Curry - Red snapper head stewed in spicy curry with vegetables

Roti Prata - Flat cake served with savouries or desserts

Tosai - Crispy pancakes made from rice and lentils



Malay Dishes >>

Nasi Lemak - "Rice in cream", cooked in coconut with pandan

Cendol - Shaven ice with coconut milk, green noodles, pandan, palm sugar

Ice Kachang - Ice ball with jelly, red beans, sweet corn, palm seeds

Kaya - Coconut egg jam flavoured with pandan leaf

Rendang - Beef curry slowly simmered in coconut milk

Rojak - Fruit and vegetable salad (bean sprouts, soybean cake...)

Satay- Flame grilled meat skewers served with peanut sauce, rice cakes



Peranakan Dishes >>

Ayam Bua Keluak - Chicken pieces with keluak nuts

Laksa - Spicy coconut noodle soup with fishcakes, prawn, cockles

Nonya Kueh - Spring roll filled with variety of vegetables and meats

Otak Otak - Fish mash with coconut milk, chili paste, lemongrass, garlic

Hawker Centres

Hawker centres are open air food courts where family operated stalls offer a variety of local dishes at local (inexpensive) prices. Hawker centres were developed in the 1960s with the rapid growth of Asian cities in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, and were initially located at transport hubs or near public housing. Food courts in shopping complexes are strictly speaking not hawker centres, as they are in-doors, air conditioned and cater to wealthier patrons. >>