Expedia: Asia’s Greatest Food Cities
Friends, countrymen, makan kaki, lend me your ears. I shall show you the way to paradise. Food paradise, that is. Loosen your belt and get your ENO ready, for we are about to journey through Asia’s Greatest Food Cities and mark out the treasures the great food gods have laid on the table.
In this series, Expedia highlights the best food to try in each city, as recommended by locals who have lived & tasted it. Read on to find out the most popular local dishes and the best places you should go to try them.
Best Food in Singapore
“New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Singapore’s the city that never stops eating.” – Anthony Bourdain
Must Eat in Singapore #1: Hainanese Chicken Rice
Fragrant rice cooked with secret recipe chicken stock, served with steamed or roasted chicken and cucumber slices. Soup on the side. The best chicken rice is often determined by the flavor of the rice and the accompanying chicken rice chilli sauce. Typically the chilli has ginger paste and soy sauce in it.
A simple everyday food enjoyed by locals, costing less than $2-4. Can be found in every hawker centre. Easily Singapore’s most famous dish.
Best Chicken Rice in Singapore:
Forget about chicken rice in high end restaurants. The hawkers do it best. You can find it practically everywhere and even humble stalls can serve up really really good chicken rice.
If we absolutely had to pick, we’d point you to Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice and Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice.
Must Eat in Singapore #2: Chilli Crab and Black Pepper Crab
Large crab served in a sweet, savoury sauce that is an amazing mix between chilli and tomato among other ingredients. Plus little strands of beaten eggs and crab meat soak into the sauce creating this delicious gravy base. Besides enjoying the crab meat itself, a big part of the meal is dipping deep-fried mantou buns into the sauce. Mmm-mmm.
Black pepper crab is the popular alternative.
This is a specialty dish served in seafood restaurants, so you should order crab as the main dish and a selection of other sides, all to share. Sambal kangkong (vegetables in spicy paste), sweet and sour pork/fish, mantou fried buns, breaded butter prawns and fried rice are some of the good side dishes.
Best Chilli Crab in Singapore:
Make a reservation at the branches of No Signboard Seafood Restaurant (chain), Red House Seafood Restaurant (chain) or Jumbo Seafood Restaurant (chain) for delicious Singapore chilli crab.
Must Eat in Singapore #3: Bak Kut Teh
Bak Kut Teh translates to ‘pork rib tea’. Made of tasty broth as a result of it being simmered with herbs and spices, the pork ribs turn out tasting soft and tender.
There are few variations of Bak Kut Teh, depending on which dialects make them. The Hokkiens add dark soy sauce for a stronger taste, the Cantonese emphasise on medicinal herbs, whereas the Teochews like them hot and peppery. The peppery taste hits seconds after you taste it, and the heat comes from within, giving one a very satisfying aftertaste! Top the tender ribs with dark soy sauce dip, and accompany your bak kut teh with crispy ‘you tiao’ dunked in the hot steamy broth to complete your meal.
Best Bak Kut Teh in Singapore:
Open until 2:30am, Founder Bak Kut Teh is a popular hangout for midnight supper. They are unabashed to show how frequented they are by celebrities worldwide, with their walls plastered by images of them endorsing their bak kut teh.
Founder Bak Kut Teh
154 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218431
Must Eat in Singapore #4: Laksa
This noodle dish has roots dating back to the Peranakans. Laksa is made of a spicy coconut milk-based broth that comes out rich and creamy. The ingredients usually include fishcakes, prawns and cockles. The traditional way is to eat them without chopsticks. Simply slurp the noodles straight off the bowl!
Best Laksa in Singapore: 328 Katong Laksa
328 Katong Laksa
51 East Coast Road, Singapore 428770
Must Eat in Singapore #5: Satay
Barbecued over charcoal, these grilled meat on skewers are always served with a spicy peanut sauce. Depending on your choice of chicken, mutton or beef, these sticks are accompanied with rice dumpling (‘ketupat’), onions and cucumber.
Best Satay in Singapore:
Chuan Kee Satay, one of the last few Hainanese satay stalls in Singapore, is a popular one, so expect to wait up to 45 minutes.
Chuan Kee Satay
Blk 51 Old Airport Rd, #01-85 Old Airport Rd Food Centre, Singapore 390051
Famous Street Food Market in Singapore:
There are lots of food streets and ‘hawker centres’ in Singapore, where you can get a great variety of Singaporean food at very affordable prices. Most have an array of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western food stalls. Halal and vegetarian food are often available as well.
(Photo CC2.0: Allie_Caulfield)
Lau Pa Sat, Maxwell Food Court and Newton Food Circus are popular ones around Central Singapore. If you’re up for venturing a little further out into the more residential heartlands, head to Chomp Chomp in Serangoon Gardens. The air is a little different here as it’s less touristy, but the food is equally yummy.
Order a big thirst-quenching glass of sugarcane juice, longan drink, or fresh fruit juice to go with your meal.
We don’t recommend having Chilli Crab at the seafood stalls within the hawker centres. But you can and should try sambal stingray!
Hawker Favourites in Singapore:
Chinese Food – Hainanese Chicken Rice, Hokkien Prawn Mee, Char Kway Teow, Carrot Cake, Char Kway Teow
Indian Food – Roti Prata, Soup Kambing (Mutton soup), Nasi Briyani, Murtabak, Roti John
Malay Food – Nasi Lemak, Mee Rebus, Mee Siam, Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice), Satay
Ready to Eat?
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