When you think of Singapore, the phrase ‘local produce’ probably seems odd. Given our country’s (occasionally intolerable) sunny and humid weather, limited land mass and natural resources, growing any form of produce here would prove to be a challenge. However, local farmers are working to elevate Singapore’s local produce scene.
You will be as surprised as we were when we found these 4 premium local produce growing within our shores! Get ready for the unexpected…
Firstly, Hashima! With such a mysterious name, you probably won’t guess that it really refers to the dried oviducts (fallopian tubes) of female frogs! In fact, you’ve probably had Hashima while enjoying traditional Chinese desserts such as Snow Jelly or Double-boiled Hashima with American Ginseng. Previously only available to emperors, this highly-prized dessert ingredient is sold in a dried form, then rehydrated before use. It is typically boiled with rock sugar for a sweet aroma.
How is Singapore able to produce Hashima locally? Well, our own Jurong Frog Farm has conquered the challenge of Singapore’s sweltering climate. American bullfrogs have been bred since 1981 at a whopping 20,000 frogs at a time! And that’s excluding their 80% mortality rates. We know, we’re as amazed as you are.
Hashima from Jurong Frog Farm
56 Lim Chu Kang Lane 6, Singapore 719164
2. Pacific Oysters
Next up, every foodie’s dream! Pacific oysters are native to Japan and have been cultivated for centuries. It is usually eaten by itself and can be recognised by its flat shell and radical sharp folds. These delicious oysters tend to be sweeter in taste compared to the briny characteristics of Atlantic oysters.
Singapore’s only oyster farm, Farmers @ Ubin, has been in business for 5 years now. It is located behind Pulau Ubin and faces Malaysia. It has declared that it has the “freshest LIVE oysters in town”!
While it is widely believed that oysters don’t grow in warm waters, Singapore’s tropical conditions are surprisingly more favourable than most people realise. Our warmer waters are no hindrance to the thriving oyster farm, whose quality remains consistent throughout the year.
In fact, their premium Pacific Oysters are available from farm to table on the very same day to anyone on our island! How cool is that?
Oysters from Sea Farmers @ Ubin
3. Pink Oyster Mushrooms
Thirdly, we have the delectable pink oyster mushrooms! These highly perishable mushrooms are a pretty sight to behold, and are also found in gold and blue.
They are usually found in pasta, risotto, stir-fry dishes, and are even known to top sushi! European restaurant Portico cleans oyster mushrooms before they are sautéed and deglazed with dashi and teriyaki sauce. Even the bits that are trimmed off is put to good use. Portico includes them in their stock for dishes such as the three-grain mushroom risotto.
Pink oyster mushrooms require cooler weather ranging from 18 to 27 degrees to grow which is a tough feat for our 32-degree afternoons. Thankfully, Kin Yan Agrotech has ingeniously made use of technology to control temperatures and humidity with great precision. Do pay them a visit to see how these picturesque premium mushrooms bloom in our sunny island!
Pink Oyster Mushrooms from Kin Yan Agrotech
220 Neo Tiew Cres, Singapore 718830
4. Purple Sorrel
Lastly, we have purple sorrel! This exquisite plant is renowned for its rich colour and lemon-like taste. However, it is too tangy to be eaten alone. Chefs prize it for its ability to brighten up salads. In fact, sorrel serves as a wonderful compliment to chicken, fish or sauces!
Purple sorrel is known to be an extremely delicate plant to grow. It thrives between 15 to 27 degrees celsius and is thus especially vulnerable in Singapore’s intense weather. Too high a temperature and the plant wilts and browns. Too much rain and humidity will effectively rot the bulbs or attract pests.
Though an uncommon plant to find in tropical climates like Asia, Comcrop has found success in harvesting Sorrel here. Singapore’s first commercial rooftop farm can be found at- wait for it- SCAPE! That’s right, these greens are grown and can be bought in the heart of Orchard road.
Purple Sorrel from Comcrop
#04-01, 2 Orchard Link
It’s pretty cool to find out that these rare edibles grow in Singapore against all odds. With innovative trends such as urban rooftop farming, who knows what the future holds for our farming scene? All we can say is, only time will tell.