We Singaporeans are certainly proud of our vibrant and thriving culinary scene.
However, besides fine dining, typical cafe dishes and fast food, there is a category of quintessential Singaporean dishes that only a true blue Singaporean would know!
Think you know it all when it comes to these true blue Singaporean dishes? Rate yourself with our ultimate list of dishes only a true Singaporean heartlander would have tried.
Time to find out if you deserve the bragging rights of being a true blue Singaporean.
1. Curry Fish Head
Largely influenced by Nonya cuisine, Curry Fish Head is now a staple weekend dinner indulgence for most Singaporean households.
A red snapper’s head is typically used and stewed in a bubbling pot of fragrant curry broth. It is usually cooked together with an assortment of vegetables as well, such as lady’s finger and eggplant.
Where to get: Ocean Fish Head Curry
Address: No. 181 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068629
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 10.30am – 3pm, 5pm – 8.30pm; Sat 10.30am – 3pm (Close on Sun & PH)
2. Hotplate Tofu
Served on a sizzling hotplate, Hotplate Tofu is a unanimous favourite amongst both kids and adults alike.
Think fried egg tofu served atop a large fried egg. It comes topped with an assortment of vegetables, such as sliced carrots, cauliflower and mushrooms. The entire dish is then completely covered in thick bubbly gravy that includes minced meat, oyster sauce and chilli bean paste.
Where to get: Two Chefs Eating Place
Address: 409 Sin Ming Ave #02-01, Singapore 570409
Opening hours: Daily, 11am – 10.30pm
3. Mee Rebus
Image delicious yellow noodles drenched in thick gravy with a slight nutty taste, topped with Chinese celery and a squeeze of calamansi for that extra flavour, it leaves little to wonder why Mee Rebus is a popular Malay dish among Singaporeans.
Luckily for most of us, this delectable dish is still found at many hawker centres in Singapore today. Additionally, some stalls even let you add special ingredients such as tau pok or even satay to elevate your regular bowl of mee rebus to a whole new mouth-watering experience!
Where to get: Rahim Muslim Food (Mee Rebus Power)
Address: 721 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8, Singapore 560721
Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 12pm – 8pm
3. Prawn Paste Chicken Wings (Har Cheong Gai)
Affectionately known as Har Cheong Gai at most zi char stalls, this particular dish is a local alternative to fried chicken wings.
With chicken wings that are thoroughly marinated in fermented shrimp paste before being deep-fried in batter, there is nothing else more appetising!
Where to get: Ming Chung Restaurant
Address: 67 Maude Road, Singapore 208348
Opening hours: Tue to Sun 3pm – 11.30pm; Closed on Mon
4. Sambal Kang Kong
Sambal Kang Kong is a simple spicy Chinese dish that Singaporeans order so at least they’re eating one vegetable.
Comprising of stir-fried water spinach with sambal belacan, this dish delivers a spicy kick to the taste buds! No wonder this is a popular veggie dish among Singaporeans.
Where to get: Tan Chin Lee Sea-Fresh Restaurant
Address: 71 Pioneer Road, #02-06 Tuas Amenity Centre, Singapore 639591
Opening hours: Daily 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 10pmm
5. Putu Mayam
Putu Mayam is a popular Indian dish that is commonly eaten for breakfast. It consists of steamed vermicelli-like rice noodles with the addition of aromatic pandan leaf as flavouring.
Paired with coconut flakes and gula melaka, this is a sweet treat. Sold as a street food back in the olden days, this is certainly a heartland dish that perhaps most Singaporeans are familiar with!
Where to get: Heaven’s Indian Curry
Location: Jurong, Changi Airport, and NUH outlets (for fresh handmade putu mayam)
For opening hours and addresses, refer to Website
6. Chilli Crab
Chlli Crab is a long-standing national dish of Singapore.
A seafood dish comprising of stir-fried crab that is entirely soaked in a thick, sweet and savoury tomato-based chilli sauce. The sauce usually contains egg and comes with a tinge of spiciness as well. Of course, how can we ever forget the accompaniment of the adorable-looking deep fried buns or mantous?
Where to get: Long Beach Seafood Restaurant
Address: 1202 East Coast Parkway, East Coast Seafood Centre, #01-04, Singapore 449881
Opening hours: Daily 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 11pm; Fri, Sat and Eve of PH Till 12am
7. Ice Kachang
Singaporeans are certainly no stranger to Ice Kachang, which is the Singaporean-version of a slurpee/ shaved ice in a bowl. Made entirely of shaved ice and drizzled with brightly-coloured sweet syrup, it is typically paired with sweet corn, grass jelly, atap chee and red beans.
Commonly found at any hawker centre in Singapore, only a true blue Singaporean will understand that satisfying feeling of tucking into a bowl of refreshing Ice Kachang in our hot and humid climate.
Where to get: Given its simplicity, this dessert will never go wrong at any hawker centre dessert stall.
8. Hakka Abacus Seeds
As its name suggests, Hakka Abacus Seeds are a Hakka delicacy. These abacus seeds are made from yam paste and either tapioca or wheat starch. It can be served either as a main meal or even a snack!
This savoury dish is typically served at auspicious events such as weddings or during the Chinese New Year reunion dinner. It certainly is getting harder to find this rare dish around so we highly recommend you try it before it is forgotten!
Where to get: Mei Zhen Hakka Delicacies
Address: Shunfu Mart Food Centre, 320 Shunfu Road, #02-26, Singapore 570320
Opening hours: Tue – Sun, 7am – 2pm (Closed on Mon)
9. Sugee Cake
For some true Singapore-Eurasian food, look no further than Sugee Cake.
A Sugee Cake is essentially a butter cake but made using semolina flour. This particular cake is usually made on festive occasions such as Christmas or weddings.
Where to get: Quentin’s Eurasian Restaurant
Address: 139 Ceylon Rd, Level 1 Eurasian Community House, Singapore 429744
Opening hours: Daily, 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10.30pm (Closed on Mon)
If your total score adds up to 6 points or more, congratulations! The title of being a true blue Singaporean is deemed worthy to be bestowed upon you.
On the other hand, if you’re under 6 points, fret not! There are a plethora of stores that serve up these delectable heartland dishes besides those aforementioned. Earn your bragging rights as a true blue Singaporean by starting on your epicurean journey to discover these Singaporean heartland dishes today!
(Header image credit: projectweekends.com)