Are you a foodie? If you answered yes, can you tell me what are the dishes that are quintessentially Singaporean?
Singapore has so many races and cultures in our tiny island, that Singaporean cuisine doesn’t exclusively belong to one particular culture.
However, here are some dishes that come to mind whenever Singaporeans think of local food.
1. Cai Fan (Mixed Rice)
Mixed Rice, colloquially known as Cai Fan by locals, is a simple, cheap, and filling meal for most Singaporeans.
Cai Fan stalls are decked out with trays upon trays of various dishes, from the humble steamed egg, to stir fried cabbage or long beans, and even poached fish fillets.
Customers would choose their carb of choice and select their accompanying dishes and that’s a meal on it’s own.
It’s a very simple and affordable option for a meal.
2. Roti Prata
Roti Prata is a fried flatbread that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
It can be eaten plain or stuffed with fillings like cheese and sliced button mushrooms or hot dogs. It is usually served with a side of curry, usually fish or chicken, and in rare cases, mutton.
It’s a local favourite breakfast and supper dish, and the best part, it’s usually cheap!
3. Hainanese Chicken Rice
Ah, Hainanese Chicken Rice, the most iconic dish in Singapore. It’s even been mentioned in cooking anime, Shokugeki No Soma (Food Wars).
There are a few version of chicken rice served in Singapore, with roasted chicken or the standard hainanese white chicken rice.
Besides the fragrant chicken, hainanese chicken rice is also known for its flavoured rice. Instead of being cooked in water like white rice, the chicken rice is cooked in chicken broth and fat, resulting in flavoured rice that complements the chicken perfectly.
4. Sliced Fish Soup
Sliced Fish Soup is a comfort dish for most. While there’s a variant that uses fried fish pieces instead, sliced fish is still preferred because it allows the freshness of the fish to come through.
Sometimes, evaporated milk is added to the fish soup for an extra layer of flavour.
Most sliced fish soups are made with snakehead fish, though there are some that use more expensive fishes like pomfret, batang and grouper.
Read our list of best fish soup places in Singapore!
5. Yong Tau Foo
People love customising their food, and Singaporeans are no different. After all, we like the idea that we’re in charge.
Which explains why Yong Tau Foo is a popular dish here. You pick a minimum of 6 ingredients that’s then quickly boiled and served in anchovy broth and soy beans.
You can also choose to have your Yong Tau Foo ingredients served in laksa broth if you’re looking for something spicier.
6. Nasi Lemak
Let me just say that there has been way too many variations of Nasi Lemak.
Of all the Malay dishes in Singapore, the one that people always go to when they try to innovate and adapt flavours into a new dish, is Nasi Lemak.
Like McDonald’s Nasi Lemak burger and weird dessert versions of the dish.
Personally, I like Nasi Lemak as it is – rice cooked in coconut milk, a chicken wing, omelette, ikan bilis and peanuts, and the sambal chilli. Some might even have ikan kuning instead of a chicken wing.
Either way, Nasi Lemak is a filling and simple dish that can be eaten at any time of the day.
7. Bak Kut Teh
Now this might be a bit polarising, but I prefer the white, peppery broth of Bak Kut Teh, rather than the dark herbal version.
Bak Kut Teh, which translates to “Meat Bone Tea”, is made with pork ribs cooked in a broth with various spices.
The dark, herbal version is more popular among Malaysians, while the white, peppery version is more common here.
It is usually eaten as a breakfast meal, with dough fritters (you tiao) or rice, and a variety of sides such as braised pig trotters, preserved vegetables, and braised beancurd skin.
Which type of Bak Kut Teh do you prefer?
For our Muslim friends, there’s actually Halal Bak Kut Teh.
8. Chilli Crab
Chilli Crab is also a popular dish among Singaporeans – mud crabs are cooked in a thick, sweet and spicy sauce that’s made with tomato and chilli.
The dish is usually eaten with bare hands and is served with a side of fried mantou that’s used to dip and mop up any remaining sauce.
This dish has been listed as one of the World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods by CNN.
9. Char Kway Teow
Char Kway Teow literally translates to stir fried rice noodles. Char Kway Teow is usually stir fried with dark soy sauce, which caramelises during the cooking process, giving the dish a slightly sweet flavour.
The dish also includes beansprouts, fish cakes, and clams. Some hawkers even include vegetables in the dish for a healthier option.
I don’t know about you, but I like mine without clams.
Durians. These pungent, thorny spheres are also known as the “King of Fruits”.
And they’re also Singapore’s national fruit! We even have a building in Singapore that’s designed to look like durians.
There are many types of durians, each with a slight difference in their taste.
You either love or hate durians, and I personally am not a fan of it. Someone just pass me a banana. That, I can deal with.
Tickets To NDP 2018
With the nation’s birthday coming up, what better way to rejoice the fact that you’re Singaporean by indulging in Singaporean food?
That’s not all, from 2 to 29 July 2018, if you’re dining at Food Republic, join in their Instagram Snap-and-Win contest and you might even win yourself a pair of tickets to the National Day Parade 2018!
Here's how to get closer to the action at this year's NDP–15 winners will stand to win a pair of tickets to this watch the NDP ‘live’¹! 1) Follow our Instagram page @FoodRepublicSG 2) Post, on your Instagram profile, a photo of a local dish from any Food Republic outlets or Food Opera² that best represents our Little Red Dot 3) Tell us why in the caption and tag us in your photo 4) Double your chances of winning by tagging 2 of your friends in your post! Make sure that your Instagram profile privacy is set to ‘public’ so we can view your entry. Contest ends on 29 July 2018, 11.59pm and winners will be contacted in batches randomly from 16-30 July 2018 via Instagram Direct Message. Good luck! *Terms and conditions apply: www.bit.ly/FR-NDP ¹NDP show tickets come in NE shows, Preview shows or Actual Day Show. ²Photos taken for participation can also be photos of the dish on the stall’s front.
Don’t forget to check out the terms and conditions here!
There will be a total of 15 winners picked across multiple batches.
Don’t worry, if you didn’t win in the first batch, your name will be forwarded to the subsequent batches, so you will always stand a chance to win until all 15 winners have been selected.
Meanwhile, which dish do you think represents Singapore the most?
(Header Image Source: Gastronommy and Ang Sarap)