Amazing Local Dishes: Singapore bite by bite
“Live to eat, not eat to live” probably best describes Singaporeans’ attitude towards food. Chicken rice, rich and nutty satay, sweet and sour rojak, spicy BBQ sambal stingray: there’s no better way to get into Singapore’s psyche than through its cuisine. Most beloved “local” dishes are cultural mashups merging Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian influences.
The Be app offers the best ways to treat your taste buds – so get ready to sweat it out over these steaming plates of tried, tested and perfected local favourites.
Singapore’s ‘national’ dish. This delectable dish can be found literally everywhere, from humble hawker centres to high-end restaurants.
The whole chicken is cooked in sub-boiling pork and chicken bone stock to absorb the flavours. Some shops will also dip the bird in ice after cooking to create a jelly-like finish on the chicken’s skin. In a local twist, the chicken can also be roasted or braised in soy sauce.
It is, however, the rice and chilli sauce that can make or break the dish. The rice is cooked in stock with ginger and pandan leaves for added fragrance. And the chilli has to have the right balance of spiciness and sourness.
The crab is divine but the sauce is the star – tangy, sweet and savoury, somewhat spicy and yet extremely satisfying. You will get it all over your fingers as you crack the crab open, and it is simply impossible not to lick it all up.
Chilli crabs are usually eaten along with fried mantous (buns) that soak up the luscious chilli sauce – a delightful blend of tomatoes and chilli paste, thickened with ribbons of beaten eggs.
Singaporean’s ultimate comfort food for those with a sweet tooth. Some eat this toasted sandwich for breakfast, others prefer it for tea. It is prepared with kaya (coconut jam), a topping of sugar, coconut milk and a generous dollop of butter. The ‘classic’ kaya toast is usually accompanied by two soft-boiled eggs with runny yolks and translucent whites that are heavenly with a dash of dark soy sauce and white pepper.
Laksa is a dish that combines Chinese and Malay elements otherwise known as the Peranakan culture. In Singapore, the curry laksa or “Katong Laksa” (named after the neighbourhood in South East Singapore that we also feature in the Be app) is more prominent. It has a spicy soup stock with the colour of a flaming sunset, is flavoured with coconut milk and dried shrimp, and topped with ingredients like cockles, prawns and fishcake. Traditionally, laksa uses thick vermicelli cut into smaller pieces so you can easily slurp the soup with a spoon.
Katong laksa My favourite style, scissor cut Noodz, little curly prawns and new in the menu, blue mussels! Chuck it all in a broth that's so well balanced you could stick it on a tightrope and it wouldn't fall off, comes with little sachets of sambal to add your own heat if required, absolutely perfect!
Fish Head Curry
Fish head curry is unique to Singapore; is it Chinese, Malay or Indian? Who knows really: the dish mixes the spices of a typical South Indian curry with fish head, a delicacy among Chinese.
The squeamish will squirm at the sight of puffy cheeks and bulging fish eyes surrounded in a sea of red gravy. Yet, for many Singaporeans, it is an appetizing feast cooked with assorted vegetables like Lady’s Finger (okra) and brinjal. Enjoy it with rice to soak up the fragrant curry.
Singapore’s multi-ethnic culture and heritage has served up a multitude of colourful cuisines, each with its own unique flavour and aroma. Get the Be app now to discover where locals eat their favourite dishes.