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Home Travel Guide Singapore Travel Guide 15 Top Singapore Foods and Dishes

15 Top Singapore Foods and Dishes

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Singapore, a tiny island nation known for its stunning skyline and cultural diversity, is also a paradise for food lovers. The city-state’s culinary scene is a delightful blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Peranakan influences, creating a symphony of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds. In this gastronomic journey, we will explore the 15 top Singaporean foods that define the nation’s culinary identity. From savory classics like Hainanese Chicken Rice to sweet treats like Kaya Toast, Singapore offers a diverse array of culinary delights that make it a foodie’s dream destination. So, prepare to embark on a culinary adventure as we guide you through the must-try dishes and foods in the Lion City.

1. Hainanese Chicken Rice - A National Treasure

Hainanese Chicken Rice, originally hailing from China’s Hainan province, has solidified its status as a beloved dish in Singapore. This culinary masterpiece revolves around succulent, tender chicken, gently steamed to perfection, and paired harmoniously with fragrant rice cooked in a flavorful blend of chicken stock and garlic. The magic doesn’t stop there – this dish comes alive with an array of dipping sauces, including chili, ginger, and soy sauce, each contributing distinct flavors and delightful textures to the chicken and rice. While Hainanese Chicken Rice remains elegantly simple, its ability to satisfy the palate is anything but modest. You can find this delectable creation gracing the menus of numerous hawker centers, food courts, and restaurants across Singapore.

Singapore Food Hainanese Chicken Rice

2. Chili Crab - A Spicy Delight

Chili crab stands proudly as one of Singapore’s culinary icons, a gastronomic adventure you simply can’t miss, especially if you have a penchant for seafood and a love for fiery flavors. This renowned dish features whole crabs, stir-fried to perfection in a luscious sauce crafted from a tantalizing blend of tomatoes, chilies, eggs, and an array of aromatic spices. The result is a sauce that’s both thick and bursting with flavor, a delectable partner for steamed or fried buns, perfect for soaking up every drop of that savory goodness.

While chili crab can be found at numerous seafood restaurants and hawker stalls across Singapore, there are a few standout establishments that take this dish to the next level. Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, Long Beach Seafood Restaurant, and Alliance Seafood have earned their stripes for consistently delivering fresh, succulent crabs generously coated in that delectable sauce. These culinary institutions have a rich history of satisfying discerning palates with their exceptional offerings.

3. Laksa - A Noodle Soup Extravaganza

Laksa enjoys a prominent place in Singapore’s culinary scene, and Katong laksa, in particular, holds a special spot in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. This delectable creation is a spicy, coconut milk-infused noodle soup adorned with an enticing array of fish cakes, prawns, cockles, and crisp bean sprouts. The noodles are thoughtfully cut short, making it a breeze to savor each spoonful with gusto. Accompanied by a side of sambal (chili paste), this dish is a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that’s both comforting and invigorating.

As you explore Singapore, you’ll find numerous establishments serving laksa, but a few renowned names like 328 Katong Laksa, Sungei Road Laksa, and Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa stand out for their dedication to culinary excellence.

Singapore Food Laksa

4. Char Kway Teow - Stir-Fried Noodles at its Best

Char Kway Teow, a beloved culinary gem, is a delectable stir-fried dish that harmoniously combines flat rice noodles and yellow wheat noodles. This mouthwatering creation features a medley of ingredients, including eggs, cockles, succulent prawns, fish cakes, Chinese sausages, crunchy bean sprouts, and fragrant chives. To elevate its flavor profile, it’s generously seasoned with a blend of light and dark soy sauce, garlic, chili, and sometimes a touch of lard for an extra layer of richness. Char Kway Teow, originating from the Maritime Southeast Asia, has become a staple in Singapore’s hawker centers. It holds a special place in the hearts of locals, often considered a comforting classic and an integral part of Singapore’s rich and diverse culinary culture. For visitors seeking an authentic taste of Singapore, Char Kway Teow is an absolute must-try.

5. Satay - Skewered Delights

Satay, a delectable dish of grilled meat skewers, originally hails from Arabian culinary traditions, but it has transformed into a beloved and distinctive street food in Singapore. You’ll encounter satay vendors aplenty in numerous hawker centers, including Lau Pa Sat, Maxwell Food Centre, and Chomp Chomp Food Centre. There, you can savor chicken, mutton, pork, or prawn satay, accompanied by a zesty peanut sauce, ketupat (rice cakes), cucumber, and onions. Satay exemplifies the culinary tapestry of Singapore, blending influences from Malay, Chinese, and Indonesian cuisines. If you’re seeking a more refined satay experience, consider visiting National Kitchen By Violet Oon, a restaurant that elevates authentic Singaporean dishes with a touch of sophistication.

6. Fish Head Curry: A Fusion Dish

Fish head curry is a distinctive culinary creation with its roots in Singapore, melding the vibrant spices of South Indian curry with the prized Chinese delicacy, the fish head. This dish has gained immense popularity and is now cherished across various culinary traditions, including Indian, Chinese, Malay, and Peranakan, each offering subtle nuances in ingredients and preparation techniques.

To relish the finest fish head curry in Singapore, consider making your way to renowned eateries such as Muthu’s Curry, Ocean Curry Fish Head, Zai Shun Curry Fish Head, and The Curry Wok. Typically served alongside rice and an array of complementary side dishes, fish head curry is best enjoyed using your hands, delivering a fiery and richly flavored culinary experience that will undoubtedly tantalize your taste buds and provide comforting warmth to your belly.

Singapore Food Fish Head Curry

7. Hokkien Mee - Stir-Fried Noodles with a Twist

The Mekong Delta is the only area in Vietnam where you can visit a floating market. Crisscrossed by rivers and rivulets, some villages are often more accessible by waterways than by road. This has nurtured the floating market culture. Unlike the floating markets in Thailand, the floating markets in the Mekong Delta, such as Cai Rang Floating Market, are still the main way for local people to trade. Although you will still see travelers there, it is a good chance to be like a local villager, buying a simple breakfast (pho) in a breakfast boat and tasting this famous Vietnamese delicacy while the beef in the soup is still hot. Trying to bargain when buying fruit is another highlight.

8. Nasi Lemak - Coconut Rice Bliss

Nasi lemak, a cherished Malay classic, comprises fragrant coconut-infused rice, fiery sambal chili, crunchy fried anchovies, and peanuts, alongside sliced cucumber and a choice of hard-boiled or fried egg. Often, this dish is complemented by a meat selection such as fried chicken, fish, or otah (grilled fish cake wrapped in banana leaf). Nasi lemak enjoys the status of being one of Singapore’s quintessential national dishes and is readily available in numerous hawker centers, food courts, and eateries scattered across the island.

For an exceptional nasi lemak experience in Singapore, consider visiting renowned establishments like Crave Nasi Lemak, Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak, Mizzy Corner Nasi Lemak, and Old School Canteen.

Singapore Food Nasi Lemak

9. Bak Kut Teh - Pork Rib Soup

The Mekong Delta is the only area in Vietnam where you can visit a floating market. Crisscrossed by rivers and rivulets, some villages are often more accessible by waterways than by road. This has nurtured the floating market culture. Unlike the floating markets in Thailand, the floating markets in the Mekong Delta, such as Cai Rang Floating Market, are still the main way for local people to trade. Although you will still see travelers there, it is a good chance to be like a local villager, buying a simple breakfast (pho) in a breakfast boat and tasting this famous Vietnamese delicacy while the beef in the soup is still hot. Trying to bargain when buying fruit is another highlight.

10. Chicken Satay Bee Hoon - A Unique Fusion

Chicken satay bee hoon is a delightful fusion dish that harmonizes rice vermicelli noodles with a zesty peanut sauce, reminiscent of the one typically paired with grilled meat skewers. This culinary blend marries elements of Chinese Teochew and Malay cuisines, finding its popularity in Singapore. The dish typically features an array of ingredients, including crispy fried beancurd puffs, succulent prawns, tender cuttlefish, flavorful pork, fresh bean sprouts, and vibrant water spinach. The creamy peanut sauce is crafted from roasted peanuts, a medley of spices, oil, sugar, salt, and the luscious addition of peanut butter.

11. Rojak - A Traditional Salad Dish

Rojak, a traditional salad hailing from Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, derives its name from the Malay word for “mixed.” This aptly describes the dish’s captivating medley of ingredients. Rojak typically features a harmonious blend of tropical fruits, such as pineapples and star fruit, along with a variety of both raw and blanched vegetables like water spinach, bean sprouts, cucumber, and jicama. The pièce de résistance is the delectable dressing, a symphony of flavors combining shrimp paste, lime juice, sugar, and chili for that perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Rojak enjoys a cherished status in Singapore and can readily be savored in numerous hawker centers and food courts across the city.

Singapore Food Rojak

12. Carrot Cake - Not Your Typical Dessert

Carrot cake, a beloved Singaporean culinary delight, can be easily spotted in hawker centers and food courts across the city. However, don’t be misled by its name – it’s not a dessert but rather a savory dish crafted from rice flour and white radish, also known as daikon. The preparation involves steaming, cubing, and then frying with a flavorful mix of garlic, eggs, and preserved radish, known as ‘chai poh.’ This dish offers two distinct variations: black, featuring a delectable infusion of sweet dark soya sauce, and white, preserving the original flavors.

The roots of this simple yet delectable creation can be traced back to Southern China’s Chaoshan province, where it goes by the name ‘chao gao guo’ or ‘fried starch cake.’ It found its way to Singapore through Teochew immigrants, initially known as ‘char kway’ or ‘fried rice cake.’ It wasn’t until the 1960s that white radish made its appearance in the dish, thanks to Teochew hawker Ng Soik Theng, who aptly named it ‘chai tow kway.’

For those eager to savor this local delicacy, notable spots in Singapore to indulge in Carrot Cake include Chey Sua Carrot Cake and 618 SIM Carrot Cake.

13. Popiah - Fresh Spring Rolls

Popiah, originally a Fujianese delicacy, has gained immense popularity as a snack in Singapore. It features a delicate, soft wheat flour crepe filled with an array of ingredients like julienned vegetables, bean sprouts, turnips, and lettuce. This delightful filling is generously seasoned with sweet bean sauce, soy sauce, and chili paste before being skillfully rolled up, reminiscent of a burrito. Popiah is often relished as a light meal or a snack and can be readily savored in numerous hawker centers and food courts across the city.

If you’re eager to sample this treat, some notable places in Singapore to try Popiah include Good Chance Popiah Eating House and Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Popiah.

Singapore Food Popiah

14. Kaya Toast - A Sweet Breakfast

Kaya Toast, a beloved breakfast classic in Singapore, features a delightful pairing of two slices of toast generously spread with butter and luscious kaya, a coconut jam. This iconic dish is believed to have its roots in Singapore and Malaysia, dating back to the 1930s, and it has since become an integral part of Singaporean cuisine. Kaya, the heart of this creation, is a heavenly concoction made from a blend of coconut milk, eggs, sugar, and fragrant pandan leaves, lending it not only a vibrant green hue but also a captivating aroma. Typically, it’s accompanied by soft-boiled eggs and a choice of coffee or tea.

For a taste of this morning delight, be sure to visit renowned spots in Singapore like Ya Kun Kaya Toast, Good Morning Nanyang Cafe, and YY Ka Fei Dian.

15. Ice Kacang - Shaved Ice Delight

Ice Kacang, a beloved Singaporean dessert, is the perfect way to beat the heat on a scorching day. This refreshing treat consists of shaved ice generously adorned with a medley of ingredients like red beans, grass jelly, sweet corn, and attap chee (palm seed). The pièce de résistance comes in the form of delightful drizzles, featuring syrups crafted from gula melaka (palm sugar), red rose syrup, and pandan syrup. With roots originating in Malaysia, Ice Kacang has been delighting Singaporean taste buds since the early 19th century.

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