WHAT IS SINGAPORE FOOD?
Briefly, It has its origin in Malaysia, Indonesia, China and India. Many claim that there is no such thing as Singapore food for that reason. They are only partially right. You’ll still find the most authentic and tastiest of each of the cuisines. What has been happening to the various cuisines since their first arrival a century or so ago is what we now proudly call Singapore Food. For those of you who’re accustomed to "Wine and Dine", Singapore has a wide variety of fine restaurants to choose from, much like many other cosmopolitan cities. There is no shortage of publicity in that area so I shall not dwell upon that.
To most Singaporeans, however, what Makan entails is not the quality of the service nor the presentation of the food, but very simply the quality of the food, the spontaneity, the cosiness, the convenience and most importantly, the affordability. In other words, it’s good company and a bit of sweat and noise thrown in without hurting the wallet. It’s a hot plate of Char Kway Teow after a half an hour wait in a hawker centre amidst all the screaming and shouting in the middle of the afternoon when even gold fishes find themselves hot in the bowl!
Many Westerns Simply Cannot Resist Singapore Food. After You Have Eaten Singapore Foods, it is as if you have eaten all the famous food throughout Asia Countries.
Local Favourite Food
Roti Prata – Crispy pan fried "pancakes" made from wheat flour, water and butter (or ghee). Accompanied by fish or chicken curry. A common dish eaten as breakfast or supper. Number 1 dish loved by all Singaporeans!
Hainanese Chicken Rice – The chicken is usually served with sesame oil, soya sauce and spring onions. If you are lucky, some hawkers will serve the chicken, deboned. The rice is cooked with pandan leave, garlic and the broth that is used to cooked the chicken. This increase the aroma of the rice. The rice should look shiny (because of the chicken fats from broth) and a slight tinge of yellow. You should be able to taste chicken with every mouthful of rice.
Tom Yum Soup – Tom Yum is the most famous of Thai soups, being very popular in Thai restaurants in Singapore. It is a clear sour soup which is flavored with fresh lemon grass and kaffir lime leaf. The most well-known version uses shrimp (in Thai: goong, koon, kung)
Nasi Lemak – Coconut-flavored Rice Meal – is rice cooked in coconut milk made aromatic with pandan leaves [screwpine leaves]. It is typically served with Sambal Ikan Bilis – fried dried anchovies cooked in a dry sambal sauce, and garnished with cucumber slices, hard boiled egg and roasted peanuts. Traditionally packaged in a banana leaf, it is usually eaten as hearty breakfast fare.
Hokkien Mee – For visitors to Singapore, you must eat this Hokkien Mee mixed with the sambal chilli and lime juice. Each servings will come with a small lime that is cut at one end. To make this better eating experience, you may want to squeeze the lime juice into your spoon first, remove the lime seeds and then pour it into your Hokkien Mee. The lime juice can remove the oily feeling of Hokkien Mee.
Satay – Stick-skewered (kebab) marinated meat strips barbequed over a charcoal fire grill. The meat used is usually beef, mutton and chicken.
Places to Eat :
- A growing favourite with the young working crowd. Designer coffee places like Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Coffee Club have become the in places to hang out with friends. Most cafes serve Western food like sandwiches, pizzas and pasta.
- These can be found in most housing estates outside the city and are usually located on the ground floor of apartment blocks or in 2-storey. Even till today, Singaporeans gather at coffee shops not just to eat and drink, but also to chat or even play a game of checkers. Although the older coffeehouses are slowly being phased out, they are still the place to go if you want to get cheap and good food served with a slice of true Singapore life, not forgetting the thick, black local coffee that comes in a porcelain cup.
- A favourite with children and teenagers, fast food arrived in Singapore in the late 70s and is today a familiar sight everywhere. There’s McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Pizza Hut, Burger King, MOS Burger and much much more.
Hawker Centers and Food Courts
Together with hawker centers, food courts are the people’s main eating choice when dining out. You can find hawker food widely available here, a meal averagely costs about $3 or more. Food courts are usually found in shopping malls, and are air-conditioned and thus more expensive. For example, a plate of noodles that cost $3 in a hawker center may cost $4 in a food court. The choice of food is also more cosmopolitan, with some food courts even offering Italian, Korean, Japanese and Greek cuisine all in the same place. Be warned: at the more popular food courts, you could find people waiting behind you for your seat; so if you like to take your time, go during off-peak hours. Unlike hawker centers, you have to carry your own food to your table.
Food courts generally can be found in most shopping centres. There are usually at least one hawker centers in every HDB housing estates. Like Ang Mo Kio, Ghim Moh, Marine Parade, Old Airport Road, Whampoa. Enjoy your Singapore food discovery! For hawker centers, refer to some of the popular ones below:
Adam Road Food CenterThis hawker center was recently upgraded. With a new facade and more parking space, it is very popular with lunch time crowds. More than 50% of the stalls serve Malay or Indian food. Good Nasi Goreng, Roti Prata, western food can be found here. Do not miss the BBQ seafood and the famous Nasi Lemak stall. Location: Junction of Dunearn Road and Adam Road.
Chomp Chomp Food Center
- Located at Serangoon Garden, this hawker center was recently upgraded. Wide variety of food at a reasonable price. Many stalls from the Botanic Garden hawker center had migrated here.
Location: Serangoon Garden.
Lau Pa Sat Food Center
Lau Pa Sat is the largest remaining Victorian filigree cast-iron structure in Southeast Asia. Located in the heart of Singapore’s business district, it is a favorite meeting place of the locals. Built in 1894, Lau Pa Sat was a wet market and has now been restored and converted into a food centre offering a wide variety of local food.Location: Boon Tat Street, Shenton Way, Robinson Road.
Getting There: Take the MRT to Raffles Place Station (EW14) and walk towards Robinson Road.
Newton Circus Food Center
- The most well known hawker center in Singapore. If you are a seafood lover, do not miss this place, lots of BBQ seafood stalls can be found here. There are also many variety of food, including Hokkien Prawn Noodles, Fish Porridge, Chicken Rice and many more.
Location: Newton Circus, entrance at Cavenagh Road.
Getting There: Take the MRT to Newton Station (NS21).
Zion Road Riverview Food Center
- People working around Orchard and Great World City usually drive or walk to this hawker center for lunch. You can find a wide variety of food here.
Location: Zion Road, directly opposite Great World City.