A Foodie’s guide to Singapore

Written by
Juhi Chheda
April 24, 2021

Food is an important part of any culture and to Singaporeans it is very important. Because the city is such a melting pot of cultures so is its food. If you have seen Crazy Rich Asians you must have definitely salivated at all the street food they featured in the movie along with the fine art of making dumplings. You will find Malay, Indian and Chinese flavours dominate the local cuisine. There is also a plethora of international restaurants serving world cuisine as almost 50% of the population in Singapore is immigrants. 

When you book a trip to Singapore with CustomHolidays we provide you with a list of top restaurants, bars, cafes, clubs and street food places based on your food preference. Today more and more people indulge in local food thanks to social media and instagram (we also have the most instagrammable places in Singapore listed for you) and we are always trying to supply our clients with the most trending places to visit. 

Local dishes to try in Singapore

Singaporean Street food is famous and some hawkers even have Michelin stars! Below is a short list of must- try dishes in Singapore, whether you eat them in a restaurant or at a street food stall is your choice. While most of the street food is meat or seafood centric we do have some vegetarian options listed below.  However if you are sensitive to smells then maybe the street food markets in Singapore are not for you.  Also most Asian dishes have fish sauce or shrimp paste or eggs so ask before you order or better still go with our experienced guides on local food tours. 

CHICKEN RICE — This is Singapore’s national dish which includes chicken and fragrant rice cooked in chicken stock.

CARROT CAKE — Not to be confused with the dessert cake, but a local dish featuring white radish.

OYSTER OMELETTE — An egg omelette containing oysters; delicious if you’re an oyster lover.

CHWEE KUEH (WATER RICE CAKE) — A rice cake topped with preserved radish and a side of chili sauce.

HOKKIEN PRAWN MEE — Stir-fried noodles mixed with prawns and other seafood items, like squid.

CHAR SIEW — Roasted pork; simple and so good.

LAKSA — A spicy noodle soup with a coconut milk base; made with rice noodles or vermicelli noodles, usually containing fish, prawn, or chicken.

CHILI OR PEPPER CRAB — Pretty self-explanatory—crab made with pepper or chili sauce.

WANTON MEE — Noodles with a light sauce, topped with char siew and wonton dumplings.

SATAY — Seasoned, skewered grilled meat.

KAYA TOAST —Thick white toast slewed with butter and often dipped in eggs and eaten, Kaya toast is the official Singaporean breakfast. You’ll see it everywhere.

CHAR KWAY TEOW — The name translates to “stir-fried rice cake strips” and is made of flat rice noodles

Vegetarian friendly local foods to try in Singapore:

ROTI PRATA — Thin, flat bread that can be found served many ways; commonly served with curry. But today you get modern versions stuffed with cheese, mushrooms or even chocolate!

POPIAH — Similar to a spring roll; filled with veggies and wrapped in popiah skin, which reminded me of a cross between a crepe and flour tortilla.

CHINESE ROJAK- Rojak is a Malay word which literally means an eclectic mix of…anything! In this case, it refers to a savoury fruit salad of cucumber, pineapple, mango, bean sprouts, banana flower, turnip, ginger, dough fritters and fried bean curd, which is then tossed in a piquant dressing of tamarind, prawn paste (which can be opted out for a veggie version), sugar, chilli, lime juice and a generous topping of crushed, roasted peanuts.

GADO GADO- An Indonesian salad of blanched green vegetables and tofu served with a spicy peanut chutney which we love and topped with tapioca crisps!! 

GORENG PISANG- deep fried banana fritters or banana wafers but served hot and fresh!

CARROT CAKES – They actually have no carrots but radish, which in Singapore is called white carrot. But be careful as they are generally served with eggs and shrimp paste. 

ICE KACHANG-Literally means iced beans. It starts with layers of red beans, jelly, sweet corn and attap chee (palm seeds) topped with a mountain of shaved ice and dressed with different colours of sweet syrup and a final lashing of sweetened condensed milk. Similar versions of dessert are found in Indonesia and Philippines. 

KUEH-  Another is sweet with a soft texture, slightly chewy and sticky. The kueh often contain food colouring to give a bright hue making it very interesting and pretty to look at. Bengawan Solo an old sweet establishment have a kueh selection in some outlets. But do ask as some are even made with egg. 

CHENDOL- Another dessert similar to Ice Kachang only difference being it has green jelly noodles instead of red beans served with ice, cocnut, sugar and condensed milk. 

Besides these Indian dishes like dosa, idlis and thalis abound in the Little India area of Singapore.   Singapore also has numerous restaurants to choose from. From Michelin star restaurants to most instagrammed cafes and eateries, Singapore has them all. There are even Japanese and Korean restaurants serving only vegetarian fare with mock meat options. Fantastic Italian, Indian and other world cuisine restaurants can also be found in Singapore, so its just a matter of what you are in the mood to eat.  There are rooftop bars and graffiti covered streets lined with small watering holes. The choice is yours. Whatever your style of dining Singapore has it. 

Asia, Singapore, Food, Food Holiday, Culinary, City, Family friendly, kids
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