Travel 2 minutes 25 March 2019

The Must-Eat Dishes in Singapore

If you love to eat, there’s no better destination than the melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Peranakan and European influenced cuisine of Singapore.

Singapore Singapore Food Scene Michelin Guide

According to a recent Visa Global Intentions study, Singapore ranked 3rd as the most popular overseas travel destinations for Thais. To give you the best food experience while in Singapore, we have compiled a list of must-eat dishes and Michelin Inspectors’ recommendations. 

Don’t leave Singapore without trying…

Bak Kut Teh
Literally translated as 'meat bone tea' in Hokkien (a southern Chinese dialect), bak kut teh is slow-cooked pork ribs in soup containing spices that is served with plain rice or Chinese doughnut. In Singapore, you will find two major styles of bak kut teh: the light coloured garlic and pepper Teochew style or the darker and more herbal Hokkien style.

Pictured: The Teochew style light coloured garlic and pepper bah kut teh.
Pictured: The Teochew style light coloured garlic and pepper bah kut teh.

Chilli Crab
Invented in the 1950s and considered by locals as Singapore’s unofficial national dish, Singaporean chilli crab is stir-fried crab coated in a sweet, savoury and spicy tomato sauce that’s served with steamed or fried buns (mantou). Today, you can also find variations and modern renditions of the ever popular chilli crab containing sambal, vinegar, tomato paste and egg.

Singapore's unofficial national dish: chilli mud crab served with mantou.
Singapore's unofficial national dish: chilli mud crab served with mantou.

Hainanese Chicken Rice
The humble chicken rice is a fiercely contested and highly popular dish found throughout Southeast Asia. The Singaporean style consists of poached chicken served with fragrant rice, soup and chilli or ginger dipping sauce. Chicken rice can be found in all locations across Singapore ranging from hawker stalls to high-end restaurants. The dish may look simple, but subtle textures, depth of flavours, the way the rice and chicken is prepared and cooked along with sauce recipes are all closely-guarded secrets. 

The humble chicken rice has many variations all across Southeast Asia.
The humble chicken rice has many variations all across Southeast Asia.

Curry Fish Head
If you're the squeamish type, you may not enjoy the sight of a fish head with puffy cheeks and bulging eyes staring back at you in a bowl of red gravy. For many, this is a visually appetising feast that represents Singapore’s melting pot of cultures as the fish head – considered a Chinese delicacy – is cooked in gravy using a mixture of spices found in a typical South Indian curry. 

The fish head may be not the most visually appealing, but is considered a delicacy in Singapore.
The fish head may be not the most visually appealing, but is considered a delicacy in Singapore.

Laksa
Originally a Peranakan dish, there are many variations of laksa found throughout the Malay archipelago, but none is more famous in Singapore than the Katong Laksa. Inspired by Peranakans living in Singapore’s Katong area, nothing is more comforting to a local than this lava-coloured noodle soup, flavoured with coconut milk and dried shrimp, topped with cockles, prawns and fishcake.

Katong laksa is the most popular of the laksas in Singapore.
Katong laksa is the most popular of the laksas in Singapore.

Nasi Lemak
Meaning 'rich rice' in Malay, nasi lemak is an aromatic rice dish infused with coconut milk and pandan leaves. The traditional version of nasi lemak consists of anchovies, peanuts, eggs, cucumber and sambal, but don’t be surprised if you see deep-fried chicken, fish cakes and even luncheon meat on some contemporary renditions.

Nasi lemak means 'rich rice' in Malay.
Nasi lemak means 'rich rice' in Malay.

Fried Carrot Cake
Don’t expect any actual carrot in this dish as this savoury treat also known as "chai tow kway" in Teochew dialect is made from rice flour and white radish which is sometimes called ‘white carrot’ in Chinese. Brought over by Chinese immigrants, these cubes of starchy cake are fried and enjoyed with dark soy sauce at most street-side and hawker stalls.

There's no actual carrot in Singaporean carrot cake.
There's no actual carrot in Singaporean carrot cake.

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