The illustrious English writer of the twentieth century, Virginia Woolf, once said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”. One of the most appealing facets of a holiday, the role of food cannot be undermined when you think of a gratifying holiday. Apart from the obvious reasons of having a relaxing time at a scenic locale with plenty to shop, sight see and explore, the possibility of experimenting with a wide range of mouth-watering exotic dishes is what makes a holiday truly memorable and enjoyable. If you are planning a holiday in the near future and a Singapore tour package is on the cards for you, then you must make it a point to try out the popular local dishes that are ‘oh so delicious’ and worth the splurge while you are having a gala time in the Lion City. Singapore’s diverse and colourful cuisine is influenced by its multicultural population and consists of a variety of dishes that represent the characteristic cooking style and flavour of the native Malays, the Chinese, the Indonesian as well as the Indian ethnicities. Apart from the distinct cuisines, gastronomes can also tease their taste buds with lip-smacking mash-ups of different culinary styles such as the Peranakan cuisine – an interesting fusion of Chinese and Malay cuisines. Indeed, whether you are a born foodie with an insatiable urge for yummy street food or a self-proclaimed gourmet with a sophisticated palate – Singapore will delight you no ends. After all, when you visit a country that glorifies the humble act of ‘eating’ as a national pastime and hails food as a national obsession, be ready to uncover the rich spread of seafood, noodles, meat, rice and snacks at the vast gamut of hawker centres, food courts, coffee shops and fine dining restaurants that abound in plenty in Singapore.
Search the web today for a budget-friendly Singapore tour package and prepare yourself for a gastronomic vacation to the food-obsessed land of iconic skyscrapers, museums, theme parks, nature reserves, off-shore islands, beach parties, shopping markets and other top-notch attractions that will ensure that Singapore remains an unforgettable experience for you for many years to come!
Hainanese Chicken Rice
Deemed as one of the national dishes of Singapore, Hainanese Chicken Rice is much sought after by the meat lovers and often considered as the most popular dish in the meat category. It has been named thus as it traces its roots to the early Chinese immigrants who belonged to the Hainan Island in southern China’s Hainan province. The historic dish enjoys international acclaim and is one of the four Singaporean dishes that have featured in CNN International’s prestigious list of ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods’ following an online poll by 35,000 people across the globe. Also known as Khao Man Gai in Thailand, Hainanese Chicken Rice draws inspiration from the celebrated Hainanese dish of Wenchang Chicken. The adapted recipe is a delectable combination of boiled or steamed chicken and oily flavoured rice that draws its rich aroma from the chicken stock in which it is cooked with an occasional helping of pandan leaves. The superbly fragrant and flavoursome dish is accentuated with a mild splattering of exotic sauces such as chilli sauce made with garlic and red chilli and soy sauce to further up its spicy quotient. Don’t let the seemingly plain appearance of the dish fool you, as with one bite into the tender and juicy flesh of the chicken you will realise that you have discovered something marvellous here! A BBQ and a roasted version are also available and are a delicious and innovative twist to the usual white chicken variant.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, Boon Tong Kee Chicken Rice, Loy Kee Best Chicken Rice, Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice and Chatterbox are few of the outlets that sell Hainanese Chicken Rice and are quite popular with the locals for their distinct flavours and unique methods of preparation.
Bak Kut Teh
As you prepare to embark on your vacation, you must ensure that your Singapore tour package itinerary is replete with multiple stopovers at various local jaunts that prepare the well-known Bak Kut Teh – a gourmet’s delight when you love your pork and spices like nobody else! Bak Kut Teh literally means ‘meat bone tea’ and that’s what it is, albeit the tea! If you are at your wits’ end trying to demystify the relevance of tea in the uncanny name of the dish, then let’s unveil the mystery for you. Bak Kut Teh is often accompanied with the traditional Oolong Chinese tea…hence, the mention of tea in its name. It is believed that sipping the Chinese tea will dissolve the high fat content that is part and parcel of the soup owing to its liberal usage of pork. The mouth-watering dish is cooked at leisure by simmering meaty pork ribs in a luxurious broth until the pork becomes all tender and succulent. The slow heating ensures that the pork is generously infused with the rich flavours of the broth that is prepared elaborately with aromatic herbs and a host of spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, pepper, garlic etc. The perfect combination of soup and tea makes this pork rib dish a red hot favourite at the breakfast table though it’s not unusual to have it for lunch or dinner either.
If you add some extra zing to the soup, then you can play around with additional ingredients and herbs such as mushroom, choy sum, offal, tofu, coriander, shallots, yu zhu and ju zhi that give the soup a stronger and sweeter flavour. The soup is seasoned with light and dark soy sauce to bring out its striking colour that closely resembles that of tea. Rice is a common accompaniment to the dish. The Malays also love to serve the Bak Kut Teh with You Char Kueh – a deep-fried golden brown strip of dough that is slightly salty in taste. The sumptuous dish is cooked in varied styles such as Teochew, Hoklo, Cantonese and Klang that differ from each other by colour and flavour of the soup. Those who do not have a fascination for pork can settle for the chicken version of Chik Kut Teh while vegetarians can seek delight in the fact that there is also a non-meat variant of Bak Kut Teh that replaces the pork with oyster mushroom and yet remains as appetizing as ever!
A much sought after recipe in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Southern Thailand, Bak Kut Teh is available in several restaurants and stalls such as Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh, Song Fa Bak Koot Teh, Heng Heng Bak Kut Teh, Founder Bak Kut Teh Restaurant and Outram Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh to name a few.
Fried Carrot Cake / Chai Tow Kway
Okay, now this one is quite a misnomer as there is no trace of carrot in the Fried Carrot Cake of the Southeast Asian country. Singapore’s Fried Carrot Cake is a far cry from the legendary Carrot Cake dessert but no less tempting than the sweet delicacy of the West. Also known as Chai Tow Kway, the Singaporean Fried Carrot Cake is one of the best sellers in the country and uses white daikon radish as its key ingredient. It is named ‘Carrot Cake’ as the Asians often treat the radish and the carrot as near similar and carrots are famously dubbed as ‘red radish’ in this part of the world. A much-loved comfort food, the Fried Carrot Cake is eaten as a snack and also served as a breakfast dish and a supper meal. Prepared out of stir-fried cubes of white radish flour cake, eggs and a plethora of seasonings, you can savour the Fried Carrot Cake in its steamed form or ask for it to be pan-fried post the initial bout of steaming. The tasty dish needs no side dish to enhance its taste and flavour and can simply be served with spring onion toppings. If you want a darker hue to your Fried Carrot Cake, then you can try out the black version that makes use of dark soya sauce as well as a thick sweet dark sauce made out of molasses. The white variant is crunchier though with a moderated sweet taste as it refrains from using sweet soy sauce. Such is the popularity of this versatile dish that almost every other food jaunt in Singapore serves, including the most expensive Chinese restaurant, the cheapest hawker centres and moderately priced coffee shops.
The unconventional Fried Carrot Cake should definitely make it to your ‘must-try’ list on your Singapore tour package. Check out Song Zhou Luo Bo Gao at the Bedok Interchange Food Centre, Fu Ming Carrot Cake at the Redhill Food Centre, Carrot Cake at the Chomp Chomp Food Centre, Hock Soon Carrot Cake at the Ghim Moh Temporary Food Centre or the He Zhong Carrot Cake at the Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre if you wish to experience an authentic feel of this Singaporean classic.