If you’re a food lover in Singapore, you’re in for a treat! Singaporean cuisine is a melting pot of diverse flavors and techniques, influenced by Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Peranakan cultures. You’ll find an endless array of delicious dishes to satisfy your taste buds, from savory noodle soups to sweet desserts.
In this article, we’ll highlight the must-try dishes in Singapore that every foodie should add to their list. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, these dishes are popular for a reason and are sure to leave you wanting more.
- Singaporean food is a diverse and vibrant culinary scene.
- Must-try dishes in Singapore are influenced by Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Peranakan cultures.
- These dishes are highly recommended for food lovers visiting or living in Singapore.
Singaporean Cuisine: A Mix of Influences
Singaporean food is a reflection of the diverse cultural landscape of this city-state. With influences from Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Peranakan cuisine, as well as international flavors brought by immigrants and travelers, Singaporean food is a unique and delicious blend of different cultures and tastes.
One of the defining aspects of Singaporean cuisine is its emphasis on fresh ingredients, herbs, and spices. From the aromatic curry leaves used in Indian-inspired dishes to the pungent belacan (shrimp paste) used in Malay cuisine, the use of herbs and spices adds distinct flavors and aromas to Singaporean food.
Another characteristic of Singaporean cuisine is its emphasis on communal dining. Many dishes, such as hotpots and satay, are designed to be shared among a group of diners, making Singaporean food a social experience.
Whether you’re a food lover or just looking to try something new, Singaporean cuisine has something for everyone. From hawker centers to high-end restaurants, the local cuisine in Singapore is a feast for the senses.
Hainanese Chicken Rice: A National Treasure
Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of the must-try dishes in Singapore and an iconic Singaporean dish that has become world-renowned. It is a simple dish consisting of perfectly steamed chicken, fragrant rice, and a variety of flavorful condiments such as chili sauce, ginger paste, and dark soy sauce.
Despite its apparent simplicity, the dish requires a high level of skill and technique to perfect. The chicken must be cooked just right – tender, juicy, and full of flavor – and the rice should be fluffy, fragrant, and infused with the essence of the chicken. The condiments, too, must be carefully prepared and balanced to complement the chicken and rice.
Best food in Singapore? Many locals will say that Hainanese Chicken Rice is undoubtedly one of them. It is a dish that can be found in many hawker centers, food courts, and restaurants across Singapore. Some popular places to sample this dish include Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre, Boon Tong Kee at Balestier, and Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant at Novena.
Laksa: A Fiery Bowl of Flavor
When it comes to must-try dishes in Singapore, Laksa is undoubtedly on the list. This spicy and aromatic noodle soup is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
There are different types of Laksa, each with its unique blend of spices and ingredients. However, all of them are sure to tantalize your taste buds with their bold flavors and fiery kick.
One of the most popular versions is the Katong Laksa, which originated in the Katong area of Singapore. The soup is made with a fragrant broth of coconut milk and spices, infused with dried shrimp, lemongrass, and galangal. The noodles used are usually rice vermicelli, which soak up the flavors of the broth beautifully.
What sets Laksa apart is its various toppings, usually seafood such as prawns, fish cakes, and cockles. The toppings are added on top of the noodles and broth, giving you a burst of savory goodness with every mouthful.
If you’re looking for an extra kick of heat, you can add a dollop of sambal chili paste to your Laksa, which will provide a satisfying spicy punch.
Char Kway Teow: A Wok-Fried Delight
Char Kway Teow is a popular dish in Singapore that has become a must-try for food lovers. This stir-fried noodle dish is made with flat rice noodles, egg, bean sprouts, and Chinese sausage, all wok-fried together with soy sauce and chili paste. It is usually garnished with fried pork lard and served with a side of lime.
Char Kway Teow is a prime example of traditional Singaporean food. This dish has a perfect combination of savory and sweet flavors, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The secret to the dish’s delicious taste lies in the charring of the noodles in the wok, which adds a smoky flavor to the dish.
Although Char Kway Teow is often considered a sinful indulgence due to its high fat content, it remains a popular choice at hawker centers and food courts all over Singapore. It is a dish that is enjoyed any time of the day, from breakfast to late-night snacks.
For those who want to try the best Char Kway Teow in Singapore, head over to Hill Street Fried Kway Teow at Bedok South Market and Food Centre or Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee.
Chilli Crab: A Seafood Sensation
Chilli Crab is a must-try dish in Singapore, and for good reason. This iconic Singaporean dish is famous for its succulent crab, cooked to perfection in a spicy sauce that’s full of flavor. It’s messy, it’s fun, and it’s absolutely delicious.
The dish is made with Sri Lankan crabs that are stir-fried in a spicy tomato and chilli sauce. The sauce is thick, sweet, and tangy, with a fiery kick that’s sure to awaken your taste buds. The crabs are meaty and tender, with a delicate sweetness that pairs perfectly with the sauce.
To fully enjoy Chilli Crab, you’ll want to get your hands dirty. It’s traditional to crack open the crab with your hands, using the shells to scoop up the sauce and meat. This messy affair is part of the fun, and it’s all part of the experience of digging into this Singaporean classic.
In Singapore, Chilli Crab is a popular dish that’s served in many seafood restaurants. It’s often eaten with mantou, a type of steamed bun that’s perfect for soaking up the spicy sauce. It’s also common to have a side of fried rice or steamed rice to help balance out the heat.
For those looking to try this famous Singaporean dish, Jumbo Seafood is a popular restaurant that’s known for their Chilli Crab. Long Beach Seafood Restaurant and No Signboard Seafood are also great options for trying this seafood sensation.
Roti Prata: A Flaky Indian Delicacy
Roti Prata is a popular Indian-influenced dish in Singapore that is a must-try for food lovers. This dish is a flaky and crispy bread that is made from dough that is stretched and flipped until it becomes thin and elastic. It is then fried on a hot griddle until it becomes golden brown and crispy.
The bread is usually served with a variety of accompaniments, which can include curry, dhal, sambal, or a sweetened condensed milk called “kaya.” These accompaniments add layers of flavor to the bread and make it a filling and satisfying meal.
Roti Prata is traditionally a breakfast dish in Singapore, but it can be enjoyed at any time of the day. It is commonly found at food courts and hawker centers across the island and is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.
To get the most out of your Roti Prata experience, be sure to enjoy it hot and freshly cooked. The flaky texture and crispy exterior are key to the dish’s taste, so don’t let it sit for too long before eating.
Overall, Roti Prata is a delicious and traditional Singaporean dish that should be on every food lover’s must-try list. The combination of crispy bread and flavorful accompaniments make it a unique and satisfying culinary experience that is emblematic of the diverse and vibrant food scene in Singapore.
Bak Kut Teh: Hearty Pork Ribs Soup
One of the must-try dishes in Singapore is the hearty Bak Kut Teh, a traditional Singaporean food that is a must-eat for food lovers. Made with pork ribs that are simmered for hours in a flavorful broth with a blend of herbs and spices, this soup is the ultimate comfort food. The name Bak Kut Teh means “meat bone tea,” and the dish is typically served with steamed rice, fried dough fritters, and a bowl of hot tea.
The origin of Bak Kut Teh is believed to be from the Hokkien dialect, and it was introduced to Singapore by Chinese immigrants. Today, Bak Kut Teh is a popular dish in Singapore and has even become a tourist attraction for those seeking to taste the authentic flavors of Singaporean cuisine.
The soup is typically made with pork ribs, although variations may include other cuts of meat such as pork belly or mushrooms for vegetarians. The broth is infused with a blend of Chinese herbs and spices, including garlic, cinnamon, and star anise, giving the soup its distinct aroma and flavor. The dish is typically garnished with chopped coriander or green onions and served with a side of soy sauce and chili paste.
Whether you are in search of traditional Singaporean food or simply looking for a hearty meal, Bak Kut Teh is a must-try dish in Singapore. The soup’s rich and flavorful broth, tender pork ribs, and variety of accompanying sides make it a satisfying and memorable meal experience.
Satay: Skewers of Grilled Perfection
Satay is a beloved street food in Singapore, consisting of marinated skewered meat grilled to perfection over charcoal. This dish is a popular choice among locals and visitors alike and is often served with a thick peanut sauce that perfectly complements the meat’s smoky flavor.
The marination process is crucial to creating the unique taste of satay. Typically, the meat is marinated in a blend of spices, which may include turmeric, coriander, cumin, and lemongrass, among others. The meat is then skewered and grilled over hot charcoal until cooked to perfection and charred on the outside.
Satay can be made with a variety of meats, including chicken, beef, pork, or mutton. In addition to the peanut sauce, it is often served with a side of cucumber, onions, and ketupat (compressed rice cakes).
Some of the best places to try satay in Singapore include Satay by the Bay, Lau Pa Sat, and Chomp Chomp Food Centre. No visit to Singapore is complete without experiencing the deliciousness of satay, one of the most famous and must-try dishes in Singapore.
Nasi Lemak: Fragrant Rice Perfection
Nasi Lemak is a beloved and iconic dish in Singapore, known for its fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves. It is often served with a variety of flavorful accompaniments, including fried chicken, spicy sambal, crispy anchovies, and a boiled egg.
The dish has a long history in Singaporean cuisine and has become a staple breakfast item, lunch option, and even a midnight snack. The flavors and textures of Nasi Lemak are a unique blend of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences, making it a true representation of the diverse culinary scene in Singapore.
The key to a perfect Nasi Lemak lies in the preparation of the coconut rice, which requires a delicate balance of coconut milk, pandan leaves, and water. The rice is then steamed to fluffy perfection, resulting in a rich and aromatic base for the dish.
The accompaniments of Nasi Lemak vary, but some popular choices include fried chicken, otah (a spicy fish cake), and sliced cucumber. The real star of the dish, however, is the spicy sambal sauce that adds a fiery kick to the rice and elevates the flavors of the other components.
Nasi Lemak is a must-try dish in Singapore that showcases the country’s love for traditional flavors and local ingredients. It can be found in hawker centers, food courts, and restaurants all over the city, making it easy for visitors to experience this fragrant rice perfection for themselves.
Duck Rice: A Savory Delight
Duck Rice is a must-try dish in Singapore, considered an iconic part of the country’s cuisine. The dish is a combination of succulent duck meat paired with fragrant rice and savory sauces. It is one of the best food options in Singapore, loved by both locals and tourists.
The tender and flavorful duck meat is cooked to perfection, making it a delight to savor. The rice is also cooked in a way that enhances the flavors of the meat, and the savory sauces provide a burst of flavor to the dish.
Duck Rice is typically served with a side of soup and some pickled vegetables, providing a balanced and hearty meal. Most places that serve this dish have their own unique twist, adding their own special sauces or ingredients to make the dish stand out.
There is no shortage of restaurants and stalls that offer Duck Rice in Singapore, making it easy to find this iconic dish. It’s a must-try for anyone looking to experience the true flavors of Singaporean food and is sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.
Popiah: Fresh Spring Rolls
Popiah is a fresh spring roll that is a popular snack or meal in Singapore. The dish is considered a part of traditional Singaporean food and is a must-try for those visiting or living in Singapore. Popiah is made up of a soft and thin wrapper filled with a mixture of finely grated vegetables, bean sprouts, tofu, and sometimes meat or seafood. The filling is then rolled up and cut into bite-size pieces.
The dish is typically accompanied by a sweet and savory sauce and is served fresh. Popiah is a great option for those looking for a healthier dining option as it is light, fresh, and packed with nutrients. The dish can be found at hawker centers, food courts, and restaurants throughout Singapore, making it a popular and accessible choice for locals and tourists alike.
Ice Kacang: A Sweet Treat
Ice Kacang is a refreshing dessert that is popular in Singapore, especially on hot and humid days. This colorful and sweet dish is made by shaving ice into fine snow and topping it with a variety of ingredients such as red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly, and palm seeds. It is then drizzled with different syrups such as rose syrup, grass jelly syrup, and condensed milk.
The origin of Ice Kacang can be traced back to the 1950s when ice was a luxury in Singapore. Hawkers used to sell flavored ice with sweet syrups and evaporated milk, but the dish evolved into Ice Kacang over time. Today, Ice Kacang is considered a must-try dish in Singapore and is a popular dessert in hawker centers and food courts.
The dish’s popularity has led to numerous variations, like adding ice cream, fruit cocktail, and durian. But the traditional version still holds its ground and is a top food choice in Singapore. So, if you’re looking for a sweet treat that will cool you down on a hot day, Ice Kacang is the perfect dessert to try.
Durian: The King of Fruits
Durian, the spiky fruit with a strong aroma, is a divisive delicacy in Singapore. Some people love its unique taste and creamy texture, while others can’t stand its pungent smell. Regardless of personal preference, it is undeniably a must-try dish in Singapore for food lovers.
Traditionally, durian is eaten fresh and raw, sliced open to reveal the soft and custardy flesh inside. Some people also like to pair it with sticky rice or other sweet treats to balance out its strong taste.
In Singapore, durian is a popular dish that can be found in many hawker centers and fruit stalls. Some famous durian varieties include the Mao Shan Wang and D24, which are highly sought after for their rich and complex flavors.
While durian may not be for everyone, it is an essential part of the Singaporean food culture and an experience not to be missed. So, if you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to give durian a try during your culinary journey in Singapore.
Roti John: A Fusion Delight
Roti John is a unique and delicious dish that blends elements of French baguettes and Indian omelets. This dish originated in Singapore and has become a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The name “Roti John” comes from the use of a French baguette, or “John” in Malay, as the base of the dish.
The dish is made by hollowing out the bread and filling it with a mixture of minced meat, eggs, onions, and spices. The bread is then grilled until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and served with a tangy chili sauce.
Roti John is the perfect example of the fusion cuisine that has developed in Singapore as a result of its diverse cultural influences. It is a dish that showcases the creativity and ingenuity of Singaporean cuisine, combining elements of different cultures to create something truly unique.
Despite its origins in Singapore, Roti John can now be found in neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. It has also gained international recognition, with food bloggers and critics raving about this delicious fusion dish.
So, if you’re looking to try something truly unique and flavorful, be sure to add Roti John to your list of must-try dishes in Singapore. It is undoubtedly one of the famous and popular dishes of Singaporean cuisine.
In conclusion, Singapore is a food lover’s paradise with a rich culinary heritage that reflects its diverse cultural influences. From iconic dishes like Hainanese Chicken Rice and Laksa to lesser-known gems like Popiah and Roti John, there is something for everyone in Singapore’s food scene.
Global Acclaim for Singaporean Cuisine
Singaporean cuisine has gained global recognition for its unique flavors and techniques. The city-state’s hawker food stalls have been recognized as a UNESCO cultural heritage, further cementing Singapore’s status as a foodie destination.
Embark on Your Own Culinary Journey
Whether you are a Singaporean local or a visitor, Singapore’s diverse food scene offers endless possibilities for culinary exploration. Take a walk through a hawker center or head to a local restaurant to experience the flavors of traditional Singaporean food.
So why wait? Start your own culinary journey and discover the flavors of Singapore today!
Q: What are the must-try dishes in Singapore?
A: Singapore offers a wide array of delicious dishes to try. Some popular must-try dishes include Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa, Char Kway Teow, Chilli Crab, Roti Prata, Bak Kut Teh, Satay, Nasi Lemak, Duck Rice, Popiah, Ice Kacang, Durian, and Roti John.
Q: What is Singaporean cuisine influenced by?
A: Singaporean cuisine is influenced by various cultures, including Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Peranakan. The country’s culinary heritage reflects a blend of flavors, techniques, and ingredients from these different cultural backgrounds.
Q: What makes Hainanese Chicken Rice a national treasure in Singapore?
A: Hainanese Chicken Rice is a beloved dish in Singapore due to its perfectly steamed chicken, fragrant rice, and flavorful condiments. It is considered a national treasure as it represents the diverse culinary heritage of Singapore and is a symbol of the country’s food culture.
Q: What is Laksa?
A: Laksa is a spicy and aromatic noodle soup popular in Singapore. It comes in different variations, but typically includes rice noodles, a rich and fragrant broth, coconut milk, and a variety of toppings such as shrimp, fish cake, and bean sprouts.
Q: What is Char Kway Teow?
A: Char Kway Teow is a stir-fried noodle dish commonly found in Singapore. It features flat rice noodles cooked in a hot wok with ingredients like Chinese sausage, shrimp, bean sprouts, and egg. The dish has a smoky and savory flavor that makes it a favorite among locals and visitors.
Q: What is Chilli Crab?
A: Chilli Crab is a signature Singaporean dish known for its succulent crab cooked in a spicy sauce. The dish is messy to eat but offers a delightful experience of cracking open the crab and indulging in its flavorful meat. It is a must-try for seafood lovers visiting Singapore.
Q: What is Roti Prata?
A: Roti Prata is a flaky and crispy bread that originated from Indian cuisine but has become a popular dish in Singapore. It is typically served with a variety of accompaniments such as curry, dhal, or sugar. The process of making Roti Prata involves stretching and flipping the dough to create layers before it is cooked on a griddle.
Q: What is Bak Kut Teh?
A: Bak Kut Teh is a hearty soup made with pork ribs, herbs, and spices. The dish has its roots in Chinese cuisine and is known for its rich and comforting flavors. It is often enjoyed with white rice and is considered a must-try for those seeking traditional Singaporean food.
Q: What is Satay?
A: Satay is a popular street food in Singapore consisting of skewered meat, typically chicken or beef, that is marinated and grilled. It is served with a peanut sauce that complements the flavors of the meat. Satay is a delicious and flavorful dish that can be found in hawker centers and restaurants throughout Singapore.
Q: What is Nasi Lemak?
A: Nasi Lemak is a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and served with various accompaniments such as fried chicken, fried anchovies, peanuts, cucumber, and sambal (spicy chili paste). It is a staple in Malay cuisine and is considered one of the must-try dishes in Singapore.
Q: What is Duck Rice?
A: Duck Rice is a dish where tender duck meat is paired with fragrant rice and savory sauces. The duck is usually braised until it becomes tender and flavorful. Duck Rice is a savory delight and is often enjoyed with a side of vegetables or pickles.
Q: What is Popiah?
A: Popiah is a fresh spring roll filled with various ingredients such as jicama, bean sprouts, lettuce, tofu, and sometimes minced meat. It is wrapped in a thin wheat-flour crepe and served with a sweet sauce. Popiah is a light and refreshing dish that is popular among locals.
Q: What is Ice Kacang?
A: Ice Kacang is a colorful and refreshing dessert made with shaved ice, various toppings such as red beans, jelly, sweet corn, and syrup. It is a popular dessert in Singapore, especially during hot weather. Ice Kacang offers a burst of flavors and textures that will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Q: What is Durian?
A: Durian is a tropical fruit known as the King of Fruits in Southeast Asia. It has a strong, distinctive aroma and a custard-like, creamy texture. Durian is loved by some and disliked by others due to its unique taste. It is often described as having a sweet, creamy, and slightly bitter flavor.
Q: What is Roti John?
A: Roti John is a fusion dish that combines elements of a French baguette and an Indian omelet. It typically consists of a baguette filled with minced meat, onions, and egg, which is then pan-fried until crispy. Roti John is a flavorful and satisfying street food option in Singapore.