Singapore is a melting pot bubbling over with tourists, inhabitants and expatriates from all parts of the world, and these people naturally have diverse eating habits. Through the ages, the Chinese, Malay, Indians and the foreigners (westerners) have cast their influence on Singapore’s food recipes and there is no doubt that Singapore is a food lovers’ paradise.
Singaporeans love to eat out and there is a feast of multicultural cuisine waiting for them in restaurants and especially in hawker centers and food courts. Here is a list of the major types of foods you can feast on in Singapore:
1. Malaysian Food: Malaysian food, also known as Malay food, is a popular in Singapore simply because Malaysia is Singapore’s neighbor and there are a whole lot of Malaysians living there; Spicy Malaysian gravies are laced with belachan, which is made from baby shrimps and the Malaysian desserts are usually based on coconut milk, palm sugar and freshly grated coconut. Then, of course, there are the rice and noodles too, which any Malaysian cannot live without. All these go to make an exotic eating experience. Some Malaysian food you must try out in Singapore: Laksa (coconut-based gravies) and Satay (grilled and skewered meat).
2. Chinese Food: The Chinese have been in Singapore since the last seven centuries and their influence on Singapore’s food recipes is authoritative. Chinese food can be subtle and neutral (Cantonese), or it can be fiery (Szechuan). Rice is a staple food in any Chinese dish and you can try out the following dishes to get a flavor of the Chinese influence: Shark fin soup, spring rolls (Cantonese – subtle taste); Fried Hokkien Mee (vermicelli, noodles, chili gravy, garlic, prawns, pork and everything else); and, Teochew food such as steamed fish and braised duck.
3. Indian Food: South Indians (mostly Tamilians) migrated to Singapore in the 1940s and their influence on Singaporean cuisine is undeniable. In fact there is an area in Singapore (around Serangoon Road), which is know as Little India. You must try out the south Indian Dosas, Idlis, Vadas that are served with spicy gravy and chutneys as well as the north Indian Tandoori Chicken (chicken smothered with a spicy paste and cooked in a clay oven).
4. Nyonya Food: Nyonyas are half-Malay, half-Chinese people who cook very hot and spicy food loaded with ginger and turmeric. Their recipes are creative and the cooking methods are elaborate. Some of the famous Nyonya dishes you must savor are: Enche kabin (small chicken pieces marinated in soy and oyster sauce) and Chicken Kapitan (chicken curry made using tamarind juice, candlenut, fresh turmeric root and belachan (shrimp paste)).
These apart, Singapore also offers western cuisine comprising of American, British, and Italian dishes. There are fast food centers, food courts, hawker centers, restaurants and you-name-it. As we said earlier, Singapore’s food recipes cater to all kinds of food lovers. Bon Appetit.