08 Oct The Hungry Traveller – Singapore
By Michael Elias
Recently I made my way over to Singapore for the week of the Formula 1 Grand Prix and whilst there thought I might take the opportunity to write my first food blog…..and what a wonderful food experience it was in Singapore
Singapore is ethnically diverse and its cuisine matches this. Whilst the food available is typically aligned with the ethnicity you do get the occasionally hybrid flavours and influences depending on where you eat. Cuisine readily available includes Chinese, Malay, Indian, Middle Eastern and Peranakan(mix of Malay and Chinese). In fact eating in Singapore is considered a national pastime.
This won’t be a review but more a list of great foods and places tried on this trip.
Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre
Hawker Centres are littered throughout Singapore in various styles. Your most common is the outdoor yet undercover Hawker Centre which is best described as an outdoor food court if you will where you can get fresh fruit, vegetables, meats or cooked food. These centres can be found either open for breakfast, lunch or late for dinner and the tip is to look for the food place with the longest line – that’s your cue that the foods good.
Mixed Satay Skewers from Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre
Just outside this Hawker Centre lies pop up restaurants cooking up beef, chicken, lamb and prawn skewers over charcoal barbecues. The aroma from barbecues alone is awesome. The skewers are served with cucumbers, potato and a peanut satay dipping sauce with some chilli. The skewers were cooked beautifully and the dipping sauce was quite delicious.
328 Katong Laksa – Seafood Laksa for Breakfast ?? Hell Yeah
328 Katong Laksa has a limited menu, with its primary focus being seafood laksa. This restaurants laksa is quite famous as in 2013 local mobile provider Singtel set up a competition of food providers with UK Chef Gordon Ramsay to challange the top 3 dishes with his own versions. 328 Katongs Laksa came 3rd in the competition. Needless to say Gordon’s laksa did not beat the laksa of 328 Katong. Having tried it for myself i can see why. The noodles are fresh and cut short, tofu firm on the outside but silky smooth on the inside, seafoods fresh and the spice level is perfect for this laksa. The broth has wonderful balance. As close to perfection as you could possibly get.
Bee Cheng Hiang – Bakkwa
Bee Cheng Hiang was opened originally as a market stall in Singapore in 1933. The main product they sell is Bakkwa. Bakkwa is pork that has been slow smoked over charcoal. The pieces are similar in size to bacon but the finished product ends up almost like jerky. The pork is seasoned before the smoking process with sugar, salt, soy and sometimes chilli and dry smoked at about 60 celsius.
The finished product is sold from these stores in small squares, larger squares and circle shapes. And its awesome….once you start eating one you have to have another….then another until you realise you have eaten the whole bag.
Geylang Famous Beef Kway Teow
Geylang Famous Beef Kway Teow is a restaurant service traditional Singaporean cuisine. Its signature dish – the beef kway teow is a stir fry of noodles with slices of beef in a soup with wine, soy and ginger. However this restaurant had a few other offerings that were delicious. The portion sizes depend on whether it’s for one or to share so the menu offers multiple sizes depending on your appetite
Coffee Pork Ribs with Garlic Greens – These coffee pork ribs were a real surprise packet, sweet, sticky and cooked to perfection, the side of greens cooked in soy and ginger were a nice side.
Beef Kway Teow with Pickled Chillis and Fried Rice – beef was tended, pickled chillis and the broth it was served in had a gravy like texture – delicious
Kung Pao Chicken – very hot and spicy, cooked with dried and fresh chillies.
Cereal Prawns – Prawns rolled in breakfast cereal(like crushed corn flakes), chillis and shallots, then deep fried – really nice flavours.
Marina Bay Sands – Rasapura Masters
The Marina Bay Sands has a food court which is far and away the best food court I have ever had the pleasure of eating in. Unlike your typical shopping centre food courts you wont find any fast food franchises here….just the best local cuisines offering Malaysian, Thai, Phillipines, Japan, Vietnam, China and Singapore. Of the variety on offer my choice and the spiciest dish eaten on this trip was the Tom Yum Soup pictured below. The soup came with noodles, fried shallots, bok choy and seafood. It was served with a side of prawn dumplings and a trio of dipping sauces(ginger in soy, crush chillies and birds eye chillis in soy sauce). This dish was perfectly cooked and quite spicy.
Jumbo Seafood – East Coast Seafood Centre
Jumbo Seafood is a restaurant with a few locations however its first restaurant opened in1987 located at the East Coast Seafood Centre on East Coast Park. The restaurant looks out to the Singapore Strait and is an award winning seafood restaurant. Whilst everything tasted here was simply sublime they are famous for their Singapore Chilli Crab and Black Pepper Crab(both pictured below).
These pictures simply don’t do these crabs justice….they are huge. One crab claw off one of these monsters was the size of my hand. The Black Pepper crab cooked to perfection in crushed peppercorns however the star of the show was the Singapore Chilli Crab. Served in a delicious tomato based broth it came with some soft breads for dipping. The sauce is phenomenal, slightly spicy and sweet. The crabs again cooked to perfection and with the flavours of the sauce in the flesh. A true master class in the art of cooking Singapore Chilli Crab.
Singapore’s diverse culture translates to the food that is on offer and dining out is a large part of that culture. For fans of chilli you will really be in your element as most of the cuisine contains chilli either in it or served as a side in some form. The food funnily enough matches the climate which is hot. The country itself is rather easy to get around with a great public transport system so visiting these food centres is fairly easy however you may need to cab it to a couple of them.