Singapore dishes that defy ordinary description
Singapore's food is often a key draw for visitors, and a daily pleasure for residents. We know that trying to describe a delicious dish is rather torturous and a little nonsensical, but we just had to pay our respects to these six wondrous meals.
Worshipped religiously as the kings of Singapore’s gastronomic world, chilli crabs hold the key to the nation’s stomach. Drenched in a lava of sizzling, sweet-piquant hot sauce, the giant Sri Lankan crabs, when cracked open, unveil steamy, thick, flavorsome meat within. The best way to savour it: dip a deep-fried-until-crisp mantou (bun) into the garlic tangy paste, and slurp the ruddy liquid drip by drip. Use your hands to truly relish every single bit of it. The combined result is so good you’ll be moaning for more.
No Signboard Seafood Restaurant sets the gold standard with its unrivalled secret recipe. Prices range from S$30 per kilogram, depending on the type of crab.
1202 East Coast Parkway #01-02 East Coast Seafood Center, Singapore 449881, Tel: +65 6448 9959
Open daily 3pm-12am
Beef Hor Fun
An aromatic mound of semi-transparent rice noodles laced with outrageously tender braised beef slices. This is the famed beef hor fun much talked about on the streets. The dish is accentuated with a mildly peppered black-bean gravy, thick and full of flavor. What makes it special is its wok-fueled taste -– the temperature has to be just right to acquire that perfect flavor.
Of all beef hor fun stalls, Lor 9 Beef Kway Teow has the most loyal followings. Many are obsessed with its dish since its opening decades ago. Prices range from S$5 for the smallest dish to S$10 for the biggest.
Geylang Road Lorong 9, Singapore 389294
Open daily 4:30pm to 2:30am
Singapore’s ultimate comfort food is simple yet packed with a punch to fire up your appetite. Rounded rice cakes steamed till spongy and wobbly are then punctuated with diced fried radish and a series of secret ingredients to amplify the sensation. Usually served on a simple brown paper, add a dash of greasy chilli before you devour it. But forget about your diet. Chwee kueh is not for the health-conscious.
Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh is the pioneer in the industry, reputed for the best chwee kueh in town. Singaporeans have been raving about it for years and it still hasn’t lost its charm. The standard price is 10 chwee kuehs for S$2.80.
Tiong Bahru Food Market, 30 Seng Poh Road, #02-05,Singapore 168898
Open daily 4:30am to 11:30pm
Why eat plain noodles if you can have it in a fragrant and bubbling coconut curry with bits of fresh bleeding cockles, supernaturally crunchy tofu puffs and zesty sambal chilli paste? Laksa epitomizes Singaporean food with its killer combination of well-brewed broth and rice vermicelli so slippery you can only slurp it up with a spoon. The special garnishing of Vietnamese coriander leaves and hae bee (sun-dried shrimps) lighten the coconut zing and deliver it with a tinge of mint.
So adored is the Katong Laksa that several competitors have popped up over the years in an attempt to imitate it. The genuine stall that clinches the crown is 328 Katong Laksa. Each bowl of laksa costs $3.50.
328 Katong Laksa, 216 East Coast Road, Singapore 428914; Tel: +65 9732 8163
Open daily 8am-10pm
Barbequed Sting Ray
Grilled over strong charcoal flames, the sting ray is loaded with a splash of blachan chilli so fierce your mouth could still be smoldering the next morning. Laid over a banana leaf, the ray soaks in the flavors like a sponge. Imagine a featherlike texture without the fishy stench; the sting ray is exotic in foreign lands, yet omnipresent in Singapore’s hawker centres.
There has been much debate on where to find the best BBQ sting ray, but Boon Tat Street BBQ Seafood in Lau Pat Sat still takes some beating. Prices start from S$8 for the smallest portion.
18 Raffles Quay, Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, Store number 43/44, Singapore 048582 Singapore
Open daily 5:30pm till late
Hokkien Prawn Mee
If Singapore were a dish, it would be Hokkien Prawn Mee, a saucy concoction of egg noodles and double-cooked pork fat slices fried in a savory prawn stock, further topped with aromatic garnishing of fresh lime, spring onions and crisp deep-fried shallots. The dish is reminiscent of its ancestral Chinese Fujian cuisine, yet uniquely Singaporean.
Kim’s Hokkien Mee serves up cultish platters from its various franchises in Singapore. The smallest plate costs S$5.
62-B Jalan Eunos, Junction of Jalan Kechot and Jalan Eunos; Tel: +65 67478766
Open daily 11:30am - 1am
Nellie submitted this piece as part of CNNGo’s CityPulse section. To find out what other stories we are looking for, go to our CityPulse page.
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