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Singapore's 5 best breakfast sets
From kaya toast to curry puffs, CNNGo reader Balli Kaur details her favorite Singaporean day-starters
1. Curry puffs and “teh”
Puff pastries aren’t unique to Singapore, but when you sink your teeth into a curry puff, you’ll consider it a new culinary experience.
Stuffings are spicy and flavorful, and represent a range of choices from plain potato to curried sardine.
Curry puffs go well with tea with milk and sugar -- or “teh.” A knowledge of codes for different kinds of teh is essential if you don’t want to stand out. Teh-o means “tea with sugar but no milk.” Teh-C is tea with evaporated milk. Arguably the most popular order is teh tarik - tea which is prepared by being tossed from one cup to another, creating a thick froth.
2. Fresh squeezed juice and yam/pumpkin cake
You can choose from a variety of fruits to begin your early morning detox routine. Follow it up with something filling but not sinful -- steamed yams and pumpkins go very well with an ABC (apple, beetroot and carrot juice).
For those with bigger appetite, fried carrot cake does not disappoint. Wash it down with a watermelon or pineapple juice to start off your day with a balance of savory and sweet.
3. Roti prata and a Milo dinosaur
If you wake up with a big appetite, a savory crispy pancake dipped in fish or mutton curry will cure those hunger pangs. Be warned: this meal will go straight from the griddle to your thighs so plan to do some walking tours to burn off those calories.
The accompanying Milo Dinosaur (pictured) will provide a boost of energy for your workout. It is an iced variation of the powdered chocolate malted drink topped with more malt powder.
4. Economy rice/noodles
Economy rice is so cheap that its title doesn’t try to impress you with gimmicks or elusive references (see Milo dinosaur above). In times of budget cutbacks, it’s comforting to know you can order a plate of rice and choose additional meat and vegetable dishes for under $3.
Economy bee hoon is a breakfast favorite in Singapore. A drink will cost you extra. It’s best to “ta pau” (pack and carry) a water bottle from home.
5. Kaya toast and half-boiled egg
You’ve surely had toast and eggs before but this is Singapore’s take on a familiar breakfast set. Kaya, a creamy coconut jam, is a very common spread in Singapore households and coffee shops alike.
The sweet toast can be eaten on its own but we recommend you try dipping it in a bowl of watery, half-boiled eggs mixed with soy sauce. Doesn’t seem so familiar now does it?
If you’re hesitant about trying something so new in a hawker centre, or if the sweltering head is getting to you, head to a mall look for the nearest Toastbox or Ya Kun Kaya Toast. These cafes create a mood reminiscent of Singapore’s olden days with wooden tables and gunny sacks.
About the author: Balli Kaur is 26 and has lived in Singapore (where she was born), and Japan, Russia, the Philippines and the United States. In 2007, she received a fellowship to move to England and write a novel. She's lived in Singapore, on and off, for about half her life.
"I love the food, the shopping and the efficiency of the country but I don't like the humid weather," she says.
Balli 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.