5 Singapore must-eat foods
Foodie blogger Chubby Hubby came up with this list of "ten Singapore must-eats," ranging from the everyday chicken rice to the exotic fried durian ice cream. We reproduce with permission here five of the choices that we heartily agree with.
Chicken rice may be Singapore’s favorite food. Ask a bunch of locals who makes the best version of this Hainanese boiled chicken dish and you’ll kick off a heated debate. You’ll soon learn that every person has their own favorite stall. What everyone agrees on though is what makes a good chicken rice. The chicken has to be tender. The rice that served with it, which has been cooked in chicken fat, must be aromatic and glistening. The accompanying sauces, dark soy, chili and garlic, are as important as the rice and the bird. If any of these components is off, the whole dish is ruined. I like going to two different places for my chicken rice. The first is a humble hawker stall slightly off the beaten path; the other is a sexy café in the Esplanade, the city’s performing arts centre. Both are excellent. The former is very real. The latter very chic (and therefore pricy but worth every penny).
Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice
Alexandra Village, Blk 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-15, Singapore.
Esplanade Mall, #02-25 8 Raffles Avenue, Singapore. tel +65 6423 1881.
Fish head curry
This dish was invented by a few very smart Indian restaurateurs many years ago and has since become one of the country’s most famous foods. Noting that their Chinese patrons enjoyed eating the very tender meat in and around a fish’s head, these enterprising Indians started to serve large fish heads that had been braised in a rich Indian curry. The rest is culinary history. While there is some debate over who exactly invented fish head curry, Muthu’s Curry is considered one of its earliest pioneers and one of the best purveyors of this delicious dish. In addition to Muthu’s, I also love the fish head curry at YY Kafei Dian, a Chinese-run coffee shop on Purvis Street.
138 Race Course Road, #01-01, Singapore. tel +65 6392 1722.
YY Kafei Dian
37 Beach Road, #01-01, Singapore.
Crab bee hoon
To satisfy your passion for crab, head on over to Sin Huat Eating House in Geylang, Singapore’s most well-known red light district. Don’t be fooled by Sin Huat’s deceptively gritty surrounds. Chef-owner Danny Lee’s food is so good that Anthony Bourdain called this place the very best restaurant in the country. All of Chef Lee’s seafood dishes are excellent, but the dish that regulars keep coming back for is his crab bee hoon – huge Sri Lankan crabs braised in stock and then fried with bee hoon noodles. This is truly an inspirational dish.
Sin Huat Seafood Restaurant
659-661 Geylang Lorong 35 (at the corner of Geylang Rd), Singapore. tel +65 6744 9778.
Damian’s anchovy pasta
Is it local? Is it Italian? Who cares! Damian D’Silva’s spicy pasta dish is a local favourite and has fast achieved cult status in a very short period of time. Regulars come for the anchovy pasta, grilled meats and on weekends, Eurasian and Peranakan classics. Damian’s hawker stall, Big D’s Grill, is crazy-popular so if you plan on dropping by, please have patience. I suggest bringing a bottle of wine (or 2) to help pass the time. Oh, and bring lots of cash in case you get temped by the wagyu or kurabuta on the menu.
Big D’s Grill
Blk 46 Holland Drive, #01-359, Singapore. tel +65 9662 7040.
Fried durian ice cream
I’ll admit that eating this dish takes a little bit of courage. After all, to the uninitiated, durian, Singapore’s favorite fruit, smells like old, dirty sweatsocks stuffed with garlic. Nonetheless, Singaporeans are as passionate about their durian as Frenchmen are for stinky cheese. Chef Yong Bing Ngen has created what many consider to be the best durian dessert on the island. The secret behind Chef Yong’s fried durian ice cream is that it’s not really ice cream. Because the flesh of the fruit is so naturally creamy, the talented cook found that if he froze it, then quickly battered it and deep-fried it, the resulting texture was something akin to ice cream. Durian lovers have been known to swoon when tasting this delightful hot and cold dessert.
New Majestic Hotel, 31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore. tel +65 6511 4718.
For the full list of all ten must-eat items, check out Chubby Hubby's blog here.