One of the best things about Singapore is that you can find just about any type of cuisine. It is a foodie paradise! But of course, no trip to Singapore is complete without trying the local favorites. You can forget about your diet if you are here on vacation because there is just so much food to try – from expensive, fine dining restaurants to the hawker centers and coffee shops all over the island.
The Chili Crab is probably the most famous Singapore dish. It was featured in CNN Travel’s World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods. In this dish, fresh meaty mud crabs are sautéed in semi-thick, sweet and savory chili crab sauce with curry or cumin, sambal, vinegar, and lemon juice. This local favorite was invented in 1950 and has since been one of the most sought-after dishes by locals and tourists alike. There are many Chinese restaurants all over the island serving chili crabs but the most famous restaurants include Jumbo Seafood in East Coast Seafood Centre, Riverside Point, The Riverwalk, Singapore Indoor Stadium, Dempsey Hill, and the SAFRA resort. Also recommended is the original restaurant that made the chili crab as known and loved today – Dragon Phoenix Restaurant in Clarke Quay.
Chicken rice is the ultimate go-to food in Singapore. If you are looking for a quick bite, you can find food stalls selling chicken rice virtually anywhere on the island. Many people would argue that wherever you are in Singapore, all the chicken rice tastes the same. While true for the most part, there are food stalls known to make the best chicken rice for less than $4. Some of the favorites include Boon Tong Kee in Balestier Rd, Fook Seng Goldenhill, Jalan Rumah Tinggi in Redhill, and Kampong Chicken Eating House in Outram Rd.
Curry Fish Head
Many people from the west may not be as thrilled to eat a fish’s head. But don’t put it down unless you taste it. The curry fish head is definitely a must-try if you come to Singapore. In this dish, the head of a red snapper is stewed in spicy Indian red curry together with fresh vegetables, tomatoes, and tamarind. It is one of the most-loved dishes in Singapore. It is a fusion of Indian, Chinese, and Malay influence. Given Singapore’s rich cultural background, if Singapore can be summed up in a dish, it would be this. Almost all hawker centers and food centers have Curry Fish Head and you can get an order for less than $15. If you want to go to more established restaurants, visit Banana Leaf Apolo in Little India and Muthu’s Curry on Race Course Road.
Bak Kut Teh
Bak Kut Teh literally means “meat bone tea”. This dish consists of pork ribs in a unique broth of different spices and herbs such as star anise, garlic, cloves, coriander, fennel seeds, and cinnamon. This dish was first introduced to Singapore by the Chinese workers in the 19th century. While you can find bak kut tehs in every food center in Singapore, the restaurants and food stalls known for making the best in the island can be found along Rangoon Rd, Balestier Rd and Joo Chiat.
Whether or not you like meat on skewers, you should definitely try satay. It was first introduced to South East Asia by the Arab traders in the 15th century but Satay as Singapore now knows it is of Malay and Indonesian influence. Because it is a Malay food, you can’t find pork varieties but can get chicken, mutton and beef. They are sold in bundles of five and served with cucumbers and chopped onions. The peanut sauce has a nice balance of sweet and saltiness!
If you would like to find out more information about the cuisine of Singapore please be sure to check out our handy guide on the local food. If you are a expat living in singapore you will also want to check out our international food page here.