Food, Glorious Food:
At NTU’s orientation, I was told that “Singaporeans are food lovers” and that is indeed true. The Singaporean cuisine is a beautiful mixture of the best recipes from its multicultural ethnicities. Most of the food has been adopted from the Malay, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian dishes. It is quite different from the dishes back in New Zealand. For instance, spicy food and rice are much more common here. Portions are also generally smaller.
Top 5 FOOD you MUST EAT in Singapore
5) Satay (BBQ meat)
The satay is a charcoal barbequed meat served on skewer together with a special peanut sauce and fresh pineapple, onion and cucumber. You can either order chicken, beef or mutton satay.
The first bite of the charcoaled barbequed satay is a burst of pleasure from its flavourful juicy meat. The meat itself tastes a little sweet and salty. But, eat it will the peanut sauce, you will experience mix textures in your mouth that is nutty and meaty. It ends with a neutral flavour that somehow manages to make you desirably crave for more.
A satay costs around SGD0.80 (~NZD0.60) per stick including the side dishes with a minimum order of usually 10 sticks.
4) Economy rice
The economy rice is not a specific dish itself, but it is a mixture of multiple home-cooked style dishes.
The economy rice stall will serve about 20 to 30 different dishes from meat, egg to vegetables which are priced differently. You are free to pick the dishes you like and thus it allows you to be ‘economical’ in your decision. Economy rice can cost as low as SGD1.50 (~NZD1.50).
The variety of dishes to choose from may sometimes offer some interesting options. For instance, I have tried the unique coffee chicken which has a distinct sweet coffee fried chicken flavour.
3) Curry Fish Head
This dish is a little spicy as you can observe from the red curry sauce pictured above. It is not for the faint-hearted.
Put this in your mouth and you will experience a perfect combination of its strong sour and spicy flavours. As you chew it, you will enjoy the soft and smooth fish head meat. To cool off the heat from the curry, eat one of the eggplant, tomato or ladies finger served with it.
Usually, the curry fish head is served with rice to dilute its strong flavours.
The curry fish head I tried above is from a Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded store – Zai Shun Curry Fish Head. The place is quite crowded but it is worth the wait because it is simply delicious.
2) BBQ Chicken Wing
Although you can find BBQ chicken wings in New Zealand, the one in Singapore tastes special.
Your first bite will be greeted with the sweetness of its honey glazed skin. The honey melts away, leaving you with the gentle saltiness of its charcoal roasted skin. Chew in, and you will be lost in the tender meat that is infused with delicious spices.
If you add a squirt of green lime to it, it will wake you up, increasing your awareness of the joyful moment.
If you choose to enjoy it with its special sour chilli sauce, just imagine everything aforementioned but with a hot pop song that is playing in the background while you eat it.
This experience can be enjoyed for around SGD1.30 (~NZD1.30) per chicken wing.
1) Hainanese Chicken Rice
Singapore is also the first country to have one of its hawker centre stores accredited with the Michelin award. Guess what? It is the store that serves chicken rice shown above. I can assure you that it is delicious. Be prepared to line up if you want to try this store – Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. It was not pricey too as it was only SGD6 (~NZD6). Although you can get chicken rice from around SGD2.50 (~NZD2.50), this particular one it is worth the price.
The chicken rice is served with either roasted or steamed chicken – as shown above. The roasted chicken has a rewarding salty taste while the steamed chicken’s best feature is its soft tenderness.
The rice is cooked in soup made from garlic, ginger and chicken which gives it the most appetizing light-yellow colour.
It is also accompanied with a spicy and mildly sour chilli sauce that excites but does not punish you.
Sometimes, a gently sour ginger paste is also served with it. Adding the ginger paste to your bite is like eating another dish itself as the ginger taste is strong but rewarding at the same time.
Charcoal Roasted BBQ Chicken Wings
I am always happy to help anyone interested in going exchange to Singapore. Make sure to comment on this blog post, and I will reply whenever possible. Alternatively, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to check out more of my pictures, please follow my Instagram account: johnleekw.