A bit of a different post here at The Pavarotti but something we hope you enjoy none the less. This is the first of the three part series that will cover some typical food you will find in the cultural melting pot that is Singapore. As I was eating my way around the city on a recent trip, I thought it would provide an interesting comparison to the affordable (by Perth standards) food we normally feature on the blog.
If you like eating, Singapore is a great place to visit. Singaporeans live to eat and you could argue that it is their favourite national past time, along with shopping. The challenge is that everybody has a different opinion on who serves up the best of a particular dish. Luckily for me, I've got my Mum who was born and bred in Singapore! You should hear her whinge about trying to find not only good but appropriately priced hawker food in Perth.
For those of you without a Singaporean mother to guide your ways, I definitely recommend picking up a guide book/app written by a local. I must give a shout out to Max Veenhuyzen (check out his blog post on Singapore here) and Sanjeev (Sanjeats on Twitter) for the recommendations:
- Makansutra Singapore 2013 (website here)
- Only the Best! by Dr Leslie Tay the creator of the blog http://ieatishootipost.sg/ .
At first my Mum turned her nose up at me when I bought the books, but after a browse she found that not only did they agree with her thoughts on different establishments, it has helped her find some hawkers to sample. In fact she has dog-eared about half the pages in the Makansutra book! For those of you not familiar with the local cuisine, I would recommend the http://ieatishootipost.sg/ book. It provides a good background and explanation of the different local dishes that you will encounter, along with a lot of pictures. For those of you who have levelled up and know exactly what you want, the Makansutra book will be your bible. The founder KF Seetoh of Makansutra is a legend of Singapore Hawker Food. Personally, I found both books extremely handy and would also recommend checking out both their websites before you head over as they are great resources. I will warn you - they will make you extremely hungry!
It's hard to satisfy every single craving when heading to Singapore but I will always get a boneless chicken rice. Roasted or steamed they are both good, but I do prefer a boneless chicken rice. Call me lazy but it is just so much easier!
Singaporeans could spend hours discussing where the best chicken rice in town is, just have a look at this poll. As far as I am concerned you can't go wrong with any of the places in that list. A chicken rice in Singapore will only set you back about $4 SGD (Singaporean Dollars), amazing considering you pay twice as much in Perth!
With good local food options sparse around Orchard Rd, I would recommend stopping in at Hainanese Delicacy in Far East Plaza during the obligatory Orchard Rd shopping excursion. During this trip I also got a quick takeaway meal from Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice just before heading to the airport. You will find Five Star branches all across Singapore. Both were great and far superior to anything you will get in Perth. Something you won't come across in Perth is the delicious thick dark soy sauce, commonly referred to as black sauce, and the ginger/garlic mix. Black sauce is sweet but savoury at the same time and when combined with the chilli and ginger/garlic mixture they take the chicken rice to the next level of delicousness. A word of warning, the chilli served can be extremely hot!
My first breakfast in Singapore is always the same. Roti Prata and Curry. That's right, a curry for breakfast! But before you cast aspersions, it is a common breakfast item in Singapore and Malaysia and I would definitely recommend it!
Roti Prata is something that is extremely hard to find in Australia and if you do it is ridiculously overpriced. In Singapore a plain roti prata (roti kosong) will set you back $0.80. That's right, 80 cents! The Perth equivalent will cost you up to $5 and will most probably be from a frozen packet.
You can also add some extras to your prata by adding egg (roti telur), onion (roti bawang) or a combination of both. There are other options like cheese, but I've never felt the need to go there. A special note on the pronunciation, it is row-tee (as in row, row, row your boat) not rot-tee (as in The Pavarotti). A good roti prata will be cripsy and flaky but still somewhat chewy. The roti pictured is from Mr and Mrs Moghans Roti Prata House. As the name suggests it is run by a husband and wife duo. I have to say the plain prata were far superior to the other options and I would go as far as saying some of the best I've had in Singapore. The mutton curry and the fish curry which were served with the prata were both delicious.
On the subject of curry, another good spot to hit up is Jaggi's North Indian Cuisine in Little India. North Indian food is similar to the Indian food commonly found in Perth. Think Naan, Tandoori, etc. When my Punjabi father is craving some Indian food, he will head to Jaggi's, he describes the food as "home style". I apologise for the lack of photos but it was too hard to resist tucking in. Make sure you try the chapati, which is a type of bread made using wholemeal flour. Another unusual but delicious item is the stuffed bitter gourd. The bitter gourd is stuffed with a masala and is held together with sewing machine thread. If you are unsure what to order, ask the extremely friendly staff what they would eat, you will end up with some delicious and authentic northern Indian Food.
This is just a little taste of what I got up to in Singapore! If you have any questions or want to discuss chicken rice, feel free to do so in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter. Otherwise hang tight until the next installment of this three part series.
In the meantime, you can find a map of the places I ate in Singapore right here, and start planning your next trip, lah!
Places Featured in this review:
Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice
191 East Coast Road
Note: Various Locations throughout Singapore
#05-116 Far East Plaza
14 Scotts Road
Poh Ho Restaurant (Mr and Mrs Moghans Super Crispy Roti Prata)
7 Crane Road
Jaggis North Indian Cuisine
34 Race Course Rd