Singapore’s Signature Delicacies Explained

Singapore has been described as a food lover’s paradise by internationally renowned celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain and it is no surprise that she hosts some of the most distinct dining destinations in the world. Eating is the national past time in Singapore and something the locals never tire of. The lengthy queues at various eateries are testaments to this. The multicultural inhabitants of this sunny island contribute to its gastronomical diversity. The multitude of treats available can be overwhelming so let us assist by offering you the scoop on some popular Singapore foods.

 Hainanese Chicken Rice

Chicken Rice

As suggested by its name, Hainanese chicken rice is a national dish that was adapted to Singapore by early Chinese immigrants from the Hainan province in southern China. This simple but scrumptious dish consists of steamed or roasted chicken and fragrant white rice. Condiments include light or dark soy sauce and ground chili ginger paste that you may lather on according to your liking (and spice tolerance levels). Chicken rice is always served with a bowl of chicken broth soup and most eateries even offer side dishes such as braised dark soy hard-boiled egg and firm tofu. Although this popular delicacy is available at some very high end Chinese restaurants, a Singaporean’s advice would be to try it at hawker centers. Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice at Maxwell food centre comes highly recommended by local foodies.

Indian-Muslim Nasi Briyani

Nasi Briyani

Singaporean style Briyani is a variation of the traditional dish that is popular all over India. This version of the world famous rice meal was adapted by the local Malay and Indian Muslim community making it one of the multicultural gems of local food. The word “Nasi” is Malay for rice and Briyani refers to the Basmati rice that is often fried in ghee and Indian spices before being steamed in meat stock, allowing it to cook with portions of chicken or mutton. The resulting “Nasi” is a spectrum of orange yellow hues and incredibly fragrant. The rice is served mostly with either chicken or mutton, curry gravy on the side or coating the rice and “Achar” which is an accompaniment of pickled cucumbers, onions and chili. Local Nasi Briyani connoisseurs also swear that this dish tastes so much better when eaten with hands. Allauddin's Briyani located at Tekka market in Serangoon Road is one of the places where locals love to get their Briyani fix.

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak in Malay translates to “rice in cream”. This is because the rice in this well-loved local dish is cooked in coconut milk. To add to its exotic factor, the rice is also made fragrant with Pandanus leaves. In the old days, Nasi Lemak was a simple affair served with fried fish, a serving of fried anchovies and Chili paste known as Sambal but these days the dish has evolved to accommodate growing nourishment needs. Today, Nasi Lemak is served with a plethora of accompaniments including anchovies fried with salted peanuts, fried or boiled egg, chicken wing and even a Malay potato croquette known as Begedil. Nasi Lemak is mostly enjoyed as a breakfast dish by locals but it can be eaten at any time of the day. Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak located at Boon Lay Place food centre with its rave reviews from Singaporeans island wide serves up an absolutely delectable platter of this local favorite.

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