There are definitely more than 5 things to eat in a city like Singapore which embraces and celebrates food, but here are 5 items I will return to Singapore for again and again.
POSTED BY JENNIE
Top of mind, what else but 1. Hainanese Chicken Rice! Once you’ve had a good one it’s hard to go back to having one that’s just so-so. I’m sure everyone has their favourites but I would put my money on Pappamia and Tian Tian. Pappamia has one branch that’s conveniently located at Terminal 1 so it’s perfect for a 1st and last meal. Tian-Tian is quite popular and is located in Maxwell Center in the financial district.
Here’s what makes a good Hainanese Chicken Rice. It begins with chicken that should not be more than 100 days old. To create that thick layer of jelly around it, it should be poached in chilled water. Now what about the rice? The water used to poach the chicken is what is used to boil the rice. But that’s not all, there’s galangal, ginger, pandan stalks and a secret chicken paste that go in the water as well. The result is a tender and delicately flavoured chicken with a bowl of fragrant rice and a set of condiments that compliment each other perfectly.
2. Chilli Crab and Black Pepper Crab should be on your list as well. Both recipes are true blue Singaporean originals. The recipe for Chili Crab is credited to Madam Cher Yam Tian who in the 1950’s came up with another way to cook crabs. Instead of steaming it, she fried it and that was the beginning of this iconic dish. Today it is Madam Cher’s son Roland who continues her legacy.
Roland Restaurant continues to serve the original recipe of Chili Crab and it’s secret chilli paste remains a closely guarded secret.
Long Beach Seafood Restaurant, another Singaporean institution stakes claim for the recipe of Black Pepper Crab. Instead of chilli sauce, it is a layer of delicious black pepper sauce that coats the crab.
Be warned that these dishes are pricey, but you do get what you pay for. Both the Chilli Crab and the Pepper Crab are amazingly delicious.
Because of the big budget media blitz, you may have heard about the 2 hawker stalls in Singapore that have been awarded a Michelin star each. A first in the world! Hype or not, we gave it a go and were not disappointed.
3. HK Soya Chicken is no longer a hawker stall. It is now a full on restaurant with long lines from the moment it opens until it closes. Hawker Chan whom you may have seen in this Michelin video, is it turns out a very good businessman. He has since closed down his hawker stall and opened this restaurant plus 2 more in the pipeline and counting.
The Michelin worthy dish, also called the world’s cheapest Michelin meal is a braised chicken that is dunked in a soy based lacquer, again and again and again. The soy becomes thick and sticky, coating both the skin and the meat. The result is a very tender, slightly sweet and juicy chicken. You can have it with rice or with noodles.
The 2nd hawker stall to receive a Michelin star is 4. Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. As expected the lines are long even on a Saturday morning. Hawker Chan’s soy chicken is a different level of delicious, but I’ve had it before in Hong Kong. But the Bak Chor Mee served at Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle is not something I can say I’ve tried before.
There’s a wet version and a dry version and they come with a choice of 2 noodles. Mee Pok the flat noodle or Mee Kia the thin noodle. The egg noodles are a big factor in what makes Tia Hwa a hit. Cooked upon order they are springy and have bite.
Both versions of Bak Chor Mee have dumplings, minced pork, pork liver, fish balls and crispy deep fried sole flakes. The liver in particular is very tender with a soft texture that almost melts in your mouth. The crunch of the fried fish sole also adds a different texture to the dish. In the dry version, the sauce, a blend of black vinegar and chili paste is what gives the noodles flavor and aroma. It is this secret sauce that makes the dish so addicting!
The last items on my list are not Singaporean at all, in fact they’re French inspired but were created by brother and sister Eric and Lena who are Singaporean. We had our last meal at 5. Mad About Sucre, a small cafe a stone’s throw away from the famous Restaurant Andre. Personally I am mad for Sucre’s fresh take on French Provencal dishes. The ingredients are the best you can get, the menu is obviously fuelled by passion and what customers get are dishes that are well thought of and really, really memorable.
Eric takes care of the hot kitchen and Lena, who is dubbed the “confectionary queen” of Singapore creates exquisite, one of a kind desserts.
Mad About Sucre’s piece de resistance is called San Domingue, made with 70% single origin chocolate from San Dominique.
This is how you should eat it. Take the chocolate piece and pierce it so that the rum oozes out. Then you cut it up into little pieces so you get some with every mouthful. Cut the sphere in two and droll at what’s inside. Dark chocolate mousse on the outer layer and caramelized plantain in the center. Dark chocolate, rum, bananas!
Thanks for reading!