If you ever find yourself wandering the picturesque streets of the Lion City, you may want a lowdown on the best dishes to try out during your trip. Surely, there are the usual popular seafood dishes that can be seen in every corner and are part of dozens of listicles and tour menus. However, there is a plethora of Asian cuisine in Singapore, rich with flavors and influences across the region that are sure to delight. With a mesh of cultural origins found in these offerings, you get a taste of Singaporean cooking and how it encapsulates the East.
Look for these dishes when you’re looking for your next meal:
Derived from Hokkien roots, the Singaporean rendition of these rolls makes use of handmade pork filling with a hearty sprinkling of five-spice powder. This spice powder, often comprised of anise, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and fennel seeds, is what lends the distinctive taste to the meat within the roll, usually consisting of pork and shrimp. Top it off with some veggies, and all of this goodness is wrapped in crispy beancurd skin.
Some restaurants even offer it with lotus root crisps (or chips) on the side to provide that perfect balance of textures and complementary flavors. One of the most quintessential dishes adapted throughout Asia, you can’t miss this easy-to-eat dish that goes perfectly with some wine and fried Bee Hoon.
Of course, satay is one of the most popular offerings you can find throughout Singapore, as these addictive meat skewers are easy to make and even easier to consume a ton of! You can find them in food centers and dozens of night market stalls, but a specific take you won’t regret seeking out is the Iberico satay.
This dish twists the usual pork skewer by charcoal-grilling the Portuguese cured ham, marinating it for half a day in spices, and serving it with peanut dip and pineapple. A starkly South East Asian presentation and preparation using premium foreign meats create an unforgettable dance on your palate. Find a space that offers this variation, and you’ll likely come back for more.
To satiate those sweet cravings, you must try Pulut Hitam, which is made of black sticky rice porridge punched up by gula melaka (palm sugar), coconut milk, and finally coconut gelato on top. This warm concoction is enough to cap off a delicious meal perfectly, and it works as a standalone dish to try out.
It has been touted by award-winning Singaporean writer and cooking instructor Christopher Tan as a classic dessert porridge with “mineral-nuanced flavour” that comes through powerfully. It is one you can’t miss out on if you’re curious about the delectable and comforting tastes one can find in a bed of sticky rice.
Each of these dishes carries its own history and beautifully represents Singapore’s flavors. You can try them all in one sitting or little by little as you discover more gems in the country. If you find a spot that serves all of these, why not treat yourself to an excellent full course that won’t leave you hanging?