Traditionally served in wrapped banana leaves, Nasi Lemak is a Singaporean staple and is enjoyable anytime throughout the day. Unwrap the banana leaves and it reveals a heap of soft, fluffy coconut rice, spicy sambal, fried anchovies, a fried fish and a fried egg. You can never go wrong with a mixture like this.
Commonly found in hawker centers, Murtabak is a popular Indian dish that is usually shared due to its sheer size! A crispy dough is stuffed with marinated chicken or beef, spices, herbs (and sometimes cheese) before being pan-fried till slightly burnt on the edges. Drizzle it with a generous serving of fish curry and enjoy!
Don’t be deceived by its colour, Laksa is barely spicy as it mostly consists of coconut milk, prawn broth, cockles, fishcakes, bean sprouts, tau pok (dried beancurd) and a small serving of prawn sambal. One spoonful of its gravy and you will be addicted to its milky, savoury soup. Perfect for when the umami craving strikes!
Local coffee & kaya toast
There isn’t a more iconic breakfast staple than the winning trio of kaya toast, local coffee and half-boiled eggs that has endured generations. You can find it almost everywhere in Singapore, just look out for a long queue at the nearest hawker center early in the morning!
This sweet, milky and rich tropical fruit is best (and most affordable) during its respective seasons when its flavour is exceptionally delicious. Even though many are at extremes about its smell (some find it sweet, others akin it to rotten eggs), this thorny fruit is extremely enjoyable if you are able to tolerate it!
Stroll down the famous Lau Pa Sat at night and be treated to a conglomeration of satay lovers and vendors feasting on sticks of satay with a bottle of local beer. These barbecued sticks are marinated for hours before cooking (giving it a nice glaze) and are often paired with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce and rice cakes.
Another celebrated local food icon, the chilli crab is the best introduction to Singaporean cuisine for anyone visiting for the first time. If you are feeling adventurous, do try other flavours like black pepper and salted egg yolk.
Char Kway Teow
It’s greasy, oily and heart-stopping, but the good old Char Kway Teow remains one of the most popular hawker dishes in Singapore. With a tantalising mixture of prawns, cockles, eggs, fresh rice noodles, soy sauce and spices, what’s there not to love?
Singapore is blistering hot all year round, and this glorious rainbow-ice concoction has helped many locals cool down for generations. The base of the ice kachang consists of attap chee (palm seeds), creamed corn and red bean, before being carefully layered with a heap of shaved ice and drizzled with fruit cordial for colour and evaporated milk for a creamier flavour.
A popular item in Singapore’s hawker centers, the Sambal Stingray could be the best way to serve stingray as it absorbs the marinade very well during preparation. Usually barbecued over a banana leaf, the Sambal Stingray is served with a drizzle of lime and side serving of chilli (a plus for the lovers of spicy food).
Hainanese Chicken Rice
Yet another national food icon, the Hainanese chicken rice is lauded for its light flavour and gelatinous texture, which is served with rice (often cooked with chicken fat for flavour) and a spicy chilli sauce. The flavour profile of the dish is simple, and when trying it, do take a moment to appreciate and observe the different textures and aromas that come together with every bite.