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Chilli Crab Ice Cream | © Courtesy Labyrinth
Chilli Crab Ice Cream | © Courtesy Labyrinth
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These Local Dishes in Singapore Will Never Be the Same Again

Picture of Sadali Mawi
Updated: 28 August 2017
Mention local dishes in Singapore to anyone and staple names like Nasi lemak, Char Kway Teow and chicken rice immediately come to mind. However, creative young chefs in the country are slowly disrupting this narrative by manipulating these flavours into different mediums.

Nasi Lemak Ice Cream

You read that right. This savoury dish of coconut rice, sambal (sweet-spicy chilli sauce) and fried anchovies has transformed itself into an ice-cream flavour. In Singapore, casual dining restaurant Swensen’s serves this localised concoction and while many applauded its creativity, others prefer having it as a breakfast item instead. Well, you really cannot please everyone.

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Nasi Lemak Burgers

While this was a limited edition item released in Singapore by McDonald’s to celebrate Singapore’s National Day, it was a roaring success and the burger ended up selling out within two weeks! The combination of a coconut-battered chicken, sambal sauce and crunchy cucumbers has won over the country as it did not alter the base flavour too much and still provided enough novelty to be excited by. Since McDonald’s launched its menu item in August 2017 (which has since been removed after it sold out), other eateries like Antoinette and The Beast have introduced their own interpretations of the burger, albeit to much less fanfare.

XXXL Nasi Lemak Burger
XXXL Nasi Lemak Burger | © Courtesy Antoinette

Chilli Crab Ice Cream

Deconstructed and assembled by Chef LG Han of Labyrinth, the Chilli Crab ice cream is a component of the chef’s interpretation of Singapore’s iconic dish, called Labyrinth Chilli Crab. The one-Michelin star restaurant located at the Esplanade has consistently pushed the boundaries of how we perceive local cuisine through unique creations, even coining the term “mod-sin” cuisine.

Chilli Crab Ice Cream
Chilli Crab Ice Cream | © Courtesy Labyrinth

Disguised Desserts

While other chefs modify or deconstruct their dishes, the folks behind Non Entree Desserts take on a different approach and disguise familiar dishes as desserts! While carefully replicating the intricate textures and colours of the various elements, the ingredients itself are replaced by sweet alternatives. For example in Bar Chor Mee (below), yellow noodles are replaced by thin Mango strings, while minced pork is replaced with coconut. Non Entree Desserts are also the brains behind the Singapore Breakfast and Nasi Lemak Dessert.

Bar Chor Mee
Bar Chor Mee | © Courtesy Non Entree Desserts

With the reception to such creations being well received by Singaporeans and food critics, it is only a matter of time before we enter a new narrative of Singaporean cuisine. The only question is, what’s next on the menu?