Cuisine of Singapore

A multicultural city unlike any other in Southeast Asia awaits visitors arriving in Singapore. Rich heritage and vast ethnic diversity have created a backdrop filled with a dizzying number of menus featuring all kinds of foods. Malay, Thai, Italian, Japanese…that’s just the beginning. A simple walk around the contrasting neighborhoods reveals just how varied Singapore really is throughout the restaurants and city’s large food centers where Singaporeans do what they are famous for: eat.

Chinese Cuisine Singapore

Chinese Cuisine Singapore

Chinese Cuisine Singapore

Along with Malay, Indian, and Indonesian, Chinese food is a big part of cuisine of Singapore. Chinese food in Singapore can be found as traditional Chinese food would be prepared and cooked in China, yet for the most part it is more often influenced by Indian and Malay due to the strong presence of those cultures. Chinese cuisine in Singapore is, in a large part, derived from Chinese cuisines including Cantonese, Hokkien, Hainanese, Hakka, and Teochew. This group of Chinese dialects more or less comprises the Singapore’s Chinese population, most which reside in and around Chinatown where the top Chinese restaurants are. Popular dishes include pork rib soup (bak kut thet), vegetable and flat noodle (ban mian), rice dumplings (bak chang).

Malay & Indian Cuisine of Singapore

Malay & Indian Cuisine of Singapore

Malay & Indian Cuisine of Singapore

Kampong Glam, an area once home to Malaysian aristocracy in the 19th century, is presently a district home to some of the best Malay cuisine in Singapore where the typical, aromatic blends of herbs and spices including lemongrass, garlic, makrut lime, galangal, ginger and curry are a common and heady scent in the neighborhood. Most predominant are dishes coming from Java and Sumatra. Many of these dishes have evolved into flavors locals tend to favor, creating yet another fusion food. Ayam goreng, bakso, epok-epok pastry, and mee siam are popular picks.

Indian food in Singapore also has its own unique flavors, derived mostly from a variety of culinary traditions in South Asia. The majority of Indian food found throughout the city is Tamil – largely Tamil Muslim dishes are up for grabs. Along with the second most popular: North Indian cuisine. The Indian population has been long been influenced by Singaporean and therefore this presents itself in their cuisine along with food availability resulting in a sort of Singaporean-Indian hybrid cuisine. Some popular picks include: nasi biryani, roti john, a variety of laksa dishes, and Mulligatawny soup.

Fruits & Desserts

Fruits and desserts, and fruits in desserts play a large part in the cuisine of Singapore. There is a wide array of fruit available throughout the year, most which arrives via surrounding neighbors.  Lychee, mangosteen, rambutan, jackfruit, and pineapple are most common along with pungent durian, a fruit so strong-smelling it is not allowed to be eaten on any public transportation system. Desserts can be found throughout markets, food stalls, corner shops, and restaurants of course. There is an endless list of popular desserts including pineapple tarts, red bean soup, mango pudding, and almond jelly.

Singapore Restaurants

Singapore Restaurants

Singapore Restaurants  Image: williamcho (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

Visitors lucky enough to visit during April or July will get the chance to experience plenty of special dishes and deals during Singapore’s two food festivals: World Gourmet Summit and the Singapore Food festival respectively.  Finding great food at other times of the year is easy too with Singapore’s distinct food culture. The city is home to several open-air eating venues such as Maxwell Road Food Center and Lau Pa Sat where there are a large mix of delicacies from myriad cultures. Outside of this option, there are hundreds of restaurants to choose between offering a gamut of food from Italian Japanese to French and much more.

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