Saturday, July 21, 2012

Indian Rojak, Roti Prata at Shafeek Indian Food

Shafeek Indian Food (Terminal 2 Changi Airport Staff Canteen)

Have a taste of Singapore Indian food at Changi Airport and at a cheap price.

Visit the Shafeek Indian Food stall at Changi Airport Terminal 2 Staff Canteen.

They are not the best Indian Rojak or roti prata in Singapore, but surely it will satisfy your craving for Singapore Indian food.

Choose your choice for the Indian Rojak!

Indian rojak contains fried dough fritters, bean curds, boiled potatoes, prawn fritters, hard boiled eggs, bean sprouts, cuttlefish and cucumber mixed with a sweet thick, spicy peanut sauce. 

Here is my Indian Rojak and the sauce!

They look colourful!

Dipped it with the spicy sweet sauce

Most of the rojak ingredients are deep-fried dough....

Here is the Roti Prata and its curry!

Roti prata is a fried flour-based pancake that is cooked over a flat grill. It is usually served with  curry and is sold all over Singapore in food centres. Prata is also commonly cooked (upon request) with cheese, onion, banana, red bean, chocolate, mushroom or egg.

This Prata is also cooked with egg.

Dipped the prata with curry!

 Shafeek Indian Food at Terminal 2 Staff Canteen

Movie about Falun Gong 有关法轮功的电影 

DONQ - a 106 yrs old Japanese-French Bakery opening at Takashimaya

Established for a remarkable period of 106 years, Donq is a popular bakery chain in Japan whereby it has 180 outlets. With branches in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China (run by franchises), the newly set- up bakery located at Takashimaya Food Hall has been drawing sizeable crowds and many locals have been snapping up its crusty baguettes and savoury buns, all of which are renowned for their light and airy dough.

Bread draws the crowds...

DONQ draws my attention too...

DONQ at Takashimaya

This bread draws my attention - it is called Macha Dainagon Roll! 抹茶大納言紅豆瑞士捲
Green Tea Bread With Red Bean and Sesame Seeds.

DONQ breads are pretty and elegant, but they are expensive. Each bread usually costs more than $2.

You can see the bakers at work. ^o^

Macha Dainagon Roll! 抹茶大納言紅豆瑞士捲 (Green Tea Bread With Red Bean and Sesame Seeds)
1 roll (5 pieces of bread) costs $5! That is expensive!
 Tart Bresson Fruit -  is a soft buns tart mixed with berries and custard toppings ($2.80)

I bought these despite the price.

It seemed that they have good business!
The receipt...

DONQ's plastic bag has a paris design on it. Paris Map! 
DONQ seems to be half Japanese, half French... 
A close-up look again

The berries look really big and fresh! This tart tastes like berries with egg custard. Quite nice, although I do not really like custard.

I love the red beans! I cannot taste the Matcha (Green tea) though.

BON APPETIT , make your way to DONQ at Takashimaya one day for a Japanese-French sensation!


[Video] A Book which Singapore Should Know


Where to find the best kaya toast in Singapore

CNNGo reader 365days2play rounds up the best spots to try this simple and sinful local snack

The humble kaya toast, along with its counterparts the half-boiled egg and kopi, have come a long way, having been around for many generations. It is difficult to find a Singaporean that dislikes something as simple and comforting as a piece of toast spread with kaya. 

Kaya: More than just a jam

Kaya toast used to be the breakfast staple of the average Singaporean, but nowadays, eating Kaya toast has become something of a communal must-do activity. After lunch and in the evenings, office workers flock to coffee shops all over Singapore to gossip over a cup of coffee and some kaya toast.
On weekends, families and couples plop themselves into the coffee shops for a kaya toast snack after a hard day’s shopping or to fuel up before going for a second round. Where else in the world do you see people eating jam sandwiches or peanut butter sandwiches together for fun?
Kaya is more than just something you spread on some toast. It is an event in itself. People meet to have kaya. People boast that they know the best kaya spot in town.
Kaya is basically a bread spread. It is best described as a coconut egg jam to those who have not been lucky enough to sample any.
Use it as you would peanut butter, strawberry jam or marmalade. However most Singaporeans would agree that kaya is best savored on freshly toasted bread, onto which a generous amount of kaya will be slathered, along with a thin slice of cold butter to add richness.
You can always tell how generous an establishment is by looking at how much kaya has dripped off your toasted bread slice onto the plate.

How to sniff out the good stuff

First and foremost, a good kaya toast should have a generous spread of kaya. No matter how good the kaya is, if there is only a smidgen of it, the kaya will be drowned out by the plain taste of the bread.
Next, the kaya should be pleasantly sweet, with subtle hints of coconut and pandan flavor. Overly sweet kaya is a secret method employed to hide the fact that the quality and quantity of the expensive coconut cream have been compromised.
Kaya comes in major shades, reddish brown or green. The cooking method employed results in the color difference. Although all shades taste equally good, avoid buying kaya that has food coloring in it.
Some people like their kaya smooth, while other like theirs a little lumpier. Once again, which is better is based on personal preference, and in any case, smooth kaya is simply made by sieving the lumpy kaya through a mesh.
There is unlikely to be any aroma coming from the kaya unless you literally stuff your nose into the toast. But as they say, the proof is in the pudding.
Upon biting into the piece of kaya toast slice, the toast should be slightly crunchy. You should be able to feel the kaya enveloping the toast and the butter oozing into the hot toast. 
Coffee shops selling kaya toast are a dime a dozen. However, a coffee shop selling good kaya toast is hard to come by, and will have loyal fans traveling from all parts of Singapore just to savor this tasty treat.  Here are five establishments serving what I consider to be the best kaya in Singapore.

The coffee chain that makes the best kaya toast: Killeney Kopitiam

When people think kaya toast, they normally think of the ubiquitous Ya Kun, Killeney, ToastBox and Wang Cafe as these establishments have opened branches all over Singapore. In my opinion, the best Kaya Toast is from Killeney Kopitiam.
The French loaf that they use is crusty on the outside yet soft on the inside. The kaya tastes so fresh and there is just so much of it that I can even delight in licking the kaya off my fingers.
It costs S$1.60 for the normal kaya toast and S$1.80 if you want it served on French loaf.
Killeney Kopitiam (Killiney Road main branch): 67 Killiney Road, tel: +65 6734 9648 / 6734 3910; open Monday, Wednesday - Saturday 6 a.m.-11 p.m., Tuesday, Sunday & public hoidays 6 a.m.-9 p.m.

The most versatile kaya toast coffee shop: Tong Ah Coffee Shop

Tong Ah Coffee Shop is one of those establishments that uses lumpy green kaya in their kaya toast. I love the fact that their toast is charred on the outside yet still soft inside.
Tong Ah also serves kaya on steamed white bread, which is a rarity in Singapore these days. Some people insist on steamed white bread as it accentuates the subtle flavors of the kaya.
It seems that Tong Ah wants to capture a wide spectrum of customers because they also serve ultra crispy kaya toast, which involves toasting the bread on both sides several times. The normal toast goes for S$0.60 each, probably the cheapest in town.
Tong Ah Coffee Shop: 36 Keong Saik Road, tel: +65 6223 5083; open Monday - Sunday 7 a.m.-9 p.m. (Alternate Wednesdays off)

The Kaya toast place with the best coffee: YY Kafei Dian

YY Kafei Dian wins the award for the establishment with the best coffee. While the kaya here is not the best, YY wins lots of brownie points because of the wonderfully aromatic and strong coffee that it brews.
One can’t eat Kaya toast without having something to drink, and a bad coffee just spoils the meal.
I love the fluffy buns that YY serves up, which is quite different from the flat slices at most other places. The peanut butter toast here is extremely good too.
Each toasted bun goes for S$1.10 while the kopi goes for S$1.
YY Kafei Dian: 7 Beach Road, #01-01

The most old school and the best all rounder: Chin Mee Chin Coffee Shop

Chin Mee Chin is yet another establishment that has been around practically forever. The shop still retains its old charm.
I personally find that CMC offers the best tasting kaya of all time. This isn’t surprising when you realise that the kaya is cooked by hand over a charcoal fire.
The kitchen is unblocked, so you can view the old hands going about their preparations.
The coconuttiness and egginess of the jam really comes through. They aren’t stingy with their kaya either and their buns are also freshly made every day.
If YY Kafei Dian wins an award for the fluffiest buns around, Chin Mee Chin wins in that their dense yet soft buns add another dimension to the kaya itself. If there’s anything to fault, it is that their milk tea is sometimes too weak for my liking.
Each bun goes for S$0.90.
Chin Mee Chin Coffee Shop: 204 East Coast Road, tel: +65 6345 0419; open Tuesday - Sunday 8:30 a.m. -4 p.m. (closed Monday)

The best kaya toast in the central business district: Good Morning Nanyang Cafe

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe not only scores as my favorite pick for the best kaya toast in the central business district, it scores for offering the most unique kaya toast. Most other coffee shops serve kaya toast using white bread or loaf bread (baguette).
If you want a posh version of the kaya toast, Good Morning Nanyang Cafe serves up kaya toast using ciabatta!
They don’t just stop at ciabatta kaya toast, they also have orange ciabatta kaya toast. The orange ciabatta tastes like a breath of fresh air, but traditionalists need not be distracted by this because the kaya is still made by hand every day.
They also take the trouble to butter the bread evenly for you, which is something many places do not do. The Plain Ciabatta Kaya Toast goes for S$2.30 while the Orange Ciabatta Kaya Toast goes for S$2.70.
Good Morning Nanyang Cafe (Shenton Way branch): 108 Robinson Road #01-00; open Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m.–7 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

绘画:希望 Painting: Hope

The painting shows a Falun Gong practitioner holding candle to honor the thousands who have died in the Chinese regime’s persecution of the peaceful meditation practice.

A Gallery filled with Truth, Compassion, Tolerance 真善忍画廊

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Singaporean food’s past and present

Cooking on Sentosa Beach
Chef Ken Hom cooking traditional cuisine on Singapore's Sentosa Beach. (BBC)

“I eat therefore I am” is the creed by which Singaporeans live. Singapore’s food has as mixed a heritage as its people, a fact that comes to life at the country’s crowded hawker centres.
Hawker centres, or open air food courts, have come to define Singaporean food culture. Popular markets like Old Airport Road Food Centre in Geylang, Golden Mile Food Centre on Beach Road and Maxwell Road Food Centre in Chinatown offer the best of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian cooking, wrapped into foods that are uniquely Singaporean.
Singapore's lively culinary scene is gradually attracting renowned chefs from around the world. In the past year, Singapore won its first Michelin Star-rated restaurants: Santi and Guy Savoy. Like most fine dining restaurants in Singapore, these establishments focus on Western food. But a few upscale eateries are starting to experiment with Singaporean flavours, developing reinterpretations of classic, beloved dishes.
Such creations are taking old foods in new directions. Before we look toward the future of these dishes, though, let us look at how they came into existence in the first place. After all, each dish has a story to tell about Singaporean culture and history.
Looking backward
When British imperialist Thomas Stamford Raffles sought to convert Singapore into a trading post for the East India Company in 1819, writes Wendy Hutton in Singapore Food, immigrants from China, Malaya, India, Indonesia, Europe, America and the Middle East flocked to the island.
Chinese traders migrated from several different provinces of southern China, bringing with them distinct languages and cuisines. This can be observed in the dishes of modern day Singapore. Hainanese chicken rice, arguably the king of Singaporean hawker food, evolved from a Hainan dish made of bony wengcheng chicken. Hokkiens from Amoy and Fukien provinces brought with them Hokkien mee, or yellow wheat noodles, incorporated into many hawker dishes, a popular one being Hokkien char mee, pan fried noodles in dark soy sauce with squid, prawns, pork, cabbage and crispy pork belly.
Peranakan, or Nonya, cuisine was born in the late 1800s, Hutton explains in her book, when Chinese labourers arrived in Southeast Asia without wives. They began marrying Malay women and their descendants came to be known as Peranakan or Straits Chinese. Their food combined flavours from China, Malaya and the countries they travelled to as merchants.
One example is ayam buah keluak, braised chicken and black nuts stuffed with sweet pork. The nuts come from Indonesia, since many Peranakan families came through Java and Sumatra, while the pork is Chinese, since Muslims from Malaya and Indonesia did not eat pork.
Another is laksa, one of the several dishes both Singapore and Malaysiaclaims to have invented. Katong laksa is a vermicelli noodle soup made with coconut milk, prawns, cockles, fish cakes, bean sprouts, lemongrass, turmeric, homemade shrimp-chilli paste and the all-important laksa leaves. The turmeric and chilli suggest Indian influence, while the sprouts suggest Chinese influence. The rest incorporates a mix of Malay, South Indian and Eurasian influences.
Indians came to Singapore first as indentured servants and later as traders. Hailing from modern day Tamil Nadu and Kerala, they brought vegetables like gourds and seedpods and seafood like crab and fish, respectively.
One Singaporean dish with obvious Indian influence is the curry puff, created as a British friendly version of the samosa. Curry puffs are puff pastries filled with potatoes, Indian spices and meat.
Indian transplants also shared their love of spicy food, bringing heat to such dishes as the ever popular chilli crab and curry debal, or "devil's curry". Curry debal was created by Eurasian traders (of mixed Portuguese and South Asian descent) when they decided to stew leftovers from Christmas. The hodgepodge stew, made with pork, poultry, potatoes, candlenut, galangal, vinegar, mustard and homemade chilli paste, is commonly enjoyed on Boxing Day.
One of today's most popular Indian-inspired dishes came about more recently. Fish head curry is thought to have been created in the 1950s by a Keralan chef who balked at the idea of discarding edible parts of the fish. While fish head does not exist in Indian cooking, it does in Chinese, so the dish became a hit (as the story goes, anyway).
Looking forward
It is fitting that this merging of cultures would take modern day shape in Singapore's hawker centres. The country's multicultural dishes, though, are also making their way into the world of fine dining, with some restaurants re-imagining old classics and others simply upgrading traditional recipes.
At the Amara Sanctuary Resort, Shutters is pumping new energy into chilli crab, one of Singapore's national dishes. Its young chef Aaron Goh prepares a crab shell filled with crabmeat and roe, served with calamansi-Hollandaise sauce. The most unique part of this dish, which he calls "chilli crab gratin" is its topping of a cheesy gratin crust. Goh also takes a crack at laksa, replacing coconut gravy and rice noodles with seafood bouillabaisse and capellini, but holding onto laksa leaves and lemongrass.
Chef Willin Low at Wild Rocket has also experimented with laksa, transforming it into a linguine with laksa-pesto sauce, accompanied by prawns and quail eggs. Another clever invention is his boneless chicken wings: stuffed with rice soaked in chicken broth and then deep fried with brandy liver pate. The only thing standard about this innovative take on chicken rice is the chilli sauce that comes with it. 
Purists seeking traditional dishes prepared with high quality ingredients have plenty of options as well. Authentic Nonya fare can be found at TheBlue GingerChatterbox has become famous throughout Singapore for its chicken rice; and locals rave about the curry debal at Big D's Grill.
A country that cherishes food as much as Singapore is the perfect place for new chefs to experiment with ingredients and styles, whether in elegant restaurants or tiny hawker stalls. As the culinary scene expands, locals and travellers will soon have the best of both worlds.
Travelwise is a BBC Travel column that goes behind the travel stories to answer common questions, satisfy uncommon curiosities and uncover some of the mystery surrounding travel. If you have a burning travel question, contact Travelwise.

A Gallery filled with Truth, Compassion, Tolerance 真善忍画廊

How to stuff 5 Singapore must-eats and a few drinks into one day

For Singapore foodies: The perfect day out

CNNGo reader Calvin Lee shows us how to stuff 5 Singapore must-eats and a few drinks into one day

From -

One bite at a time, one big pau for mankind.
Most of us who travel in the name of business will try to make a stop in Singapore even if our event or meeting is not held there. We just want to enjoy the difference that is Changi and to have that one perfect day to eat and shop in this vibrant 'little red dot.'

From St Regis to Balestier Road

St Regis Singapore is where you should stay (an investment of S$300 for one night of pure luxury and heightened comfort). Skip the breakfast though and head straight to Balestier Road for some tau-fu-fa (soybean curd), yao-char-kuay (Chinese crullers) and soya milk. Perhaps you’ve been dipping your crullers in congee or black coffee all along but today, let’s follow the style in northern China and dip it in hot soya milk, or cold if you desire. Google ‘Rochor Beancurd’ and see why everyone says that no one does it like them in Singapore. There’s a full story on how they started and came this far, right next to the wall-to-wall of celebrity photos -- a real testament to this humble place.
St Regis Singapore: 29 Tanglin Road, tel:+65 6506 6888,

prawn noodle
Singapore prawn noodle -- just one of the delicacies on offer.
Old Chang Kee puffs

Now, if you need a bit more carbo to turbo-start your day, worry not. Just cross the road and there’s a bus stop. Bus 131 will take you to Novena, the nearest MRT station. You won’t miss the Old Chang Kee stall when you alight. Get one or two of the famous curry puffs (S$1.20 each). This is the quintessential Singapore snack that you must try. Besides curry, they have chicken mushroom and sardine too! Once you’ve chowed down your puffs, it is just about right to accelerate head-on to Orchard for shopping. Catch the North-South Line towards Marina Bay and alight at Orchard station. ION shopping mall is the newest mall yet, housing designer brand names both local and global. One good local store to check out for amazing shoes is Pedro.
Old Chang Kee: Various locations, tel: +65 6756 4833,

Chicken rice at Tanjong Pagar

As the clock strikes 12 noon, it is time for lunch. Proceed to Tanjung Pagar for the most talked about Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. It is not in a swanky air-conditioned restaurant but Anthony Bourdain (the famous chef) has eaten here and gave it two thumbs up, so it can’t go wrong, really. What could go wrong is the long queue, a mix of locals and tourists lining up for succulent rice and the amazingly tasty chicken to go with it. 
From here, let’s head off to Sentosa and play some poker in the newest casino in town. Using the MRT, go from Tanjung Pagar station to Outram Park interchange. Connect to the North East line and HarbourFront terminal is only 1 station away. You can then catch the monorail over to Sentosa Island.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice: Stall 10, Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street

Singapore prawn noodles

On the way back, don forget to eat a plate of Singapore prawn noodles at the Chinese looking food court one floor down from the monorail terminal. There’s dim sum and a fleet of other delicious Singaporean cuisines to keep you busy if you want more. As the sun is setting and the day comes to a close, Chinese Garden is a place to go -- basking in tranquility and away from the hustle and bustle of office clock out rush hour. Sit on a bench and just marvel at what you’ve eaten so far (or perhaps count the cash you’ve won from the poker game earlier). To get here, alight at the Chinese Garden MRT (Green line).
Chinese Garden: 1 Chinese Garden Road, tel: +65 6261 3632,

Nasi India dinner

Now for dinner. If you fancy Indian biriani rice with mutton curry, head over to the Yishun food court (alight at the Yishun MRT station, Red line). Again, great food in Singapore comes hand in hand with long queues. You can be assured of one here, but the satisfaction at the end of the meal justifies the long wait for it!
Yishun Food Court: Northpoint Shopping Centre, 930 Yishun Avenue 2

Eski bar, Singapore
The arctic chill-out at Eski Bar
Eski Bar

Finally, cocktail hour presents itself. Time to head off to the Eski Bar where chilling out is easier than you think. This place is awesome as it transports you to the cold arctic, with temperatures ranging between minus five to zero degrees. Housed in an industrial freezer, you can be certain that the next time you wanna chill out when in Singapore, you will bring along your jacket (though they have jackets and sweaters available for you here). Eski Bar is located at 46 Circular Road, behind Boat Quay. If you’re using the MRT, alight at Raffles Place. Hear Hear, one more vodka cocktail coming up... let’s drink to a perfect day out in Singapore!
Eski Bar: 46 Circular Road (Behind Boat Quay), tel: +65 6536 3757; 46 Lorong Mambong (Holland Village), tel: +65 6469 6180;
About the author: Calvin Lee is a consulting linguist and a copywriter who alternates between Dubai, London, Rome, Athens and Bangkok. Out from the linguistic realm, Calvin reviews restaurants and spas in Thailand for several publications regionally. And when his imaginative mind takes over, Calvin will be weaving the chapters in his first attempt to complete a novel.

Calvin submitted this piece as part of CNNGo’s CityPulse section. To find out what other stories we are looking for, go to our CityPulse page

Chinese Communist Party's Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

40 Singapore foods we can't live without

From Katong laksa in the east to Indian-Muslim fare in the west, here are 40 foods that define Singapore's culinary character

So what Singapore food can you eat day after day after day?
Singaporeans are simply obsessed with eating. For the best food, they will queue endlessly, they will traverse the island, and they will eat at all hours. Many have been known to come back after migrating simply because they miss their favorite foods. Much of it is humble but insanely delicious street fare found in food centers and coffee shops throughout the island.
CNNGo rounds up 40 of the best, "die-die must-try" foods from the little red dot.

1. Chicken rice

It’s everywhere -- at hawker stalls, food courts, luxury hotels and even at the zoo, but Singaporeans just can’t get enough of it. Chicken rice is often called the “national dish” of Singapore. Steamed or boiled chicken is served atop fragrant oily rice, with sliced cucumber as the token vegetable. Variants include roasted chicken or soy sauce chicken. Don’t miss out on the dipping sauces -- premium dark soy sauce, chili with garlic, and pounded ginger. Play around with different combinations to discover new tastes.
If you are put off by perpetual queues at legendary Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice (Stall 10, Maxwell Food Centre), you can dine in air-conditioned comfort instead at Boon Tong Kee.

2. Char kway teow

There is no stopping Singaporeans from indulging in this high-fat hawker favorite. Flat rice noodles stir-fried with lard (for best flavor), dark and light soy sauce, chilli, de-shelled cockles, sliced Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, Chinese chives and sometimes prawns and egg. Essential to the dish is good “wok hei” or breath of wok, the qualities and tastes imparted by cooking on a wok using high heat. Many now choose to omit the cockles but char kway teow will always be incomplete without the sinfully rich fried pork lard pieces.
One of the island’s best char kway teow is at a humble hawker center in the east. Hill Street Fried Kway Teow at Block 16, Bedok South Road, #01-187. tel +65 9042 131.

3. Wonton or Wantan mee

The name “wonton” literally means "swallowing of cloud" in Cantonese. Indeed, the dumplings with their flowy translucent skins resemble wispy clouds when suspended in soup. Most Singaporeans prefer the dry version of the noodles. Wonton noodles look simple but the perfect one is elusive. The thin egg noodles need to be of the right texture, the sauce has to be well-balanced, and the pork or shrimp dumplings ought to be juicy and meaty. At many places, you’ll find the sliced char siew (Chinese BBQ pork) is often papery dry and red with artificial dye but that hardly deters fans of the dish who seem to prize the noodles and dumplings.
Try the cult favourite Hong Mao Wonton Mee but note they open early and close early (7am to 4pm, closed Mondays) and there is at least a half-hour wait. 128 Tembeling Road. 

4. Carrot cake (chai tow kuay)

No, not the sweet Western cake loaded with orange carrots. This "carrot" is more of a white radish (daikon). Rice flour and grated radish is mixed and steamed into large slabs or cakes. These are cut up into little pieces and fried with preserved turnip, soy sauce, fish sauce, eggs, garlic and spring onions. It’s amazingly good. You can have it “white” or “black” (with sweet dark soy sauce added). Also known as fried carrot cake or chye tow kueh, this grease-laden belly warmer is available at many hawker centers.
Look for old stalwart Heng Carrot Cake at Stall 28, Newton Food Centre, Newton Circus Road.

5. Chili crab

Another national signature, chili crab is one of the most requested dishes for anyone who comes to Singapore. There are more than a dozen ways to do crab (black pepper, salted egg yolk, cheese-baked, etc) but chili crab remains the bestseller. It’s certainly not something to be consumed daintily. The spicy chili-tomato gravy tends to splatter, but crab enthusiasts love it so much, they’ll mop everything up with mini mantou buns.
Roland Restaurant claims to be the creator of the dish. They are at Block 89 Marine Parade Central #06-750, tel +65 6440 8205.

6. Bak kut teh

Bak kut teh, meaning "pork rib tea" is most likely of Hokkien or Fujian origin. Meaty pork ribs are lovingly boiled for hours with lots of garlic, pepper, medicinal herbs and spices. Early 20th century port coolies often relied on this as a tonic to strengthen bodies and health. These days, bak kut teh is simply enjoyed for its taste. There are two styles -- the clear, peppery Teochew broth and the darker, more herbal Hokkien stew. You tiao (fried crullers) are the perfect croutons for soaking up the soup, and a hot pot of Chinese tea (ideally Tieguanyin) helps dissolve or wash down the fats ever present in the meaty ribs. 
For the Teochew variety, try Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Eating House at 208 Rangoon Road, tel +65 6291 4537. For the Hokkien version, try Sin Heng Claypot Bak Kut Teh at 439 Joo Chiat Road, tel +65 6345 8754. 

7. Sambal stingray

Singaporeans love their seafood and they love their spices. Sambal is a versatile chili paste blended with spices, shallots, candlenuts and often belachan (fermented shrimp paste). Sambal-coated cuts of stingray are wrapped in cleaned banana leaves and grilled to smoky perfection. The sweet, tender flesh is a perfect canvas for all the complex spices and BBQ flavor. 
Check out award-winning Leng Heng Seafood BBQ and enjoy your BBQ by the sea. Stall No. 6, East Coast Lagoon Food Centre, East Coast Lagoon Road.

8. Fried Hokkien mee

Yet another dish favored by hardworking laborers of the past. Thick yellow egg noodles mixed with rice vermicelli are cooked in a rich seafood stock, and tossed with prawns, squid, small strips of pork belly and deep-fried lard pieces. A small kalamansi lime is always given should you prefer some tangy juice to cut through the greasiness of the dish.
Tian Tian Lai (Come Daily) is practically an institution, and deserves its hype. Come to Block 127 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #02-27, tel +65 6251 8542.

9. Rojak

Rojak is actually a Malay word used to describe something made from a random mix of unrelated things. But any derogatory undertones are erased when one refers to the fruit salad that bears the same name. Rojak does have an odd mixture of ingredients. Bite-size pieces of fruits, vegetables, dried tofu, fried you tiao (dough fritters) and cured cuttlefish are tossed in a prawn paste sauce topped with crushed peanuts. Grated bunga kantan (pink ginger buds) add a sensuous fragrance. The result is a wild mix of sweet, spicy, sour and savory flavors.
HK-Hollywood superstar Chow Yun Fat is a fan of Balestier Road Hoover Rojak. The rojak here has jellyfish instead of cured cuttlefish. Block 90 Whampoa Drive, #01-06 Whampoa Drive Food Centre.

10. Bak kwa

This chewy snack is like salty-sweet BBQ jerky. Bak kwa (dried meat) is made from pork although now halal versions made from chicken exist. These squarish BBQ meat sheets are popular as gifts for friends and relatives at Chinese New Year. Throngs will form at shops despite elevated prices. Bak kwa can be eaten on its own, with bread or with homecooked food.
The king of bak kwa is undisputedly Lim Chee Guan at 203 New Bridge Road, tel +65 6227 8302. Or try Bee Cheng Hiang’s spicy pork at its 28 outlets islandwide.

11. Economy rice

Possibly one of the best value meals you can get at hawker centers and food courts. Choose from a wide array of meats, vegetables and side dishes to accompany white steamed rice. Popular choices include sweet and sour pork, curry chicken, steamed egg custard, braised tofu and stir-fried mixed vegetables. It’s predominantly Chinese food, and very much like what many Singaporeans would make at home.
The heartlands have it. Try Economic Mixed Vegetables Rice at Block 341 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, #01-13 Teck Ghee Market & Food Centre.

12. Kway chap

Delicacy for some, Fear Factor food for others. The Chinese have always made full use of the animal they eat. Here, pork offal (stomach and intestines in particular) are braised until tender in soy sauce and herbs along with meat, tofu, boiled eggs and fish cake. If you are lucky, pig’s tongue and ears may be available too. Best eaten with kway (rice flour sheets) in broth but some opt for steamed rice or yam rice. Tangy chili dipping sauce is a must.
Try Guan Kee at Block 211 #01-01, Toa Payoh Lorong 8. Tel: 9739 6960

13. Oyster omelette

Known as “or luak” or “hao jian” locally, this Southern Chinese dish is another grease-laden supper favorite. Potato starch is mixed into the egg batter to give it a thicker and semi-gooey consistency. Oysters are added just a few seconds before serving, so that they are not overcooked. Hawkers have now started using plump Korean oysters, instead of smaller oysters. As a healthier option, they are also replacing lard with vegetable oil.
Ah Chuan Fried Oyster Omelette whips up a mean omelette with crisp edges and serves it with a sourish chili sauce. Block 22 #01-25, Toa Payoh Lorong 7. 

14. Katong laksa 

This is a Peranakan (Straits-born Chinese) influenced dish consisting of thick rice vermicelli in a rich, spicy coconut gravy. The soup is thick, opaque and slightly gritty from the abundance of ground dried shrimp, which gives it the umami kick. The Katong version has noodles cut into smaller lengths, so it can be easily scooped up with a spoon alone, along with a good amount of soup. No chopsticks or forks are given. Stir in the dollop of sambal and fragrant laksa leaves or daun kesum and inhale.
There have been Katong laksa wars in Singapore for over a decade now, with stalls fiercely professing to be the original. No matter your pick, they all taste equally good. Try 328 Katong Laksa at 51 East Coast Road, tel +65 9732 8163.

15. Fish head or fish soup bee hoon

The freshwater toman (snakehead fish) is boiled in milky fish stock along with a handful of healthy greens. Fish head aficionados will devour the bony meat, lips, cheeks and eyeballs. If you’re squeamish about fish head or prefer boneless convenience, go for the boiled fish slices or fried fish chunks, which are just as popular.
Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hoon struck gold by adding a dash of XO brandy to the fish stock. Block 46 Holland Drive #01-359 Holland Drive Food Centre, tel +65 6778 3691.

16. Yong tau foo

One of the healthier options in the hawker food arena because it features fresh vegetables and tofu. Yong tau foo (stuffed beancurd) will see items stuffed with fish paste or minced meat paste (Hakka-style). Pick the items you like (including choice of noodles) and have it served either dry-style with generous lashings of sweet sauce and chili, or soup-style with clear soybean and anchovies broth (some stalls offer a curry gravy option).
Special Yong Tau Fu has an impressive variety of homemade items, served in a good broth. 482 North Bridge Road, #01-87 North Bridge Road Food Centre.

17. Bak chor mee

Bak chor mee (minced pork noodles) gained some notoriety a few years ago when it starred in a satirical podcast. A good rendition of this popular Teochew dish will have fluffy minced pork, succulent stewed mushrooms, crispy tee por (small deep-fried pieces of flatfish or sole), springy noodles in a dark vinegary sauce. Let the hawker know if you wish to omit the sliced liver pieces. 
The owner of Seng Kee Minced Pork Noodles boasts more than 25 years of experience and is known for occasional wok theatrics. Try his famous fish maw soup as well. 316 Changi Road, tel +65 6345 7561.

18. Peranakan kueh

These desserts are a carnival of color, much like the culture of the creators. Under the Peranakans’ deft touch, simple local ingredients like tapioca, banana, glutinous rice, coconut milk and gula melaka (palm sugar) are transformed into a huge assortment of delectable kuehs.
Bengawan Solo carries a good variety at many locations throughout Singapore. Or try Glory Catering right in the Peranakan enclave of Katong at 139 East Coast Road, tel +65 5344 1749. 

19. Bak chang

The legend is somewhat morbid -- Chinese peasants throwing rice dumplings into the river to distract fish from eating the body of beloved poet and patriot Qu Yuan who drowned himself as a protest against corruption. Today, more than 2,000 years later, these dumplings commemorate his life during the Duan Wu Festival. The rest of the year, they are a great snack in a pack. The Hokkiens who love salty food fill the glutinous rice dumplings with braised pork belly, mushrooms and chestnuts. The Peranakans lean towards the sweeter side with minced spiced pork and chopped sugared melon strips.
Get your dumplings early at Hoo Kee Rice Dumplings. They sell out really fast, even before lunchtime. Best to call and reserve in advance. 7 Maxwell Road #01-18 Amoy Street Food Centre, tel +65 6221 1155.

20. Kaya toast

Kaya is a coconut custard jam, sweet and fragrant. When slathered onto thin slices of warm toast with ample butter, the sandwich it makes is simply divine. Down it with a cup of thick black coffee. Many locals have this for breakfast supplemented by two soft-boiled eggs with soy sauce and pepper.
Ya Kun Kaya Toast still makes the best since 1944 with locations all over the island.

21. BBQ chicken wings

In many a hawker center, you will see rows of chicken wings glistening and turning on a roasting spit. Singaporeans love ordering these wings as a side dish, frequently as a large plate to share among family and friends. Best eaten hot and with a garlic chili dip. A spritz from calamansi limes add sweet tang to the wings. This finger food is great with beer or sugarcane juice.
Kris BBQ serves wings that are evenly marinated and grilled. Block 85 Bedok North Avenue 3 #01-02.

22. Chin chow grass jelly

The kids love the slippery jelly, and the adults appreciate its yin or cooling properties. Dubbed chin chow (immortal grass), grass jelly purportedly helps prevent indigestion and lower blood pressure. The herb Mesona Chinensis is boiled and cooled to make deep black slabs of firm yet chewy jelly. It can be made into a drink or served in a bowl as dessert. Modern toppings like palm seeds, longan and honey sea coconut make this traditional dessert more appealing to youngsters.
The grass jelly is still homemade in a wooden bucket at Zhao An Granny Grass Jelly. Quench your thirst at 505 Beach Road, #01-58 Golden Mile Food Centre.

23. Teh tarik

Teh tarik or pulled tea is tea with showmanship. Indian tea-makers pour a stream of hot milk tea back and forth between two vessels held as far apart as possible. It looks a lot easier than it is. The result is a frothy drink that’s well-mixed. You can request for teh halia (milk tea with ginger) as well.
The Sarabat Stall is a hole in the wall but customers flock here at all hours. Soak in the atmosphere of the Arab and Muslim quarters while you enjoy the tea with snacks. A drink here costs less than US$1. 21 Baghdad Street.

24. Satay

This is Southeast Asia’s rendition of the kebab with a few unique twists. There’s the peanut dip, sweet and spicy. The marinade of local spices that totally transforms the meat. The thin wooden skewers made of bamboo or stem of coconut leaves. And the refreshing sides of chopped raw cucumber and onions, along with ketupat (rice cakes steamed in woven coconut leaves). It’s a joy to watch your satay being grilled over an open charcoal fire. The aroma heightens the anticipation and the enjoyment.
Haron’s Satay has chicken, beef, mutton and even babat (tripe) satay. Stall No. 55, East Coast Lagoon Food Centre, East Coast Lagoon Road.

25. Ayam penyet

What? Flattened chicken? Yes, that’s what ayam penyet is. Large pieces of chicken are smashed with a mallet to allow the marinade of many spices to permeate thoroughly. The chicken is then deep-fried to a crisp golden brown. It’s originally Indonesian but has taken Singapore by storm in the past few years. Ayam penyet is usually served with lots of crispy batter, fried bean curd, tempeh (soybean cake) and vegetables. The real star is the delicious sambal belachan relish that’s an explosion of complex flavors.
If you are brave, go for the spicy hot version at Waroeng Penyet. The restaurant is at Block 81 Marine Parade Central #01-638 is best but there are food court franchise outlets elsewhere.

26. Ngoh hiang

Once the snack of choice at street wayang (theatre) performances, this medley of fritters is now popular as a teatime nibble. It’s a strange combination of deep-fried bean curd, prawn fritters, pink pork sausages, liver rolls, fish cakes, century eggs and cucumber slices. Ngoh hiang (five spices) itself refers to the Hokkien minced-pork roll that is made with lots of five spice powder but can also be used as the generic name for the fritters.
Hup Kee Wu Siang Guan Chang or China Street Ngoh Hiang is one of the few stalls that still makes the items by hand. Stall 97 Maxwell Food Centre, Maxwell Road.

27. Nasi lemak

Singaporeans are in love with lemak (richness bestowed by coconut cream). The Malay breakfast dish of nasi lemak (rich rice) has rice cooked in coconut milk served with a spicy sambal, fried anchovies, fried peanuts, and perhaps an egg and cucumber slices. It’s simple but satisfying. The Chinese have adopted the dish and thrown in a multitude of other side dishes like sausages, fried chicken wings, luncheon meat, fish cake, and various cooked vegetables.
Selera Rasa Adam Road No.1 has the Brunei royalty getting takeaways at Stall 2, Adam Road Food Centre, 2 Adam Road.

28. Mee Siam

Despite its name, Mee Siam (Siamese noodles) did not come from Thailand. It’s a Malay breakfast dish. Pre-fried thin rice vermicelli is served in a spicy light gravy made from taucheo (fermented bean paste), dried shrimp, sugar and seafood stock. Tamarind gives the dish its signature tartness. Toppings include cubed fried bean curd, chopped chives and sliced boiled egg. But note, there are no cockles in Mee Siam.
Zaiton Selera Rasa serves Mee Siam right in the heart of the Central Business District. 11 Collyer Quay, #01-04 The Arcade, tel +65 6226 3713.

29. Indian mee goreng

This Indian-Muslim classic of spicy fried noodles is a hybrid invented in this region in the 1950s. Indian immigrants borrowed the use of the wok from the Chinese and started frying yellow egg noodles with their own favoured ingredients -- tomatoes, egg, green chilies, mutton mince, cabbage and diced potatoes. It takes skill to wok-fry the noodles to a moist but not mushy ensemble. Oddly, in Singapore, mee goreng tends to sport a bold, almost garish red appearance not found elsewhere. 
You’ll find many stalls offering good Indian-Muslim fare at the Ayer Rajah Food Centre, Block 503 West Coast Drive.

30. Popiah

Sometimes lauded as the Asian burrito, this healthy snack is like a Chinese spring roll that’s not deep-fried. The name popiah refers to the soft, paper-thin skin made from wheat or rice flour. It’s smeared with a sweet sauce, chili sauce, minced garlic and is used to wrap ingredients like braised turnip or bangkuang (jicama), carrots, bean sprouts, Chinese sausage, shredded omelette, crushed peanuts and even shrimp or crab meat. Many Singaporeans love to hold popiah parties at home, as rolling your own popiah (easier than it looks) can prove to be the best entertainment at times.
Kway Guan Huat makes one of the best popiah on the island, and offers DIY party sets. They still make the skins by hand in a little pre-war shophouse at 95 Joo Chiat Road, tel +65 6344 2875.

31. Roti prata

You will find roti prata (flat bread) in practically every neighborhood in Singapore. Watch as the Indians knead and flatten an oiled ball of dough, and flip it with practised flair until the dough is a tissue-thin sheet. This is then folded into multi-layered pancakes and griddle-fried til crisp. It’s usually served with curry or a sprinkle of sugar. Nowadays, prata makers get creative with all kinds of fillings and combinations -- cheese, mushroom, durian, ice cream, honey, banana, cashew nuts, and even sardines.
Sin Ming Roti Prata serves it crispy, fluffy and gently chewy. Their fish curry is the perfect dip. Block 24 Sin Ming Drive #01-51, tel +65 6453 3893.

32. Murtabak

These are huge and for the very hungry. The dough is similar to that used in roti prata, but it is super-sized and stuffed with minced mutton and onions. Like roti prata, murtabak is often fried in a pool of ghee or oil. Chicken and sardine versions have surfaced for those who find mutton too gamey.
Singapore Zam Zam Restaurant is the undisputed king of murtabak. Go for a hearty supper at 697-699 North Bridge Road, tel +65 6298 7011.

33. Otak/Otah

It isn’t clear how the name otah or otak (brain) came about for this snack, but perhaps it is brain food after all, since it’s predominantly made of fish. Fish that’s mashed and mixed with coconut milk, chili paste and spices, wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over charcoal. Otak is a frequent accompaniment to dishes like laksa and nasi lemak, although it’s also eaten as a snack on its own.
Otah Inc. is modernising the otah. They have come up with otah taquitoes, otah toast and flavoured otah pastes. B1-K11, basement of Bugis Junction Shopping Centre, 200 Victoria Street, tel +65 6884 4650.

34. Fish head curry

Waiter, there’s a decapitated head in my soup! Well, that’s the highlight. A whole large head of red snapper stewing in curry gravy. Surprisingly, there’s a lot of meat to be had on the bony head, but the best (and most tender) part is the cheeks. This dish is purely a Singapore creation. About 30 years ago, an Indian restaurateur here decided to use fish head (not an Indian delicacy) in his curry to please Chinese customers. It became a runaway hit, spreading even across the Causeway to Malaysia.
If you’d like the whole experience of eating fish head curry with steamed rice on banana leaves, try Banana Leaf Apolo at 54 Race Course Road, tel +65 6297 1595.

35. Nasi Padang

The cuisine of Padang from Sumatra, Indonesia, features many spicy dishes to go with rice. A bedazzling smorgasbord of more than 30 dishes is available at some places. Nasi Padang also suits communal dining as a group can share dishes and enjoy a bigger variety at the same time.
Sinar Pagi Nasi Padang is packed with the office crowd on weekdays, so go early. Their BBQ chicken in coconut curry, beef rendang, tauhu telur (deep-fried mound of tofu and egg) and quail eggs in sambal are divine. 13 Circular Road, behind Boat Quay, tel +65 6536 5302.

36. Dum briyani

Briyani or biryani originated from Persia and eventually found its way into the hearts of spice-loving Singaporeans. The fluffy basmati rice grains, dappled gold and orange from saffron and spices, go so well with meat and gravy. Dum cooking is the method where pre-fried boiled rice is layered with par-cooked meat, and then pressure-baked in a sealed vessel. This way the meat infuses the rice with its flavours.
Ali Nachia Briyani Dam serves succulent and flavorful mutton with his briyani at The Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, 30 Keppel Road. tel +65 9389 2615.

37. Curry puff

The curry puff is possibly the country’s favorite tea-time snack. Deep-fried like samosas, these are generally filled with curried potatoes, chicken and a slice of egg. The popularity of the curry puff has spawned puffs with other fillings like sardines, black pepper chicken, tuna and sweet yam.
Tip Top Curry Puff (Block 722 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 #01-2843, Hiap Hwa Coffee Shop) sells the thick crust variety, whereas 1A Crispy Puff ( with eight locations islandwide) features the flaky, multi-layered spiral puffs.

38. Goreng pisang

The Malay snack of goreng pisang (banana fritters) have found fans from all races in Singapore. The deep-frying helps caramelize the natural sugars in the bananas, making them even sweeter than before. Some Chinese versions have unusually delicate and puffy batter. 
Lim Kee (Orchard) Banana Fritters offers banana and other fritters with crispy batter that stays firm for hours. Stall 61 at Maxwell Road Food Centre, Maxwell Road.

39. Ice kachang

Shaved ice desserts are always a popular treat in the hot tropics. Ice kachang (ice with beans) evolved from the humble ice ball drenched with syrup to be the little ice mountain served in a bowl, drizzled with creamed corn, condensed milk, gula melaka and brightly coloured syrups. Dig into it and you’ll discover other goodies hidden within -- red beans, palm seeds and cubed jellies.
Many will brave sweltering weather for the snow-like ice at Annie Peanut Ice Kachang. Best of all, she sprinkles roasted crushed peanuts generously on top. Block 6 Tanjong Pagar Road, #02-36 Tanjong Pagar Plaza Market and Food Centre (branch at #01-07 Far East Square).

40. Cendol

This dessert is named for the soft, greenish noodle bits it comes with. The very best cendol is still the simplest -- just coconut milk, shaved ice, gula melaka, light green cendol and a dash of salt. These days, other toppings like kidney beans, grass jelly cubes, creamed corn and even durian paste and vanilla ice cream have found their way into this dessert.
Cendol Geylang Serai serves old school cendol in convenient takeaway cups. Find them at 1 Geylang Serai, #02-107 Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, tel: +65 9485 5845

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