Singaporeans are hard-core foodies and are people who don’t mind traveling with food as their travel theme. Given this passionate nature, it is no wonder that their homeland is a conglomeration of an astonishing variety of food. You will find variety of halal food at different locations of Singapore. The variety is also a representation of their multicultural society. In fact, most of Singapore’s signature dishes are local fusion adaptations of food that traveled with the early immigrants from China, India and Indonesia, Malaysia etc. I find it really difficult to pick only 6 of the top must try halal food in Singapore when you are so spoiled for choices! But I have shortlisted this top six dishes list based on the easy availability in halal food eateries.
1. Nasi Lemak
This dish can be considered the holy grail in local Singaporean cuisine. The literal translation of this Malay word would be “Rice fat” It is a rice dish that is lovingly cooked in the richness of coconut milk and served with a spicy “sambal” with accompaniments like fried small anchovies, peanuts, cucumber slices, egg and sometimes a fried fish or chicken depending on your choice. This may sound like a full course set lunch. But lo and behold! This halal food dish is a popular breakfast here in Singapore. You can find it in most Malay stalls in hawker centers or food courts. Definitely a recommended hearty breakfast…sure to keep you going for a full day of sightseeing!
2. Mee Rebus
Another favorite Malay breakfast, this is a noodle based halal food dish. It literally means : Boiled noodles” Tasty yellow “mee” is served swimming in a pool of creamy rich peanut based sauce with pieces of fried tofu, boiled egg and beansprouts. They usually serve the dish with a half sliced lemon.Yes! you are supposed to squeeze the juice over the dish before giving it a good mix…and Bon appetite people!
3. Nasi Ayam aka Hainanese chicken rice
This is actually a popular Chinese dish brought to Singapore by poor Chinese immigrants from the Hainan province in China. Despite its origin, Singapore has managed to give it an International appeal. Nasi Ayam is a plate of fluffy rice that is cooked in chicken stock and served with broiled or roasted chicken slices, accompanied with a mildly pungent, chili sauce and chicken soup. Though primarily a Chinese dish, Malay stalls do serve it for lunch so don’t forget to give it a try!
4. Char Kuay Teow
Another predominantly Chinese dish that can be found in Malay stalls. It is basically a flat noodle dish that this stir fried with vegetables and seafood. Some stalls may serve with beef also. In the olden days, this was a cheap and filling dish for Chinese laborers and fishermen as the noodles was usually cooked in animal fat and with the leftover seafood that could not be sold in the market. So this isn’t exactly the healthiest dish on the menu but these days, thankfully people have modified the dish and cook it in a more health conscious manner.
Many of you may be familiar with this dish as it is served in most Thai or Asian restaurants worldwide. Satay is basically marinated chicken, mutton or beef on wooden skewers. Satay are grilled over an open fire grill and served with peanut sauce. The accompaniments include rice cakes, cucumbers and onions. Trying out Satay from well know Singapore from well- known hawker stalls, is a special experience. These halal food hawker stalls don’t use “Ready made supermarket frozen meat sticks”. They take the pain to marinate the meat by themselves the day before. They grill it for you fresh each time you order. Some famous places for Singaporean Satay include Lau Pa Sat.
And last but not least, the dish, which in my opinion best describes Singapore! I haven’t had this dish anywhere before nor even heard of it before I came to Singapore. In fact, I tried the dish in Malaysia but I didn’t really like it as much as the Singapore version. Singapore and Malaysia do share a lot of their cuisine. but as the local say – “Same Same but different” .
Rojak simply means “Mix” in Malay and that is exactly what Singapore is.It’s an eclectic mix of different people, cultures and cuisines that have come together and formed a flavorful, delectable and uniquely Singaporean experience! It is a dish that consists of a variety of fritters that is fried and chopped into pieces and mixed with cucumbers, onions and served like a salad with a reddish, tasty sauce. You will find the fritters on display mostly in Indian Muslim stalls in the Hawker centers and you get to choose the fritters you want. You will be charged only according to what you choose.