Very little gets Singaporeans riled up, but engage them in a discussion on hawker food and watch a debate wage on.
And who can blame them? With a mind-boggling array of hawker food available, how does one decide who has the best char kway teow? Or which laksa is the most lemak? And if a plate of nasi lemak warrants a 20-minute wait?
To help trim down the gorging process, we’ve scoured the island to bring you our ten favourite hawker dishes:
Char Kway Teow Cockles and lard, what’s not to like? A plate of char kway teow may be a nutritionist’s worst nightmare but a well-fried dish of cholesterol-filled flat rice noodles-and-cockles (optional for some) in sweet black soy sauce, is the stuff that drives us across the island just for a whiff of its wok hei. Try Hill Street Fried Kway Teow.
Carrot Cake Westerners eat their carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting, Singaporeans prefer ours fried with garlic, fish sauce, chai poh (preserved turnip), egg fried ala minute, a sprinkling of spring onions, and with a choice of white or black (doused in a thick dark soy sauce). Chey Sua Carrot Cake does a good version.
Bak Chor Mee Early Teochew immigrants to the island created the dish and locals have loved it so much, there’s even a podcast about it. Noodles tossed in a piquant mix of chilli-vinegar sauce with slow-cooked mushrooms and a liberal dash of lard oil. The sign of an unforgettable bowl often lies in its chilli-vinegar sauce. We love the version at High Street Tai Wah Pork Noodles.
Nasi Lemak Whether you prefer the original Malay style or Chinese version, the taste of fluffy rice made richer by coconut cream, spicy homemade sambal and crispy ikan bilis or sausage or fried chicken, is one yummy way to start the day. Need a headstart? Try Ponggol Nasi Lemak Centre.
Briyani The trademark yellow-orange basmati rice is hard to miss: saffron and spices tease your tastebuds while the marinated meat (chicken or mutton, depending on your preference) provides the “bite” of the dish. Here are five best affordbable biryanis you can get in Singapore.