Singaporean street food is as famous as that of India’s. Founded in 1819, Stamford Raffles established Singapore as a colonial outpost of East India Company. After British Raj took over, Singapore was ceded to Britain as part of the Straits Settlements in 1826. There are many influences from China and Malaysia over it’s food as the country fought to establish it’s power in the region. We, Sudipto De and Snigdha Bhowmick tell you the dishes that define the true flavours of Singapore.
Crab is one of my favourites among seafood. It’s slightly sweet meat is something that I truly love. Although breaking through a crab is a task indeed, but as they say “The fruits of labour are sweet indeed”. But this preparation of crab takes precedence over even a few of the Indian dishes. The sauce is what adds layers of flavours to the dish. With tomato, chili sauce and egg, it’s a thick, spicy yet sweet sauce which makes this dish such a favourite. The dish draws it’s origin to Madame Cher Yam Tian of the Palm Beach restaurant who started this dish from her pushcart.
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A salad like no other. It is one of the dishes which retains a typical Malay influence over the Singaporean food. It is a salad made of fruit, vegetables and fritters covered in a sticky black sauce and peanuts. The dish derives it’s taste from the sticky black sauce which has prawn paste, lime, chili and sugar. The ingredients include some of the most exotic ones I had ever seen: Raw Cucumber, Chinese Turnip, unripe Rose Apples and toasted Tofu.
Fish Head Curry
Man, I am in love with the Singaporeans. They have reinvented another of Bengal‘s classics, Fish Head. The dish is a perfect amalgamation of South Indian curry spices with the Fish Head which is a Chinese delicacy. The flavours although similar have a very subtle increase in the level of spice and sourness with a decrease of the sweetness. Steamed rice acts as a perfect accompaniment as you soak up the curry surrounding it.
Each of the South-East Asian countries has it’s own broth filled with Noodles and meat. The famous Katong Laksa has a flaming orange coloured broth. It’s got the creamy texture of coconut milk with the taste of dried shrimp, cockles and fish cakes. The difference that I found from the traditional Laksa is the use of shorter noodles which can be eaten with a spoon.
Our Singaporean sojourn could not be complete without desserts. Being a Bengali, I have to try out a sweet dish to finish off my meal. When I was little, my grand mother used to make me a sugary toasted bread with butter. The Kaya Toast is pretty much similar to that. The toasted or Charcoal grilled slices of bread are lovingly enveloped with butter and Kaya. Kaya is a jam made from coconut and eggs which has a subtle sweet taste. It can either be combined with coffee, tea or even consumed for breakfast with eggs. But I pretty much ate a few pieces every time I had the chance to.
Singapore is a place for for a lot of sweet flavours which is apt for Bengalis like us. But it’s the addition of heat, sour and spice to it in equal proportions I fell in love with. Do tell us your recommendations of Singapore.
All pictures are courtesy of Your Singapore.