It always annoys me when people refer to the term “Singapore Noodles”, as if these noodles are eaten as part of Singaporean cuisine. Much like the Singapore Sling, real Singaporeans have never even heard of the term “Singapore Noodles” – and this is because they just don’t exist!
Although Asia is pretty much the home of noodles (in fact, it is said Cambodia invented the first noodle dish), nobody has ever heard of “Singapore Noodles”. The closest thing you can get to the mysterious “Singapore Noodles” is Bee Hoon, which is a popular noodle dish in Singapore, usually fried and mixed with seafood. You also have the likes of Char Kway Teow and Chow Mei Fun which are perennial favourites in Singapore (and Malaysia), but for some reason nobody ever wants to talk about the real dishes, they just want to talk about “Singapore Noodles”!
Pretty much anywhere in Europe or the USA (or even Australia), you will find restaurants serving up simple noodle dishes under the umbrella term “Singapore Noodles”. You can even purchases frozen and refrigerated boxes of this stuff to take home and put in the microwave. Within 6 minutes, they say, you can immerse yourself in the “Tastes of Singapore”!
In Singapore, the way many people like to eat their noodles is mix it with seafood – and not just tiny prawns! Bee Hoon can often be found wrapped around large crabs (chili crab is of course the de facto national dish of Singapore) and mixed in with fried vegetables and doused in hot sauces and peppers. So it seems the reality couldn’t be further from the European stereotype of how Singaporeans like to eat their noodles!