Makan Makan, la? I absolutely love Asian food, but rather than travel around (with expensive flights) and trying to find the local delicacies in each country, I can rest assured that somewhere in Singapore I can find these delicacies and they will be [almost] as tantalisingly tasty as the real thing!
I once blogged about my 50 favourite foods in the world, and I would hazard a guess that most of these can be found in Singapore – maybe ALL of them! If it’s a traditional Arabic shawarma or a boat of Japanese takoyaki, there are hawker stalls and fast food franchises scattered all over the island, at which you can lick your lips accordingly!
Japanese food is very common in Singapore, and themed fast food eateries are commonplace in shopping malls. Some of the more famous brands are Osaka Ohsho, Sakae Sushi, Ajisen Ramen, and Gyoza-Ya. However, there is fantastic tonkatsu to be found in Singapore, if you know where to look…
Korean food is arguably just as popular in Singapore as Japanese food! I find this kind of interesting, as Korean food is usually not as well known, but the Korean Invasion has now spread to Auntie’s table! Bibimbap seems to be the most widely sold Korean dish, but Army Stew, Japchae noodles, and various fried rice dishes (bokkeumbap) are also popular. At the moment, there is a Patbingsu craze in Singapore, with dessert cafes such as IceBox, Nunsaram, and Nunsongyee proving to be popular with the ever-hungry Singaporeans – even if S$17 per bingsu is a little on the expensive side for me!
Chinese food is obviously omnipresent in the Little Red Dot due to its cultural heritage and ethnic background. Classic Chinese noodle dishes, such as Dan Dan Mian, can be found in hawkers across the island, and many high-end restaurants also serve up gourmet Chinese dishes such as Peking Duck and Xiao Long Bao.
Taiwanese food is on a big upwards curve now in Singapore, and this excites me as I love Taiwanese food! While the traditional Taiwanese treats you will find in night markets in Taiwan are generally not sold here (I’ve never seen pig’s blood rice cake in Singapore!), the classic dishes such as pork and rice (Lu Rou Fan) are available. Hot Star Large Fried Chicken are one of the main fast food players in Taiwan and they have a presence in Singapore. I tried their XXL chicken cutlet and it took me ages to eat – good value for $7 (with drink).
Thai food is quite big in Singapore, even if by all accounts, nobody seems to get it perfect here. Still, there are many fast food joints, such as ThaiExpress and Tuk Tuk Cha, that sell all the classic favourites such as Tom Yum, Thai Iced Tea and my favourite dessert in the world: Khao Niao Manuang (mango and sticky rice).
Malay food is everywhere in the Lion City and this should come as no surprise. Hawkers and kopitiams are full to the brim of Malay snacks of new and old, and Nasi Lemak is something you should try. I noticed that Singaporean chefs don’t try to change the original Malay style too much, so it’s just like being in Kuala Lumpur!
Indonesian food is also popular in Singapore, although it can sometimes be hard to find restaurants that serve cuisine from specific areas of the archipelago. Instead, Indonesian food in Singapore is sometimes just labelled as “Indonesian food”, which is an amalgam of Sumatran, Javan, Balinese, and even Makassarese cuisines. Bebek betutu and Ayam Penyet are favourite dishes of mine, and you can find this all over Singapore, but a cheaper option would be find snacks like Gado-Gado, Sate Ayam, or Pisang Goreng.
Vietnamese food in Singapore is a growing industry, and with fast food chains like Wrap & Roll and Nam Nam Noodle Bar leading the way, you can get your fix of Banh Mi, Pho, and spring rolls whenever you please! The crispy crepe known as Banh Xeo is a little harder to find in Singapore (a cheap street food in Saigon), but if you’re prepare to pay over the odds, you could even eat it for dinner tonight!
French food can be found in all corners of the island. The main dish I associate with France is certainly poulet, which is a roasted chicken. While this dish cannot really be eaten on the move, it is sold in many fancy restaurants and even by celebrity chefs!
Spanish food in Singapore is not limited to Tapas (although the bar Octapas in Clarke Quay is legendary) and paella. In fact, in recent times, there has been something of a Churros invasion in the Little Red Dot, and these sugary treats are a great way to snack in between meals at a fairly small price.
Turkish food is not well-represented in Singapore compared to other cuisines, but it can still be enjoyed if you like your traditional kebabs and wraps. I would like to see more Turkish snacks like borek and simit available, but in the mean time, doner kebabs, and the traditional Turkish ice cream sold at Clarke Quay by the world’s biggest troll, will have to fill your tummy instead!
Indian food is as Singaporean as Singaporean food itself! Whether you want curries, rice, tandoori, prata, or desserts like kulfi or gulab jamun, they can all be found on the island. I think the cheapest Indian meals can be found in the traditional area of Little India, although food hygiene may be a problem there (in my observations). I still haven’t found a decent Vada Pav, though!
Mexican food is one of my ultimate cuisines, and after a slow start, it seems to be becoming more and more prevalent in Singapore. Recently, Vatos Urban Tacos opened near the South Beach Quarter, and this is a famous Mexican food franchise from South Korea. Burritos and nachos are also very popular here, from chains like Senor Taco and MexOut.
American food can be found everywhere in Singapore, and I guess this is a great thing for people who don’t want to try Asian food when they visit the Little Red Dot. You of course have your Burger Kings and your McDonald’s restaurants on almost every corner, but if you’re prepared to pay a higher price for your meal, then you will notice that Singapore has some of the tastiest American-style burgers in the world – there really is a burger war here at the moment (Butcher’s Club is one of the very best)!
They say that eating is the national pastime for the average Singaporean, and who can blame them when such a wide array of top-quality food from around the globe is available on their doorstep?!