Last month, I had the pleasure of taking a very quick unplanned trip to Singapore. I don’t really remember what Singapore looks like. What it feels like to stay and travel on my own. I mean, my grandma & my mom are coming too. But we didn’t really catch up together very much there. They have a plan, which doesn’t sound so interesting to us. So we (Karen, Vanessa, Valerie, and me) decided to take a walk by ourselves.
Before I took my flight there, I tried to recall what I did in Singapore last 2009. There’s not much I could remember. Of course I do remembered taking a walk in Orchard Road, and having a plate (or more?) chicken rice for lunch. But now I’m totally different. Honestly, I don’t feel like I enjoy shopping as much as my mom does, I know that. I mean, if I wanna go out for shopping, I could do that in Jakarta. There are plenty of fancy malls there.
So here’s the thing.
I love food, and I didn’t come to Singapore to shop. I came to eat.
I found that Singapore offers a great amount of varied foods I can hardly find in Indonesia. And I can’t explain what kind of food it is. It can be Chinese, Malay, Indian, Indonesian, Portuguese, Taiwan, or sometimes the food is even influenced by other culture and ingredients. It’s quite hard to convey the magnitude of its food, actually. But I am addicted to them.
1. Traditional Kaya Toast
What I miss the most about Singaporean cuisine is their traditional kaya toast. And that’s what I ate as soon as I arrived in Changi airport.
I had a soft boiled egg, kaya toast, and milk tea for brunch. Okay, they don’t call it ‘milk tea’, but just ‘tea’ although they will definitely put the milk in your tea before asking you first. So, if you want your tea to be plain, you can ask for Tea-O (with sugar) or Tea-O-Kosong (without milk and sugar). Or, if you want a cup of coffee instead, you could as for Kopi (with milk and sugar), Kopi-O (with sugar only), or Kopi-O-Kosong (without milk and sugar). Strange, isn’t it? Well, that’s Singapore.
So, this so called Kaya Set is the most common traditional Singaporean breakfast. I don’t know where they got this breakfast idea. Not from China (I’ve been there and there’s no way I could find this delicate toast), not Indonesia, not Malaysia, and not even India. So it comes from Singapore I supposed.
You can easily find this kind of breakfast in any kopi tiam (咖啡店 or coffee shop) in Singapore. I mean, the traditional one. You don’t wanna end up fighting with the barista in Starbucks for asking a kaya toast.
2. Carrot Cake
Next up is carrot cake. No, it’s not a creamy cake that tastes like a sweet creamy birthday cake. And I don’t even find a slice of carrot in it. Carrot cake here is actually a turnip cake which is fried with eggs, onion, and sweet soy sauce. An additional of chili sauce would be just perfect. I don’t know where I could find a savory carrot cake in Jakarta. The only place I ever found it is in Kopitiam, Central Park Mall. But it tastes kinda different and it was a little bit too thick.
Too bad I didn’t take a photo of the carrot cake I ate, but seriously, you’ve got to try this one!
3. Oyster Omelette / oh jian
Oyster Omelette is one of my favorite too! But I only eat oyster omelette like 1 or 2 times a year. Besides it is greasy and high in cholesterol, I can barely find a good oyster omelette in my country.
There are two types of oh jian here : the one where the oysters are mixed in a flour paste and the one where it’s just the oysters and the egg. I like the second one much much better.
Here in Singapore, you can find oh jian in almost any hawkers centers. But they say the best oyster omelette in Singapore is the one at Ah Chuan Fried Oyster Omelette (Blk 22 Toa Payoh Lorong 7). Quite frankly, I don’t go there since I didn’t know exactly where it is and unfortunately I couldn’t find it, so I bought mine in Newton Circus Food Center. And it tastes just good.
4. Chicken/Pork Rice
Born and raised in a Chinese family, I often had hainanese chicken rice as my lunch or dinner (or even both). Turns out, hainanese chicken rice is (also) one of my favorite meal so far. I even cooked my own chicken rice several time lately, and I’m proud it always turns out to be… edible.
Huff, okay! So…
Chicken rice is actually one of the reasons I decided to revisit Singapore. It’s like it is the most famous and popular dish in there. You can find it in hawker centers, in the food court, in restaurant, or… I don’t know. You name it. You can actually find it anywhere!
However, if you wish to try the most favorite one, you should go to Tian Tian Chicken Rice (Maxwell Rd Food Centre) or Boon Tong Kee (Balestier Rd). Most Singaporeans recommend these places.
Remember, you should never leave Singapore without having a plate (or 2, 3, 4…) of chicken rice before. Don’t miss it!
5. Chicken Curry
Chicken Curry is the common food in South Asia, especially India. But here in Singapore, chicken curry is so easy to find. I had mine in 1983 A Taste of Nanyang. But the one at Killiney Kopitiam is also the one you shouldn’t miss.
Anyway, if you happens to stop over at 1983 A Taste of Nanyang, you should also order their Nasi Lemak!
Craving for hot food in a rainy day? Chicken Congee is the best choice for you! I had a big bowl of hot chicken congee in a cold rainy afternoon. It was served with chicken and ginger slices. And it was… so… tempting. Anyway, I left my phone at the hotel so I didn’t take any photos of it.
7. Roti Prata, “Finger licking good”
Roti Prata is basically a fried pancake from India. It is served with a sprinkle of sugar or curry. I loveeee Roti Prata, and you could find it anywhere in Singapore. Gosh, I can’t believe I say that for every kind of foods I write about.
Forget about eating roti prata with your fork or spoon. You know what? The best way to eat it is by dunking it to the curry soup with your fingers!
8. $1 Ice Cream
Who doesn’t want a cheap ice cream for a hot sunny day?
Well, this famous one dollar ice cream can easily be found in any tourist area in Singapore. Forget about your diet plan, and just buy one with bread, cone, or wafer.
Mocha chip is highly recommended!
So, those are the foods I miss the most from Singapore. Not to mention char kway teow, chicken curry puff, chilli crab, and others. I’m gonna visit Singapore again for sure to fulfill my cravings!
Have a nice weekend, and Happy Easter! 🙂