We know Singapore cuisine mostly by what some have called the city state’s national dish: Hainanese Chicken Rice. It’s certainly popular for a reason—a perfect combo of wonderfully seasoned boiled chicken and rice cooked in the stock of the same chicken.
But If you peer deeper into Singapore’s culinary culture, you’ll discover a world of flavors that are just as delicious and satisfying. Here are some of them:
Bak Kuh Teh. An aromatic and flavorful clear broth made of pork bone and tea. It is similar to our local bulalo but with a more pronounced flavor despite the absence of all the veggie accompaniments of what we are used to in a soup.
Chilli Crabs. Once described as “delightfully messy,” the dish is made from mud crabs stir-fried in onions, garlic, and ginger and smothered in a thickened tomato sauce and spice paste mixture. The “messy” part comes from the practice of eating the dish with your hands.
Braised Dark Vinegar Pork. Reminiscent of our own adobo, but more pungent and with a fuller-flavored sauce.
Fried Prawn Hokkien Noodles. Also known as Hokkien Mee, it is a popular hawker dish that’s like our pancit and uses egg noodles and rice noodles stir-fried with shrimp and pork.
Laksa. Another national dish and said to be among the most-missed by Singaporeans who live abroad. Rice noodles are flavored with coconut milk and made more delicious by dried shrimp and chili and topped with fresh prawns, sliced fishcake and cockles.
Short of flying to Singapore, you can sample the dishes above at the ongoing Singapore food festival at Dusit Thani Hotel’s Basix restaurant.
The dishes are prepared by Chef Liew Tian Heong of Meritus Mandarin Orchard’s Chatterbox restaurant. The fest features an assortment of cold dishes, noodles, soups, rice, hot mains and desserts. Yes, and there’s Hainanese Chicken Rice too, if you want.
Not savvy to this kind of cuisine? The top two flavors you can expect to taste are lemongrass and blue ginger.
The Singapore food fest is ongoing until August 16. Gift vouchers and a Singapore trip for two will also be raffled off to guests.
For reservations, call Benjarong at +632 238 8888.
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Erica Paredes has been working in the publishing industry for almost a decade as a fashion and beauty editor, newspaper columnist, stylist and make-up artist. Nowadays she juggles her time between food and fashion, beauty and travel plus mommy duties to her 8 year old daughter.
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