Food From Around The World: Five Singaporean Dishes We Love
Singaporean cuisine is a beautiful fusion of varying cultures and dishes from around Asia. Because of its location – being in the middle of most trade routes in Southeast Asia, culinary influences from immigrants, maritime traders, and travellers from China, Malaysia, India, and Indonesia has greatly influenced Singaporean cuisine. Through the years, Singaporeans made these dishes their own and gave it their unique touch. Its cuisine has become popular around the world.
Hainanese Chicken Rice
As its name suggests, Hainanese chicken rice originated from the Hainan province in China. It was inspired by the traditional Hainan dish, Wenchang chicken, that is named after the native chicken breed they use in making the dish. Over the years, this plate found its way to Singapore where it has been tweaked and perfected into the recipe that we know and love today.
Hainanese chicken rice is a very simple and straightforward dish, made with poached chicken and rice cooked in chicken broth. The key to a good Hainanese chicken is the quality of the poultry, and its accompanying sauces, of course. It is also important to use good chicken broth for the rice.
Contrasting the Hainanese chicken rice is the very sinful and indulgent Singaporean dish, chilli crab. Traditionally, it is made with mud crab but because of its versatile sauce that is sweet, spicy, and sour, it goes incredibly well with any kind of meaty crab or seafood. The sauce is most definitely the star of the dish that is made with a mix of fresh and dried chillis, ginger, shallots, fermented soybean, and tomato sauce. It is usually served with the pillowy mantou buns perfect for dipping into the thick, red sauce.
Although laksa is largely found in other Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, Singapore also prides itself in making one of the best laksa recipes in the world. Commonly known as curry laksa, it is made with rice noodles, shrimp or other seafood such as cockles or clams, and is finished with a thick and creamy curry with coconut milk sauce. What makes Singaporean laksa unique is the addition of shrimp paste which further enriches the dish and gives it a more savoury taste.
Another dish that originated from a province of China is hokkien mee. Many believe that immigrants from Fujian brought this dish with them when travelled across Southeast Asia. Other countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia also have their own versions of hokkien mee, but the Singaporean version consists of egg noodles with bits of pork, prawns and squid. It is made with a flavourful, concentrated stock from seafood and chicken or pork. What makes this also unique is the generous addition of fat through fried lard. Of course, it is finished with sambal sauce (Singaporean chilli sauce) and a few squeezes of lime.
Char kway teow
Char kway teow is found almost everywhere in Singapore, from food stalls, hole-in-the-walls, and even restaurants. It's a stir-fried dish made from rice noodles and is usually eaten for breakfast. To bring out and intensify the aromatic and smokey flavour of char kway teow is cooked in extremely high heat using a wok. Aside from veggies and prawns, Chinese sausage and fish cakes are also commonly incorporated in the dish.
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