Are you visiting Singapore for a few days? If so then time is short for there is so many different food dishes to try. Singapore is famed for the depth and breadth of its food scene, with many local adaptations of food from around the region. Each has been perfected over time and are distinctly Singaporean.
Yet, no Singapore food tour can be complete without its signature spicy dishes. Singaporeans do surely love their spicy foods and some of their best cuisine come loaded with spice. In this article, we will be covering 3 local favourites that you must try during your time on this sunny island.
The Curry Fish Head
Fish head curry is a dish that exemplifies the innovation of Singapore’s food scene that was spurred on by the inputs of immigrants from different cultures. It features the fish head, a delicacy among the then Chinese immigrants, but is served in a blend of spices of a typical South Indian fish curry.
The dish was the brainchild of an Indian immigrant, M. J. Gomez who sold it at a stall at Sophia Road in 1949. Interestingly, fish head is not really popular among the Indian community. Rather, Gomez sold the dish in order to attract and please Chinese customers. Through his innovation, he found that the fish head went well with a variation of South Indian fish curry.
Since then, the dish has undergone further experimentation, with the chef Hoong Ah Kong introducing a currently widely used recipe in 1951. In this variation, the fish head is steamed first before being served with the curry.
As a result of demand from the public coupled with a mixed heritage, fish head curry is nowadays served in both Chinese and Indian restaurants in Singapore.
The Chilli Crab
The Chilli Crab is one of the most recognisable Singapore dishes, with it being listed as Singapore’s national dish alongside Chicken Rice. This dish consists of mud crabs deep fried in a sweet, savoury and spicy chilli gravy. Officially, the Chilli crab was invented by Cher Yam Tian in the 1950s when she added a bottle of chilli sauce to stir fried crabs.
Since then, the chilli crab has undergone several reiterations, with the gravy being refined or altered in each approach. Today, the dish is readily available in seafood restaurants across Singapore. Its popularity has in fact led to spin offs of other unrelated dishes that have adopted its highly characteristic taste.
The Laksa is a Peranakan dish that is believed to have come about due to intermarriage. The Peranakans were born from the marriage between Chinese male immigrants and Batak or Balinese women. So popular were the food that was created from the fusion, that it is commonly called nonya food.
Laksa is one such nonya dish that has become ingrained into the fabric of Singapore’s food scene. Typically consisting of either assam or curry soup base, it is a favourite dish during lunch.
Learning To Cook Singapore’s Cuisine
There is no better way to appreciate and take home the local cuisine than to attend cooking lessons Singapore. Find out about the history of each dish, its ingredients, recipe intricacies and variations that you can try for yourself.