Singapore Country Guide



Chinese Cuisine

Many of the Chinese food eaten in Singapore originated from southern China, particularly from the Fujian and Guangdong provinces. While "authentic" fare is certainly available, especially in fancier restaurants, the daily fare served in hawker centres has absorbed a number of tropical touches, most notably the fairly heavy use of chilli and the Malay fermented shrimp paste belacan as condiments. Noodles can also be served not just in soup but fried with a variety of condiments and spices.

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Fried Hokkien mee by Jpatokal

Steamboat, also known as hot pot, is do-it-yourself soup based dish Chinese style. You get a pot of broth bubbling on a tabletop burner, pick meat, fish and veggies to your liking from a menu or buffet table, then cook it in the boiling soup according to your liking. When finished, add in noodles or ask for rice to fill you up. This usually requires a minimum of two people, and the more the merrier.

Yong Tau Foo
Yong tau foo literally means "fermented tofu" but more interesting than it sounds. The diner selects their favorites from a vast assortment of tofu, fish balls, assorted seafood and vegetables. They are then sliced into bite-size pieces, cooked briefly in boiling water and then served either in broth as soup or "dry" with the broth in a separate bowl. The dish can be eaten by itself or with any choice of noodles. Accompaniments include spicy chili sauce and sweet sauce for dipping.

Char Kway Teow
Char kway teow is the quintessential Singapore-style fried noodle dish, consisting of flat noodle strips fried in thick brown sauce with strips of fishcake, veggie or two, cockles and/or shrimp added. It's cheap (if eating at the hawker centres), tasty and filling.

Chee Cheong Fun
Chee cheong fun is a favorite breakfast consisting of lasagna-type rice noodles rolled up and various types of fried meats including fishballs and fried tofu. The dish is usually topped with a generous amount of sauce.

Hainanese Chicken Rice
Hainanese chicken rice is steamed or roasted chicken flavoured with soy sauce and sesame oil served on a bed of fragrant rice that has been cooked in chicken broth and flavoured with ginger and garlic. Often accompanied with chilli sauce made from crushed fresh chillis, ginger, garlic and thick dark soy sauce as well as some cucumber and a small bowl of chicken broth.

Prawn Noodles
Prawn noodles is an dark-brown prawn broth served with egg noodles and a giant tiger prawn or two on top. The best versions are highly addictive and will leave you slurping up the last MSG-laden (probably from the shrimp heads) drops.

Hokkien Mee
Hokkien mee is a style of soupy fried noodles in light, fragrant stock with prawns and other seafood. Oddly, it bears little resemblance to the Kuala Lumpur or Penang (both in Malaysia) version of the dish.

Wonton Mee
Wonton mee is thin noodles topped with wantan dumplings. Unlike the soupy Hong Kong version, it is usually served "dry" in soy sauce and chilli.

Fishball Noodles
Fishball noodles come in many forms but the noodle variety most often seen is mee pok, which are flat egg noodles. The noodles are tossed in chilli sauce and accompanied by a side bowl of fishballs in soup.

Tau Huay
Tau huay is probably the most common traditional Chinese dessert, a bowl of tofu curds in syrup and served either hot or cold. A recent innovation that has swept the island is a delicious custard-like version ("soft tau huay") which includes no syrup and is extremely soft despite being solid.

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