Singapore Country Guide

Eat

 
 

Malay Cuisine

The Malays were Singapore's original inhabitants and despite now being outnumbered by the Chinese, their distinctive cuisine is popular to this day. Characterised by heavy use of spices, most Malay dishes are curries, stews or dips of one kind or another. Actually many Malay foods are local adaptations of dishes originating from the Chinese, Indians and Indonesians. Rice is the staple food but the Malays have also adopted from the Chinese, noodles prepared and cooked Malay style of course.

 
 
 
 
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Nasi lemak by Jpatokal

Nasi Lemak
Nasi lemak is the definitive Malay breakfast, consisting at its simplest of rice cooked in light coconut milk, some ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts, a slice of cucumber and a dab of chilli paste on the side. Additional orders could include fried chicken, beef or fried fish.

Rendang
Rendang, occasionally dubbed "dry curry", is meat stewed for hours on end in a spicy (but rarely fiery hot) coconut-based curry until almost all water has evaporated and curry turned into a paste. Beef rendang is the most common, although chicken and mutton are spotted sometimes.

Sambal
Sambal is the generic term for chilli paste or sauces of many kinds. Sambal belacan is a common condiment made by mixing chilli with the shrimp paste belacan, while the popular dish sambal sotong consists of squid (sotong) cooked in red chilli sauce.

Satay
Satay are barbecued skewers of meat and typically chicken, mutton or beef. What separates satay from your ordinary kebab is the spices used to season the meat and the slightly spicy peanut sauce used for dipping.

Mee Rebus
Mee rebus is a dish of egg noodles in spicy but slightly sweet and thicken gravy. A hard boiled egg, spoonful of chopped vegetables, few small cubes of tofu and a slice of lime are usually added to complete the dish.

Mee Soto
Mee soto is another egg noodle dish dipped in Malay-style chicken soup or clear broth. Added to the dish include shredded chicken meat or thin slices of beef, bean sprouts and type fried mash potato.

Otak-Otak
Otah Otak is a type of fish cake made of minced fish (usually mackerel), coconut milk, chilli and various other spices, and grilled in a banana or coconut leaf. It is eaten as a snack or to accompany other dishes like nasi lemak.

Pisang Goreng
Pisang Goreng is a popular snack food of bananas dipped in batter and then deep fried. It is often consumed as a snack especially in the afternoon. Pisang goreng is also popularly consumed in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Malay Sweet Desserts   
Malay desserts, especially the sweet pastries and jellies (kuih or kueh) use coconut milk and palm sugar (gula melaka) as the main ingredient, bearing a distinct resemblance to those found in Thailand.
Despite their wildly varying appearance, Malay sweet desserts tend to taste rather similar.

 
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