Saturday, July 24, 2010

Check Out the Street Food in Singapore

Cheong Chin Nam Street, Singapore

It is a food lover's paradise. If you love to eat you have to be there. Yes, we are talking about Singapore but not just of the glitzy, premium restaurants that are found in the city. Rather, we are talking about the street food--ranging right from the hawkers, foods centers to the numerous coffee shops-that sell food uniquely Singapore, be it Thai, Malay or Indian Cuisine.

To get a taste of why Singapore has the reputation of being Asia in microcosm you must sample the various kinds of food present there. My journey began with the Malay Kebab dipped in spicy peanut sauce that I had for dinner during the first day of my visit to Singapore. Being a firm believer of the fact that one of the best ways to understand a country is to taste its cuisine, I was determined to sample different kinds of food-items best known in Singapore-every day. And being an avid chicken lover I had many pleasures in store cause Singapore is a country where chicken dishes seem to be an all time favourite. So as I merrily gorged away chicken and onion pancake or indulged myself with Gong Bao Ji Ding, which is fried chicken with dried chilli and cashew or even tried out the simple chicken rice; I felt that as a tourist finally I was getting a grasp on the pulse of the nation.

For one thing comes out rather clear when you try Singaporean food. Though they might have an Indian origin yet they have been ideally Singaporeanised giving it an unique blended taste that you can find only in this small island city. Like Roti Prata, an all time favourite breakfast dish in Singapore. This differs not only in name from its Indian counterpart but also subtly as far as the taste is concerned, being a wee bit sweeter than we have at home. Or the curry puff that is an all-time favourite with the Singaporeans. It is difficult to say whether this delicious item was inspired by the Indian samosa or by English Cornish Pastries, yet it can be said for sure that whatever inspired it, it is unequivocally Singaporean.

It is rather a difficult job to recommend a list of must have items that you should indulge yourself in when you are in Singapore. Well going by my own personal culinary experience, I would definitely recommend Hainanese Chicken Rice, which is boiled chicken, served with chili sauce and aromatic rice cooked in chicken broth. Simple, economical yet delightful in taste, this dish definitely is a must try. The Cha Shao Fun, which is slices of barbecued pork with rice and Soya gravy or Hokkien Hae mee, which is nothing butboiled pork and shrimp together with fish cake and bean sprouts in a spiced shrimp soup are a few of the dishes worth try. And if you are a seafood lover there is much to choose from. Try out deep fried turmeric fish, which is crispy up to the bones and can be enjoyed either as a snack or with coconut rice. Sting ray, a spicy preparation of fish that is grilled over charcoal and served wrapped in banana dish is another dish that you possibly cannot give a miss. Even as deserts are concerned there is much to choose from. Be it O Bee Muay or black rice porridge, Tao Suan or Soya been curd; you can take your pick.

And now where to have these dishes? Well the food centers seem to be the better options. True, in every shopping malls you find the food courts that are air-conditioned and a much more comfortable place to eat' but if you want to imbibe the true flavors of this city rich in diversity the place you should head for is the food/hawker centers. For less than five Singapore dollars you would be able to enjoy a full meal at the hawker center which is basically a collection of at least 20 food stalls at the same location which serves a plethora of dishes ranging from, rice to desserts, from vegetarian to halal. This is a very casual place to eat and it is the quality of food that draws the people here. One of the best-known hawkers centers in the city is the center at Newton Circus, which is always bustling with people, and open till wee hours of the morning. In Chinatown, the food center at the Peoples Park, or the hawker center off Tanglin Road are few of the places that serves quality but inexpensive food worth a try. Apart from hawker centers, while visiting the place you can also drop into the umpteen numbers of Kopitiam or coffee shops. Apart from tasting the freshly brewed coffee you could also order for the traditional toasted bread grilled over charcoal with kaya (coconut egg jam as you plan your schedule for the days outing.

The best thing about Singaporean food is probably the fact that not only are they delightful and inexpensive but also even while trying out the local foods at the hawker centers you do not need to worry about hygiene. Unlike many other Asian countries where travelers are forced to stay off tempting street food keeping in mind the hygiene factor, in Singapore it need not be so as all the stalls have an enviable hygiene record. So next time when you are in Singapore indulge yourself and enjoy a mind boggling variety of street food at a bargain price

No comments:

Post a Comment