Before I start, I want to declare that I’m a Malaysian, and very proud of my Malaysian cuisine. To me, we will always win over our Singaporean neighbours, when it comes to food.
However, everytime when I visit Singapore, I find myself frequenting some of the eateries below. So, let’s get started, my Singapore must eats,
1. Katong laksa
I’m a big fan of laksa! The late Anthony Bourdain was once asked the question “Penang, Sarawak, Johor or Singapore laksa?”, and Bourdain single word answer was “Sarawak”. And I couldn’t agree more!
Anyway, this post is not about which is my favourite laksa. But, Katong laksa, which is similar to Johor laksa. It is vermicelli (rice noodles) served in dried shrimp based curry soup with coconut milk, shelled prawns, fish cakes and bean sprout. It is always eaten with a spoon only, no chopsticks; because the noodles have been cut short.
One of my favourite stalls is Dragon Tree Katong laksa, Albert street (just behind Sim Lim Square, near Rochor MRT). The soup is milky and not too spicy, with the option to increase spiciness by adding more “sambal” (chilli paste). I have always come back, and it is consistent every time.
Another option is Sungei road laksa, which has more comfortable seating, but always has a long queue.
2. Frog leg porridge
On almost every food blogs that writes about Singapore cuisine, the frog leg porridge Eminent frog porridge on Geylang road, is a must try especially if you haven’t tried one before.
Don’t be put off by the idea of it, frog leg is also quite common in French cuisine. The texture is similar to chicken. When cooked right, it is tender and flavourful. At Eminent, I always order a plain frog leg porridge and a Kung Pao frog leg claypot (sweet soya sauce, dried chilli, and spring onions).
3. Tiong Bahru bakery
Being a big fan of French pastries, I never miss out on Tiong Bahru bakery (could be also due to the fact that we cannot find any good patisserie in KL).
The baguettes are very authentic French, crispy on the crust, chewy on the inside with abit of elasticity. The croissant is also good.
But, the one thing you must try, is the Kouign Amann (layers of puff pastries with butter and sugar). Yes, it sounds sinful, but if you feel guilty after having it, you can always talk a stroll around the quaint and peaceful Tiong Bahru neighbourhood to burn off the extra calories.
4. Kaya toast and half boiled eggs
This is also a very typical Malaysian breakfast. I remember when I was younger, my grandmother will make me 2 half boiled eggs, and 1 sausage, and jokingly told me it is for 100% (I know, Asian families and their obsessions with perfect exam scores), along with “kaya” (coconut jam) on toasts.
You can find other more traditional, old school, family run establishments. But, for me, I always find myself patronising Toast Box, which is a chain that has been very consistent and good. I prefer Toast Box of course for its convenience. You can find it in almost all shopping malls, some MRT stations.
5. Wine Connection
And last, when I feel like to drink, I almost always return to Wine Connection. I particularly like the branch at Robertson walk, because it also has the most amazing cheese bar!
I’m a wine person, not a fan of beer or liquor. And wines in Malaysia cost a bomb! At Wine Connection, I can get a nice bottle of French red at about 60 SGD, of which I have to pay at least RM 300 (100 SGD) in Malaysia!
Besides its great wine selection, it also has a great variety of cheeses. Let’s just say even my French friends approve!
Other honorary mentions
There are of course many other must-eat(s) in Singapore, as you can find on many other food blogs. However, in my humble personal opinion, it is either I find than average, and overrated, or I know I can find much better alternatives in Malaysia. Below are some of my comments,
- Bah Kut Teh (pork bone herbal soup): I am never a fan of Singaporean Bah Kut Teh. It is more peppery compared to the Malaysian version. And honestly, you can never beat those from Klang, Malaysia.
- Chilli crabs (in sweet spicy sauce): It is good, but I personally prefer Salted egg crabs. And also because it is way too expensive in Singapore compared to what you pay in Malaysia.
- Bak Chor Mee (flat noodles served with minced pork in light soya sauce and vinegar): I tried it, and I like it too, just not to the extreme of troubling myself to hunt for one.
- Chwee Kueh (rice cake topped with preserved raddish): Really not a fan.
- Hokkien mee (noodles in dark soya sauce served with pork and lard): Nope! Don’t even mention it! It is Hokkien mee only if it is in Malaysia!
- Nasi lemak (coconut milk steamed rice): Singapore nasi lemak is always served with fried chicken wings, which is not what I am used to. In Malaysia, we have it with chicken rendang (not the crispy one).
- Chicken rice: Yes, I tried the Michelin 1-star hawker stall, Liao Fan Hong Kong soya sauce chicken rice in Chinatown Complex. It is good no doubt. The chicken is tender. The soya sauce reminds me of those I had in Hong Kong old town. That said, I will not queue more than 15 minutes for this. Note: I went there on a weekday 2pm, and there’s no queue at all.