Food Culture in Singapore

24 September 2021

An absolute delight for foodies and worth visiting for its cuisine alone, Singapore has one of the world’s most colourful, varied and exciting dining scenes thanks to the city-state’s vibrant multi-ethnic culture and heritage. 

Delving into Singapore’s culinary scene is a great way to get under the skin of this modern, vibrant nation and will take you through some of its most striking areas. The bayfront area of Singapore is an architectural masterpiece, from the iconic Marina Bay Sands, home to the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool, to Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, a world-class performing arts centre which has earned the nickname “the Durian” thanks to its close resemblance to the South East Asian delicacy.

Singapore’s multi-ethnic heritage can not only be seen in its food but also throughout the city in its array of song and dance performances which draw influence from Chinese, Malay and Indian heritage, as well as in its many art galleries such as National Gallery Singapore.  


There’s so much choice of things to eat and places to try them out in that it’s difficult to know where to start. Options range from an incredible 49 Michelin-starred restaurants dotted around the city to its world-renowned hawker stalls. Many of the latter are congregated in bustling open-air food courts selling a vast array of delicious edibles including Malay noodles and Indian curry puffs for just a couple of dollars apiece.

 Indeed, Singapore’s street food is so very special that it was added to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2020. We’ve listed some of the must-try meals and snacks to be had in Singapore.


Roti Prata

A South-Indian flatbread flavoured with ghee and usually served with fish or mutton curry. It’s magical to watch stall-holders spin and stretch the dough before throwing it onto the hot griddle to achieve the right mixture of chewy and crispy.


Chilli Crab

A much-loved dish in Singapore’s seafood restaurants, usually using mud crabs for their sweet and juicy flesh. It’s served with mantou – fried or steamed buns for dipping in the sauce of tomatoes and chilli paste thickened with ribbons of beaten eggs.


Fish Head Curry

A unique-to-Singapore delicacy comprising the head of a red snapper in a rich spicy gravy, with vegetables such as okra and aubergine. You’ll see it in Indian, Chinese, Malay and Peranakan restaurants, often brought to the table still bubbling in a clay pot.



Chicken, beef and mutton skewers grilled over a charcoal fire, popular for communal eating. They’re usually served with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce but at some stalls they might come topped with pineapple purée or kecap manis (sweet soy sauce).


Chicken Rice

A Hainanese dish of poached chicken served with fragrant rice, spicy chilli and ginger paste. One of the most popular dishes in Singapore, it can be found everywhere from hawker centres to high-end restaurants.



A noodle soup laksa broth with spices tempered by coconut milk. The various kinds include Penang, Sarawak and Katong – the latter the most popular in Singapore, inspired by the Peranakan cultures and topped with the likes of cockles, prawns and fishcake.


Nasi Lemak

An aromatic rice infused with coconut milk and pandan leaves, eaten with deep-fried fish or chicken wings, fish paste, local anchovies, peanuts, eggs and sambal. You’ll find it in different versions, including Malay and Chinese.



A dark and sticky local salad with vegetables, fruits and dough fritters, garnished by chopped peanuts and ginger flowers. It’s typically sold by Chinese hawkers.


Fried Kway Teow

A wok-fried dish of flat rice noodles and yellow wheat noodles with lup cheong (Chinese waxed sausage), egg, fishcake and beansprouts. It was a favourite among the labourers, farmers and fishermen of Chaozhou in China’s Guangdong province, where it originated.


Kaya Toast

A simple but delicious breakfast or snack or charcoal-grilled or toasted bread with butter and a traditional jam made from coconut and eggs. It’s often accompanied by soft-boiled eggs, soy sauce and white pepper.


 To find out more about Singapore and to book your holiday now, call me today.

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