Friday, August 3, 2012

Singapore: Some key homecooked dishes

This summer, I spent 10 days vacationing around Southeast Asia. Growing up in Singapore, I have had the opportunity to visit many countries in the area (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia) but two countries are still left on my to-do list. Laos and Myanmar. Seeing that the latter only just recently opened up its borders, we decided it was best to wait a year until things settle down and for infrastructure to be developed before visiting Myanmar, so Laos it was. As part of our trip, we decided to spend a couple days in Singapore to visit my dad & get my fill of all the old familiar Singaporean foods that I enjoyed as a kid.

Most people have heard about how amazing Singaporean cuisine is: diverse, spicy & flavorful. There are so many must-have dishes that I was unable to sample all of them over the 4 days that I spent in the city. Singaporeans really take our food seriously. It's all we think and talk about.
Some of the best food that I had was homecooked food - I was spoiled with some great local food, made by our awesome Indonesian housekeeper: 

Laksa is one of my favorite Singapore dishes. Thick noodles are served in a spicy coconut soup with shrimp, fish cakes, boiled eggs, fried tofu, bean sprouts.. and if you want an authentic version you have to add cockles.

Chicken rice is a Singapore staple. Boiled chicken is served with fragrant rice and condiments. This is the soy sauce version.

Chicken feet, marinated in the same soy sauce as the chicken rice.

Gado gado is an Indonesian salad with loads of boiled veggies. The typical ingredients include cubed boiled potatoes, fried tofu, water spinach (kang kong), bean sprouts, hard boiled eggs, but you can also add cabbage and young jackfruit. The best part of the salad is the spicy peanut sauce. This sauce makes any vegetable taste good.
Chee cheong fun / rice noodle roll
In Cantonese cuisine, this is typically stuffed with bbq pork or shrimp and doused with soy sauce. This Singaporean version is cooked with caramelized onions and topped with dark soy sauce and sesame seeds. The shrimp is served on top of the rice noodles instead of embedded inside the roll.

Chwee kueh is a great breakfast dish which comprises of steamed rice cake, topped with pickled radishes and spicy sambal. So good - love the savory and sour radish topping.
Indonesian chicken is marinated with lemongrass, garlic, honey, chili and baked in the oven. Served with a spicy sambal sauce. The chicken turned out real juicy and flavorful.

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