Singapore Food that is as Local as Singlish

Singapore Food that is as Local as Singlish

We are ordinary Singaporeans writing about food we eat. We do not intend to start another squabble with our friendly neighbours about the ultimate origin of local dishes we love. However, since we are celebrating Singapore National Day, we should be granted the indulgence to list Singapore food we think is as local as Singlish, and where we can go to try some.

Kaya Toast

Charcoal-grilled or toasted slices of bread with kaya and butter is a simple dish that is much loved by many Singaporeans. It is as local as Singlish. Singlish is derived from English, which we obviously did not invent, but is uniquely Singaporean. In a similar way, kaya toast is very Singaporean even though there were bread and toast long before Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles.

Singapore breakfast at Killiney Kopitiam

Kaya Toast is credited to the Hainanese run coffeshops of Singapore and Malaya. One such coffeshops was Kheng Hoe Heng Coffeeshop at 67 Killiney Road, which was established in 1919, and is now known as Killiney Kopitiam.

Kaya Toast

10 Minute Kaya Recipe
How To Make Kaya Toast

Places to try Kaya Toast

Killiney Kopitiam
67 Killiney Road
Singapore 239525
Tel: +65 6734 3910 / +65 6734 9648

Ya Kun Kaya Toast

Tong Ah Eating House
35 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089142
Tel: +65 6223 5083
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Chilli Crab

Chilli Crab (là jiāo páng xiè, 辣椒螃蟹) is considered one of the national dishes of Singapore.

Roland Restaurant Chilli Crab

According to Singapore Infopedia, Chilli crab was invented by a pushcart hawker, Cher Yam Tian, in the mid 1950s. She and her husband later opened a restaurant in 1962, called Palm Beach, at 514 Upper East Coast Road.

One of the places to enjoy Chilli Crab is Roland Restaurant, which is operated by the son of Mdm Cher.

Hua Yu Wee Chilli Crab

Chilli Crab Recipe

Places to try chilli crab:

Roland Restaurant
Block 89, Marine Parade Central, # 06 – 750
Singapore 440089
Tel: +65 6440 8205

Hua Yu Wee
462 Upper East Coast Road, Singapore 466508
Tel: +65 6442 9313

Jumbo Seafood

Soon Kueh

Soon Kueh (笋粿) literally means “bamboo shoots cake”. The dumpling-like Teochew snack has filling of shredded bamboo shoots, turnip and dried shrimps wrapped in a rice-tapioca flour skin.

Soon Kueh

The simple soon kueh has been enjoyed by Singaporeans for many generations. There are different variations of soon kueh, with some even excluding the “soon” or “bambo shoots” from the filling.

Soon Kueh

Soon Kueh Recipe

Places to try soon kueh:

Yong’s Teochew Kueh
1022 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 534760
150 East Coast Road, Singapore 428837
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Ah Yee’s Soon Kueh
124 Tembeling Road, Singapore 423623
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Fish Head Curry 

The head of a fish stewed in Indian curry with assorted vegetables is a dramatic dish called Fish Head Curry in Singapore.

Fish head curry at Samy's Curry Dempsey

The article in Singapore Infopedia said that fish head curry was the brainchild of an Indian immigrant, M. J. Gomez, and was first sold from a stall at Sophia Road in 1949.

Fish Head Curry Recipe

Places to try Fish Head Curry

Banana Leaf Apolo
54 Race Course Road, Singapore 218564
Tel: +65 6293 8682

Muthu’s Curry Dempsey
Blk 7 Dempsey Road, #01-01 Singapore 249671
Tel: +65 6474 5128

Samy’s Curry Restaurant
25 Dempsey Road, Singapore 247691
Tel: +65 6472 2080

Coffee Pork Ribs

The popular Coffee Pork Ribs is said to be invented by Singaporean celebrity chef Sam Leong. The best place to enjoy the uniquely Singaporean dish must be at Forrest helmed by chef Sam Leong. However, you can also get very good coffee ribs in many Singapore food outlets including at zhi char restaurants like Keng Eng Kee Seafood.

Coffee Pork Ribs

Coffee Pork Ribs Receipe

Forest 森
Equarius Hotel
16 Sentosa Gateway #01-521 & 522,
Singapore 098133
Tel: +65 6577 7788

Keng Eng Kee Seafood 瓊榮記海鲜
124 Bukit Merah Lane 1
#01-136, Singapore 150124
65 62721038

Indian Rojak

Rojak in Malay means “mixed”, and Indian Rojak is reputedly created by Indian Muslim hawkers in Singapore.

Geylang Serai Indian Rojak

Indian rojak is representative of Singapore food in that it has Malay, Chinese and Indian elements in the dish; and is closely associated with the very ang moh name of Waterloo. Indian rojak became associated with Waterloo Street because of the rojak stalls lining the street up till 1970s.

Geylang Serai Indian Rojak

Indian Rojak Recipe

Places to try Indian Rojak

Siraj Famous Waterloo Street Indian Rojak 
Albert Centre Market & Food Centre
270 Queen Street #01-120 , Singapore 180270

Sabeena Indian Food
#01-29 Chang Cheng Mee Wah
261 Waterloo Street, Singapore 180261
Tel: +65 81395647

Rojak & Mee Siam
Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre #02-126
1 Geylang Serai, Singapore 402001

Roti Prata

Roti means ‘bread’, and prata or paratha means ‘flat’ in Hindi. No one can be sure of the origin of roti prata. In Malaysia, the flatbread dish is known as roti canai, and it has been suggested that canai refers to Chennai, the Indian city at one time known as Madras.

Mr and Mrs Mohgan Super Crispy Roti Prata

Whatever its origin, roti prata, plain or with egg, has become an integral component of local Singaporean cuisine. We now also have coin prata and tissue prata as well as prata with all sorts of filling or topping – such as cheese, mushroom, tomato, chocolate, banana, and even durian and chicken floss.

Springleaf Prata

Learn how to make roti prata

Places to try Roti Prata

Thasevi Food Jalan Kayu Roti Prata
237 & 239 Jalan Kayu
Singapore 799461
Tel : +65 64811537

Springleaf Prata Place

Mr Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata
Tin Yeang Restaurant
300 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 429356

Kueh Ubi Kayu

During the Japanese occupation of Malaysia and Singapore in the 1940s, tapioca cultivation became very popular because it grew well in various soil conditions and took only three months to mature. Singapore Infopedia says that during that period there was a Grow More Food Campaign and the occupying Japanese forces even published a local recipe book that showed how food could be prepared using tapioca and other native food substitutes. Kueh Ubi Kayu is believed to have originated during that period of Singapore history.

Today the steamed tapioca cake, made from starch of cassava root, and coated with lightly salted grated coconut remains very much part of the Singapore food scene.

Kueh ubi kayu

Kueh Ubi Kayu Recipe

Places to try Kueh Ubi Kayu

Lek Lim Nonya Kueh
84 Bedok North Street 4, #01-21
Singapore 460084

Kueh Ho Jiak
6 Tanjong Pagar Plaza #02-20, Singapore 081006

Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry Bakery
Blk 55 Tiong Bahru Road #01-39, Singapore 160055
Tel: +65 63241686

NDP 2000 Food Recipe

As part of the 55th National Day Celebrations, a Recipe Booklet has been published. The e-recipe booklet features contributions from home cooks, chefs, local restaurateurs, bakers and hawkers. It showcases the wide variety of dishes that we have, from classic delights to traditional favourites with modern twists.

Interactive E-Recipe Booklet

Besides food, songs are also always part of Singapore National Day celebrations. Here is a very Singaporean music video by The Smart Locals with Singlish lyrics and, of course, mentions of Singapore food.

It has never been easy to live a Singaporean life
Well don’t you worry ’cause you know we got the best chicken rice.

The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog

Majulah Singapura


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