Food plays an important role in my life – when I am utterly depressed, when I feel like my life’s going nowhere, when I want to kill someone, when I want to scream at the top of my lungs — food can calm me. Deliciously different food items make me drool.
I AM A FOOD ADDICT… There’s nothing surprising in it.
I have never been to Singapore, but Singapore has always been on my to-go list. I love the country. I love the fusion of cultures, languages and people. I love the fusion of cuisines from around the world. I love how Singaporeans eat like kings, even on normal occasions.
If I were there, I knew I would fit right in when coming to eating.
I asked around to my friends in Singapore for some of their favorite dishes. They had a lot to say about Singapore and its food. Even though I haven’t tasted it, some of those food items sound finger-licking good and made my heart beat grow rapid.
I wanted to lick it off… From my computer screen. I want to drown in them and never want to get back up… It was love at first sight — those food items, they made me want to pack my bag right now.
South-east Asian dishes — they not only looks yummy, they taste the same. And for a food-lover like me, Singapore will be an ultimate destination.
Let me share the conversation I have with my friend… About Singaporean delicacies, and at the end, like me… You’ll feel the hunger pangs attacking you from out of nowhere. And I just finished a heavy meal. If you’ve not eaten yet, I warn you to eat something before reading Singapore foods.
“Singaporean do everything with flair and exaggeration when comes to food. The food they make is not just for stomach, it is for hearts and more importantly for tongues. It takes time to enjoy the various bursts of flavor in Singapore food. You must spend considerable time to get the best tasting experience.” One friend who lived in Singapore said.
Seeing the pictures, I think she was right about taking time to eat and enjoy it.
“Every morning, I get myself a Kopi. Wonder what kopi is… It is the classic Singapore coffee. The coffee beans are roasted in margarine or butter to bring a smooth texture to the coffee powder. It is usually brewed in coffee-sock, and poured in cups for you to drink. The dark elixir is rich, smooth and flagrantly delicious that even coffee-haters will love it. A day started off with kopi, a day well started…
“Even breakfast will be an eventful occasion in Singapore. Foods fit for Kings and Queens, even commoners like us can enjoy them. There’s one surprisingly addictive breakfast that is so simple. Kaya toast is just a plain toast, slathered with coconut jam and butter. It’s so creamy and sweet you’ll go crazy over it. It is for people with sweet-tooth. A dessert-y breakfast that melts in your tongue and dissolve your heart.”
If it is for sweet-toothed people, it is definitely for me. Even now, I can feel its taste at the tip of my tongue.
“I love Nasi Lemak.” She continues and I know there’s no stopping her. I let her. “The utterly, butterly delicious fragrant rice cooked with coconut milk. It has a rich taste, and it will thaw hard hearts. That soft texture in the well cooked rice, along with the side dishes — you’ll enjoy every moment of togetherness. They usually serve Nasi Lemak with roasted chicken, boiled eggs, cucumber, crunchy anchovies, and dry fish. It is a pleasant mixture of various flavors and surprises…” She finishes. “And I usually loves it with dry fish cooked in tomato. The taste is unbeatable.” She finishes, and I… my stomach is moaning.
“There are many restaurants and street food shops in Singapore. You can eat anywhere in that place. No need to worry about never finding a place to eat. You know, that place is a heaven on Earth for foodies. There is this dish called Popiah that puts my taste buds on over-active mode. It is a wrap made of wheat or rice flour, slashed with the flavor of minced garlic, sweet sauce and chilli sauce. This wrap is stuffed with surprising combinations of carrots, dried shrimps, turnips, sweet sausage, egg slices, peanuts, bean sprouts and lettuce. Your palate will savor each bites. Eating Popiah is like a treasure hunt. In every bite, you will get a new burst of flavor and new textures. It will leave you with anticipation of what would come next and next and next. The surprises are never-ending.” There is a dreamy look in her eyes when she finishes talking. I can see how much she loves that from her eyes.
“Every food in Singapore have limitless supply of unexpected occurrences, and tastes… That you’ll feel like riding an unknown vehicle at the speed of light while eating those heart-melting foods. Eating in Singapore is a calming, but thrilling experience. It softens heart, and will stir your blood. I don’t know… But Singapore is the best place to be in for a Gormandizer…. Like you.”
Gormandizer? Uh-huh! That I am.
“This one addictive evening snack… They call it Satay kebab. That is a juicy kebab made with mutton marinated in salty and sweet mixture of turmeric and sometimes fresh chilli powder and then grilled over charcoal. The meat will be charred, but tender. Actually they have chicken and beef as well, but mutton… It is soft and succulent and it tastes better than the best. They provide peanut sauce and soy sauce to add flavor to it and it smells like… Wow, I don’t know how to say it in words.
“Astonished – you will feel astonishment when you finish eating. They have plenty of surprise flavors inside every dish. You’d imagine a taste… but… Then, it won’t be what you imagined. It will be more than that. It will tempt you to have another plate, even if you’re in a strict diet.”
My stomach has already started to crave for the food, but she has more to say. To torment me, until I can’t bear the lust of eating them all anymore. Such a sadist, she is!!!
“There is this soup called Ayam Pansuh. It is made by cooking chicken with bamboo grass and they add many seasonings to it. The rich taste of spices and bamboo, nothing can beat that taste.”
Okay. She knows what she’s talking about. Me? All I know now is… Eating them all. All I want to do is swallow them until I can’t breathe anymore. My heart is beating the rhythm of ‘E-at, E-at, E-at.’
“A true malay classical food, Ikan Bakar (Barbeque fish) is one of the favorite dishes for the people in Singapore. The fish is marinated with soy sauce, coconut oil and margarine, and seasoned with garlic, chilli, shallot, coriander, pepper and other spices and it is fried over charcoal. Once you eat it, you’ll want to eat it again and again. The fish will be cooked in a soft, crispy delicacy and each taste will start new emotions.”
“Desserts… There’s nothing like desserts to end a meal, and Singapore boasts many desserts. Ais Kacang (Ice Kacang) is one of my favorites. They use ice shaving machines to shave the ice. I love the flavor and I love the multicolored syrup they drip over the ice. It is like a rainbow made for eating… They add different fruit dressings and cocktails along with it. They also add toppings of coconut milk, condensed milk, red beans, sweet corn, agar agar etc. This sumptuous dessert is the ultimate ending to a feast. This is the best thing to cool your stomach burning with spicy food… A special, cold, concoction that’s beyond words.
“Tau Huay, or soya bean curd, is the omnipresent dessert in Singapore. You can buy it anywhere, but don’t think its taste won’t be exotic, because it is always available… It is normally soy bean milk boiled with sugar and cooled until it becomes like a pudding. The rich texture, the smooth, creamy taste, and the burst of caramel… Tau Huay is the only dessert that can beat Tau Huay.
“Then there is Sago gula melaka. It is a dessert with palm sugar. After cooking, the sago looks like pearls beaded atop the plate, and then add it with the palm sugar caramel… That is one enormous eating experience. You’ll never forget the taste even if you want to forget. And don’t forget sweet coconut rice balls. It is made with gelatinous powder of rice, grated coconuts, and brown sugar. Sometimes they even add jaggery with it. It sounds simple, but it tastes grand. That’s it for desserts.”
Is it finally over? Can I pack my bag and start my journey towards Singapore?
“The kid in me loves chin chow (immortal grass) grass jelly. It also have medicinal purpose – this prevents indigestion after eating for too long. In Singapore, indigestion might become a bigger problem for us. So to end it, most people would love to have this jelly or at least, I love to have it. They also add toppings like honey sea coconuts to make it more delicious. Long hours of eating food, feel free to have a chin chow jelly and you’ll have a peaceful sleep. There is many more I love. But these are my absolute favorites.”
That’s one long list she has… A Very Long List!!!
When she is done with it, my stomach has started grumbling. LOUD! I am hungry for some Singapore dishes. STARVING.
Hope I get to taste it all before I die… Or my life will be one big waste of time!
Find more about Singaporean dishes on Stayfareast.com
The post is written for a contest, Takeaway Level: Singapore, conducted by Far East Hospitality in association with Indiblogger.