Kiwi food YouTubers Thomas & Sheena Southam are on an eternal quest to find the most delicious local food the world has to offer. This week, they check out the best cheap eats in Singapore.
This island is a country of food lovers so you're going to want to make time to eat. Some of the best Singaporean street food can be found in local hawker centres and small, family-run eateries. Here are our Top 4 local dishes to hunt down.
1. A classic Singaporean breakfast
Find an old-school kopitiam or coffee shop - "kopi" is the Malay word for coffee and "tiam" is the Hokkien word for shop - and while away an hour or two over breakfast. Traditional kopitiams are utterly charming - slightly bedraggled in appearance and seemingly frozen in time.
Old men sit at around, marble-topped tables on low wooden stools, chatting or reading the paper. The air is filled with the smell of fresh coffee being filtered through a cloth by an elderly gentleman wearing a white singlet and blue pin-striped pyjama bottoms.
Enjoy a classic Singaporean breakfast of soft-boiled eggs, and kaya (coconut jam) toast and wash it down with a strong kopi - black filter coffee with a dollop of condensed milk added for sweetness.
If you want to take it up a notch, we recommend the butter kopi at Heap Seng Leong, where a slice of butter is added to the coffee for extra decadence.
Eat it at: Heap Seng Leong, 10 N Bridge Rd, #01-5109, Singapore 190010. Open daily 4am to 8pm
2. Char Kway Teow at Hill St Char Koay Teow
Char Kway Teow is a local favourite and you'll find it in every hawker centre on the island. It's reputation for being unhealthy doesn't deter legions of fans (us included). Made up of kway teow (rice noodles), blood cockles, chives, egg and lap cheong (Chinese pork sausage), it's cooked in a wok with a dollop of sambal (chilli sauce), pork lard and soy sauce.
A great char kway teow is characterised by its wok hei or the "breath of the wok" - if you can taste the smoky, charred essence of the wok in the dish, you know you're on to a winner. Get to Hill St Char Koay Teow and join the snaking queue of locals for a taste of one of the best CKT we've found in Singapore.
Eat it at: Hill St Char Koay Teow, 16 Bedok South Rd, #01-41, Singapore 460016. Open 11.30am to 4.45pm. Closed Monday.
3. Hainanese Chicken Rice
Ask anyone what dish they associate with Singapore and the answer will almost always be Hainanese chicken rice. This dish, adapted from Chinese immigrants from the province of Hainan in China is one of the island's national dishes.
Whole chickens are gently poached and served with oily rice, which is cooked using the poaching liquid from the chicken, together with aromatics like garlic, ginger and pandan leaf. Served with slices of fresh cucumber, a sauce of minced chilli and garlic and a simple chicken stock soup - this meal is simple yet packed with flavour.
You will find excellent versions of this dish in hawker centres all around Singapore with a couple holding Michelin stars. We have a particular predilection for the chook served at Tong Fong Fatt Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice.
Eat it at: Tong Fong Fatt Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice, Maxwell Food Centre or Ghim Mo Food Centre.
4. Roti prata
One of Singapore's ultimate eating experiences is tearing into a crispy, flaky roti prata. Watching this Indian flatbread being made is half the pleasure. The dough is slapped and stretched on a well-oiled stainless-steel bench until it's almost transparent before being cooked on a hot plate.
Made from wheat flour, ghee and water, roti prata can be found all over Singapore in many guises. Some like it sweet - filled with slices of banana or drizzled with condensed milk, whereas others prefer it savoury - cooked with an egg or packed with tender slices of onion.
We like ours as simple as it gets - buttery, crunchy discs of fried dough dunked into a creamy dhal and swiped through a spicy fish curry. The best we've ever had can be found at Mr and Mrs Moghan's Super Crispy Roti Prata.
Eat it at: Mr and Mrs Moghan's Super Crispy Roti Prata, 7 Crane Rd, Singapore 429356. Open daily 6.30am to 1pm.
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