Food Culture in Singapore

Although Singapore is not large in size, it can fully bear the title of "Food Paradise". The fusion of Chinese and western cultures enriches the diverse food culture in Singapore. The residents in Singapore are composed of Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Eurasians. The blending and collision of different ethnic cultures gives Singapore a unique humanistic charm, and this is one of the most important reasons to visit this beautiful country. Here in Singapore, you can taste varieties of food from all over the world. Let's read on to know more about Singapore's food culture.


              CONTENT OVERVIEW


1. Diverse Food Culture in Singapore

Singapore cuisines perfectly combine the characteristic elements of local culinary culture in Singapore, including the rich food culture of some ethnic groups in Singapore. Meanwhile, distinctive features from the cuisines of Chinese, Indians, Malays, and some western countries have profound effects on the food culture in Singapore. The diverse culture and rich history make Singapore proud of its cuisine.


Singapore's food features focus on local cuisines, including Chinese food, Indian food, and Malay food. Among Singapore's food specialties, Indian food and Malaysian food are unique. Local people pay great attention to the quality of the food, as well as the food combination, so that lots of tourists are satisfied with no matter the quality, price, or variety of local food.


Food Courts

Diverse Food to Choose


Chinese food in Singapore is mainly based on the specialties of Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan, which also incorporates the characteristics of Malay food. The Chinese cuisines that appeal to local tastes are said to be Singapore's special Chinese food. With the influx of more and more immigrants from mainland China, you can now also find all kinds of authentic food from all over China in Singapore, such as Sichuan Hot Pot, dumplings, Shanghai dishes, etc. However, these local Chinese foods are not very popular in Singapore, so they generally need to be eaten in specific restaurants.


Bak Kut Teh

Bak Kut Teh


2. Most Food in Singapore are Spicy

Local people in Singapore are fond of spicy food, so that you can find a lot of food in the restaurants that are hot and spicy. When Singaporeans eat, no matter what they eat, they must accompany a dish of soaked chili to dipping their vegetables. The so-called soaked chili means dried chili soaked in soy sauce.


The habit of eating spicy food is said to be influenced by Malaysians and Indians, because most of their food are mainly spicy. And the other reason is that local people believe chili can burn off excess fat, so that they can keep healthy by eating spicy food.


Food Culture in Singapore

Most Dishes are Spicy


3. All about Noodles, Rice, and Seafood

Singaporean food is all about noodles, rice, and seafood, along with all kinds of meat. From lots of famous food in Singapore, you may see the common combination of rice, noodles with meat, such as Hainanese Chicken Rice and Char Kway Teow. Singaporean love chicken, pork, and beef. This country is well-known for its seafood, with Chili Crab and Black Pepper Crab as its famous seafood dishes.


Besides, dessert also plays an important role in Singaporean's daily life, including Buhur Cha Cha, Chendol, and ice-cream sandwich. And for the drinks, popular drinks in Singapore include beer, Bandung (rose syrup with evaporated milk), and Kopi (local coffee in Singapore). In addition, tea drinking is common in Singapore.


Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice


4. Hawker Centers

Street food in Singapore has long been associated with hawker centers, where you can find plenty of different food stalls. All the food stalls have their specialties, and you can see many communal seating areas in the hawker centers. Undoubtedly, hawker centers are great places to experience the diverse food culture in Singapore, as you can find all varieties of food. There are more than 100 hawker centers in Singapore, among which the largest one is on the second floor of Chinatown Complex, with no less than 200 food stalls inside.


Hawker Centers


5. Famous Cuisines of Singapore

Bak Kut Teh is a pork rib soup with various Chinese herbs and spices. Even though it has the word "Teh", it's not a kind of tea. This dish is usually served with steamed rice, with a side of chopped red chili in dark soy sauce, and it is always eaten for breakfast.


Laksa is rice noodles in spicy coconut curry soup, cooked with fish cakes, eggs, shrimp, and sometimes cockles. There are many versions of Laksa, combining the culinary features of Chinese and Malay food.


Hainanese Chicken Rice is considered to be the national dish of Singapore, and it's originated from Hainan Province in southern China. It is a simple dish with steamed chicken, rice, and sauce. The sauce is normally light soy sauce with ginger and garlic.


Chili Crab, hard-shell crabs cooked in chili sauce, is one of the most famous dishes in Singapore. With the tomato-based gravy, Chili Crab is not very spicy. Local people will eat this dish with fried buns called mantou.


Char Kway Teow, stir-fried rice noodles in dark soy sauce, with shrimp, eggs, and leafy vegetables. The rice noodles are usually thick and flat.


6. Eating Habits in Singapore

When dining outside, Singaporean will bring tissues with them, as there are no tissues provided in the food courts, or even in the restaurants. Usually, you have to pay for the tissues when eating in the restaurants. Don't be surprised if you see some tissue on the seats when dining in the food courts or hawker centers. Local people will put a pack of tissue to save the seat.


Food Courts

Dining in Singapore


When going out with friends and families, Singaporean will split the bill. And they won't order too many dishes, to make sure there is no waste of food. Singaporeans prefer to keep guests full and eat well, and try not to leave food leftovers. If they can't finish eating, take the food to go.


Most people in Singapore eat with forks and spoons, no matter for rice or noodles. Some people in Singapore eat with their hands, usually right hands. And they will wash their hands before eating.


Tips for Dining in Singapore

  • Because most dishes contain nuts, soy, and dairy, be cautious if you have nut or soy allergies or lactose intolerance. 
  • Ask your chef ahead of time to use less spice if you do not have a strong tolerance for it. 
  • Street food stores sell out quickly or have long lines, so get to the contact quickly to avoid long waits.
  • Check the business hours of each hawker stall as they are open at different times and dates.

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