What to eat when visiting Singapore for the first time!
Hawker food is a popular and affordable option for meals in Singapore. Hawker centers, which are large open-air complexes with many individual stalls, are a common sight in the city and offer a wide variety of dishes from different cuisines. Some popular dishes that you may want to try include chicken rice, laksa, satay, and char kway teow.
Chicken rice is a dish that consists of steamed or boiled chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth. It is often served with a dipping sauce made from garlic, ginger, and chili. Laksa is a spicy noodle soup made with coconut milk and a variety of herbs and spices. Satay is skewered meat, usually chicken or beef, that is grilled and served with a peanut dipping sauce. Char kway teow is a stir-fried noodle dish made with flat rice noodles, shrimp, eggs, and bean sprouts.
Chicken rice is the most popular dish in Singapore it consists of steamed or boiled chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth. The rice is typically cooked with ginger, garlic, and pandan leaves, which give it a distinctive flavor. The chicken is often served with a dipping sauce made from garlic, ginger, and chili.
Here is a basic recipe for chicken rice:
- 1 whole chicken
- 3 cups of uncooked jasmine rice
- 1 tablespoon of ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon of garlic, minced
- 4 pandan leaves, tied into a knot
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
For the dipping sauce:
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of ginger, minced
- 1/4 cup of chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of chili sauce
- Place the chicken in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Meanwhile, rinse the rice several times until the water runs clear. Place the rice in a pot with the ginger, garlic, pandan leaves, and salt. Add enough water to cover the rice by about an inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
- In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and ginger, and sauté until fragrant. Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, and chili sauce, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes.
- When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and let it cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, shred the chicken into small pieces.
- To serve, place a portion of rice on a plate and top with the shredded chicken. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.
This recipe makes 4-6 servings of chicken rice. You can adjust the amount of chili sauce in the dipping sauce to your desired level of spiciness. Enjoy!
In addition to these dishes, there are many other options to choose from at hawker centers. Some other popular choices include roti prata, a type of flatbread served with a variety of savory toppings, and bak kut teh, a pork rib soup flavored with herbs and spices.
No matter what you choose to eat, hawker food is a great way to experience the flavors of Singapore on a budget. The wide variety of dishes available means that there is something for everyone, whether you prefer spicy food, milder dishes, or vegetarian options. So if you are visiting Singapore, be sure to explore the hawker centers and try some of the delicious food on offer.