In this city listed as one of the “Top 10 cities for travellers” in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2010 guide, an extensive range of dining experiences awaits visitors – from indulgent gourmet meals to affordable hawker fare. Dining events, such as the exclusive World Gourmet Summit in April and the Singapore Food Festival in July, strengthen Singapore’s reputation as a destination offering a distinctive and colourful food culture and heritage. An annual highlight that attracts connoisseurs worldwide, the World Gourmet Summit, showcases an epicurean calendar of fine foods, wines and unique dining experiences. Over a well-packed calendar spanning several weeks, gourmet lovers are treated to feasts prepared by Michelin-star master chefs, wine-paired dinners which complement the culinary ingenuity of visiting master chefs against wineries’ selection, gourmet safaris and special menus by local partner restaurants.
A dish that is now synonymous with Singapore, Chilli Crab, is prepared with fresh succulent crabs in a hearty, sweet and spicy gravy. It is best eaten with your fingers, finished with a mop up of the mouth-watering gravy with white bread or Chinese mantou (buns). Visitors have given their thumbs up to this dish, naming it as their favourite among local dishes in annual surveys that the Singapore Tourism Board conducts.
Visitors can also enjoy Hainanese Chicken Rice. Originally brought to Singapore by immigrants from Hainan, China, this is a delicious dish of chicken with flavoured rice, served with cucumber, a piquant garlic, chilli and ginger dip, and accompanied by a light chicken broth on the side.
Satay is another national food icon of Singapore. Imagine tasty chunks of skewered grilled chicken, beef, or mutton served with onion slivers, sliced cucumbers, a rich peanut sauce and ketupat (rice cakes). Seen as a dish originating from the Malays, the delicious aroma of grilled Satay is prevalent in many food centres in the country.
Laksa, named for its rich and creamy coconut gravy, is a variant unique to Singapore. There’s also a lighter (and more tangy) version of the dish known as assam laksa. The laksa’s versatility has allowed it to incorporate a Western palate in recent times, giving rise to fusion dishes such as the laksa pasta, which, although isn’t quite the real deal, is still delicious nonetheless. The most famous laksa lemak recipe can be found in an area in Singapore called Katong, where the noodles are cut up such that that they can be slurped directly from a soup spoon, without the need for chopsticks.
Fish Head Curry is a spicy yet tangy curry of fish head simmered with lady's finger (or okra), tomato and brinjal (or eggplant). Surprisingly, this famous Singaporean Indian dish is not found in India! It was created in Singapore years ago and has become a national delicacy as a result of the locals’ passion for spicy food.
Toasted over charcoal and buttered, the secret to this delicious breakfast food is kaya, a local jam made with eggs, sugar, coconut and milk, perfumed with pandan leaves. It is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of rich local coffee or teh (tea).
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