Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Singapore's Sensational Street Food

Strawberry, Peach and Honeydew Melon flavoured Bubble Tea

Singaporeans can't survive without bubble tea - it seems to be national love affair. Drinks with large tapioca pearls are consumed along with the beverage through wide straws; while drinks with small pearls are consumed through normal straws. Bubble tea originated with black tea, honey and condensed milk and today is available is an endless array of flavours and combinations of ice-cream, milk, coffee, tea or fruit juices and is extremely refreshing and especially popular in South East Asian regions.

Kaya Toast is a popular Singaporean favourite with a cup of tea or coffee.

Kaya is a coconut egg jam spread flavored by pandan leaf and sweetened with sugar. The spread originated in Southeast Asia, most likely Indonesia or Malaysia and has Singaporean's hooked. Kaya is sweet and creamy, available as a golden brown or green colored spread depending on the amount of pandan and extent of of the sugar. Kaya and usually butter or margarine are spread on toasted bread and enjoyed as breakfast or a tea-time snack.

Hybridisation at work: India meets Singapore in this absurd sounding dish called Roti Prata

The obsession with all things Indian transcends all borders, sending Singaporeans into a swooning curry-frenzy. An Indian paratha, flaky pastry bread rolled out with lots of ghee flour, eggs and water to yield an incredibly addictive soft dough is cooked on a griddle pan and served with curry or sometimes even condensed milk and sugar! There are two main types of the dish, a smaller, crispier version and a flatter, fluffier version, both prepared in similar fashion - by flipping the dough into a large thin layer before heating it on a hot plate.

Typically this is a midnight feast relished after a long night of pub-crawling and partying! And I must admit that while roti pratha both mean the same thing in two different regions of India, (bread-bread) making me question this dish altogether, my cynicism gave way as soon as my taste-buds got the better of me. This stuff is pretty darn good at 5 am!

Taiwanese Sweet Sausages speared on sticks
Egg Tarts and other savoury pastries as well as fish balls and cuttlefish on sticks

Sorry guys, I cannot identify these Singaporean desserts

Mr. Bean Pancakes stuffed with Chocolate filling and Pork Barecue Bao

These little stuffed pancakes are a popular snack in Singapore and are available from the chain of Mr. Bean stores that are located all over the city and are ALWAYS, at any given time, early morning, mid morning, afternoon, evening or even late at night choc-a-bloc with Singaporeans trying to get their hands on their very own pancake. Choose from blueberry, cheese, chocolate, peanut, kaya, red bean or tuna. Although, the tuna seems just a wee bit fishy don't you think!

The sweet barbecue pork buns of pork bao's can be found all over Singapore from traditional Chinese hawkers, food courts, restaurants and even 7-11's. The taste is just too good to be true, and is great even first thing in the morning and anytime in between meals!

Sliced pork bakkwa
Bakkwa is a uniquely Singaporean preserved meat that tastes incredible. Take my word on this, once you try it, you just can't get enough. The best desciption of bakkwa if you have never tried it is beef jerky with a five-spice, hoisin kick to it complemented by just the most beautiful smoky flavours you can imagine.

Bakkwa is a very popular and especially so in festive seasons like Chinese New Year. Bee Cheng Hiang and Lim Chee Guan are the two biggest retailers in Singapore. Eat it on its own as snack as you explore Singapore, great to enhance home-made dishes diced up in fried-rice or served along side a main meal even. The meat comes in varied, sizes, shapes, although most common are the thin square-shaped slices and bite-sized circles that resemble coins, thus referred to as "Golden Coins" for auspicious reasons during the festive seasons. More adventurous chains have attempted to introduce more novel ways of selling the meat, adding unique flavours, some spicy, some sweet, some a mixture of sweet-spicy. Simply choose which kind you like after and how much you want, it is then weighed and packed in sealed red-coloured bags or packaging, an auspicious colour according to the Chinese.

Traditionally, bakkwa was made using leftover meats from festivals and banquets, preserved with sugar and salt, and then kept for later consumption. The meat from these celebrations is trimmed of the fat, sliced, marinated and then smoked. After smoking, the meat is cut into small pieces and stored for later. It is believed that the distinguishing feature behind the preparation was in the marination, and the recipe is often closely guarded.
Today bakkwa is prepared using fresh produce or imported pre-packed and pre-marinated from China, often barbecued in high-temperature ovens locally.


komal said...

having been to singapore a number of times myself, the exhaustive variety of food avaible there is a pleasure for the gourmet's pallette.Tough i have been a vegetarian for about two years now, the variety also avaiable for vegetarians is fascinating. The kaya jam is my favourite and also sweet mini red soy bean buns... just try out some of the fare. and do try out the singaporean satay .Beautiful Blog Meagan and i didn't know you were studyung in the land down under just like me.

MEGalomaniac said...

Singapore is truly the ultimate food haven! Glad you like my blog! Keep reading!

Hedonistic Hostess said...

I love bubble tea! Hi darling, long time no see. Hope you're well. Your blog looks great...makes me hungry...wait a minute, I'm always hungry. Check out my new contribution to the food blogging world:

Marion xx

MEGalomaniac said...

Thanks for checking out my blog Marion... so good to hear for you, its been ages!

Are you working, what you upto these days?

Really enjoyed browsing thru your new blog, love the photos, very proffesional!

Anonymous said...

HI, just a quick comment, apart from the little cakes in the clear packages on the left, the rest are not 'desserts'. They are savoury snacks filled with pickled vegetable, rice, etc. =)