Eating my way through Singapore (Part 1 of 3)

Mention Singapore to any foodie and you’re sure to hear wistful, longing sighs. A veritable melting pot of cultures, Singaporean cuisine is a marriage of Malaysian, Indian and Chinese cuisine, with a lot more cultures caught in between. With all the local dishes that I hear rave craves about, was it a surprise that last month’s vacation there turned into one massive food trip?

We wanted to get shopping out of the way so one of the first places we hit was Orchard Road. But first, we needed to get a bite to eat so we headed off to Food Republic, a food court in Wisma Atria. While there was a mind-boggling assortment of local food to try, we ended up going for noodles at Formosa Dragon.

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Here, you can watch as they hand-pull the noodles right in front of you. It was quite a surprise to me actually, I thought it was a literal pulling technique, but instead, there was the cook, shaving fresh noodle strands off a large block of dough.

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As you do when trying out a new place, we ordered different things and just swiped at each other’s plate to have a taste. My friend Turtle and my mom got the Dao Xiao Mian Beef. Their version of beef noodles, it was a dark, meaty broth, with that distinct beef aroma and a slight sweetness. It had the rich flavor of beef fat which was nicely complemented by the vegetables. Of course, the beef was delightfully tender.

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Rabbit ordered a dry noodle dish that was reminiscent of chow mein. Instead of serving it stir-fried however, this simply had sauce poured on top of the freshly cooked noodles. I forget what it was called but it was very peppery.

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I wanted something relatively light so I tried the tomato noodle soup, thinking that it would be something like Tom Yum Goong. I have mixed feelings about it because it was good. It was light and refreshing and the tiny dried fish (their local dilis?) offered a savory flavor to the dish but I guess I was looking for something sour. The noodles were nice and resilient though. It doesn’t have the chewiness you’d normally find in Chinese noodles but it still offered a nice bite.

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We also grabbed a dish of one of their sides, a yummy, spicy salad of different kinds of seaweed, parsley, spring onions and chilis. The seaweed was really good, with a jelly-like texture that’s so much fun to eat.

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Playing host to us, Turtle and Rabbit grabbed more dishes from other stalls so we could try all sorts of food. So aside from our noodles, we also had some Poppiah, a fresh vegetable spring roll with soft radish (I marvel at how they get radish to turn out like that), shrimp, and coriander.

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It was also our first taste of satay, a sweet-style barbecue that’s served with a sweet peanut sauce. Our dish came with chunks of cucumber and onions. The satay’s taste was something that surprised me. I guess it reminds me too much of local Filipino barbecue so the sudden surge of sweetness surprised me. While our local barbecue has a hint of sweetness, it’s usually overpowered by the saltiness of the soy sauce.

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26 Responses to Eating my way through Singapore (Part 1 of 3)

  1. nina says:

    Mmmmm, bakkwa. That’s a staple pasalubong whenever my brother comes home from SG. Ironically, there’s a Bee Cheng Hiang stall in Robinson’s, but we never bought any from there, even if we’re craving for it.

    Char kway teoh…hokkien mee… must go back to SG!

  2. Krissy says:

    I was surprised to see that servings in Singapore were big. We ordered a lot of food from hawker stalls and we couldn’t finish them ^^;

  3. Luney says:

    *sigh* I really must travel to get the food you have described so fantastically and so lovingly. America is… well, they don’t seem to be as anal-retentive about ingredients as Asia and France. Quantity, sadly, seems to be slightly more important than quality, at least where I eat (why do you think that there are so many more McDonalds’ than Sonics or Whataburgers?).

    And most of what you describe is so alien to me! I’m shocked at myself, coming from an Asian background. I am inspired to try new foods and to really pay more attention to the intricate play of flavors and textures, something I am already experimenting with at home (my parents are very pleased with this. XD).

  4. raydance says:

    Being from Singapore, I’m always glad to see people coming and enjoying our food tremendously!

    Can’t wait to see what else you enjoyed here, and I hope you managed to make your ways into the nooks and crannies of places like Chinatown, Old Airport Road and even Changi to find our local delicacies!

  5. emily says:

    Oh damn! I was in Malaysia the other month and my friends in Singapore were telling me to take the bus and come over. If only I knew about the food, maybe I would have really pushed through with it! Hay… *fingers crossed* hoping I get the chance (and budget?) to go to Sing soon!

  6. kaoko says:

    Hahaha! When we got home, I was flabbergasted to find out that Bee Cheng Hiang, as well as Yakun, had Manila branches. Pero it’s still not a bad pasalubong 😛 And I agree, I want to go back there. Crossing my fingers, maybe next year. After that Singapore trip, I guess the travel bug finally bit me.

    Oh man, we could hardly finish the helpings too! Especially since we like ordering different dishes so we can have a taste of everything. You should see the servings at No Signboard, you’ll swim in crab!

    Good for you with experimenting. It’s always a great place to start. You know, it was a new experience for me too because I’ve never been out of the Philippines. Travel never really figured in my list of priorities. Only with this vacation did I realize how much I’ve been missing.

    I love your country’s food! I love it so much, I want to come back. The two things that I found particularly unforgettable was Tian-tian’s Hainanese Chicken and Char Kway Teoy. I want to go back—just so I could discover more of those hawker stall gems. <3

    We’re the same pala! We were also thinking about the feasibility of skipping off to Malaysia since Yishun was just 15 minutes away but the fact that we didn’t even have enough time to explore SG made us think twice. Still, I’m sure Malaysia also offers a wide, extensive cuisine—I know a lot of the stuff I ate in SG was actually Malaysian in origin.

  7. aoitenshi says:

    This made me so hungry, and I just ate. I need to try some of that bakkwa! It looks so good. And yay for kaya toast!

  8. Dea says:

    Hello there! I’ll be going to Singapore for the first time this December, and I plan on making it a 9-day food trip. This post was very informative, I look forward to trying some of the food you featured. I can’t wait for the next installments of your Singapore food adventure.

    I love your blog, by the way. Your photographs are just wonderful. 😀

  9. Tony Lou says:

    wow! i don’t have to read the text to know that you had a wonderful time eating there. katakam-takam ang ang mga pics. yumm!

  10. Kaya! Char kway! Yummmm. I never really pay much attention to what I eat, but these I remember most. 😛

  11. Garando says:

    Chili Crab! I can never get enough of it whenever I’m in Singapore. Even if I’m allergic to crab.

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  13. kaoko says:

    May branch yang bakkwa store na yan locally, I just forgot where but I’m sure google will point you in the right direction 😀

    Oh wow! You’ll get to eat a lot then if it’s a 9-day trip. Hope you get to try the Hainanese chicken. So much love there! <3

    @Tony Lou
    Plus it helps that the company was awesome <3

    Gusto ko bumalik!

    Hahaha, I'm sort of allergic to crab too but of course I tried some. Gawd I swear those chili crabs were gigantic.

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  16. surrealistic says:

    That looks delicious *_*

    And eggs with soy sauce is always good :3 They taste best when they are either scrambled or fried sunny side up :3 :3

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  18. Mica says:

    Had fun reading what you ate in Singapore! I don’t get to eat Asian food much here in Europe, so instead, I look at pictures and read about what other people eat!

    What attracted me was the seaweed dish. Sarap!

    • kaoko says:

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it! I do the same thing since I don’t think I’ll get to visit Europe anytime soon. Vicarious travel / eating through other people always rocks 😀

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  20. Joyceee says:

    i loved singapore food kahit na sa food court lang kami kumain nun…

    oh and dun sa makhan sutra.

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