Food Courts and Hawker Centre
In order to get an impression of the national food of Singapur one should not miss to visit the Food Courts and the Hawker Centre. Food Courts are the luxury version of the Hawker Centres, as this kind of restaurants are located in the air-conditioned shopping malls of the city.
Marina City Mall
One of the best and most beautiful food courts is located in the Marina City Mall in the proximity of the Suntec Towers; With a view to the esplanade, one can also sit outside and has a large choice of dishes. The prices are between S$4-8. Most of the times, the stands are in the interior and exhibit the food on pictures, a thing that unfortunately depreciates the atmosphere a little. There, one simply orders after the take-away principle and it is also possible to experiment with the different spices. But be careful of Indish food as it is extremly hot and many times too spicy for the European palate!
If one doesn't know what the name of the dish means, one can confidently ask the local people. If one finds an apparently free table with some handkerchiefs on it, it means that this table is occupied. One should alays take some hadkerchiefs with one, as at the food stands there are no ones available. I never understood the reason for this. What should not be missed to try is the national dish of Singapur: Chicken rice, steamed chicken with rice and soy or chili sauce. Is does not look like anything special but tastes delicious!
My other favourite food court is the Food Republic because due to its rustical wood furnishment it is something special and because one can get there the best Roti Prata! With the slogan "What do you Prata", one can choose between different vegetarian fillings or also try the meat variant (Murtabak). Moreover, some other Indian specialities as Chicken Briyani and fish with vegetables are offered.
Unfortunately, it is always very busy there and from a number of persons of more than two it gets already problematic. If one does not feel disturbed by the eating noises of the local people can of course ask if he can join at the table. I first realy had to Get used to the foreign table manners, as in the beginning, I really felt nauseos by watching my table neighbour. Sometimes, also strange dishes are served as frogs and chicken claws, a thing that provoked disgust and repulsion to me.
Choice of National Spacialities
- Laksa: Coconut-curry-soup with rice noodles and beef or pork or shrimps (very hot)
- Chilli Crab: Hard-peeled crayfish with a tomato chili sauce
- Char kway teow: Different fried noodles with a dark sauce with pork, chicken or shrimps and vegetables
- Fish Head Curry: Fish heads boiled in a hot curry sauce with vegetables and rice
- Hokkien Fried Mee: Yellow noodles with pork, shrimps and vegetables
- Roti Prata: A kind of Indian omelette made of a filmy dough with different fillings, served with a hot fish sauce and curry sauce
- Chicken Briyani: Chicken with yelow rice and vegetables
- Naan: Fresh baked Indian bread
- Kaya Toast: Typical breakfast of the people of Singapur, toast with a topping of milk, egg and coconut, very sweet
- Satay: Skewers of meat pieces of beef, chicken, mutton or fish that are barbecued on charcoal; typically, peanut sauce, cucumbers and onions are additionally served.
The Hawker Centres are always located outside in the fresh air and are the results of former street sellers that were obliged to cooperate due to hygienic reasons; A thing that should not mean at all that one cannot have something to eat here! Also here, the food is ordered at different stands but one additionally tells one's table number and the food is brought afterwards to the table. The best is to reserve a table the way the local people do, by putting some handkerchiefs on it. The food is paid when it is brought to the table.
The most famous Hawker are the Lau Pa Sat and Newton Circus. The Hawker Lau Pa Sat is located at the Robinson Road between Waterfront and Chinatown (MRT Raffles Place). There, the street is barried in the evenings so that one cannot only eat in the open hall. The best there are the fresh Satay speers (from S$5) and in addition to that a fresh coconut or a chilled Tiger beer (brewed in Singapur). To the contrary, the Hawker at the Newton Circus is clearly more expensive (from S$ 8), as many tourists get there. But anyway, it is possible to get a nice seat there and the situation is also very convenient(close to the shopping mile Orchard Road).
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Author: Natascha Nißl; Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz