Food plays a big part in identifying Singapore as a nation. To a certain extent, it is unifying symbol that food was even once dubbed as the country’s national obsession. A foreigner can ask a local anything about food and may be surprised with how versed he/ she would be about the origin of their cuisines – a mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian.
In the recent years, the Singapore Tourism Board actively promoted the Singaporean cuisine as an attraction to visitors coming to the country. With a cuisine with multicultural origins and available in range of prices and places, visitors should not dare miss this kind of experience the home of the Merlion has to offer.
The Chinese Cuisine in Singapore is brought by immigrants mostly from the southern Chinese regions. These are largely derived from Hainanese, Cantonese, Teochew, Hakka and Hokkien cuisines. And whether it is plate full of greased fried rice and tiny prawns or a bowl of signature Chinese soup, whatever dialect group it may be, the city surely has places that house these food.
Probably, the most common Chinese Cuisine is that of the Cantonese with dim sum (small hearty dishes in Cantonese) originating from this dialect group. The Cantonese style of dining combines dim sum dishes partnered with drinking of traditional tea.
Brought by the Malay people, the Malay Cuisine can also be found on some of Singapore’s neighbour countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, the south of the Philippines and south of Thailand. Its main characteristic is the generous use of spices along with use of coconut milk which is the core ingredient that makes most Malay dishes to be creamy. Malay Cuisine uses shrimp paste and plentiful of lemongrass in most of their dishes also.
A staple in Malay Cuisine is serving most of the meals with rice. These foods are best and enjoyed with the use of a bare hand, a traditional way of Malay eating.
The Indian Cuisine on the other hand originated from Tamil Cuisine – from the south parts of India. Predominant on most Indian dishes are the use of rice, legums and lentils. The technique of blending the spices and flavourings is what makes most of these dishes to be distinctly aromatic. Also, some of the commonly used ingredients are curry leaves, garlic, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, mustard seeds and the like
In the recent times, Indian Cuisines coming from its northern region has had a stable presence in the country. The forms of Indian dishes in Singapore has eventually become localised making it distinctly Singaporean already.