First time visitors may have already heard of Singapore's reputation as a 'food paradise', with a superb range of food that is second to none. It is also common practice to buy something back home for family members and friends, for them to have a taste or share in one's overseas gastronomical adventures. Here is a list of authentic Singapore produce you can find around the island, which I am sure you will be more than happy to pack extras on the flight home.
Bak Kwa is actually thinly sliced dried pork which are roasted to a slightly charred perfection. On the tongue, flavour shoots through when its sweetness entangles with a tinge of saltiness, creating a surprising balance together with the meat's unique texture.
There are several shops in Singapore selling these delightful meat treats. Bak Kwa is particularly popular during the festive period of Chinese New Year, when demand increases exponentially. If you are a first time visitor, here is a list of well-known shops selling Bak Kwa.
- Bee Cheng Hiang
- Bee Hock Guan
- Lim Chee Guan
In the Western world, there is butter and jam to accompany bread and toast. The colloquial equivalent of that in Singapore would be kaya; a coconut jam which means 'rich' in Malay, based on its golden brown colour. It can sometimes come in a slightly greener form, depending on the amount of pandan used to flavour this sweet form of fruit curd.
Made from coconut milk, duck or chicken eggs and flavoured by pandan leaves and sweetened with sugar, kaya is known for being sweet and creamy. Found in almost every Singaporean household, this simple spread is typically spread on toast although it can be used to enhance the flavour of desserts.
For a first hand experience of kaya, simply head to Yakun Kaya Toast for a good morning breakfast!
Pineapple Tarts, like Bak Kwa, are festive treats popular during the Chinese New Year. Fancied by children and adults alike, they have two key aspects which makes them such gratifying treats - the filling, which is the pineapple jam, and the pastry that usually forms the outer layering or base.
Heaps of egg yolk and butter are use in creating the pastry, resulting in a buttery flavour and melt-in-your-mouth sensation. It requires quite a bit of skill and practice to make the perfect pineapple tart that is not too sweet, with a delicate poise to complement the pastry. Companies such as LE Cafe Confectionary and Pastry and Teck Neo Pine Tarts are therefore highly esteemed for developing some of the best bite-size pineapple tarts around. There are also many recipes which provide the methods to make your own pineapple tarts at home, if you are up for a challenge.
Kuih lapis, is a rich layer cake formed by alternating layers created out of butter, eggs and sugar. The word 'Kuih', is a capacious term which can mean cookies, dumplings, puddings, biscuits or pastries in English. However, kuih lapis is a Peranakan dessert well-loved by the local Singaporeans.
Soft and fragrant, kuih lapis is the product of an extremely time consuming and laborious process, which requires each and every single layer of the cake to be grilled down separately. Despite the amount of effort and hard work put in, it is still considered a very affordable delicacy in Singapore.
Kuih lapis can be found in many bakeries and pastry shops locally, such as the Bengawan Solo chain and Teck Neo Pineapple Tarts Confectionary.