Singapore Food Dictionary

Constantly on the lookout for the best places to indulge ourselves in our favourite foods, Singaporeans always have a diverse range of recommendations for every kind of cuisine. Must-try Singaporean foods include Hainanese Chicken Rice, Chilli Crab, Katong Laksa and the Singapore Sling. Other signature dishes in Singapore include Nasi Lemak, Bak Kut Teh, Kaya Toast and Roti Prata. Spend some time indulging your stomach in Singaporean classics during your stay here. Browse through the list we have compiled in our Food Dictionary and start your culinary adventure here!

Description:Satay is a Malay dish of marinated, skewered meats grilled over a wood or charcoal fire and served with a peanut dipping sauce. Skewered meat usually consist of sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef or pork. Satay is also typically accompanied with chopped onion, cucumber and ketupat (Malay rice cakes).
Trivia:At night, the street next to Lau Pa Sat Festival Market is closed off and converted into a lively night market where people congregate for mouth-watering satay. 
Singapore Sling
Description:Singapore's official cocktail invented by Ngiam Tong Boon. The Singapore Sling is made from gin, Cherry Heering, Bénédictine, and fresh pineapple juice from Sarawak. 
Trivia:Request for a shaken version instead of blended to experience a more genuine experience. To get the Singapore Sling that is closest to the original, visit Raffles Hotel's Long Bar.
Description:Steamboat is a Chinese-style hotpot eaten communally. Raw meats such as chicken, pork, beef, liver, meatballs, fish, squid, and vegetables are served for patrons to cook in the hot boiling soup. Some places even divide the steamboat pot into two halves so that patrons can have the option of having two different soups. Other steamboat eateries even come with a grill surrounding the boiling soup for patrons to grill their food.
Tau Suan
Pronunciation:Dao Suean
Description:Meaning 'split green bean soup', this is a dessert that can be found in hawker centres and markets all over Singapore. The beans are known as moong dal, which are actually green in colour when husked and yellow when dehusked. This explains why the dessert is obviously yellow in colour despite its name. Served hot, it is usually accompanied by a few small chunks of you tiao (fried dough).
Teh Tarik
Pronunciation:tay tah-rik
Description:Teh tarik (Malay for 'pulled tea') is a tea served with condensed milk (specifically, a Singaporean brand called "Carnation") and sugar. The concoction is then poured from one mug to another from a great height thus giving the illusion that the tea is being pulled. This technique enables the tea to froth which enhances its flavour. Although generally served hot, the teh tarik can also be served with ice, without milk or sugar upon request.
Trivia:Although the teh tarik is widely available in every hawker stall across town, some of the best teh tariks are concocted by Indian stallholders with their artfully crafted 'pulling' techniques.
Turtle Soup
Description:Turtle soup is Chinese delicacy made from the flesh of the turtle. Fresh (soft-shell) turtle meat is brewed in a mixture of Chinese herbs till the herbs' essence are fully immersed in the turtle meat. Turtle meat is highly sought for its dense collection of collagen. Its fats has also been said to enhance blood circulation.

According to Chinese folklore, turtle eggs are supposed to be aphrodisiacs and in specialty shops, these are also served in the soup.
If it makes you feel any better, the turtles used to make this soup is actually a Chinese soft shell turtle cultivated primarily to be food.

Wanton Mee
Pronunciation:wun-tun mi
Description:No, there is nothing immoral or lewd about this dish. Wanton Mee is a Chinese noodle dish served with dumplings (wantons), barbecued pork slices (char siew) and leafy vegetables. The dish can be served dry or in a soup. Fried wantons (wantons deep fried in oil) are sometimes served instead of the usual boiled wantons.
Yong Tau Foo
Pronunciation:yong tow foo
Description:Yong Tau Fu is an assortment of pre-cooked ingredients mostly made from a soya bean curd base (tau hu, tau kwa) and vegetables such as kangkong and mushrooms. The customer grabs a tong and picks the various ingredients (fish balls, meat balls, crab sticks, bittergourds, eggplant, mushrooms, cuttlefish, lettuce, ladies fingers and chilis) he would like from the shelves before passing it to the vendor to reheat them. Customers can also request for rice, thick yellow noodles or bee hoon (vermicelli) to go with their soup. Sauces such as vinegar, chili sauce and brown sweet bean sauce are usually available at the side for customers to use as dips.
You Tiao
Pronunciation:yoh tiow
Description:You Tiao is a long, golden-brown, deep fried strip of dough and is usually eaten for breakfast. Conventionally, You Tiaos are lightly salted and made so they can be torn lengthwise in two. You Tiaos are normally eaten as an accompaniment to rice congee or soy milk.

Trivia:The You Tiao has a very interesting story behind it that dates back to the story of Yue Fei during the Southern Song dynasty. Yue Fei was a patriotic and well-respected General who fought many wars to protect the kingdom. The Prime Minister of the time, Qin Hui, resented him out of thirst for power. Together with his wife, Qin Hui fabricated charges which resulted in Yue Fei's death. The general public despised Qin Hui for killing their beloved war hero. Out of anger, a baker invented the You Tiao which resembles two people being twisted together to signify Qin Hui and his wife. This fried bread was named “You Zha Gui”, meaning deep-fried ghost. Patrons who ate the “You Zha Gui” did so as a sign that they had burnt Qin Hui and his wife in hot oil and eaten them up.

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