Those of you who have visited Singapore would know that the country is a veritable cornucopia of cultures and ethnicities. It is a melting pot of flavors that permeate the very fabric of the place and promise an experience that is rich, vibrant and soul stirring.
Singapore has a little bit for everyone. It is a country alive with art & culture and offers an experience in which you are left fulfilled and satiated. However what Singapore is over and above all things, is a foodie’s paradise. The intermingling of cultures has resulted in the establishment of a slew of restaurants and pop up stalls in various market places that offer the very best of South East Asian cuisine. The enticing aromas of stir fry, deep fry, sauteed and curried dishes beckon as you saunter down the gay streets and you cannot help but stop and sample a few things.
If you do happen to be in Singapore and if you are a food lover who likes to partake in oriental dishes then there is one place that you absolutely must visit. This is the Chinatown market. Chinatown is a food gourmand’s delight. It is a connoisseur’s paradise. As you disembark from the subway at the Chinatown station, you are virtually assaulted by the aromas of authentic Chinese cuisine. The market that abuts the station sells a multitude of meat products and some of them pretty unusual too. So you have frogs in baskets that are harvested for frog legs (a delicacy of south East Asia), you have pig hoofs & snouts on sale, you see various kinds of fishes and many shops selling various anatomical parts of the chicken like chicken claws & beaks. I know, to the vegetarians and maybe even to a few non-vegetarians this may sound disgusting but a romp through this market is actually a fascinating journey into the food of this culture. There are various pop up stalls & authentic local restaurants that serve the fare, freshly prepared.
But, this is not the only claim to fame for Chinatown. Chinatown is known also known for its beautiful architecture and cheap curio market. As you foray a bit ahead you reach Chinatown food-street, an area that has been cordoned off in order to create a pop up food experience. You have restaurants and many pop up stalls selling dishes that are world renowned like Singapore Chilli Crab, Cray fish in Sweet Thai sauce, Sting Ray Steak or sambal, fish head curry, prawn/shrimp chilli fry, lobster etc
The star of the menu is undoubtedly the Singapore chilli crab, a dish that originated in South East Asia and has since become a world favorite. Unlike the name, it is not a very spicy dish although it can be tweaked on the chilli front to suit various palates. This dish uses locally caught mud crabs which are then stir fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savory tomato and chilli based sauce. Ideally speaking if you really want to enjoy this curry then you should try the medium spicy version in order to get the whole flavor experience.
If you love sea food then a few meals in Chinatown food-street are definitely recommended as you have so much to choose from. The chefs are talented at preparing the dishes to suit the palate of most ethnicities and the meat itself is fresh & succulent.
Image – Flickr