Mention our little red dot Singapore and the first thing that comes to mind might be our iconic floating boat structure, Marina Bay Sands or our majestic Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay. Others may think of the half lion, half fish creature, the Merlion. But tourist’s icons aside, ask any true blue Singaporean and many will agree that nothing says Singapore like really good hawker food. Amidst arguments whether roasted or steamed chicken rice is better, or if chilli crab is more shiok than black pepper crab, there is undeniable sense of pride amongst Singaporeans as we speak of our fondest memories of food.
As announced by PM Lee during the recent National Day Rally, Singapore will be nominating our vibrant hawker culture into UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. To mark this momentous occasion, Team OSU decided to task ourselves with the demanding challenge of identifying our favourite Singapore hawker delight! Read on to find out if you agree with us, and if you do, do vote for your favourite one here!
The Reliable Roti Prata
Do you remember waking up to Roti Prata for breakfast? How about chatting through the late nights with friends over Roti Prata for supper? This humble treat tugs at our heartstrings not only because of its delicious taste but also because it evokes the memories we have with our family and friends. The satisfaction of savouring into this humble treat which is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and complementing it with a cup of aromatic Teh Tarik for the extra oomph! From the traditional kosong for the hard core fans to the new Instagrammable variations for the adventurous. What is your favourite type?
The Humble Hokkien Mee
Infused with flavourful prawn stock, lots of fragrant lard, garnished with prawns and sotong is just my type of Hokkien Mee. Eaten during my university days where I would travel for food (because we all know students are always hungry), this Hokkien Mee hits the spot with its wok hei. Growing up, our parents always say “must get A!” … but sometimes the stalls with the ‘C’s grades are the best! Agree?
The Classic Carrot Cake
Tell an ang moh that your favourite hawker dish is carrot cake without carrots and you’d probably get a confused stare. But tell a Singaporean the same thing and you’ll start a debate on which stall sells the best one. Crisp and slightly charred on the outside, our carrot cake, or otherwise known as chai tao kway, is made of radish, stir-fried with eggs and chye poh, and chopped up into cubes when served. A popular local delight among all ages, some of us eat it plain while others prefer it with sweet black sauce. What do you like - black or white?
The Alluring Ayam Penyet
My one true love, Ayam penyet, also known as smashed fried chicken. Taking my first bite of the crispy skin, I savour the turmeric taste with the added crumbs and when I am chewing, I can hear the amazing crunch, a sound of perfection to me. I proceed to peel the flesh of the tender chicken and dip it in sambal, giving my taste buds an incredible kick of spiciness. When all these come together with a spoonful of fragrant rice, I know for sure this love will never go wrong, despite all the calories it adds!
The Brilliant Bak Chor Mee
With a whiff of a smell so heavenly,
I couldn’t help but smile with glee.
All over the world I looked for those
But none of the dishes had ever came close.
There’s a certain je ne sai quoi
That makes every Singaporean go wahhh.
My favourite one is at Changi South,
I remember the burst of flavours in my mouth,
The chilli gives a tangy spice,
that zesty vinegar is oh-so-nice.
Just like Singapore’s diverse culture,
its complex taste is unlike any other.
So despite its apparent simplicity,
Nothing beats the bak chor mee.
Now now, who is with me?
The Luscious Laksa
I’ve got another confession to make. I knew I lucked out with you.
Remember our first date at 928 Yishun? You took a while to prep, but you were well worth the wait. You drew me in with your unique character when we were first introduced, likely due to your Malay and Chinese origin.
Your perfume was no Chanel No.5, but it was an intoxicating mix of coconut and the most exotic spices. You keep me coming back for more, though you pack a punch with every mouthful. You love noodles, and so do I.
I am a fool, a fool for you.
The Cockles of my Heart
Team OSU may have picked out our special six, but it is no surprise that our hawker culture is integral to our Singaporeaness. Amongst the Prawn Noodles and Nasi Gorengs, our diverse hawker food brings out an inexplicable pride and identity amongst us. So, what do you think? If you agree that Singapore’s Hawker Culture is an integral part of our daily lives that should be passed on for generations to come, and that Kopi set A is way more legit than poached eggs with latte, pledge your support here: bit.ly/OSHawkerSupport.