To Asia and Back (Part 2): The Food of Singapore

Welcome back to Part 2 of my Trip to Asia. If you read Part 1; I focused on the the journey itself, and what I learned about the long haul flights with my 1 year old. Of course the trip was not just about my son flying, we had a great time as well – especially eating in Singapore!

My wife lived in Singapore for a bit, and it was always her wish to take me there, and show we the amazing food! So now was the time. We tried once before, but that trip; well we got side tracked slightly. This time my wife was going to show me her life before me through food.

There are two things I have heard about over and over from my wife when it comes to Singapore. Chili Crab and Chicken and Rice. If you have read my posts in my post, you know that I have an odd fascination with Chicken and Rice. The reason is every culture has their own take on it. It could be Biryani in Mumbai, Paella in Spain or Street Meat in NYC – chicken and rice is a staple; but how it is made is the art.

What is Singaporian Chicken and Rice? 

Better known as Hainanese Chicken and Rice, is a rather simple looking dish. At first glace it looks like a plain boiled chicken served with white rice! That it is not! It is a fresh whole chicken that has been poached, loaded with salt and stuffed with herbs. The chicken is actually served on the cooler side with rice that have been cooked in the chicken broth. It comes with a chili sauce on the side and a bowl of soup; which is also the broth further seasoned.

In the 7 days, I was in Singapore I had to have this dish not once but three times from different places. How else can I really experience it?

We got this to go; so I did not get to enjoy it 100% fresh. It was a good start. I can’t say it was the best, things got better along the way. The sauces were really good, it had a bit a of a kick and not to sweet.

Sin Swee Kee (No Website so Yelp link will have to do)
First off there are two Swee Kees on the same block, so go to Sin! I was told it is the best broth; and I would agree. This is a no frills kind of place with friendly service. We sat down on their plastic chairs had a beer and enjoyed some Chicken and Rice. I highly suggest this spot, regardless of where else you go to try chicken and rice – it has to be on your list.

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken and Rice (again Yelp link)
I probably enjoyed Tian Tian the best. The truth is they win hands down because of the experience. Located at the Maxwell Hawker center, it just felt like this is how the dish is meant to be enjoyed. There are many stalls serving all types of food; many focused on chicken and rice. They are the famous ones that you will hear about; so you can expect a line. We got lucky and had a short wait.

I will not say any of the places I went were bad or should be avoided. Try them all you can’t lose!

What about that Chili Crab..

Yes, not only did I overdose on Chicken and Rice, I overdosed on seafood as well while in Singapore. A friend of ours, took us to Hua Yu Wee for Chili crab and black pepper crab. Personally, I found out I am fan of black pepper crab. I was surprised that the chili crab is on the sweeter side. Both dishes were amazing, but the black pepper crab stood out! I wanted more; and I got more when we stopped at Sin Hoi Sai Eating House. We stopped by on the Saturday night so service was SLOW! I can’t stress the word slow. They were really busy constant turn over and crowd; maybe it was us, just being indecisive. To be fair, the menu is massive and it was my last night so I wanted everything!

What else did I eat

I did not just enjoy Chicken and Rice and Crab. One of my favorite experiences was another Hawker we went to called Food Opera at ION Orchard. I might have hit glutton heaven here. Keep in mind, this hawker center is a bit pricier than the norm; but I was fine with that I wanted the food! In one sitting I had the chicken wings, Laksa, duck and more. Before you finish judging me; I did share!

Finally, one thing I really enjoyed in Singapore was the coffee. I bring it up because it was truly unexpected. Kopi is the local coffee that is not so bitter, has a nice full body and usually sweetened with condensed milk. Kopi O Kosong – as I would order it, is without milk or sugar.

As you can tell my idea of site seeing was eating as much as possible. Singapore was a great culinary experience, especially since I paired each meal with a Tiger beer! I can’t wait to go back, maybe next time I will be a bit of actual site seeing!