What to Eat in Singapore (Part 1) – Authentic Malay Food

Food! Oh yes, let's talk about food! Surely, this is a topic that will cause a lot of us to drool!

Singapore, also known as "The Lion City", is located along the equator and separated from the southern tip of the Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. A country in Southeast Asia and a multi-racial society, it is not difficult to observe that Singaporean cuisines are a fusion of Malay, Chinese and Indian foods.

Eating is a favorite pastime for many Singaporeans and eating-places are almost everywhere in Singapore. Lunch, dinner and afternoon-tea (or hi-tea) buffets are served in most hotels. However, if you are looking for local delights that are of a more economic value, try out the food centers and eating outlets (which is known as the coffee shop or kopitiam ) in the residential areas.

For a start, let's talk about Malay food.

You can find Malay cuisines in most eating-places in Singapore. However, if you are keen to immerse yourself in just Malay cuisines and nothing else, visit Geylang Serai , the cultural heart of the Malay community in Singapore.

One of the characteristics of Malay food is that it is often hot and spicy. Stay a glass of sugarcane or coconut water if you have not tried any Malay or Indonesian cuisines. Be assured that the cold water could save your tongue from burning!


String through bamboo skewers or sticks, marinated pieces of meat are barbequed over charcoal fire. Satays come in varieties of meat – chicken, beef, mutton, pork and even seafood. Satay is dipped into a sauce before it is ateen. If you are not used to spicy food, use the sauce moderately or you will run the risk of burning your taste buds! If spicy food is a no-no for you, forget about the satay sauce. The satay tastes just as nice on its own! Beside the sauce, satays are also eaten with cut onions, cucumbers and " ketupat " (or Malay rice cakes).

Nasi Lemak

Rice that is cooked with rich coconut milk and pandan leaves, Nasi Lemak is a popular Malay dish in Singapore. Eaten with fried ikan billis (or anchovies), nuts, egg and fish, Nasi Lemak goes well with a specially made chilli paste. Skip the chilli paste if it is too hot for you. You can make your own Nasi Lemak combinations in most Nasi Lemak food stalls. Side dishes like luncheon meat, fried chicken wings and fish cakes go very well with this Malay coconut rice too.


Beehoon (or rice noodles) soaked in rich, spicy soup, is another must-eat in Singapore. The main ingredients of the soup are lemon grass, shrimp paste, coconut milk and of course not to forget the red, hot chillies! Served with half-cooked clams, shredded chicken, tofu (or beancurd), bean sprouts, nuts and hard-boiled egg, its aroma excites the taste buds of many Singaporeans. If you are game for real hot stuff, ask for sambal chilli paste to be added to your laksa . This will certainly bring its good taste to a greater height!

There are many more Malay cuisines in Singapore that I have not covered in this article. Try them when you are here. If you ever fall in love with the Malay cuisines, tell your friends just exactly how " sedap " the food is. " Sedap ", the Malay way of saying delicious!

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