If anyone knows which dishes are worth spending your Singaporean dollars on, it’s Adam Liaw. The Malaysian-born TV chef takes us on a culinary trip to his homeland and shares with us Singapore’s best dishes – and tips – every food enthusiast needs to know.
When it comes to Asian cuisine, there isn’t much not worth trying, but if your time in a place like Singapore isn’t nearly as long as you’d like it to be, it pays to have a pre-planned idea in your head of what might be on your culinary hit list.
Born in Malaysia, Liaw’s love of Singapore dates back to his ancestors. “I’ve enjoyed a strong connection to Singapore for my entire life as my mother was born there,” he says. “Our heritage dates back about four generations. My father’s side of the family is Hainanese, and Hainanese people have had a very strong influence on Singapore’s cuisine today through dishes like kaya toast and Hainanese chicken rice.”
When it comes to Singapore’s approach to cuisine, Liaw feels it’s a great fit for young people wanting to experience tradition: “I think Singapore is a perfect example of modernising tradition,” he says. “It’s a young, fast-paced country but has a very long history, and I think Singaporeans are justifiably proud of that.”
We asked Liaw for his five top food recommendations, and he was all too happy to oblige us.
I love the completeness of this dish. It uses the whole chicken from the oil to the stock to the meat, so it’s a dish that not only tastes great, it has a great philosophy behind it too.
Sitting outdoors with a big plate of satay, a cold beer and a good conversation are all you need for a perfect Singapore evening.
You’ve got to head to Katong to try this uniquely Singaporean take on laksa. Have it with a side of otak-otak.
Chilli crab is fantastic, but there are lots of other varieties of crab dishes to try, too.
This and a cup of Hainanese coffee shop coffee is a perfect breakfast for me, but it’s good for a snack during the day too.
Liaw also shared some tips on getting the most out of Singapore’s food, including a sure-fire way to secure a table in a bustling eatery – even if you’re on your own!
Our list of the Singapore’s best restaurants