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You probably heard it by now, that eating is one of the highlights of visiting Singapore. In a food obsessed nation, almost everyone swears by a few must-eats (“die die must try” – in local speak). Those of you with well meaning Singapore friends know exactly what I am talking about.

Even with a very brutal culling, our team at TRIBE has come up with a list of 15 MUST eats.

TRIBE’S TOP 15 (RANDOM, NOT RANKED):

1. CHILLI CRAB or BLACK PEPPER CRAB. You simply cannot leave Singapore without having this. Many places serve what is now considered the national dish. So we recommend you do so at Long Beach Seafood, No Signboard Seafood, New Ubin Seafood, Mellben Seafood.

2. HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE. Did I say that chilli crab is the national dish? We seem to have more than one national dish. Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice Restaurant and Tian Tian Chicken Rice are truly the front runners by a long mile.

3. CHAR KWAY TEOW is flat rice noodles stirfried with a devilish concoction of sweet dark sauce, egg, lard, cockles, Chinese sausage, fish cake. Famous one we like is at Zion Riverside Food Centre.

4. SATAY. Best stalls are reviewed under Hawker Centre Reviews and they are at East Coast Lagoon Food Centre, Old Airport Road Food Centre and Lau Pa Sat.

5. NASI LEMAK. It’s a four corner fight between Changi Village’s International Nasi Lemak and Mizzy’s Corner, Adam Road’s Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak and Ponggol Nasi Lemak.

6. CARROT CAKE. Too many to choose from but Chomp Chomp’s is hard to beat.

7. LAKSA. Gordon Ramsay went head to head in a cook-off with 328 Katong Laksa and lost. What is it? A Peranakan dish of vermicelli noodles, slices of fish cake, tau pok, shrimp and cockles with a tasty broth of coconut milk, fish sauce, lime, dried shrimp. Other masters is at Queensway Shopping Centre.

8. OYSTER CAKE. Actually we know of only one place that sells this and that’s at Maxwell. And after you’ve sunk your teeth into these bad boys, as the 80s band Survivor sings “The Search is Over…”.

Oyster Cake

9. MIN JIANG KUEH. Want to know why there is so little written about MZK? Because no one can ever agree how to spell it. Whatever the spelling, the best ones are Tanglin Halt, Granny’s Pancake Toa Payoh Lorong 7 and some place in Jurong (can someone tell me where?)

Min Jiang Kueh

10. SCISSORS RICE is my death row food. Seriously. Yes I hear you squeal at the irony there. So called, because in Singapore many of our naming of things may be a derivation of Chinese or Malay words and this dish was traditionally cut using food scissors. It’s curry rice, with flattened fried Hainanese pork chop, cabbage, pork belly (here’s the best part) D-R-E-N-C-H-E-D with curry gravy. No scissors, pure heaven. 3 places. 1. Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice, 2. Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice (at 229 Jalan Besar not Beach Road), 3. Eleven Fingers Curry Rice.

11. BBQ SAMBAL STINGRAY or “hung hur” if you want to go local while ordering. I won’t even attempt to suggest best ones because everyone’s got different ones and they are all good.

12. HOKKIEN MEE. Again few places can beat the ones at Chomp Chomp. Either go with Ah Hock Fried Hokkien Mee or Chia Keng Fried Hokkien Mee.

13. ROJAK is crispy fried dough sticks mixed with bean sprouts, cucumber, pineapple, tau pok, radish, pineapple, water spinach, sugar and lime, mixed together with black fermented prawn paste. The really excellent ones you can taste the fragrant but subtle tulip bulb. Not a main dish but rather an appetiser to be shared with others. Have this at Soon Heng Rojak at Toa Payoh Lorong 6 at HDB Hub or someplace opposite Bugis +.

14. BEANCURD or “TAU HUAY” in Hokkien. Don’t let the pale white appearance fool you. This is a must try especially if you have a sweet tooth. The beancurd tofu is served with sugar syrup.

Beancurd or “Tau Huay”

This is a dessert and you can choose to eat it hot or cold. No one’s judging. The good ones are silky smooth. A bowl costs only $1. Actually the ONLY stall to try this at is Rochor Original Beancurd. This is late night food territory. Area is spilling with tables on side streets slurping this ol’ faithful. Atmosphere 10 out of 10!

15. BAK KUT TEH. There are several along a stretch of Balestier Road, the most famous (note famous may or may not equate to tastiest) being Founder Bak Kut Teh.

Must Eats
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