I keep starting to write about more of our eating adventures but I quickly lose my focus and end up scrapping the post. But what exactly am I trying to say other than that the food here is amazing?
Singapore’s most famous dish is chili crab. I didn’t have any last time I was here, which is a sad, sad thing.
It’s a large crab—different sites seem to indicate different kinds of crab. It looks kinda dungenessy . . . one of the tanks in the restaurant said “Canadian Dungeness” . . . one site says “mud crab” . . . another specifies “Sri Lankan crab.” Basically, it’s a crab. It’s not—and I can say this with absolute certainty—a blue, the crabs of the American East Coast (and my most favorite). The meat is still pretty sweet, but like most larger crabs, it isn’t as delicate and melting as a blue. But a blue’s meat probably couldn’t hold up to the super sweet/spicy chili sauce. You dig right in, eating with your hands, and it’s a big sticky mess. So it’s a good thing that Singapore is practically devoid of paper napkins, instead opting for wet-nap–like wipes. (It’s very disconcerting to sit down to eat and not have something covering your lap. But apparently they’re neater eaters here.)
It’s common to get man tou, a sweet donut-like bread, to sop up the sauce (I didn’t get a photo of that—fingers and hands were coated in chili sauce!). They were tasty.
My friend Des, a Singaporean, argues that black pepper crab is now the dish that has captured Singaporeans’ hearts. So I tried that too.
I liked it better than the chili crab, actually. There’s not much to say about it—nice and peppery. The crab is the same, and the eating process is just as messy.
Another seafood staple that’s popular here (my dad thinks it’s a distinctly Singaporean dish) is the cereal prawn.
The “cereal” is a kind of oat and the shrimp is peel ‘n’ eat. I really liked the oaty coating—it’s great mixed with rice.
And just because we had these three things at the same meal, I have to mention these amazing honey ribs we got that night, too. They would hold their own against any of the offerings at the Big Apple BBQ!
The meat fell off the bone, the glaze was sticky and sweet and dark, like soy.
All these food adventures are lining up nicely with the Singapore Food Festival. They’ve listed 10 Must Eat foods—I’ve had 6 already. The dinner above let me only cross the chili crab off the list. Others I’ve already eaten include char kway teow (which I had last Sunday but my photograph is decidedly unpalatable), satay (which is the same here as it is in the States), laksa (i’ve had it twice now, and: LOVE), Hainanese chicken rice (haven’t had it yet on this visit, but I’m sure I will), and fried carrot cake (not what you think—hard to describe). Others left to sample include fish head curry, roti prata, rojak, and bak kut teh. Stay tuned for these and more culinary adventures!