Singapore’s hawker centres are well-known for selling a variety of cuisines, which reflect the country’s diverse population. These food stalls sell Chinese, Malay, and Indian dishes. Last month, the Michelin Guide awarded the Bib Gourmand, given to restaurants that offer affordable experiences, to 17 new hawker stalls selling local fare in Singapore.
For the next three months, the City Hawker Food Hunt, which started in 2008, is running a campaign for Singapore’s top hawker stalls. Organized by City Energy, a gas service company based in the city, the competition involves locals voting for their favourite hawker foods and stalls. These stalls are then compiled into a food guide on City Hawker Food Hunt’s official website, becoming a resource for locals and foreigners alike. This year, the event started on 4 July and will go on till 15 September.
Locals will get a chance to vote online for hawker stalls that sell eight beloved dishes. Among these are Hainanese chicken rice, Malaysian laksa, hokkien mee (vermicelli noodle dish), mee rebus (Indonesian noodle soup dish), Malaysian nasi lemak (fried rice), and Chinese char kway teow (stir-fried noodles with toppings).
An interesting Indian fusion dish that has made it to the list is nasi biryani, which is different to the one eaten in India. An article published by India-based food magazine Goya Journal in 2020 titled Nasi Biryani: Singapore’s Ode to Biryani goes into detail about this Indian fusion food. The article explains that this variant of Singaporean biryani is called nasi biryani kambing, and involves the addition of evaporated milk, pandan leaf, or screw-pine leaf, and lemongrass to the rice, making it flavourful. Achar timun (cucumber pickle) is served with the biryani.
Another Indian dish featured on the list is rojak mamak, a salad with Indian and Malaysian flavours. The salad, which consists of mixed vegetables, fruits, and deep-fried prawns or other seafood, is covered in a sticky black sauce made of thickened chilli paste and peanuts. This is different from the Malaysian version of the dish, where the sauce is made from fermented shrimp paste. The dish is then garnished with peanuts, which makes the salad crunchy, spicy and delicious.