Categories > Guides and Tips

20 Dishes You Must Definitely Try in Singapore

20 Dishes You Must Definitely Try in Singapore

Singapore is hailed as one of the top countries with the best food. And that’s because our culinary scene is as diverse as the city itself, blending flavors from Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, and Western – you name it, we’ve got it! 

I’ve listed what I believe are the finest examples of food available across the city-state, from humble street food carts to swanky rooftop restaurant dishes and everything in between.

1. Rainbow Kueh Lapis

Media credit: ollella_singapore

Rainbow Kueh Lapis, also known as “Rainbow Layer Cake,” is a delectably sweet dessert that has become one of the beloved staples in Singaporean cuisine.

This Singapore dish has a soft and chewy texture with a burst of sweet coconut flavor. It’s typically served as a snack, perfect for satisfying sweet cravings at any time of the day. 

Additionally, Rainbow Kueh Lapis is commonly found in traditional bakeries and dessert stalls and even on special occasions such as birthdays and festive celebrations.

Some locals enjoy pairing it with a cup of hot tea or coffee, allowing the cake’s sweetness to be balanced by the beverage’s bitterness.

2. Salted Egg Yolk Crab

Media credit: siocalvin

Salted Egg Yolk Crab is a combination of fresh crab meat enveloped in a rich and creamy salted egg yolk sauce.

This is typically served in seafood restaurants and hawker centers across the island, where patrons can enjoy it either as a main course or as part of a seafood feast.

It’s best paired with steamed rice or mantou (Chinese steamed buns), which help to soak up the decadent sauce and elevate the overall dining experience.

3. Durian Cendol

Media credit: dcendol

Durian Cendol is a delightful Singapore dessert that features a base of shaved ice topped with pandan-flavored rice flour jelly, sweetened red beans, coconut milk, and durian pulp.

This dessert is particularly renowned for its bold and distinctive taste, characterized by the creamy, pungent flavor of durian. 

The texture of the durian pulp adds a rich and velvety dimension to the dessert, creating a luxurious mouthfeel that is both creamy and slightly fibrous.

Durian Cendol is typically served chilled, making it the perfect antidote to Singapore’s tropical heat, but it’s more enjoyable after a spicy meal.

4. Truffle Wanton Mee

Media credit: henbaohen.bao

Truffle Wanton Mee consists of springy egg noodles tossed in a savory sauce, topped with succulent wantons, slices of char siu (barbecued pork), and crunchy vegetables. 

The truffle aroma adds depth and richness to the savory sauce, complementing the tender noodles and juicy wantons perfectly.

I’ve tried pairing this with a side of pickled green chilies and a refreshing iced tea to balance out the richness of the truffle sauce, and they surprisingly match the flavor of the dish well.

5. Charcoal-grilled BBQ Stingray

Media credit: rachel_toh002

Charcoal-grilled BBQ Stingray is renowned for its bold flavors and unique texture.

Traditionally served at hawker centers and seafood restaurants, its preparation method and distinctive taste grab the attention of food enthusiasts.

The stingray, marinated in a spicy sambal sauce typically made from chili, belacan (shrimp paste), garlic, and other aromatic spices, is wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over a charcoal fire.

This cooking technique infuses the stingray with a smoky flavor while keeping it moist and tender.

The result is a dish that boasts a perfect balance of heat, sweetness, and umami, with a hint of char from the grill.

For the ultimate dining experience, Charcoal-grilled Stingray is best enjoyed with a side of freshly squeezed lime and a dollop of spicy sambal chili.

6. Salted Egg Yolk Chicken Wings

Media credit: twowingssg

Salted Egg Yolk Chicken Wings is renowned for its irresistible combination of crispy chicken wings coated in a velvety and golden salted egg yolk sauce.

The crispy exterior of the chicken wings gives way to tender, juicy meat, while the rich and creamy salted egg yolk sauce adds a decadent umami punch with a hint of sweetness.

7. Nasi Lemak

Media credit: tofueeats

Nasi Lemak is an iconic Malaysian and Singaporean dish that has gained worldwide fame for its irresistible combination of flavors and textures.

This dish comprises fragrant coconut rice cooked with pandan leaves, giving it a subtly sweet aroma and a fluffy texture.

It’s typically served with a variety of accompaniments, including crispy fried chicken, spicy sambal chili, sliced cucumbers, roasted peanuts, and hard-boiled or fried eggs. 

8. Hainanese Curry Rice

Media credit: chubbybotakkoala

Hainanese Curry Rice, which originated in the Hainan province of China, has been embraced and adopted by Singaporeans and has become a beloved staple in local cuisine.

The dish consists of steamed white rice paired with a variety of toppings such as braised pork, crispy pork cutlets, fried chicken, and vegetables.

The flavorful curry sauce is what truly elevates the dish, infusing every bite with a delightful blend of spices and herbs.

Hainanese Curry Rice is commonly paired with a fried egg or a dollop of chili sauce for an extra kick of flavor.

9. Chilli Crab Bao

Media credit: baobarsingapore

Chilli Crab Bao is an ingenious pairing of tender crab meat drenched in spicy chili crab sauce with soft and fluffy steamed bao.

The crab meat is tender and juicy, while the bao buns are soft and slightly chewy, providing a satisfying mouthfeel with every bite.  

It’s often paired with refreshing beverages like iced lime juice or a cold beer to balance out the spiciness of the sauce. 

10. Pandan Chiffon Cake

Media credit: mad_about_pandan_cake

Pandan Chiffon Cake is a light and airy cake infused with the distinct aroma and flavor of pandan leaves. It’s soft and spongy, with a fine crumb that practically melts in your mouth. 

Traditionally served as a dessert or snack, Pandan Chiffon Cake is a popular treat enjoyed throughout the day, whether as a mid-morning snack, an afternoon indulgence, or a sweet ending to a meal.

I’ve tried this pastry thrice, and here’s my verdict: the pandan flavor is subtle yet refreshing and comforting.

11. Laksa Pizza

Media credit: samoosg

Laksa Pizza is a unique fusion dish that combines the rich and aromatic flavors of Singaporean laksa with the familiar comfort of pizza.

The pizza crust provides a crispy base that contrasts beautifully with the creamy coconut milk and tender shrimp. Each bite is a burst of complex flavors, with the heat from the chili paste balanced by the sweetness of the coconut milk.

12. Char Kway Teow

Media credit: makoeats

Char Kway Teow typically consists of flat rice noodles stir-fried with an aromatic combination of ingredients such as soy sauce, chili, shrimp paste, Chinese sausage, eggs, bean sprouts, and often fresh seafood like prawns or cockles.

Its name translates to “stir-fried rice cake strips,” referring to the broad, flat rice noodles that form the base of the dish.

It’s best paired with a side of sambal chili paste for an extra kick of heat and a squeeze of fresh lime for a burst of citrusy tanginess.

13. Otah-Otah

Media credit: otahsg

Otah-Otah is a traditional dish typically enjoyed as a snack or appetizer. It is often found in local coffee shops, hawker centers, and street food stalls.

Its preparation includes a fish paste meticulously seasoned with a combination of aromatic spices such as turmeric, lemongrass, and chili, resulting in a bold and fragrant filling.

When grilled, the banana leaves impart a subtle earthy aroma to the dish, enhancing its overall flavor profile.

It pairs exceptionally well with steamed rice or as a side dish to complement other local favorites such as nasi lemak or mee goreng.

14. Kaya Toast

Media credit: toastboxsg

Kaya Toast is served as a breakfast or mid-morning snack in Singapore. It consists of toasted bread slathered with kaya, a sweet and aromatic spread made from coconut milk, eggs, sugar, and pandan leaf extract.

The texture of the toasted bread is crisp on the outside yet soft and fluffy on the inside, providing a satisfying contrast with the creamy and fragrant kaya spread.

As you bite into the spread, the flavor of the pandan leaves infuses it with a distinct floral aroma.

Pair this with a Singapore black coffee, and you’ve got a perfect start to the morning!

15. Bak Chor Mee

Media credit: cassakating

Bak Chor Mee is one of the iconic noodle dishes in Singapore. It consists of springy egg noodles tossed in a savory sauce made from vinegar, soy sauce, and pork lard.

It’s also topped with a medley of ingredients such as minced pork, pork slices, pork liver, meatballs, fish cakes, and crispy fried shallots.

This has a perfect balance of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors, with a hint of umami richness from the pork lard.

But if you want to add an extra kick of flavor, pair it with a side of spicy chili sauce and a dash of black vinegar.

In Singapore,  it’s commonly enjoyed as a late-night snack, supper dish, or a mukbang food.

16. Durian Pizza

Media credit: nodiooo

Durian Pizza, known for its unique blend of flavors and textures, has become a famous and somewhat controversial dish in Singapore.

This unconventional pizza typically features a crispy crust topped with creamy durian flesh, melted cheese, and sometimes a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk.

It elicits strong reactions due to the polarizing nature of durian – often described as having a pungent aroma reminiscent of rotten onions yet beloved by many for its rich, custard-like flavor.

While some may find the idea of combining durian with pizza unusual, the result is surprisingly delicious.

The creamy texture of the durian complements the crispy crust and gooey cheese.

17. Mala Xiang Guo

Media credit: foodie_maddie

Mala Xiang Guo is a fiery and aromatic stir-fry dish that originates from the Sichuan province of China. You’ll commonly find this dish served at hawker centers and Chinese restaurants.

Mala Xiang Guo has that unique combination of numbing and spicy flavors, achieved through the generous use of Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers in the seasoning.

The dish features a variety of ingredients, such as meat, seafood, tofu, peanuts, and vegetables, stir-fried together in a fragrant and spicy Mala sauce.

The texture is a delightful mix of tender meats, crunchy vegetables, and chewy tofu, all coated in the bold and aromatic sauce.

18. Satay

Media credit: staysfaction

Satay is a beloved dish in Singapore, renowned for its tender and flavorful skewered meat, typically served with a side of spicy peanut sauce, cucumber, and rice cakes.

The meat is marinated in a blend of aromatic spices such as lemongrass, turmeric, and coriander before being grilled over an open flame.

This cooking method imparts a smoky char and caramelized crust to the meat while keeping it tender and juicy on the inside.

It’s traditionally served as a street food snack or appetizer and often enjoyed as part of a shared meal with friends and family.

19. Ayam Penyet

Media credit: foodaaye

Ayam Penyet is an Indonesian-inspired dish featuring tender chicken marinated in a blend of aromatic spices, then deep-fried until golden and crispy. 

Its signature “penyet” technique involves smashed fried chicken with a pestle and mortar to tenderize the meat and allow the flavors to penetrate deeply.

Ayam Penyet is typically served with a side of fragrant rice, crisp fresh vegetables, and a fiery chili sambal for an added kick.

20. Ban Mian

Media credit: auntiekongfoodie

Ban Mian is a beloved noodle dish that has gained fame in Singapore for its simplicity, heartiness, and comforting flavors.

Originating from the Hakka Chinese community, Ban Mian consists of handmade noodles served in a flavorful broth, typically made from anchovies, pork bones, and various aromatics.

It can be customized with a variety of toppings, such as sliced vegetables, minced meat, mushrooms, and a cracked egg for added richness.

For the best dining experience, Ban Mian is often paired with a side of chili paste or chili oil for an extra kick of spice, as well as a generous sprinkle of fried shallots and chopped spring onions for added flavor and texture.

Some establishments also offer additional condiments such as vinegar and soy sauce, allowing diners to tailor the taste according to their preferences.

Exploring a new city is inherently exciting, but when that city is renowned for its culinary offerings, like Singapore, the anticipation reaches a whole new level.

Call it hometown pride, but I am entirely confident that once you’ve had a taste of any of the dishes I’ve listed, you’ll crave more and will definitely be back for another serving!