Singapore National Day recipes
What started off as our humble street food has become a food culture that Singaporeans can be very proud of — it is not only recognised locally, but also globally with UNESCO World Heritage status! With distinctive local dishes that are enjoyed from generation to generation, the diversity of our multicultural society is one of the reasons why some of our local cuisines are recognised internationally.
To celebrate our food heritage and its identity during this National Day week, here are 10 of the most iconic Singaporean dishes that you can recreate at home.
1. Singapore Chilli Crab
Singapore Chilli Crab is so popular that it has been dubbed Singapore’s national seafood dish, but did you know it was created in a simple pushcart stall? In the 1950s, Madam Cher Yam Tian sold stir-fried crabs along the Kallang River. Instead of tomato sauce, she used bottled chilli sauce in her gravy – and the rest is history! Since then, this dish has elevated through the years, adding in more complex flavours from beaten eggs and the aromatic rempah.
Although mud crab is much preferred for this dish, you can use any type of crab that is available. The crab pieces are stir fried with homemade rempah and coated with tomato ketchup and beaten eggs for a sweet, savoury, spicy and creamy tomato gravy that is heavenly!
The best way to savour this dish is to dig in with your fingers and soak up the delicious sauce with fried mantou. Do not give this recipe a miss as it only takes half an hour to cook!
Preparation Time: 30 mins. Serves 4
2. Singapore Hokkien Prawn Mee
Although there are different stories about the origin of Hokkien Prawn Mee, the most popular narrative is that a Hokkien seaman in the 1930s brought this dish and sold it at his stall in Rochor Road. It took off and till today, you can find Hokkien Prawn Mee at just about every hawker centre and food court in Singapore.
This plate of yellow and white noodles, stir fried in a rich prawn and pork bone broth produces an amazing flavour and texture! Served with sambal and a squeeze of calamansi lime for an added edge of flavour and this dish is ready to be savoured.
Preparation Time: 1 hour. Serves 4
3. Hainanese Chicken Rice
The humble Hainanese Chicken Rice has evolved into one of the most popular dishes in Singapore and overseas. This recipe was brought to our shores by the Hainanese migrants in the 19th century, and was modified over time with local influence and flavour.
The method of poaching the whole chicken and a quick dip in an ice cold bath is essential to produce the most succulent and moist chicken meat. Although the chicken is the key component of the dish, the fragrant steamed rice is also a star. Cooked in chicken broth and some aromatic herbs, it adds another level of deliciousness to the overall dish!
As simple as it may seem, our Hainanese Chicken Rice is perhaps Singapore’s most iconic food that has won the heart of our nation. Whether you’re home or away, it is without a doubt, the most comforting dish not to be missed.
Preparation Time: 1 hour Serves: 3 to 4
4. Singapore’s Nyonya Laksa
The Peranakans are a unique ethnic group with heritage that blends Chinese, Malay, Indonesian and Indian cultures together. Needless to say, this integration of mixed cultures has produced some of the best cuisine in Southeast Asia.
A good mention of a Peranakan dish is definitely a hearty bowl of creamy, spicy and flavourful Nyonya Laksa. This iconic dish features a base of aromatic rempah that is stir-fired and let to simmer with coconut milk. As with other Peranakan dishes, the Laksa is almost incomplete without a side of sweet, spicy and tangy sambal. With other ingredients like prawns, tau pok, fishcake, cockles, and a spoonful of sambal, we’re salivating just thinking about it!
Preparation Time: 1 hour. Serves 4
5. Curry Fish Head
Hailing from Kerala in Southern India, J. M. Gomez, the creator of Curry Fish Head wanted to introduce his South Indian cuisine to local diners, especially to the Chinese community where Gomez set up the first stall in Sophia Road in 1949.
This dish, which yields bold and distinctive flavours, is an epitome of the cultural melting pot as it mixes South Indian curry spices with fish head, a delicacy among the Chinese. As its popularity flourished, this dish was later modified by Chin Wah Heng in 1951 by steaming the fish head first. The result was a supple and juicy fish that’s not overcooked and mildly spiced.
This iconic dish is commonly presented at the table bubbling in a large clay pot. Slather your steamed rice with this thick, creamy and delicious gravy, complete with pieces of succulent fish meat and vegetables for an unforgettable eating experience.
Preparation Time: 20 mins. Serves 4
6. Oyster Omelette
Oyster Omelette or commonly called Orh Luak in dialect, was a common street food in the early days. When the Hokkiens and Teochews brought this dish to Malaya from their coastal habitats, this savoury pancake with juicy pieces of oysters became one of Singapore’s favourite dishes.
Skip the hawker queue and make your own Oyster Omelette with eggs and flour batter, fresh oysters and seasoning. A crowd pleaser for sure, follow this recipe to make sure the omelette has that crispiness on the edge and gooey texture in the middle. This dish is best savoured with the salty and spicy chilli dipping sauce, as well as a handful of coriander for a hint of herbal freshness.
Preparation Time: 15 mins. Serves 4
7. Bak Kut Teh
Bak Kut Teh can be traced back to the Fujian province in China. It was brought to Singapore by Hokkien immigrants, where this humble bowl of pork ribs soup was comforting and nutritional for the hard working labourers. Today, it is an enjoyable hearty meal especially on a cooler rainy days
Our Bak Kut Teh recipe is extremely easy to prepare as only a few ingredients are required. Be generous with the garlic cloves and peppercorn as you’ll need a great amount to extract the flavour for the broth. Simmer for a few hours and this peppery Bak Kut Teh is ready to be served with steamed rice and dark soy sauce with chilli padi for extra heat. Definitely, a side of youtiao to soak up the leftover broth.
Preparation Time: 2 hours 30 mins. Serves 4
8. Homemade Kaya
Remembering the good ‘ol days when your mum prepared an early breakfast or afternoon bread snacks with kaya fillings? Or Peranakan kueh-kuehs with Homemade Kaya spread that adds sweetness to a savoury dessert?
It is said that the British may have had an influence on this recipe. As English fruit jams were not readily accessible during the 19th century, our local chefs concocted this Kaya jam using the best of our local ingredients. Kaya, meaning “rich” in Malay language is described for its rich and creamy custard-like texture from eggs, sugar, coconut milk and pandan leaves which is distinctively fragrant.
Have this creamy and delicious kaya the Singapore way with toast and soft-boiled eggs. Enjoy over a cup of authentic kopi or teh, and this combination provides the best balance of flavours, while being truly nostalgic and satisfying at the same time.
Preparation Time: 30 mins Serves: 1 Jar
9. Hainanese Pork Chop
A definite East meets West dish, this iconic Hainanese Pork Chop, was created by pioneer Hainan chefs who worked as cooks in British colonial kitchens. They produced an amazing crispy, sweet and savoury melt-in your-mouth dish that’s still enjoyed by Singaporeans today.
Our recipe replicates the signature use of soda cream crackers to coat the pork pieces for a distinctive salty and crispy texture blended beautifully with the sweet and savoury sauce. A definite English influence is the inclusion of tomato ketchup and Worcestershire sauce for that depth of flavour.
Preparation Time: 1 hour 30 mins. Serves 3 to 4
10. Nasi Lemak
One of the most iconic Malay dishes in Singapore is none other than Nasi Lemak. Although its origin can’t be traced, the signature banana leaf and newspaper wrapped packaging may be attributed to how this dish was often brought as meals to farmers working on the fields. The packaging served as a vessel to hold them together for ease of transportation and consumption. Back in the days, Nasi Lemak was one of the most humble meals to provide a well balanced and staple diet for these workers.
Today, this incredibly fragrant rice cooked with coconut milk and infused with pandan leaves is usually served with an assortment of toppings like fried chicken or fish, toasted peanuts and eggs. A humble dish yet full of flavour, Nasi Lemak is incomplete without the mouth-watering sambal which is definitely an essential ingredient for this dish.
Preparation Time: 1 hour 30 mins. Serves 5
Singapore food recipes
Food has always been a part of every Singaporean’s culture and heritage. These treasured recipes were passed down from one generation to another which is an important aspect of our national identity.
With wide and varied choices, our food culture has definitely made an impact on the international food map. Recently, a handful of hawker stalls have even made the cut to be listed on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list with several obtaining a Michelin stars status.
Let’s preserve our food heritage for many years to come by creating them at home and be a part of Singapore’s food history you’re proud of. Try these recipes at home today, and share them with us on our FB Cooking Community!
More of what you might like:
P.S. We’ve got recipes for all your Singaporean and Asian favourites on our Youtube channel. Subscribe and share with your friends!
P.P.S. Can’t find a recipe you like? Drop us a comment or ping us on our socials.
Get cooking with us: