traVeL destination TexT and phoTos by RogeR NoRum Bananas feature in many a Singapore specialty. A filling meal at a hawker centre costs less than S$5 (3). Singapore Sweet and Savoury ell before asia was feasted upon by european colonial powers, singapore lay at the crossroads of the world's spice routes. Today, the country's unique cultural diversity has graced it with one of the most varied cuisines on the planet, which is great news for foodies. as locally born chef Anthony Yeoh puts it, "Food is as much a fixation as it is a mark of identity in singapore." While predominantly represented by Malay, Chinese and Indian cooking traditions, singaporean cuisine also shows hints of influences from Thai, Middle eastern and Western kitchens most notably in its use of spices. "one fun thing for foodies," yeoh says, "is that singapore's dishes have so many variations stemming from different cultural traditions." The best-known local meals include the Malay laksa, rice noodles smothered in spicy coconut milk soup topped with veggies or seafood, and nasi W lemak, coconut rice wrapped in banana leaf accompanied by goodies such as anchovies, peanuts, cucumber or sambal, a chili-based sauce. popular Chinese dishes include bak kut the, pork rib soup with herbs; char kway teow, stir-fried dark noodles served with crispy bits of deep-fried lard, and yong tau fu, a clear soup containing anything from fish balls to bean curd. Curries are a popular Indian-origin dish, as is roti prata, a fluffy, fried dough often eaten with curry and toppings such as cheese, egg and onions. all these plates are most commonly sided with the local brew, Tiger, but sugar cane juice, strained fresh from the stalks and served with lemon, is also a popular food is as much a fixation as a mark of identity here. drink. For dessert, try ice kacang, a brightly coloured mixture of sweet red beans, jelly cubes and corn topped with shaved ice, syrup and condensed milk. "Where to eat," yeoh says, "is always the question at the beginning of the day." eating out in singapore tends to be concentrated around the stalls at hawker centres open food courts offering a range of dishes under one roof. "every local has their favourite stalls serving individual versions of these dishes that they're willing to travel across the island to get to," the chef adds. so don't be afraid to venture off somewhere unknown for a meal. some stall keepers will take your order at your table; at others you'll be required to point at what you enG 10 BLUE WINGS march 2011
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