Top 6 Dishes Singaporeans Miss Most When Overseas
Aside from the 12 Must-Try Local Dishes, Singaporeans who live or study overseas are no strangers to the occasional intense craving for a slurp of bak chor mee – especially when your friends back home never fail to send photo reminders of what you’re missing out on. These are the first few dishes you head straight after exiting the arrival hall and the last before you head for the airport again, before having to survive on pre-packed laksa and chicken rice till your next trip home.

1. Bak Chor Mee

bak chor mee Singapore
What is it? To our knowledge, Bak Chor Mee, is one local dish that can’t be found anywhere else in the world and is more often than not, the first thing Singaporeans crave for returning to our sunny island. This bowl of mee pok (a flat yellow noodle with Teochew origins) is skillfully tossed with a mixture of black vinegar and chilli, with many ingredients such as minced meat, pork slices, stewed sliced mushrooms, liver, meat balls, Chinese lettuce for garnish and most importantly, deep fried lard. Where to go? Make a beeline for Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, which is probably the most famous bak chor mee stall in Singapore. While prices are slighter steeper at $5/ $8/ $10 a bowl and queues are long, it’s definitely worth the wait. Another good option is Ming Fa Fishball Noodle with its stronghold of 10 outlets around the island – one of which stays open till 5am daily. And a new hot favourite amongst locals is the Japanese family-owned Ah Hoe Mee Pok, which uses canned abalone and even has a $10 crayfish variation available. (Image: OpenRice user chefquak)

2. Bak Kut Teh

bak kut teh Singapore
What is it? What we often crave during harsh winters or whilst holed up in our apartments during typhoons is a hot herbal soup dish known as Bak Kut Teh. Also known as pork rib soup or 肉骨茶, which literally translates to “meat bone tea”, some locals prefer the dark-coloured, soy sauce and herb-laden Hokkien type, whilst others like theirs intensely peppery an full of garlic – a style unique to the Teochews. Where to go? For pepper lovers, Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh has been one of the favourites since 1977, while Outram Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh stays open until 4am from Tuesdays to Sundays if you need a post-clubbing fix. If you decide to test out “the dark side”, go straight for Hong Ji Claypot Bak Kut Teh, which has outlets in Marsiling (main outlet), Ang Mo Kio, Upper Thomson and Sin Ming. (Image: Peh Yi Wen)

3. Char Kway Teow

char kway teow singapore
What is it? When flat rice noodles are stir-fried with light and dark soy sauce, cockles, eggs, bean sprouts, lap cheong (Chinese sausages) and a good amount of lard, you get one of Singapore’s most sought after hawker dish that the health experts don’t approve of – Char Kway Teow. Where to go? When it comes to naming the best Char Kway Teow stalls in Singapore, No. 18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow and Hill Street Fried Kway Teow often comes to mind first and are even given royalty status for this wonderfully sinful dish. Another good pick is Meng Kee Fried Kway Teow known for its slightly sweeter variation that comes without too long of a wait compared to the above two. (Image: OpenRice user ieatandeat)

4. Oyster Omelette

oyster omelette Singapore
What is it? Oyster omelette, which the locals call ‘orh luak’, isn’t quite like your Western-style breakfast omelette but often found in Singapore hawker centres and Taiwan night markets. While eggs are a main component in this oily number, so are oysters, lard, and potato starch – that helps to thicken the mixture considerably. Oyster omelette is best enjoyed with its accompanying chilli sauce, which usually includes a spritz of lime juice for tanginess. Where to go? Without a doubt, Simon Road Oyster Omelette is a hot favourite amongst many orh luak fans in Singapore and remains to be the best in the neighbourhood. Another iconic stall, Katong Ah Soon Fried Oyster is recognizable by its long queues in Old Airport Road Food Centre, as is Ah Chuan Fried Oyster Omelette in Toa Payoh. See: 10 Best Oyster Omelettes in Singapore (Image: OpenRice user qqmonkey)

5. Sambal Stingray

sambal stingray Singapore
What is it? Barbequed seafood probably isn’t impossible to find overseas, but stingray with heaps of sambal paste wrapped in banana leaves is. We love how easy it is to devour the stingray fins, as it has no fine bones to be wary of. And you can’t enjoy its tender flesh without that fiery sambal atop, which is made of belachan, shallots, sugar, garlic and shrimp paste. Where to go? Sambal stingray from Chomp Chomp Hai Wei Yuan Seafoood BBQ is a must-order when in this well-known food centre that only comes alive at night. But for those can’t take the heat, try the one at Rong Guang BBQ Seafood instead, which is only mildly spicy compared to the rest. (Image: OpenRice user ffiony)

6. Satay

satay singapore
What is it? Satay is essentially grilled marinated skewered meat – mainly chicken or mutton – served with a bowl of thick peanut sauce, as well as raw onions, cucumbers and ketupat (a traditional Malay rice cake wrapped in a woven palm leaf pouch). This inexpensive dish is great for sharing, especially over bottles of beer or large jugs of sugar cane juices – Singapore style. Where to go? Visit the only satay street in Singapore at Lau Pa Sat, which only wakes to its lively self when the sun goes down and is quite a sight to behold. A favourite over at Old Airport Road is Chuan Kee Satay known for their succulent pork satay, while Chomp Chomp Satay is another not to be missed. (Image: OpenRice user spherepiece)
Written by Peh Yi Wen
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