I Ate My Heart Out in Singapore

I believe that food is the best way to learn about the culture of a new place. Because I usually travel locally, trying new food is not that much of a big deal — the Filipino people eat similar kinds of food from all over the archipelago. However, I still always find it interesting that there are differences. For instance, adobo in Mindanao has a thick soup, while in the Visayas region, it’s more of a thin sauce. (There’s a difference, I promise!)

When I first went to Singapore, I came with my parents and was subjected to family rules: mainly, I can’t explore the city on my own unless everyone else wants to go.  Also, my mom is not really into eating street food, which means that Hawker Centres are not high on the list.

Then I came back to Singapore with my friends, which meant that finally, I get to eat as I please, and the foodie in me was happy. For a while anyway, because I realized later on that my friends, despite being voracious eaters, don’t have adventurous taste buds.

Not that it stopped me from getting them to try, although I can never seem to get them to eat the frog. Anyway, since we were only in the Lion City for three days, I couldn’t get around to eating every single Singaporean dish they had to offer. So I went with my top five musts:

Chicken Rice

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Does it look exactly like any other chicken dish? Yes. Does it taste better than other chicken dishes? Also, yes. Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken is a Michelin-starred restaurant, so that’s saying a lot regarding it’s quality. (The chicken is incredibly tender) Their set meals, which came with a canned drink only goes for S$5. It is said to go even cheaper at their original store at the Hawker centre, too.

Frog Porridge

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Sorry for the photo, I ordered the frog porridge for takeaway, and white meat on white rice porridge just look bland in photos.

Anyway. My friends refused to take a bite out of the frog porridge. Interestingly, it tasted exactly like arroz caldo, which Filipinos tend to eat a lot of. Frog tasted like chicken, but more chewy, I suppose. I realized later on that I may have eaten some girl’s prince charming, and for that, I apologize (but she should have kissed the frog incarnate sooner).

Laksa

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Hearty, spicy noodle soup perfect for chilly days. Except that Singapore is a degree above the equator and it’s super hot out when we went there. Nonetheless, I love anything spicy, so I finished the entire bowl anyway. #NoRegrets, amirite?

Sambal Stingray

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When I told my parents I ate stingray in Singapore, they went, “Why did you go to SG to eat stingray? There are stingrays here!”

Well, there are also blowfish in the Philippines but it doesn’t mean we know how to prepare them. We don’t prepare stingray at home, either. When asked how it tasted like, I love fish and it tasted exactly like fish to me. 😀 For non-fish fans, it’s actually pretty safe as a dish: it is soft and it does not have that fishy aftertaste. The sauce that went with it (spicy, but not hot) also added to the flavor.

Singaporean Chili Crab

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Yum. I don’t usually eat a lot of crab because I find them tasking, but I would definitely not say ‘no’ to them if someone offers me the meat sans the shell. The sauce for the crab tasted a whole lot like Zamboanga’s Alavar sauce. However, I Googled recipes for the various sauces and I found that they are actually quite different! The chili crab sauce has ketchup, chili paste (duh), oyster sauce, soy sauce, and tamarind paste. Alavar sauce has a lot more ingredients that included turmeric, paprika, curry powder, and coconut milk.

Anyway, if you’re ever in Zamboanga, look for curachas served with Alavar sauce (not to be mistaken with cucarachas, which are cockroaches). The curachas taste amazing as soon as you get over their nightmarish look. (Check them out: http://bit.ly/2rZhJLv)

Meanwhile, here’s a fun fact about Singapura: According to a Reddit user, Merlions ate durian and hated it. They have been vomiting ever since.