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Singapore Local Food

I think this SG50 tee shirt design really reflects Singapore really well because Singapore is known as a food paradise and this design incorporated almost all the local food that you could ever think of! Which inspired me to do a post on Singapore Local Food!

People say Singapore is a food paradise, indeed it is! Singapore, being a multicultural and multiracial country, it doesn't really has its own distinct cuisine. The following items (mainly Chinese food because I'm Chinese) are some of the food that I grew up eating and can be easily found at local coffee shops and hawker centers. I don't really know where the origins come from, but because these items can be easily found in Singapore and not else where, I named them Singapore Local Food.

Traditional Kaya Toast Set

KAYA TOAST SET is the most common breakfast in Singapore. It consists of two slices of kaya butter toast, two soft-boiled eggs and a hot drink, usually coffee or tea, served in a Hainanese coffee cup. The eggs are eaten with dark soy sauce and pepper, some even dip the toast in the egg mixture.

Economic Bee Hoon

Nasi Lemak

The next two common breakfast in Singapore will be ECONOMIC BEE HOON and NASI LEMAK (coconut rice). They are usually accompanied by your choice of side dishes which includes fried egg, luncheon meat, hotdog, taiwan sausage, fish cake, fish fillet, chicken wing, vegetables, hashbrown, etc. Other alternatives includes fried kway teow, fried noodles, fried rice, depending on what the stall offers. Nasi Lemak will come with additional cucumber slices, fried anchovies and fried peanut. Both served with sambal chili sauce.

Soon Kueh

Peng Kueh

A kueh stall is usually found in hawker centers where they sell a variety of kuehs that the Chinese usually buy and pray as offerings. SOON KUEH (bamboo shoot cake, but has now been replaced by turnip) consists of a chewy skin made from wheat starch and tapioca starch, filled with turnip, carrot, Chinese mushroom and dried shrimp. PENG KUEH (rice cake) has a similar skin to soon kueh but less chewy, filled with glutinous rice, roasted peanuts, Chinese mushroom and dried shrimps. Both served with sweet black sauce and chili.

Ang Ku Kueh

ANG KU KUEH (red tortoise cake), the skin is made of glutinous rice flour and the traditional filling is either peanut or sweat green bean. It is served especially during chinese baby showers as in the chinese culture red symbolizes good luck and tortoise symbolizes longevity. Other fillings are also available and is recognised by the different coloured skins.

Huat Kueh

HUAT KUEH is used for praying on special occasions believing that it will bring prosperity to the family. Huat means prosperity in dialect. It is made from self-raising flour, coconut milk, water and palm sugar is mixed together and then steamed.

Lapis Sagu

LAPIS SAGU, also called nine-layer cake (九层糕), consists of any layers and I loved to peel and eat them layer by layer. Some may consists lots of colours - a colour for each layer, but some just make it simple, like the one shown here (red, white and green).

Ondeh Ondeh

And lastly, ONDEH ONDEH is made from glutinous rice flour tinted with green colouring, with a filling of gula melaka and then rolled in grated coconut when cooked. Do not bite, just put the whole piece in your mouth and let the melted sugar burst in your mouth. These days to lower the production costs, ondeh ondeh is filled with coconut mixed in gula melaka instead. It just taste so bad, coconut on the inside, coconut on the outside... Too much coconut! The trick is to spot if the coconut on the outside is stained with gula melaka, if it is, it's the authentic one, because the liquid sugar is bound to leak. Another trick is the price. Coconut filled ones can go 5 for $2 (1.5" in size), but sugar filled ones can go at 50 cents each (2cm in size).

Pandan Chiffon Cake

PANDAN CHIFFON CAKE consists of coconut milk, egg, pandan essence and flour. It is light, airy and tasty. Other flavours like coffee, orange, lemon and strawberry may also be sold.

Kueh Tutu

KUEH TUTU is a dish steamed in a special mould. The skin is made of glutinous flour and you can choose your choice of fillings like peanut or coconut. I love eating this when I was young. They can hardly be found in Singapore now. Even so, it's not as nice as what I used to have when I was litte.

Min Jiang Kueh

MIN JIANG KUEH is a pancake made from flour, baking soda, yeast, egg, sugar and water. The filling is usually peanut, but other flavours like red bean, coconut and chocolate may be available. I don't really fancy this but my mom loves it!

Dough Fritters Stall

If you are lucky enough, you may also find a dough fritters stall in hawker centers. YOU TIAO, or dough fritters, can be eaten on its own or dunked into porridge, soy milk, coffee (kopi-o), bak kut teh, tau suan, etc. Together with the dough fritters, savoury and red bean buns called HUM CHIM PENG are also sold. Sometimes, butterfly buns and fried sesame ball are sold as well. All deep fried and uses the same dough. It just comes in different shapes and filling, some with sesame, some not.

Chwee Kueh

CHWEE KUEH (water cake) is not so commonly seen now because it's usually made and sold by Singaporeans of the pioneer generation. They have grown old and probably retired. The new generation wouldn't continue the business because hawker life is tough and the young generation are mostly educated. This dish is made from rice flour and water, served with preserved radish (cai poh) and sambal chili. The cake is bland but the radish is very salty, so be sure to eat the both together.

Sweet Sauce Chee Cheong Fun

Soy Sauce Chee Cheong Fun

There are two kinds of CHEE CHEONG FUN (pig's intestine noodles) in Singapore. It's flattened rice noodles, rolled up to resemble pig's intestine. On the left is the thick version, served with sweet sauce. On the right is the thin version, usually stuffed with diced char siew, served with light soy sauce. Both served sprinkled with sesame seeds.


POPIAH means thin wafer in dialect. The skin is made from wheat flour cooked over a griddle, and is extremely thin. The filling mixture includes stewed turnip, beansprouts, egg, lettuce, ground peanuts, sweet soy sauce and chilli (if you want it spicy).

Kueh Pie Tee

About 6, 7 years ago, KUEH PIE TEE came to Singapore. The shell of is made from rice flour and egg, then deep fried. It is also known as Top Hat due to the design of the shell. The filling is usually similar to the one used for popiah, only that for this prawn is added instead of beansprouts, lettuce, peanut and sweet sauce. It is then garnished with coriander and special chilli sauce.

Chinese Rojak

ROJAK is a Chinese salad that consists of turnip, pineapple, beansprouts, fried beancurd, you tiao, cucumber, dried cuttlefish and ginger bud. It is then tossed in a dressing made from prawn paste, palm sugar, chilli paste, sweet soy sauce and lime juice, topped with ground peanut. Sometimes, TAU KWA POK (can't seem to find a nice picture) is sold as well. It's fried beancurd (tau kwa) stuffed with cucumber and beansprouts, with the same dressing and topped with ground peanut.

Singapore Chilli Crab

CHILLI CRAB is Singapore's food icon. Crabs are cooked in tomato and chilli sauce, then thickened with starch. Fried mantous are usually served together, dip them in the gravy before you eat.

Sambal Stingray

SAMBAL STINGRAY is done by cooking stingray covered with sambal chilli and placed on a banana leaf before being cooked on a griddle. The banana leaf contributes a fragrant aroma to the stingray. Squeeze calamansi over before eating and is best eaten with steamed rice.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

CHICKEN RICE is rice cooked in chicken stock. It is usually served with boiled chicken, cucumber slices, chicken rice chilli sauce, minced ginger and dark soy sauce. Some stalls offer a choice of white (boiled), roast chicken or lemon chicken (chicken cutlet with lemon).

Roast Meat Stall

ROAST MEAT RICE is roast meat served with steamed rice, cucumber and sambal chilli. Roast meat includes char siew, roasted pork belly and roast duck. Sometimes, it's sold together with chicken rice.

Wonton Noodles

WONTON NOODLES is a hong kong style dish served with char siew, vegetables and a soup with wanton. This dish is available in dry (tossed in soy sauce) and soup version. Some stalls may serve with fried wanton as well and is usually sold at the roast meat stall.

Braised Duck Rice

Kway Chap

BRAISED DUCK RICE is braised duck served with steamed rice or yam rice. Other braised items like egg, beancurd, peanuts, duck wings and offal are also sold. KWAY refers to the kway teow and CHAP means 'mixed' in dialect, referring to the mixture of braised items served together. Wide kway teow is served in a soy sauce broth while the braised items include braised beancurd, braised egg, pork belly, pig skin, pig's intestine, fried beancurd, fishcake and preserved vegetables.

Fishball Noodles

Bah Chor Mee

FISHBALL NOODLES is available in both soup and dry version. It is served with fishballs (made from fish paste), fish cake, beansprouts and your choice of noodles. For the dry version, the noodles is tossed with various seasonings such as chilli/tomato sauce or soy sauce. BAH CHOR MEE (minced meat noodles) is usually sold together with fishball noodles. Other than the toppings, the rest is in common with fishball noodles. For this dish, it is served with meatball, minced meat, lean meat, pig liver and stewed mushroom.

Char Kway Teow

Black Carrot Cake

White Carrot Cake

These dishes are usually sold together. CHAR KWAY TEOW is a dish that consists of (yellow) noodles and kway teow stir-fried with dark soy sauce. Beansprouts, egg, vegetables, chinese sausage, lard and cockles are also stir-fried together. FRIED CARROT CAKE is made from grated and steamed white radish, sometimes preserved radish may also be added in. It is then chopped into smaller pieces and fried with egg. Choose the white version for a crispier texture and the black (with sweet sauce added) version for a sweeter taste. It is then served topped with spring onion.

Oyster Omelette

Fried Hokkien Noodles

The omelette of OYSTER OMELETTE is from a batter made from sweet potato or tapioca flour and fried with egg and fresh oysters. And lastly, FRIED HOKKIEN NOODLES uses not only (yellow) noodles but also beehoon. It is stir-fried with squid, prawns, beansprouts and egg in prawn/chicken stock. Serve on the side are calamansi and sambal chilli. Mix everything together for an extra kick!

Lor Mee

LOR MEE is noodles served in a thick gravy made from spices. The dish is usually served with fish cake, fried yam balls, egg, pork belly, minced garlic, chilli padi and black vinegar.

Prawn Noodles

PRAWN NOODLES is noodles served in a soup stock made from boiling prawn shells for several hours. It is also served with of course prawns, as well as beansprouts, kangkong and pork slices.


LAKSA consists of thick beehoon served in curried coconut milk, served with beansprouts, fried beancurd, fish cake, cockles, sambal chilli (for extra spice) and finely chopped laksa leaves.

Hor Fun

HOR FUN consists of wide kway teow wok-fried at high heat to achieve a slightly burnt aroma, drenched in a thickened stock served with pork slices, prawn, fish slices, squid and vegetables. Variations include drenched over steamed rice (mui fun) or crispy egg noodles.


Satay Beehoon

Cuttlefish Kangkong

SATAY are pieces of marinated meat (chicken, pork, mutton or beef) skewered and grilled over charcoal fire. It is served with onion, cucumber, ketupat (compressed rice cake) and peanut sauce. SATAY BEEHOON consists of beehoon, cuttlefish, kangkong, beansprouts, pork slices, prawns, fried beancurd and cockles cooked, and with satay sauce poured over. CUTTLEFISH KANGKONG consists of of course cuttlefish and kangkong, and also fried beancurd, mixed with a dressing made from prawn paste, tamarind juice and topped woth ground peanuts.

Economy Rice

Usually when I don't know what to eat, I just go for this. ECONOMY RICE, better known as zha cai fan in chinese or chap chye peng in dialect. It's plainly just steamed rice served with your choice of side dishes. You can also choose if you want curry or soy sauce gravy poured over your rice.

Ban Mian

Sliced Fish Beehoon

BAN MIAN is a kind of handmade noodles. It is usually served with minced meat, egg, fried anchovies, fried shallots and vegetables. Other types of noodles and choice of ingredients are also available. SLICED FISH served in clear soup, together with steamed rice or thick BEEHOON. Type of fish being used varies, which include batang (mackerel), red grouper or toman. Sometimes milk is added to the soup as well.

Cantonese Bak Kut Teh

Hokkien Bak Kut Teh

BAK KUT TEH means pork bone tea in dialect. There are two versions to this. The herbal version (hokkien-style) is cooked with a mixture of herbs like star anise, cinnamon, red date, wolfberry, red date and dried longan. The spicy (teochew-style) version is just garlic cloves and white pepper, served with you tiao.

BBQ Chicken Wings

BBQ CHICKEN WINGS are marinated then barbecued over charcoal fire until the skin is golden brown. Squeeze calamansi over for extra tanginess.

Curry Chicken

CURRY CHICKEN consists of chicken and potato cooked in a stew made from curry powder, spices and coconut milk, served with steamed rice or baguette slices.


LONTONG is a dish consisting of rice cake slices that have been steamed wrapped in banana leaves, served in a coconut-based spicy soup called sayur lodeh containing cabbage, long beans, beancurd, carrot and turnip (vegetable curry), as well as boiled egg, fried grated coconut and sambal chilli.

Mee Rebus

MEE REBUS consists of yellow noodles drenched in a gravy (made from potatoes, curry powder, fermented beanpaste, dried shrimps and peanuts), served with beansprouts, boiled egg, green chilli, fried shallots, fried beancurd and calamansi. Squeeze the calamansi over the noodles before you eat to enhance the taste.

Mee Siam

Beehoon for MEE SIAM is first fried in chilli paste and then added to a spicy and sour tamarind-based (assam) gravy, served with boiled egg, fried beancurd, calamansi and sambal chilli. Squeeze calamansi over before you eat for extra tangy flavour.

Mee Soto

MEE SOTO consists of yellow noodles served in chicken soup, served with shredded chicken, beansprouts, fried shallots and coriander.

Mee Goreng

MEE GORENG means fried noodles in malay. The malay-style fried noodles consists of yellow noodles fried with tomato/chilli paste with cabbage, beansprouts and meat. Some stalls may served it together with a sunny side-up.

Roti Prata

ROTI PRATA is a indian grilled pancake. The traditional prata, either plain or with egg, is eaten with sugar or curry. The newer versions includes filling like mushroom, onion, cheese and banana, or a mixture.

Nasi Briyani

NASI BRIYANI is basmati rice cooked with cinnamon, bay leaves, green cardamoms, cloves, cashew nuts, etc. It is usually served with chicken cooked in a tomato-based mixture, achar and papadum.

Soy Beancurd

SOY BEANCURD is made by mixing soy milk with gypsum powder which acts as a coagulant. The warm version is served with sugar syrup. The cold version is like a pudding and is pre-sweetened. Some stalls may offer other pudding flavours like almond, chocolate, strawberry, mango, matcha and lemongrass.

Ice Kachang

ICE KACHANG is an iced dessert served like a mountain made from shaved ice. Different coloured syrups are poured over and topped with coconut milk and creamed corn. At the bottom of the ice is a mixture of items like red bean, grass jelly, agar agar and attap chee (seeds of the nipah palm).


CHENDOL is green worm-like jelly strips made from rice flour and pandan essence. It is served together with red bean, coconut milk, palm sugar (gula melaka) and shaved ice. Some stalls may add grass jelly or creamed corn.

Tau Suan

TAU SUAN is made from split green beans (mung beans), sweet potato flour, water chestnut flour and cooked with pandan leaves and sugar. The end product is sweet and gluey, and is served with you tiao.

Cheng Teng

CHENG TENG means clear soup in dialect. It can be served hot or cold and ingredients include barley, sago balls, white fungus, dried longans, gingko nuts and red dates. Some stalls may also include sugared wintermelon.

Bubur Cha Cha

BUBUR CHA CHA is a coconut milk dessert that is served with yam, sweet potato and tapioca balls that comes in many colours - usually white, red, green and yellow. It may be served hot or cold.

Local Hot Drinks

Kopi-O: coffee + water + sugar

Kopi: coffee + water + condensed milk

Kopi-C: coffee + water + evaporated milk + sugar

Kopi (-O/C) Gao: more coffee, less water

Kopi (-O/C) Po: less coffee, more water

Kopi (-C) Gah Dai: more milk

Kopi (-C) Siew Dai: less milk

Kopi-O/C Kosong: no sugar

Teh-O: tea + water + sugar

Teh: tea + water + condensed milk

Teh-C: tea + water + evaporated milk + sugar

Teh (-O/C) Gao: more tea, less water

Teh (-O/C) Po: less tea, more water

Teh (-C) Gah Dai: more milk

Teh (-C) Siew Dai: less milk

Teh-O/C Kosong: no sugar If you want it iced, add 'peng' (meaning ice) at the back. If you want it takeaway, add 'bao' (meaning packet) at the back. So for example, iced coffee = kopi peng, iced tea takeaway = teh peng bao.

Local Cold Drinks

BANDUNG: rose syrup + evapourated milk.

BANDUNG DINOSAUR: bandung topped with milo powder.

HORLICKS: malted milk drink.

HORLICKS DINOSAUR: iced horlicks topped with horlicks powder.

MILO: malted chocolate drink.

MILO DINOSAUR: iced milo topped with milo powder.

GRASS JELLY: also reffered as chin chow, is made from mesona herb and starch. It has cooling properties which make it a perfect dessert/drink on a hot weather.

MICHAEL JACKSON: soy milk + grass jelly.

Yu Sheng

YU SHENG is a dish served during chinese new year. It consists of mainly raw carrot, raw white radish (daikon), raw green radish, ginger, pomelo, grated peanut, sesame seeds, candied peel, candied wintermelon, pepper, cinnamon, plum sauce, kumquat sauce, raw salmon, calamansi and other preserved vegetables that comes in various colours like red, green, brown, yellow and white.

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