Text and images by Sylvia Tan @ Makansutra
Singaporeans are foodies willing to go the extra mile for good food. Well, here are five dishes worthy of that effort. They range from snacks to main courses to desserts but truly they will make your meal and yes, loom large in your food memory for a long time! Enjoy!
Fried rice with beef dripping and crispy fat
Fried Rice with Beef Dripping
Although this is a seafood joint, you can order the most amazing rib eye here. It comes properly rare and is served on a cutting board. The fried rice is thrown in as a side dish and let me tell you, it is as good, if not better than the main attraction. What the kitchen has done is to fry the rice with the dripping, or beef fat rendered from the roasting of the beef. Then they also take pieces of beef fat and fry it crisp so that they are like croutons. This, they scatter all over the by-now delicious rice, dark with the best dark KL soya sauce!
New Ubin Seafood
Block 27, 01-174, Sin Ming Road
Opening Hours - Daily: 11.30am–2.30pm, 5.30pm–10.30pm
Tel: 6466 9558
Spicy squid in its ink
Black ink spicy squid
Never mind the other dishes – what you must not miss at this casual nonya eatery at West Coast Road is the spicy squid in black ink. It comes dark with ink and lively with sourish spices.
While the nasi padang stalls have a similar dish, this one, cooked by Daisy, mother of famous comedienne, Selena Tan, does not skimp on its ink sauce, which coats the squid thoroughly and deliciously. At the end of cooking, the squid is still soft and tender bathed in a rich sauce that is spicy and sour with tamarind and is naturally sweet.
Daisy’s Dream Kitchen
Blk 517, West Coast Road, #01-571
Opening hours – Tues-Sun: 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm
Tel: 9113 4552
Braised bean skin with enoki mushrooms
Bean skin fried with enoki mushrooms
This is old-fashioned open-air dining in more ways than one. In particular, I go there for this dish: Layers of soft bean skin (fu chok), yes, bean skin, fried with mushrooms.
While Ting Heng also offers steamboat, its cooked specials hark back to a different era.
Take that bean skin, for example: It comes in a soft and flaky cake, braised in a delicious sauce, smothered with enoki mushrooms. You could wipe your bowl clean with it while the different textures in the dish ensure that you are not bored with the eating.
But really it is not a traditional dish, for who ate enoki mushrooms in the old days?
Ting Heng Seafood Restaurant
Blk 82, Tiong Poh Road #01-03
Opening hours – daily 5pm – 4 am
Tel: 6323 6093
Fresh kueh dada
Fresh kueh dada
Forget your preconceptions of kueh dada. To jog your memory, this is the green pancake roll filled with inti or grated coconut fried with gula Melaka (palm sugar).
At this Tiong Bahru cake shop, the rolls are in its natural colour, cream, and not coloured green. I guess someone decided why bother with the traditional green pandan colouring if the rolls are anyway not made to the old recipe?
And truly, this is not the kueh dada we grew up with for the rolls are filled with fresh white grated coconut sweetened with white sugar to keep to the pristine picture within.
The result is soft fluffy rolls filled with flaky coconut, still rich with nutty flavour. And people come in droves to buy it. What a brilliant idea!
Blk 55, Tiong Bahru Road #01-39
Opening Hours – Mon–Sat: 8.30am – 8.30pm , Sun: 8.30am – 1.00pm.
Tel: 6324 1686
Flammenkeuche with smoked salmon
If you love pizza, you cannot fail to like this Alsatian tart called flammekueche.
While a few places in town now serve this thin-crusted pizza that originated in Strasbourg in the Alsace region in 1989, the best to be found in my mind is at Le Bon Marche, a casual French eatery along Bukit Timah Road.
Essentially a thin pizza topped with cheese, onions and smoked bacon, it is a crowd-pleaser with its crisp crust and melted cheese. And the best versions would rely on the best of these ingredients.
While there are variations, this classic version is best, as the cheese and bacon are a classic match.
I eat it as a snack, but it is also good as a starter, for who can resist crispness, rich flavour and saltiness all in one mouthful?
Le Bon Marche
383 Bukit Timah Rd #01-01 Alocassia Service Apartments
Opening Hours – Tue–Sun: 10am – 10pm (Closed on Mon)