Bak Kut Teh
Bak kut teh (肉骨茶), or pork ribs soup, is a popular Chinese dish in Singapore. The dish is made of pork ribs, stewed in a soup made from herbs and spices. Variants of the dish exist according to the three dialect groups of Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese. Bak kut teh is commonly eaten with rice, dough fritters (you tiao, 油条) and preserved vegetables, and served with Chinese tea.
Making of Sambal, Belacan and Prawn Paste
Sauces such as sambal, belacan and prawn paste are important ingredients in Malay and Peranakan cuisine, and they are used in Chinese and Eurasian cuisine as well. Sambal is a hot sauce that is made from chilies, shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic and various other ingredients, and used as a chili condiment to accompany meals or for cooking. Belacan is a paste made from fermented shrimp commonly found in Southeast Asia, and prawn paste is similar to belacan in that it is also made from fermented shrimp, but varies in terms of texture, smell and taste.
Making of Tempeh
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and shaped into a firm patty. It is a staple food that originated in Indonesia, and is believed to have been brought to Singapore by migrants of Javanese ancestry. Tempeh is used in Malay cuisine, and is also becoming increasingly popular as an ingredient for modern organic, vegetarian and vegan meals.
Roti prata, a flatbread that is often eaten with curries, was introduced to Singapore by Indian immigrants. It is sold mostly by Indian stallholders at coffee shops and hawker centres. Popular forms of roti prata include plain prata and egg prata, although many innovative versions have been introduced over the years, including cheese prata, mushroom prata, chocolate prata and more.
Nyonya or Peranakan kuehs are colourful cakes or sweets which have evolved from a fusion of different culinary influences from Chinese, Malay, Indonesian and Western cuisines. These kuehs are usually served during festive events, family gatherings and weddings.
Traditional Local Desserts
Traditional local desserts are commonly found in hawker centres and coffee shops, and popular desserts include ice kacang, cendol, cheng tng and bubur chacha. Each dessert has its distinctive flavours and cultural influences. For example, cendol is often associated with Malay or Peranakan cuisine, whereas cheng tng is a Chinese dessert made with ingredients that are believed to have a “cooling” effect on the body.
Popiah is commonly found in Malaysia and Singapore. It is linked to the Teochew term for ‘thin snack’ or ‘pancake’. It is also enjoyed by the Hokkiens, who know it as bohbnia, in reference to its thin flour skin. There are typically two versions of the popiah, made by the Hokkiens and Peranakans. A basic recipe for both versions consists of shredded bamboo shoots, dried bean curd and jicama (the bangkuang turnip).