Chinese dialect dishes at the Singapore Food Festival
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There were so many dishes to choose from at the Singapore Food Festival (SFF). Here are must try dishes based on the Chinese dialects.
Cantonese ‐ Century Egg Congee
Century egg congee – or “pheitan chok”, as the Cantonese call it – is a simple rice porridge featuring slices of century egg. When I was younger, I thought that century eggs were literally 100-years old, but it turns out that they have only been preserved for several weeks in a mixture of clay, salt, ash, and lime. Pheitan chock features slices of century egg, while the porridge itself is seasoned with lots of spring onion and ginger. You can easily find century egg congee at any Chinese restaurant.
Hainan ‐ Chicken Rice
Hainense chicken rice is one of Singapore’s most famous dishes. For those who are unfamiliar with it, Hainanese chicken rice is a steamed white chicken served on top of fragrant rice with coriander leaf and sesame oil. It’s normally served with light soy sauce and garlic-chili dip that you can mix to taste. This succulent dish hails all the way from Hainan in China and was originally made with the Wengcheng chicken – a bony chicken with very little meat. Unlike the Singaporean dish, the original Hainan dish uses pork and chicken bone stock to season the rice.
Hakka ‐ Lei Cha Rice
Lei cha rice is a very interesting dish to say the least, and a pretty rare offering in Singapore; there are no more than half a dozen restaurants in the island that serve this. Lei cha rice comes in two parts. The first is a plate of rice, either brown or white, served with vegetables, peanuts, fried silverfish, and other condiments. The second part is a hot green soup that resembles pesto; instead of basil, however, it’s made up of mashed-up tea leaves, mint, and other green herbs. Basically, you pour the soup over the rice and mix it all up into a delicious stew. This is one of the healthiest things you can buy at a coffee shop and a must try when you visit Singapore.
Hokkien ‐ Fried Hokkien Noodles
Hokkien mee is a popular dish in Malaysia and Singapore, served in various ways. Sometimes it’s served with fat, stir-fried yellow noodles covered in thick soy sauce; in other parts it’s noodles with stir-friend prawns, choy sam, and thickened gravy. Hokkien mee is also easy to make at home because of its versatility and simplicity. You can use anything to season it, from cuttlefish to pork.
Teo Chew – Fried Carrot Cake
Fried carrot cake (chai tao kway) isn’t actually a dessert – it’s made up of rice flour and white daikon cut into pieces and stir-fried with spring onion, garlic, eggs, and dried shrimp. The dish comes in two variants – the white one, where the cake forms a crust when fried on top of a beaten egg, and the black one which uses soy sauce and where the egg is mixed with the carrot cake.
Here are other Chinese dialect dishes at the Singapore Food Festival 2010
Kew Garden’s Hakka Chicken with Wine Lees
Kew Garden’s Hakka Yam Soon Kueh
Chinatown Tan’s Tutu (Hokkien)
Xin Sheng’s Ngoh Hiong Prawn Crackers
The name Ngoh Hiong is a Hokkien word that refers to the Five Spice Powder that seasosn the pork filling then wrapped in thin beancurd skin and later on deep-fried. In my native hometown, we have our own “Ngo Hiong” variant as well.
Gim Tim Traditional Tapioca Roll
Four Seasons Durian Muchi and other goodies
My favorite, Durian Ice cream
Yeh Lai Siang Hainanese Salted chicken
And they also offer Hainanese Curry rice
And Hainanese Kueh
Hainanese Xi Guo
Steamed Glutinous Roll
“This is the first time that the SFF will focus on specialty dishes of Singapore’s main Chinese dialect groups. Far from being a homogenous cuisine, Chinese food is very varied and can differ greatly from region to region in China. With the evolution of the Chinese diaspora in Singapore, Chinese food in Singapore has also evolved in tandem to reflect our distinct culture and heritage,” said Mr Andrew Phua, Director of Precinct Development at the STB, who elaborated that the local version of Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of the best examples of a dish that has taken on a distinctly local flavour.