Shrimp Dumplings & Wonton Soup
Shrimp Dumpling and Wonton Soup is well known in the Chinese cuisine and is often served as a complimentary side dish accompanying the main order of a bowl of dry noodles. It can also be ordered as a main soup dish on its own as well. The dumplings or wontons are made from a dough skin consisting of a mix of egg, flour and water and filled with stuffings of shrimp or minced pork. The fillings are marinated with salt, spices, garlic, spring onions and other ingredients such as mushrooms and salted fish, which are then boiled in a soup and served piping hot with some leafy vegetables.
Steamed Minced Pork with Salted Fish
This is a very popular and extremely tasty Singaporean home cooked dish that is quick and easy to prepare and can be found in many hawker centers. Minced pork (or chicken) are mixed well together with some fat which provides that springy texture. It is then marinated with Chinese wine, sesame oil, soya sauce and steamed for a few minutes. When cooked, it is then garnished with chopped spring onion, shredded ginger and sliced chilli and served with toppings of salted fish. The full flavours of this dish make it go really well when eaten with a serving of white rice.
Chwee kueh or “water rice cake” is a type of steamed rice cake that is a popular and favourite breakfast dish or snack among many locals. It is made up of a mixture of rice flour and water placed in aluminium saucer cup-shaped mounds and steamed. When cooked, the bowl-like shaped rice cakes are then topped and served with fried diced preserved radish or ‘chye poh’ and chilli paste. The saltiness and sweetness of the ‘chye poh’ complements the subtle flavours of the rice cakes.
Frog Legs with Spring Onions & Ginger in Claypot
Frog Legs with Spring Onions & Ginger in Claypot is a delicacy of Cantonese origin but this version is particularly Singaporean. Chopped pieces of frog legs and meat are cooked in a claypot mixed with dark and sweet soya based sauces, ginger and topped with generous amount of spring onions and served bubbling hot. Due to the rich and salty flavours of the gravy, this dish is best eaten with a serving of plain porridge so that you would enjoy the overall balance of taste and texture.
Fried Carrot Cake
Fried Carrot Cake or ‘Chye Tow Kway’ is a very common breakfast staple found in many neighbourhood hawker centres. It is a favourite among many locals as most of us have grown up eating it. It is made up of steamed rice cakes that are broken into little cubes fried with eggs, garlic, sweet sauce (for the black version), preserved radish, soya sauce, chilli paste and served with toppings of chopped spring onions. There are two versions available: white or black, and the former (white) version would provide a more subtle flavour of eggs and preserved radish without the caramelized sweetness that comes from frying it together with the sweet sauce.
Salted Vegetables & Duck Soup
This is a Chinese “giam chye ark” and Peranakan “itek tim” duck soup recipe that uses preserved salted mustard greens and duck meat as the main ingredients. The salted vegetables are firstly soaked to remove most of its salt content before being used. What gives this dish the exciting dimensions of flavours is that the soup is cooked for a length of time with a recipe of salted vegetables, Chinese preserved sour plums, tomatoes, tamarind slices, peppercorns, ginger and duck until its meat becomes soft and tender. The overall result is a tasty and refreshing soup that is sweet, salty, sour and peppery.
Putu Piring is a Malay snack or dessert of Sri Lankan and South Indian origins that is a type of circular steamed ground rice cakes covering pure melted palm sugar in the centre, hence its name “rice flour plate“. Putu Piring is prepared by placing the ground rice flour in conical shaped funnels after which “gula melaka” or brown sugar (from Malacca in Malaysia) is put in the middle as its filling. It is then left to steam for a couple of minutes before served piping hot with a generous portion of slightly salted grated coconut on pieces of banana leaf.
Claypot Chicken Rice
Claypot chicken rice as the name implies is typically rice cooked with marinated chicken (usually Chinese wine) over a certain period of time in a claypot. Other ingredients like oyster and dark soy sauce, Chinese sausage, vegetables, mushrooms and salted fish are also added that would enhance the overall taste. They are all cooked together over a charcoal flame for some time, thereby allowing the dish to develop a distinct flavour with a very slight burnt and smokey fragrance.
Wanton Noodles or “Meat Dumpling Noodles” has no particular style of preparation as it all depends on the dialect group of the stall owner that is selling them. However, this noodle dish is usually served with barbequed pork slices or “Char Siew“, lard pieces, special sauces including chilli and garnished with leafy vegetables that is usually “Cai-Xin” (Mustard Leaves) or “Kai-Lan” (Chinese Kale). As it is usually eaten dry with chilli, it also comes with a side serving of bite-sized pork dumplings in a hot broth. Sometimes, the stalls even serve it with another kind of dumplings called “shui jiao” that consists of a mix of pork, prawns and sometimes chicken with mushroom or even fried wantons instead.
Raw Fish Salad
This is the Chinese version of the salad that uses sliced raw fish and usually goes very well with a bowl of ‘chok‘ or congee. The salad mix consists of good quality raw fish combined with shredded cabbage and lettuce, sliced ginger, spring onions, cut chilli and fried shallots, which are then drizzled and tossed well with sesame oil and other soy sauces. Limes are also provided at the side and the juice is squeezed into the dish that would provide a very good balance of flavours.