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.
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.
Fried Oyster Omelette
Fried oyster omelette is a Chinese hawker centre dish of Teochew origin that is often a favourite among many locals due to its savoury taste. Egg batter is mixed and pan fried together with garlic, small oysters, potato or tapioca starch and chilli paste. The omelette-like mixture is fried until crispy, then garnished with spring onions and served with a side serving of spicy chilli sauce mixed with lime.
Mee Goreng With Mata Lembu
Mee Goreng is a fried noodle dish that is commonly found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore with each of them done in their own special way that gives them their unique tastes. The Singapore version of this dish uses yellow noodles that is fried with garlic, onions, green chillis, diced tomatoes, chilli paste, bean sprouts, Chinese cabbage, egg, potatoes and minced mutton. This flavourful and spicy dish is then served with a side serving of sliced cucumber and ketchup. The entire taste of the dish can be further enhanced by the addition of a ‘mata lembu’ or bull’s eye egg placed on top, whereby the runny yolk is mixed and eaten together with the noodles.
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.
Roti Prata or Roti Canai (as they call it in Malaysia) has its influence from Pakistan and India and is a comfort food for many Singaporeans young and old. It is a pancake made up of flour that is fried over a flat round iron pan and usually served with a side dish of vegetable, chicken or fish curry. For those who are not able to handle the spiciness of curry, they may even eat it with sugar. Roti Prata usually comes plain (kosong) or with egg (telor or plaster), and some other variations may include it being mixed with sliced onion, cheese, banana, sardines and chocolate sauce.
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.
Stir Fried Sweet Potato Leaves With Garlic
This dish is available in most Zhi-Char or “home-cooked” stalls that can be found in many hawker centres all around. This is a simple dish that uses sweet potato leaves stir fried with chopped garlic, dried shrimp, soy sauce and cut chilli padis. This is not only a nutritious dish that is easy to prepare, the result is a wonderful balance between salty and spicy when eaten with white rice.