(SPOT.ph) After chowing down on the likes of coffee pork ribs, kaya toast, and satay, we continue on the trek of discovering Singapore's best eats. The country is paradise for the food-obsessed after all, with a landscape full of drool-worthy dishes everywhere from humble hawker stalls to higher-end establishments.
In line with the Singapore Food Festival 2022, the Singapore Tourism Board flew members of the SPOT.ph team to Lion City to try some of best-loved dishes of Singaporean locals. In this second installment, we learn more about Singapore's coffee culture, talk to the Chef Chan Hon Meng of Hawker Chan in the flesh, and take a detour to nosh one of Singapore's most popular spots for a locally loved pork soup.
Don't miss the soy-sauce chicken rice, bak kut teh + these other Singaporean food gems when in Lion City:
Coffee is an integral part of many folks' days and it's no different for Singaporeans. But beyond the typical cups of joe of the West (think long blacks, cappuccinos, and so on) are also distinctly Singaporean coffee drinks of the like of kopi-O (black coffee with sugar), kopi-C (black coffee with evaporated milk), kopi-o kosong (black coffee with no sugar and no milk), and more. Local boutique hotel Wanderlust guided us through learning more about each one—and to cap the ride off, taught us how to make our own cold brew.
Come lunch time we found ourselves hankering for a proper rice meal. Off to SG's hawker stalls we went. We began with Hawker Chan—the household name and national icon formerly known for being the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. They still serves some of the best-tasting, affordable meals to this day; owner and chef Chan Hon Meng greeted us himself before we dug into their flagship—the Soy Sauce Chicken Rice, which tempted with its succulent meat and umami-rich sauce that permeates it.
The savory fest didn't stop there. Hakka Fun HamCha & Yong Tou Fu introduced us to the the gem that is Thunder Tea Rice, an underrated dish of rice plus a smattering of finely chopped veg (and other ingredients) served with a tea broth that ties all parts together. At Ming Fa, it was all about Fishball Noodles that made for soothing sips; soon after we digged into plates of Chee Cheong Fun or steamed rice noodles. In between stops, traditional snacks called Pig's Ear—named as such not for its ingredients (it doesn't actually have pig in it!) but for its shape—kept our stomachs from rumbling.
Like Filipinos, Singaporeans love their pork—one well-loved preparation being bak kut teh, or pork-rib soup. And amid the countless shops that serve the dish, Founder Bak Kut Teh (founded in 1978!) is up there as one of the best. Singapore-based food editor Mikka Wee walked us through the art of eating the dish right: that is, with rice, chunks of youtiao a.k.a. crullers, and pickled vegetables to counter the richness of the soup. Also not to be missed at Founder is the Braised Pig's Intestines, with tender chunks of the offal in a deeply savory sauce.