Thanks for championing local food, chicken rice, but here's for the underdogs! Here are some underrated local dishes that deserve a shoutout.
Sure chicken rice and laksa are delicious as heck and the obvious go-to dishes when it comes to local food but if you dig a little deeper and you’ll find so much more. We’re shining a light on these underrated local dishes that get our heart (and sometimes, cholesterol levels) racing. Bon appetit!
There are two main versions of this dish – with soup, or with gravy and it really is up to your preference. If you like something soupy, have it all in one bowl: flat rice noodles with a combination of sliced lean beef, beef tripe, beef balls and/or other innards with a hearty cloudy broth. Our personal favourite is the Hainanese version where thinly sliced beef is quickly scalded in a beef stock and served slightly underdone and a generous dollop of thick gravy made of beef stock, spices, herbs and soy sauce is ladled on your choice of noodles. How is this underrated again?
Bak chor mee
Best eaten on a late, late night, a bowl of bak chor mee (minced meat noodles) is filled to the brim with a heap of minced pork, meatballs and mushrooms, lashings of vinegar and a side of clear broth to balance the flavours. If there’s an option for extra crispy pork lard, we say go for it. Check out our guide to beloved bak chor mee stalls if you’re now craving the stuff. This needs to move from underrated to mainstream, pronto!
Mee hoon kueh
A go-to for days you feel a little under the weather, mee hoon kueh is a comfort food for many in Singapore. Meaning hand-pulled noodles in Hokkien, the dough-y noodles are served in a rich clear broth with a poached egg, some greens, minced meat and fried anchovies for a salty kick. Of course, we’ll ramp it up with some fresh sliced chilli padi for a little extra punch.
When it comes to multiculturalism, this dish has it all. Chinese egg noodles in a thick, spicy gravy made with grago (tiny shrimps), flour, sweet potato, sugar and salt. In some versions, mutton, prawns, ikan bilis are added to the mix to make it an all-rounded solid meal. Usually eaten with a drizzle of dark soya sauce, a slice of lime on the side, beansprouts (or not) and a sprinkling of fragrant fried shallots.
While many go wild for the sweet bowl of chendol or ice kachang, we’d love nothing but a nice cold bowl of cheng tng to cool us down on a hot day – plus we reckon it’s a lot healthier too. What’s in it? Dried longans, dried gingko nuts, white fungus, pearl barley, sago, red dates, rock sugar and more natural fruits and grains. Ditch all the other creamy and rich desserts for this underrated gem!