1. Cultivated Meat
If you’re looking to try sustainable animal protein that doesn’t compromise on quality, Singapore is the ideal destination – it’s still the only country in the world where you can taste cultivated meat. Meticulously grown from non-modified animal cells, cultivated meat offers the culinary and sensory qualities of meat, but without slaughter and many of the climate and health-related externalities associated with conventional production.
This year, Singapore is poised to approve more cultivated meat products, including cultivated steak, leading the way in sustainable food technology and innovation. Already, you can find a variety of dishes featuring cultivated chicken that are well worth trying: bao buns with sesame cultivated chicken, phyllo dough filled with cultivated chicken and black bean puree, cultivated chicken curry rice, and even a creative take on chicken and waffles. Each highlights the revolutionary technology spreading throughout the region and beyond.
2. Dark Soy Sauce
Slightly thicker and richer than traditional soy sauce, dark soy sauce is fermented longer so as to develop its intensity and umami (“savoriness”) and reduce its salinity. Locals use dark soy sauce in marinades and salad dressings, as well as in braised meat dishes like Beef Rendang. It’s also a must at the breakfast table, where it is drizzled over the classic Singaporean Kaya Toast and half-boiled eggs.
Belacan is made from fermented shrimp that are dried, ground, and pressed into a block or thick paste. Though a little pungent at first whiff, roasting up this unique ingredient creates a delicious aroma and adds loads of flavor to a number of traditional Singaporean dishes. The most common is Sambal, a spicy Malay condiment, mixed with sambal chili and belacan that’s served alongside dishes like Laksa or Mee Siam.
A great accompaniment to Belacan is an umami-packed dish called Sambal Kangkung. This crunchy leafy green has pointy leaves, a hollow stem, and is super nutritious. It’s also known as water spinach and you’ll find it stir-fried or blanched all around the country’s hawker stalls, begging for potent condiments and fragrant rice.
5. Ikan Bilis
Dried anchovies may not sound like the ideal bar snack, but a few handfuls of Ikan Bilis will prove otherwise alongside your Singapore Sling cocktail. Malay in origin, Ikan Bilis is often roasted with spicy sambal and peanuts and served with the famous Nasi Lemak dish, or accompanied with an ice cold beverage as a salty appetizer.
No adventure in Singapore is complete without sampling these foods. This small sampling of 5 essential Singaporean foods spans the traditional and exotic, the tame and adventurous, and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Beginning in 2023, Aleph Farms is proud to enter the iconic Singapore gastronomy scene and we promise to be worth the trip.