Singapore is a paradise for food lovers. From high-end restaurants to street food stalls, there are ample options to pick from. When dining out, most people prefer hawker centres as they are convenient, affordable and delicious. A trip to the island is surely incomplete without trying out some of its authentic dishes served at its numerous street stalls.
I was fortunate to get a taste of Singaporean street food at JW Marriott Juhu, Mumbai’s Singapore Food Festival at its bustling Lotus Cafe. Singapore Marriott’s Sous Chef, Chef Thanabalan Chandrasekaran specially flew down to Mumbai to showcase his exceptional culinary skills with his signature preparations and street food favorites. Upon being asked about Singaporean cuisine, he said, ‘Singaporean cuisine is truly a melting pot of Asian cultural cuisine and in a sense, can be called truly International. An amalgamation of Chinese, Thai, Malay, Indian and many more cuisines, Singaporean dishes incorporate fresh spices that lends the quintessential flavor to the dishes. It is a cuisine that is enjoyed by most, since it has a flavor for every palate.’
The delectable dinner buffet comprised of classic dishes like Singapore’s famous Chilli Crab, Laksa, Gado-Gado Molek and more. With aromatic satays, braised ducks, flavorsome curries and live stations, we were spoilt for choice.
‘Singaporean cuisine is a non-fussy, hassle-free cuisine. The main ingredients required to prepare most dishes are chilli, pandan leaf, lemongrass, coconut and sea food,’ he further added. While we were being briefed about the festival, Chef Himanshu Taneja, Executive Chef, JW Marriott Juhu also informed us that the menu changes everyday so guests have more to look forward to.
Lotus Cafe, famous for its delectable buffet and Sunday brunch was decorated with red lanterns, candles and umbrellas that gave us a feel of Singapore. Chef walked us through the live counters and satay stations and gave us some valuable insights on each of the dishes that were on offer. Some of his signature dishes like the Chicken Curry with Spicy Red Gravy was made using a recipe given to him by his mother.
The satays included Chicken, Lamb and Prawns and were a real treat for meat lovers. Slow Cooked Duck with Potatoes in Soya Sauce, Slow Roasted Stuffed Duck, Jasmine Rice were some delicious options in the curry section that everyone just couldn’t stop raving about. The salads included Onion Coriander and Baby Dry Shrimp, Prawns with Pineapple & Tomatoes, Gado-Gado Molek which also happens to be a signature Singaporean salad. At the live counter, Chef Thanabalan himself tossed an assortment of vegetables and meats with stir-fry noodles and soya sauce to make the experience even more special. If you’re at a Singapore Food Festival, you have to try the famous street food speciality – Laksa. If you like the flavour of shrimp, this soupy dish is an absolute delight to slurp down. Black Pepper Prawns, Hot and Sour Pomfret, Mix Vegetables with Coconut Cream were some more creations at the buffet.
Since Chef knew his flavors so well and promised to offer a different spread each day, I was curious to know about his favorites. So I asked him for five dishes he recommends everyone must try to get a feel of Singaporean street food. Here’s what he said –
A soupy dish consisting of flat rice noodles or vermicelli dunked in spicy coconut milk flavored with dried shrimp and sambal chilli and topped with prawns, chicken or boiled eggs. Vegetarian version can be made sans shrimp with bean curd and sprouts.
– Chilli Crab:
Singapore’s national dish, Chilli Crab is a stir-fried preparation in a sweet and savoury chilli based sauce.
– Chicken Rice:
Fuss-free chicken rice made with sesame oil, ginger, garlic and soya sauce, this is one of the most famous street foods available in Singapore.
– Rojak Salad:
A sweet, spicy & sour fruit and vegetable salad, Rojak is a popular street food in Singapore that can be made with prawn fritters, bean sprouts, potatoes and eggs.
– Okane Fried Noodles:
This is mainly served as a vegetarian dish and is made with stir-fried rice vermicelli seasoned with curry powder, bean sprouts, pak choi, soy sauce, and sliced chilli peppers. Can also be accompanied by small slices of chicken, beef, pork or prawns.
If you want to get a real taste of Singaporean street food with authentic flavors, this festival offers endless options that are sure to leave you craving for more.
INR 2400/- per head (all inclusive)
7:00 pm-11:00 pm
* The meal was paid for by JW Marriott Juhu