Two Singapore meals: casual and fancy

November 5, 2016 • 12:45 pm

Here are two of the last meals I had in Singapore. The first was at a local roti joint near the Chin’s house. While Melissa’s parents were visiting relatives, she and I repaired to the joint for a casual meal of breadlike substances, which were excellent.

This is roti prata, a grilled bread (with cheese) served with a spicy chili sauce:


 Along with that we had a more substantial bread, murtabak, filled with egg and meat. It’s the Singaporean version of a Chicago deep-dish pizza, and it, like the roti, was excellent.

We also had mee goreng, a spicy dish of fried noodles and vegetables topped with an egg:


I washed it all down with a glass of bandung, an iced mixture of evaporated milk and rose syrup, which gives the drink a lovely pink color and unique (and appealing) taste.


For dessert we had tissue prata, a sweetened flatbread drizzled with condensed milk and sugar, and served standing upright. I didn’t take a photo, but this is what it looked like:


For my Last Supper in Singapore, Michael Chin treated us all to a wonderful seafood dinner at a very famous local chain: Long Beach, where the seafood is kept live in tanks and prepared on the spot:


There are tanks overcrowded with lobster from the U.S. (sad), and less crowded tanks with crabs and molluscs:



Three Pacific geoduck (pronounced “gooey-duck”), Panopea generosa—the largest burrowing mollusc in the world. The siphon, which can be up to a meter long, is used in various Asian dishes. Though we didn’t have it at Long Beach, I did eat it once in Vancouver at a gala Chinese dinner, served with black bean sauce. It was splendid, with a firm, clean taste like an abalone, only clammier.


Our table was set with various chili sauces. These often look similar but taste different, and each restaurant makes its own:


We started with meat: a delicious roast duck with shrimp chips and stir-fried greens.


Then fried rice with crab:


Crunchy fried baby squid:


And on to the evening’s highlight: crab. We had two. This is steamed crab. I’m not sure of the species, but it was great, with huge, meaty claws and substantial meat at the base of the legs:


And the highlight of highlights: the classic Singapore dish chili crab, a huge crustacean cooked in a fantastic sauce of tomato, garlic, chili, and eggs. Fried buns were served on the side to sop up the sauce, which is a treat in itself, but even more so when slopped atop a big hunk of crab or the soft innards of a bun. This was truly one of the best dishes I’ve eaten in my life. It is not cheap, but life is short!

Four sated diners: Michael, Annie, Melissa, and I.


And so endeth my culinary adventures in Singapore. They were fantastic, and I don’t think I missed a single one of the country’s signature dishes.

But a new adventure has begun: Hong Kong. I’ve already spent two days here, and this morning went to one of the city’s renowned dim sum parlors, to be described (with photos) in a later post.

Many thanks again to Michael, Annie, and Melissa for their ultra-warm hospitality and kindness.

13 thoughts on “Two Singapore meals: casual and fancy

  1. Yes!

    Tissue prata and crunchy squid intrigue. As does the geoduck.

    Stuffed flatbreads are fairly easy to do and soooooo good. Socca/farinata (made with chickpea/gram flour) work well also as stuffed flatbreads.

  2. Well, there’s cultural misappropriation for you: Murtabak is a Singaporean version of a Chicago deep-dish pizza!

    But pleased to see that PCC(E) got to taste the “iconic” disk of chilli crab. I was concerned he was going to miss out on that. Personally, I prefer pepper crab – same type of large crab, normally from Sri Lanka, but cooked with copious quantities of freshly ground black pepper. Better still is Teochew-style cold crab which uses a different species of crab with a much creamier texture and is served, as you may imagine, cold after being left for several hours for the flavour to intensify (but that’s not a dish that originated in Singapore).

  3. I’m loving all the crab pics, but I must confess to some regional preference. The best crab is served on newspaper, with a hammer, and if your fingers don’t sting from all the old bay, it’s not spiced enough.

  4. I live in a small Oklahoma town, but we have an amazingly good Mexican restaurant, and I just had a mondo big burrito for lunch. And these pictures have made me hungry again. This stuff looks wonderful.

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