Top Nosh: Uniquely Singaporean

11.07.14-capri

Singaporeans are unabashed about their love for food. In fact, food is viewed as a unifying cultural thread in this cosmopolitan city, an emblem of national identity. Over our brief history, we’ve managed to gain a reputation as a food paradise, full of international cuisines and styles, but none more loved than our multicultural take on local food. Here are some signature local dishes to try.

BBQ Sambal Stingray

The grilling of seafood is popular globally but what makes this dish uniquely Singaporean is the topping of spicy sambal – a chilli-based paste of shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallots, scallions, sugar and vinegar – and grilling the fish within a banana-leaf packet for additional flavour.

Ayam Buah Keluak

This iconic Peranakan dish of chicken stewed with spices and black nuts from the Kepayang tree is a labour of love. The distinctively tasting nuts require at least two days of soaking to be edible and the rempah (pounded spice paste) is made of seven ingredients and takes half a day to fry.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Originating from Hainan, this dish has been adapted to local tastes. Everyone loves chicken rice for their own reason, be it for the succulent chicken meat, the flavourful rice cooked in chicken stock and spices, or the appetising chilli sauce, ginger paste and dark soy sauce accompaniments.

Chilli Crab

Singapore’s most popular seafood dish is made of mud crabs stir-fried in a sweet and savoury tomato and chilli-based sauce. Not exactly spicy, its sweet ketchup-laced gravy is what makes it finger-licking good. The dish is commonly served with fried man tous (buns) to mop up the sauce.

Rojak

This dish is a delightful riot of flavours. Rojak consists of cucumber, pineapple, benkoang (jicama), bean sprouts, taupok (deep-fried tofu) and youtiao (Chinese dough fritters); doused in a dressing of belacan (shrimp paste), sugar, chilli, and lime juice; and topped with chopped peanuts.

Laksa

There are many variations of Laksa across the region, but the one in Singapore is Peranakan in origin, its curry gravy redolent of coconut. Swimming in the gravy are usually thick rice noodles, prawns, boiled eggs, taupok and fish cake. You can choose to add raw or lightly blanched cockles.

Satay

Our local version of the kebab, Satay consists of seasoned and skewered meat – typically chicken, goat, mutton or beef – grilled over wood or charcoal fires, and served with a peanut dipping sauce plus accompaniments such as rice dumplings, cucumbers, and onions.

Rendang

Originally a technique to preserve meat in a tropical climate, rendang is a meat stew rich in spices. Along with the meat – beef, mutton, goat etc, it has coconut milk and a paste of mixed ground spices, which includes ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemon grass, garlic, shallot, and chillies.

Roti Prata

The local evolution of the Indian paratha is popular for breakfast and late night supper. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, good plain pratas are commonly eaten with curry or sugar. Modern variations see ingredients like egg, cheese, chocolate, and even durian filling the pancake.

Ice Kachang

Take a bowl of chewy jelly and attap seeds, and sweet red beans and corn, heap on a mound of grated ice before pouring over various kinds of coloured sugar syrup such as palm sugar, rose syrup and evaporated milk, and what you’ll have a yummy cool treat!

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Next Stop: Ho Chi Minh City!

Image from wikipedia, credit to calflier001

Image from wikipedia, credit to calflier001

Capri by Fraser has expanded from Singapore to the Vietnamese city, Ho Chi Minh City! In honour of that, today we’ll introduce you to the city and show you the amazing sites you can visit there.

Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam, and boasts a population of 9 million citizens. You may also know it by its former (and still commonly used today) name, Saigon. It was officially renamed in 1975, after the communist takeover of South Vietnam. The provisional government named it after Ho Chi Minh, the late Vietnamese revolutionary leader.

If you visit the city, you will find that it is a dynamic urban area, with modern skyscrapers mixed with Chinese-style pagodas and food stalls along its streets.  Indeed, the city’s lifestyle and architecture can be said to be a fusion of Western and Asian influences with Vietnamese traits, and is as historical as it is modern.

And you will find that there are lots of things to do here, with Ho Chi Minh City considered to be the most entertaining place in Vietnam! With amusement parks, historical sites, great food and a booming night life, you will never get bored.

Below are some of Ho Chi Minh City’s tourist spots… Check them out if you can!

 

Reunification Palace

Image from wikipedia, credit to Mahen Bala

Image from wikipedia, credit to Mahen Bala

 

Formerly known as the Independence Palace, it used to be the home of the president of South Vietnam and is a landmark of Ho Chi Minh City today.

The building has a lot of historical sentiment attached to it. It was constructed at the site of the old Norodom Palace which had been witness to two world wars. In 1962, two rebel pilots bombed the palace and destroyed the entire left wing. As it was impossible to restore, the president ordered it demolished and commissioned a new building in its place.

It now functions as a museum where visitors can view important moments of Vietnam’s past.

The Reunification Palace is located at 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street on District 1.

 

Saigon Opera House

Image from wikipedia, credit to Jorge Lascar

Image from wikipedia, credit to Jorge Lascar

The Saigon Opera House (also known as The Municipal Theatre) is an example of Vietnam’s French Colonial architecture. All the furnishings and décor used inside were drawn by a French artist and sent by France.

It was designed by French architect Ferret Eugene and was built in 1897 as a classical opera house to entertain French Colonists. After 1956, the theatre was used as the Lower House Assembly for Southern Vietnam, and was only converted back to its original purpose in 1975.

In 1998, to celebrate the 300th birthday of Saigon, the municipal government invited several famous architects and artists to restore the place.

The Saigon Opera House is located at Le Loi Avenue in District 1.

 

Giác Lâm Pagoda

Image from wikipedia, credit to DoktorMax

Image from wikipedia, credit to DoktorMax

Built in 1744, this Buddhist pagoda is one of the oldest temples in the city, and is an official historical landmark.

Its name came about after the Monk Thich Lam Quang of the Lam Te Zen lineage arrived to become the Abbott of the temple.

Giac Lam Pagoda consists of three buildings – main ceremonial hall, dharma preaching hall and meal hall. Many Buddhas are worshipped here, such as bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Gautama Buddha and Quan Am. The moment you enter, you will see a big Bodhi tree, which was a gift from the Sri Lankan Great Monk Narada in 1953.

Giac Lam Pagoda is located at 118 Lạc Long Quân Street in the Tan Binh District.

 

If you planning on a holiday to Vietnam, do check out this amazing city!

Book a stay with us at Capri by Fraser, Ho Chi Minh City/Vietnam today!