“There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food.”—Ron Swanson
We all know about the English Breakfast, the Irish Breakfast and the Big Breakfast. We’re creatures of routine, and most of us probably have a go-to breakfast food, even if it’s black coffee. Instead of cereals or hearty meats, Singaporeans tend start the day with heavy meals. Without further ado, here’s the Singapore Breakfast in all its forms.
1. Kaya Toast with Soft-Boiled Eggs
The cornerstone of the Singapore breakfast, kaya toast is fast becoming a popular breakfast food abroad. A generous spread of kaya (sweet coconut jam) coupled with a thick slab of unsweetened butter turns plain old toast into a smooth, melty and absolutely wicked breakfast dish. Although kaya toast is good enough to be had on its own, it’s usually served in a set alongside soft-boiled eggs. Yes, you guessed it. As weird as it sounds, once you’ve cracked the eggs and added a generous dash of salt, pepper and soy sauce, you’ll pass the kaya toast through the gooey mixture and put it in your mouth. It’s a firm favourite amongst Singaporeans and Malaysians, and you can find them in any good coffee shops near your accommodation.
2. Roti Prata
Prata is the quintessential Singapore breakfast dish. Before Singaporean children learn to stomach spicier and heavier breakfast foods, a breakfast outing will most likely consist of roti prata. Fortunately for mamak stalls, Singaporean children hardly grow out of their prata love. Just ask any local for a list of their favourite breakfast or comfort food, and I’ll bet you’ll hear about prata. Prata is a piece of dough lovingly (or frantically during busy hours) stretched and smacked onto a hot griddle. The result is a thin slab of crispy, chewy and savoury dough that goes superbly with fish, mutton or veggie curry, or sugar for those less inclined to spicy breakfasts.
3. Economic Bee Hoon
The heaviest and heartiest breakfast food you can get in Singapore is the economic bee hoon. The name is as much of a mouthful as the dish. Fried in the early hours of the morning and served with an assortment of fried stuffs along with a generous dollop of sambal chilli, the economic bee hoon is the driving force behind Singapore’s economic growth. Okay, bad joke. But seriously, the queues are filled with paper pushers every morning.
4. Chwee Kueh
Chwee Kueh literally means “water cakes” in Hokkien. Made of water and milled rice, the aromatic cakes are served with generous helpings of chye poh, or preserved radish, turning it from plain Jane to culinary bombshell. The best chwee kueh is a careful balance of bite, sweetness and saltiness, and many Singaporeans will top it all off with a side of sambal chilli for even more flavour. It’s a hearty breakfast dish without the heaviness of economic bee hoon.
5. Nasi Lemak
Singaporeans are pretty open-minded when it comes to meals. If it’s available at a certain time, it qualifies as the corresponding meal. You won’t be hard-pressed to find locals converging at a hawker centre for a plate of nasi lemak complete with sides at the crack of dawn. The fragrant rice is boiled with coconut milk and pandan leaves and served with cucumber slices, a fried egg, ikan bilis, peanuts, and a meat option (chicken wing, small yellowstripe fish, or otah). This is sure to fuel you with enough energy for half a day.
6. Carrot Cake
A plate of piping hot (yes, hot) carrot cake is worth 30-minute queues for many Singaporeans. Don’t take me at face value. The “cake” is made with white radish and rice flour, and friend with garlic, preserved radish, and eggs. For a sweeter alternative, choose the black version which involves sweet soy sauce. Many places only serve carrot cake in the morning, so it’s safe to say that this is a favourite Singapore breakfast dish!
Last but not least, visit the nearest kueh stall with a hamper bag and lug an assortment of colourful snacks home for breakfast. Wikipedia classifies kueh as snacks or desserts, but we beg to differ. While they can certainly be consumed during the mid-afternoon slump or after dinner, these sugary kuehs sure provide a good jolt to the system after an 8-hour long fast.
Done with breakfast? Here are the top 5 Singapore foods you should get for lunch!