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Friday, June 2, 2017

13 Reasons Not to Skip Breakfast in Singapore

Breakfast is known to be the most important meal of the day, because of a dozen benefits, such as having a balanced diet for weight loss, better energy and focus for the day. Yes, these are reasons not to skip breakfast, but my reasons are different. I wake up for my favourite kaya toast, you tiao, and nasi lemak. Eh, not that you can't get them after 11.59am, but somehow, just somehow, they taste at least 2.5 times greater during morning.

You see, one of the greatest benefits of staying in Singapore is our multi-racial cuisine. Dim sum, mee rebus, roti prata, you want ang moh (Western) breakfast also can (but not featured here ah). So throw away your nutella sandwich, because here are 13 preferred dishes that a local Singaporean would have for breakfast. Don't tell me otherwise hor, this is from an extensive research conducted by limbeh with three people (my mother, brother, and girlfriend). Mai siao siao.

1. Kaya Toast

I swear, nothing else in this list represents a Singapore breakfast as much as our favourite kaya toast, paired together with soft boiled eggs, and a cup of kopi or teh. The crux of this dish is none other than the kaya, which is basically coconut jam, made of... COCONUT (genius!) milk, sugar, pandan, and eggs. You don't twist, lick, dunk with this, but you can either dip the toast into the eggs (preferred!) or coffee for the extra flavours. Kaya toast is also a popular snack for tea-time.

Recommended: Tong Ah Eating House (Cantonment), Ya Kun, Chin Mee Chin Confectionery (East Coast)

2. Roti Prata

Hallelujah for our Indian counterparts. This flour-based dish may look simple, but it requires great skills to smack, toss, flip, and turn a piece of dough into one of the best comfort food ever. It is usually cooked with other ingredients, such as eggs, banana, cheese and onion. Oh, and please do not use utensils when you're eating prata. It tastes much better (trust me) when you dip it in the curry and eat it with your bare hands.

Recommended: Roti Prata House, Mr and Mrs Mohgan Super Crispy Roti Prata, Curry Cafe (Sembawang)

3. 油条 (You Tiao)

Before churros, there is the mighty you tiao - fried dough fritters, which is normally eaten with soy milk, congee, or bak kut teh. However, limbeh eat mine with coffee, because it taste damn good. Stalls that sell this delicacy usually sell "butterfly" (in picture: the two elongated balls sticking together lying on the you tiao [sorry for the explicit description]) and Hum Jin Pang (salted bun) too.

Recommended: Xi De Li (pictured), You Tiao Man, Xin Xin You Tiao (with kaya)

4. Economic Bee Hoon

Economic Bee Hoon is only economic if you choose economical ingredients, such as fish cakes, luncheon meat, otah (spicy fish cake), and sunny side-up. If you add premium ingredients (e.g., chicken wings, fish), then it will be slightly expensive. But, who could resist a plate of well-marinated noodles that is moist and springy, paired together with the classic luncheon meat (best if it's fried till crisp). Oooh, definitely not me.

Recommended: Hup Lee Fried Bee Hoon (Chong Pang), Mei Wei Economic Bee Hoon, Bai Li Xiang Economic Bee Hoon


5. Nasi Lemak

Stalls that sell economic bee hoon usually have nasi lemak for sale too. For good nasi lemak, the rice must be fragrant and moist, delivered from cooking in a combination of coconut milk and pandan leaves. The common side dishes include fried anchovies, nuts, otah, fried fish, fried chicken, and sambal chilli.

Recommended: Mount Faber Nasi Lemak (pictured), Selera Rasa (Adam Road), Bali Nasi Lemak

6. 粿 (Chwee Kueh)

As its literal translation (water-rice-cake) suggests, this local delicacy is made of rice flour and water. However, what makes it pass or fail highly depends on the preserved radish mixture and chilli. I remembered there was once my mother packed chwee kueh for my brother's lunch, and during recess, his friend ate up all the radish, leaving the kueh for my brother. What a good friend the guy was, but this showed how important the radish is.

Recommended: Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh, Xin Xi Chwee Kueh (Bedok), Jian Bo Shui Kueh (Tiong Bahru Market)

7. Carrot Cake

Eh, not the ang moh carrot cake okay? In fact, there is no carrot in our carrot cake. This dish, more affectionately known as chai tow kueh are stir-fried cubes of radish cake, mixed together with eggs, diced garlic, spring onion and occasionally shrimps. There are two variations - the "black" one (not being racist here hor) uses sweet soy sauce, whereas the "white" version does without it. Personally, I prefer the "black" version (see, I not racist).

Recommended: Lagoon Carrot Cake (East Coast; pictured), Chomp Chomp, Fried Carrot Cake (Clementi Food Centre)

8. Mee Pok

This one I call the "Chinese linguine", because the Chinese noodle is also flat, but more yellowish (Chinese ma) and springy. There are different variations, such as fish balls and bak chor (mushroom and minced meat), as well as, dry (tah) and soup. For a more shiok experience, I highly recommend the dry version, because of the mee pok sauce (made of chilli, oil, and vinegar). Best if pork lard is included.

Recommended: Kim Bak Chor Mee (Balestier Road), Ah Hoe Mee Pok (Clementi), Lam's Abalone Noodle (Raffles Boulevard)


9. Lor Mee

Yet another all-time comfort food. The most important part of the dish is the lor - thick starchy gravy made of corn starch, spices and eggs. Although classic ingredients comprises of ngo hiang, fish cake, and meat dumplings, other variations do include, wait for it... shark meat (insert Jaw soundtrack here).

Recommended: Lor Mee 178 (Tiong Bahru Market), Feng Zhen Lor Mee (Taman Jurong), Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee (Old Airport Road)

10. Wanton Mee

Literally mean swallowing cloud (which I seriously have no idea why), wanton mee is a classic dish, and a confirm-plus-chop guarantee-have in every single hawker centre or food-court. It looks simple, but the wanton mee is likened to an orchestra of ingredients, from the wanton to the char siew, from the crunchy greens to the springy noodles, these are put together to form a master piece - wanton mee. Like a chim only.

Recommended: Kok Kee Wanton Noodle (Lavender), Kai Kee Wanton Mee (Bukit Merah), Boon Kee Wanton Noodle (Clementi; pictured)

11. Chee Cheong Fun

I love munching on this rice noodle snack when I'm in a rush. It's healthy, easy on the waist (not like I care much), and is loaded with carbs (for healthier options, opt for light soy sauce instead). Hawkers usually sell these paired with black sweet sauce and chilli, however some (especially dim-sum restaurants) may offer chee cheong fun with you tiao, marinated shrimps, and char siew.

Recommended: Old Airport Road Food Centre, Chinatown Complex, Bukit Timah Market

12. Mee Rebus

Mee Rebus (pronounced as mi-reboos, not mi-reBUS) is a top-favourite among Singaporean. Although it looks simple, the salty-sweet gravy requires real work (and a whole lot of ingredients) for it to transfer into a delectable dish. This is usually served with hard boiled egg, tau kwa (firm tofu), celery, and green chillies.

Recommended: Afandi Hawa & Family (Haig Road), Inspirasi Stall (Bedok Interchange Food Centre), Dapur Asiah (Shunfu Mart Food Centre)

13. Porridge (Congee)

Last but not least, who in the right mind could resist a piping bowl of porridge when the sky starts to cry? Well, definitely not me. Although there are probably a thousand variations out there (e.g., teochew-style, pork, sliced fish), but my legs go jelly when there's good frog porridge.

Recommended: Choon Seng Porridge (Cambridge Road), Joo Seng Teochew Porridge & Rice (Cheong Chin Nam Road), Eminent Frog Porridge (Geylang)

So, there you have it - 13 reasons not to skip breakfast in Singapore! Although some are not exaaaaactly healthy, but seriously, who gives a shit when you're indulging your roti prata once in a while?

Once again, I would like to reiterate that these dishes are definitely available throughout the day, but it's just that.. they are perfect for breakfast ideas in Singapore. If you have any other recommendations (dishes or recommended places to eat these dishes), just drop a comment right below!