Singaporeans love to head over the causeway for several reasons, such as grocery shopping, cheaper fuel, short vacation stays, and definitely for food. Street food is definitely a must-have for many, because the atmosphere, and authentic taste, is almost unreplicable. Thanks to multiculturalism, Malaysia boasts the best street food in the world.
Here, we pick out five of our favourite Malaysian street food dishes that are craved by people around the world. These are true blue tastes of Malaysia that are simply sedap!
Herbal Bak Kut Teh
There’s a sort of war going on between who’s Bak Kut Teh is better, Malaysia’s or Singapore’s. While there is no definite answer to that, we think the Malaysian-style Herbal Bak Kut Teh deserves a spot in our list of top 5 street food favourites.
Bak kut teh, directly translated as ‘meat bone tea’, is a pork ribs soup dish, with its broth cooked in a variety of ways, depending on the dialect group. Hokkien-style herbal bak kut teh is darker in colour, thanks to the mix of herbs used in preparing the soup. Unlike its Teochew counterpart, the soup here is less peppery and garlicky, but boasts of a nice balance of sweetness and savouriness, and a pleasant herbal fragrance.
Thick chunks of pork ribs are cooked for long hours in the broth, resulting in fork-tender meat that’s great in every bite. True foodies will know to pair it with fried dough sticks (youtiao). Yummy!
Dry Bak Kut Teh
Sort of a misleading name, but food connoisseurs will order Dry Bak Kut Teh when they want to savour the umami-rich flavours that come with the dish. It’s not exactly a tea drink nor a soup, but instead a stir-fried dish of pork rib pieces with herbs, spices and dark soy sauce.
Most street food stalls serving dry bak kut teh also provide diners the option to toss in some side items like beancurd skin (tau kee), beancurd puff (tau pok) and enoki mushrooms, all great accompaniments that soaks up the thick and rich gravy. Best enjoyed with a portion of steamed white rice.
Vinegar Pork Trotter
Vinegar Pork Trotter can be commonly found in confinement meals planned by midwives. It is known to be a traditional healing food of confinement by the Cantonese. The reason for this is due to the many benefits it provides. Pork trotters are believed to be a recommended confinement food as it aids mothers in their milk lactation, and is said to be warming, restorative, and helps strengthen the body by enhancing its energy.
It can also be enjoyed by everyone else, simply because it is so delicious. The braising sauce is slightly tangy and mostly sweet-savoury. Whole thick chunks of pork trotters are broiled for long hours over a simmering fire, to remove any fattiness in the pork, leaving just good collagen that’s wonderful for our skin.
Read more about the health benefits of Vinegar Pork Trotters here.
Braised Pork Trotter
And then there’s another pork trotter dish on the other end of the spectrum, a traditional home-cooked dish that’s popular with foodies of all ages. Braised pork trotter, or ‘lor tee kar’ as it is known in Hokkien, has a whole leg of pork braised for long hours in a pot of broth made with dark and light soya sauce, along with spices like garlic and ginger.
When cooked well, braised pork trotters should be soft and tender, with the meat almost falling off the bone. The braise sauce is also used to prepare braised eggs (a.k.a lor neng), a must have side to accompany the dish. There are many street stalls around Malaysia that sell the dish, each made with their own proprietary blend of soya sauces and condiments.
In particular, Klang fried porridge is a popular street food that has travelled across the Peninsular, resulting in several local variations. Rice porridge cooked in an umami broth, and then fried in a wok and topped with a selection of ingredients such as minced pork, pig’s innards and seafood, adding more flavour and that breath of the wok, resulting in an elevated comfort food that’s loved by many.
The secret to fried porridge is the process of ‘frying’ the rice porridge. The control of the heat is immensely important, to ensure that the gravy doesn’t dry up too fast, yet intense enough to infuse a slight smokiness into the dish. The dish is versatile enough to match almost any toppings. Fried pork cutlet fried porridge is popular with the young ones, while those seeking to delight their palette may choose to order a sliced abalone fried porridge.
True Taste of Malaysia Now in Singapore
Has the list of foods above got you salivating? Well, here’s the good news. Save the hassle of making a trip across the causeway (or even a flight if you’re thinking of travelling further up North) and enjoy all the delicious Malaysian street food here in Singapore!
Get a homely taste of Malaysia here on our sunny island, right at a Feng Xiang outlet near you. All the dishes are prepared according to heritage recipes passed down through generations. You can easily and conveniently indulge in dry bak kut teh and herbal bak kut teh Singapore; six different varieties of fried porridge; and flavourful braised or vinegar pork trotters.
Make a trip to Feng Xiang today. Find us at:
- Fernvale Hawker Centre & CC (nearest MRT station: Sengkang)
- Food Republic @ BreadTalk iHQ (nearest MRT station: Tai Seng)
- Food Republic @ VivoCity (nearest MRT station: HarbourFront)
- Food Republic @ Parkway Parade (nearest MRT station: Dakota)
- Kopitiam @ AMK Hub (nearest MRT station: Ang Mo Kio)
- Kopitiam Food Hall @ JEM (nearest MRT station: Jurong East)
- Kopitiam @ Northpoint City (nearest MRT station: Yishun)
- Lau Pa Sat (nearest MRT station: Downtown)
- Senja Hawker Centre (nearest MRT station: Bukit Panjang)
Alternatively, you may also have these dishes in the comfort of your home or office, by ordering via the popular food delivery apps.