Things to Eat in Singapore: Ipoh Hor Fun and Fish Head Curry
Singapore is my favorite culinary destination, hands down. Last week, I started off the primer on local food with duck rice and popiah. Here are three more of my favorite dishes:
Ipoh Hor Fun
Ipoh, Malaysia is renowned for its cuisine, the result of years of cross-cultural pollination from a group that become known as the Peranakan, or Straits Chinese (Chinese immigrants to the region from the 15th century who adopted the culture and language of the Malays around them, but remained ethnically and religiously Chinese). Today the city is 70% Chinese. "Hor fun" (Cantonese) is the name for the flat rice noodles in the dish. Ipoh hor fun can be served "wet" (in soup) or "dry" (in gravy) and usually comes with chicken and prawns (Americans: shrimp).
Fish Head Curry
Talk of this dish often scares my American friends, but the fish heads used in this curry are so large that really, it's not all that different from eating normal fish. Unless you're my father, who likes to eat the eyeballs (yes, even I think this is gross - as do many Singaporeans). Fish head curry is the product of a South Indian immigrant to Singapore who realized that the Chinese enjoyed eating fish heads. Poof! A new national dish was born. I've always eaten the version in Indian restaurants, which is hot (perhaps deadly to most Americans - I have a high spice tolerance for an American but a low one for an Asian, and it's as spicy as I can handle), though I'm told there's a Chinese version that is milder and sweeter.
That's it for now - more to come!
Related: More things to eat in Singapore: fish ball noodles and Hainanese chicken rice. The latter is one of the national dishes of Singapore, and one of my favorite in the world.