Singapore cuisine is heavily influenced by the ethnic diversity of the country and some of the most tasty food are hidden in hawker centres – not your fancy air conditioned restaurants.
If you live around Hougang, Divine Vegetarian Family Restaurant is the place to get your local fix.
The real Kuay chap contains pig offal and braised duck meat but thank goodness the vegetarian version has none of these.
This Teochew dish is made of flat, broad rice sheets in soup with dark soy sauce, bean curds and for ovo-vegetarians, braised hard-boiled eggs.
Other must try dishes include Mee Siam, Hokkien Mee and Carrot Cake, click more to find out.
What I like about going to Singapore is you can always try the vegetarian versions of ‘local food’ nestled in the neighbourhoods across the island.
When it comes to Mee Siam, the success of the vermicelli dish depends on how well its spicy, sweet and sour light gravy is done.
This Nonya speciality is usually served with salted soy beans, dried bean curd, boiled egg, tamarind and at Divine, you get veggie fishballs too.
Prawn noodles, also known as Hae Mee/Xia Mian comprises of yellow egg noodles in a rich broth topped with vegetarian prawns.
At Divine, they’ve substituted the dish with vegetarian chicken slices, fishballs and minced meat.
I’m not a fan of yellow noodles so this dish is okay for me.
Living in Hong Kong now, I sometimes miss the Hokkien mee. Nothing to do with my dialect group being Hokkien but when this dish is cooked with wok hay – a Chinese expression known as the breath of a wok where hay means ‘breathing energy’ to give the food a unique concentrated flavour and aroma, it just satisfies and fills your tummy.
There’s a carrot cake joke between me and my Aussie housemate when she came to visit Singapore a few years ago.
We visited a hawker centre and I recommended her the carrot cake. She looked puzzled as the dessert was no where in sight while chefs were busy dishing out the diced stir fried radish with egg mixture.
Carrot cakes can be cooked in two main ways, black with sweet sauce or white sans sauce while chilli is optional.
Divine Vegetarian serves meals from 7am to 10pm but allocates specific dishes for each day of the week. It’s located opposite the Nativity church or 5 minutes bus ride from the Hougang MTR or bus interchange.