All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. –John Gunther
Breakfast is a must for all of us. It is the most important meal of the day. A nutritious breakfast is very important for our health and weight management, but not having it at all is the worst option.
Some studies have shown that eating breakfast burns fat, keeps blood sugar even through the day, helps to fight daytime cravings, lower incident of heart disease, keeps our brains sharp, helps with concentration and productivity.
But here’s the thing – maybe you’re already getting ready for work or got no time to prepare for your breakfast. Not to worry, there are a plethora of early-bird hawker centres or coffee shops in Singapore which are ready to catch some worms.
Here’s my top 5 breakfast favourites in Singapore that will make you excited to get up early and go to work and spend less than 3$!
1. Traditional Breakfast Set
Kaya toast — it is the perfect breakfast that goes very well with a cup of local ‘kopi’ (coffee) or ‘teh’ (tea); charcoal-grilled or toasted slices of bread enveloping slivers of cold butter and a generous spread of kaya, a traditional jam made from coconut and eggs.
Usually it is accompanied by two soft-boiled eggs with runny yolks and translucent whites that are heavenly with a dash of dark soya and white pepper.
The savoury eggs are a good complement to the sweet kaya toast which has an appetizing crispy crunch, a melt-in-your mouth layer of olive-green kaya and a generous dollop of butter.
2. Roti Prata
An Indian flat bread made by frying stretched dough flavoured with ghee (Indian clarified butter), it is usually served with dal or other types of curry. Roti means ‘bread’, and prata or paratha means ‘flat’ in Hindi language. I like it most when it is served crispy, hot and thin.
Apart from classic versions which are plain or with egg, local menus now feature a variety of eccentric variations such as cheese, chocolate, ice-cream, and even durians – turning it from a main course to a dessert.
According to Indians, the recommended way to eat it: dig in with your fingers!
3. Nasi Lemak
Nasi lemak is a national dish in Malaysia; it’s a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf. Though, it comes in many variations as they are prepared by different chefs from different cultures.
For most of the Singaporean Malay variation, the sambal (hot relish made with vegetables or fruit and spices) of the nasi lemak has more of a sweeter and less spicy taste when compared to other variations. As the sambal is a crucial portion of the nasi lemak, it is preferred to be less spicy so as not to overpower the taste of the coconut based rice and the other ingredients. The sides to this dish includes ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts and an omelette or fried egg, which is rather similar to the Malaysian version, although the use of a boiled egg as with the Malaysian version is somewhat less common. Occasionally, a variant using the long grain basmati rice may also be found.
Retaining the familiar aroma of pandan leaves, the Singaporean Chinese variation comes with a variety of sides that includes deep fried drumstick, chicken franks, fish cake, curried vegetables and tongsan luncheon meat. There is also the traditional way of serving it with just the ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts and fried egg similar to the Malaysian version. Sometimes the rice is also coloured emerald green with the use of screwpine leaf extract or essence, commonly called pandan leaves, that perfumes the rice with a nice fragrance when added to the rice with the coconut milk as well as giving it its bright green colour. The use of the colour may have arisen as a gimmick to entice customers.
4. Carrot Cake
Ohhh oh! You might be expecting a common carrot cake. Do not confuse this with the dessert carrot cake, a moist cake made with carrot and spices; covered with cream cheese frosting.
This savoury carrot cake has no carrot, at least not of the orange variety. Instead, the core ingredients of the cake are rice flour and white radish which some call white carrot. The mixture is steamed, then cut into cubes and fried with garlic, eggs and preserved radish called ‘chai poh‘.
These smooth and soft fried rice cakes can be found in almost every hawker centre. It is served black (fried with sweet dark soya sauce) or white (original).
It is believed that this dish originated in Southern China.
5. Chwee Kueh
I came to know about this popular breakfast dish called Chwee Kueh (Steamed Water Rice Cake with Preserved Turnip) when I live in Singapore since 2010. Chwee kueh literally means “water cake” and hence in hokkien dialect, they are called chwee, means water and kueh from Malay language means cake.
Cooked in small aluminium molds, each kueh pops out hot and steamy with the aroma of rice, the firm pastey texture cut smoothly through with a spoon and eaten with relish and generous topping of chye poh (preserved radish bits usually a topping for any chinese dish).
I hope this list of my breakfast favorites will motivate you to get up earlier and start your day with a bowl or plate of delicious food.
What’s your favorite breakfast in Singapore? Feel free to share in the box below.