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Singaporean Street Food In The Sky at Sedona Suites

Saigon foodies may be surprised to learn that some of the best Singapore hawker-style street food can be found 28 floors above the city with spectacular views of the skyline. After refining its Baba-Nyonya style cuisine, Sedona Suites now has plans to bring even more of this rich culinary and cultural heritage to the city. 

Photo by Saigoneer.

If one were to compile a list of Singapore’s most famous dishes, it would undoubtedly include char kway teow, curry, bak kut tek, Hainanese chicken rice and laksa. While impossible to contain the full breadth and depth of Singaporean food in only five dishes, these would constitute a great start.

Originating in Southern China, the Hoklo and Teochew communities in Southeast Asia modified their culinary traditions to align with the local needs and conditions of the nations they immigrated to, including Singapore. Bak kut tek, for example, is a particularly beloved food thought to be derived from a Fujianese dish. Translated from the Hokkien dialect as "meat bone tea,"  It features double-boiled pork ribs with herbs, peppercorn, bean curd skin and Enoki mushroom.

Another classic Singaporean dish of Southern Chinese origin is char kway teow, a wok-fried flat noodle with bean sprouts, egg, seafood and sausage. It originally took hold amongst Chinese maritime workers who took advantage of the abundance of seafood, particularly in ports such as Singapore. 

As its name suggests, Hainanese chicken rice is another dish with distinct origins in Southern China. Immigrants to Singapore from the Hainan Islands began making it out of necessity during the impoverished days of Japanese occupation as the boiled chicken paired with rice made with chicken broth maximizes the poultry's filling flavors.

Meanwhile, laksa is a rich, slow-cooked soup made with coconut cream, seafood, tofu, bean sprouts and a boiled egg accompanied by thick noodles. The first maritime emigrants from Southern China brought it to port cities across Southeast Asia, including Singapore. In each destination, it evolved, taking on distinct charms. In Singapore, one variety features dried and ground shrimp that helps give the broth a pleasantly grainy texture. 

Indian influence on Singaporean cuisine is obvious in the ubiquity of roti prata, a version of India’s paratha. The fried flatbread prepared on a large grilling pan accompanies many Indian items, most notably chicken curry. The spread and evolution of curry as a term and a product from India outward, including to Vietnam, is a complex and fascinating story that would require full books to do justice to. But in Singapore, when one orders a simple chicken curry it is likely to be made with a base of coconut milk and feature spices commonly found in the region’s trade routes and served with rotti prata. 

Photo by Saigoneer.

Sedona Suites is owned by a Singaporean company that wants to bring some of its national flavors to Saigon. Because members of the company’s board of directors and Singaporean guests frequently visit, the authenticity must be up to par. Having achieved great success with their Baba-Nyonya style cuisine, they are poised to offer even more flavors and dishes with a re-imagined restaurant due to re-open by July, after a brief closure beginning May 25. Of course, the incredible view accompanying each delicious meal will remain unchanged. 

Photo by Saigoneer.

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67 Le Loi Boulevard, Saigon Centre, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Hotel Entrance is located along Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street)