Breakfast with a Singapore Local
-by Li Lin Sear
Where does a Singapore local go for breakfast?
Normally, we head to one of the many hawker centres to start the day with friends and family. These are the establishments with stalls lined up in rows and fixed tables and chairs. They are usually located below the old style blocks of flats, or there are a lot on main public transport routes and stopping on the daily commute is a ritual for many.
What do you usually have for breakfast you may ask ?
Kaya on bread or toast is a favourite of mine and a breakfast staple for many of us. Made from coconut oil, sugar, eggs and pandan, it is delicious. Add two half-boiled eggs with kopi (traditional coffee) or teh tarik (traditional tea with spices) and you have a breakfast that will make you feel like a local.
The hawker centers do it just right, the eggs are not too undercooked, nor overcooked. Everything comes at just the right temperature and often these stalls have had generations of families running them and passing on the skills and recipes.
We know see a number of chains such as Toast Box following this food trend and for the younger generation they are heading to the modern version of this traditional breakfast. Toast Box and others are sprouting up at major shopping areas, and they do serve well-made kaya or peanut butter toast, with excellent kopi and half-boiled eggs. But I remain a traditionalist and l love to start my day in a hawker center with family and friends.
Another favorite breakfast is fried vegetarian Bee Hoon which are our delicious Singapore noodles ! If you don’t want to stand out as a tourist ask for fried Bee Hoon not noodles. Head to Blk 85 Bedok North Street 4 market at the crack of dawn if you want to try what I think is one of the best places for this signature dish.
The way the lady packs your Bee Hoon is like her very own dance, as she pours on the various ingredients to your plate. The crunchy fried bean sheet goes really well with the fluffy bee hoon, spiced with the right amount of pepper and carrot. The gluten is nicely salty and chewy. In fact, this stall gets it just right. Add a dash of green chilli or sauce and you’ve got it made! Do expect a queue, but this lady is fast, so it won’t take you long!