Asian Culinary Delights
If you are looking beyond the sightseeing attractions, here's an opportunity to experience something interesting, authentic and unforgettable. Our hands-on cooking classes are designed to help you dive deep into the fascinating side of Singapore's food heritage.
Classes run on Mondays through Fridays every week. Unlike other cooking schools, no one is disappointed for being waitlisted or cancelled classes due to insufficient participants. So long there are two participants, and you are on your way to learning the secrets to Singaporean cuisine and have fun doing it. You will be taught on how to whip up popular Singaporean dishes such as Nonya Laksa, Chicken Satay, Char Kway Teow, etc in an informal and fun atmosphere. You will also get to eat and enjoy your own creations and mingle with your new found friends at the dining room inside a restored shophouse.
Singapore's favourite national past-time is "eating'. Despite its small size, Singapore offers you an incredible variety of colourful cuisines with sumptuous dining choices. Whether you are looking for fine dining or open-air food centres, you are sure to find an eatery at practically every corner. With its rich multi-cultural heritage, Singapore serves up a true melting pot of flavours and foods. You can see a reflection of Singapore's cultural diversity in the array of local cuisines on the menu – Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan among others. Chinese cuisine represents one of the main players in the country's gastronomic arena. The Chinese believe in combining ingredients to enhance the harmony between the yin and yang qualities of the food. Food is also used for its symbolic properties, such as noodles for longevity, oysters for good business and fish for prosperity. A visit to Singapore offers you an opportunity to sample dishes from various parts of the world.
Take a stroll around the diverse neighbourhoods and you'll come across halal Malay food, South Indian vegetarian thali, North Indian naans and briyani, dishes from the different parts of China. You can enjoy the delicious dim sum, roasted meats and double-boiled soups brought in by the Cantonese immigrants, the spicy dishes and steamboats from Szechuan, the flavourful Hainanese chicken rice, Peking duck, Hokkien mee, popiah (spring rolls), the famous yong tau fu or beancurd stuffed with fish paste was a contribution by the Hakkas, prawn noodles by the Hokkiens, while Teochew dishes include lighter items such as steamed seafood and porridge, not forgetting the popular chilli crabs, bak kut teh, fish head curry or rojak, all available in food centres and restaurants across Singapore. If you're a fan of Indian food, you'll be spoilt for choice between dishes from the southern and northern parts of the sub-continent. The first features vegetarian thosai, seafood dishes and fiery curries enriched with coconut milk. The second includes milder curries, creamy yogurt based dishes, tandoori offerings and fluffy naan breads. Most Indian dishes are infused with flavoured spices such as cardamom, cloves, cumin, coriander and chillies, and only in Singapore will you find spicy fish head curry in various Indian restaurants. You can also get a taste of popular local Indian-Muslim dishes such as roti pratas, murtabak (prata stuffed with minced meat, eggs and onions) and nasi briyani, a saffron rice served with spicy chicken or mutton. All these dishes go well with teh tarik (or"pulled tea"), an absolutely satisfying creamy and frothy milk tea. The Malay cuisine in Singapore will give you a chance to savour an array of spices and herbs including ginger, turmeric, galangal, lemon grass, curry leaves, pungent belachan (shrimp paste) and chillies. Try the nasi lemak for its flavourable coconut steamed rice, or nasi padang where you can select from a wide range of dishes on display. The unique Peranakan or Nony food offers a blend of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian flavours, combining aromatic herbs and spices such as lemon grass, chillies, tamarind paste, shrimp paste and coconut milk to create a rich cuisine of braised dishes, stews and curries. A must try is the ayam buah keluak, a chicken dish mixed with earthy-tasting buah keluak nuts and laksa, a famous Nonya dish made with rice vermicelli and coconut milk, garnished with fish cake, prawns or chicken. And that's far from all – Singapore also offers a wide range of international cuisines from Turkish, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese to Mongolian food. Whether you're in the mood for a Japanese dinner, a hearty Italian meal, or a casual French bistro experience, you'll find it all in this little red dot.
Singapore cuisine is indicative of the ethnic diversity of the culture of Singapore and the food is influenced by the native Malay, the predominant Chinese, Indonesia, Indian, Peranakan and Western traditions (particularly English and some Portuguese-influenced Eurasian, known as Kristang) since the founding of Singapore by the British in the nineteenth century. Influences from other areas such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippines and the Middle East exist in local food culture as well. The phenomenon makes the cuisine of Singapore a cultural attraction. Most prepared food is eaten outside the home at hawker centres or food courts. The food centres are abundant and low priced, encouraging a large consumer base.
In Singapore, food is viewed as crucial to national identity and an unifying cultural thread. Singapore literature declares eating as a national pastime and food, a national obsession. Food is a frequent topic of conversation among Singaporeans. Religious dietary strictures do exist. Muslims do not eat pork and Hindus do not eat beef; and there is also a significant group of vegetarians. People from different communities often eat together, while being mindful of each other's culture and choose food that is acceptable to all. There are also some halal restaurants catering to Muslim dietary preferences.
Singaporean cuisine has been promoted as an attraction for tourists by the Singapore Tourism Board as a major attraction alongside its shopping. The government organizes the Singapore Food Festival in July every year to celebrate Singapore's cuisine. The multi-culturalism of local food, the ready availability of international cuisine and styles, and their wide range in prices to fit all times of the day and year helps create a "food paradise".
As Singapore is a small country with a high population density, land is a scarce resource devoted to industrial and housing purposes. Most produce and food ingredients are imported, although there is a small group of local farmers who produce some leafy vegetables, fruits, poultry and fish. Singapore's geographical position connects it to major air and sea transport routes and thus allows it to import a variety of food ingredients from around the world, including costly seafood items such as sashimi from Japan.