July 26

9 Singapore Food Souvenirs That Won’t Break Your Suitcase

South Asia

One essential part of any Singapore itinerary is exploring the food scene. But what happens when the trip comes to an end? Here are some flavoursome Singapore food souvenirs you can take home so that your trip lasts longer.


The Best Singapore Food Souvenirs 


If you caught the replay of our live Singapore chat, you'll know that almost all we talked about in Singapore was the food. From Michelin stars to dishes closer to earth, the variety of history you can taste is incredible. 

But what happens when the trip comes to an end? Here I've rounded up some of the best Singapore food souvenirs, so that you can bring some of that flavour home. 

Kaya Jam Singapore food souvenir

1. Kaya Jam 

It's only when kaya jam appears at the breakfast table that I know I'm in Singapore. Mixed from eggs, coconut and pandan leaves, it's not exclusive to Singapore but it sure is popular there.

It's unfortunate that the colour resembles snot, but the taste is sweet and divine. Legend has it that the Portuguese occupation of nearby Melaka brought the idea of Doce de Ovos (sweet egg cream) across the water and that kaya developed from there. 

It's a slightly heavy and cumbersome food souvenir from Singapore but it is also easy to find. Head into just about any local supermarket and give your suitcase a treat.


2. HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE CRISPS

Hainanese chicken rice is one of the classical dishes to try in Singapore - but it's hard to take home with you. The traditional meal came from the Hainanese people who moved from southern China and it involves poached chicken, seasoned rice, chilli sauce and cucumber garnish. 

Enter Singapore company The Golden Duck, who opened in 2015 with a range of gourmet snacks. You can now pick up Hainanese Chicken Rice Crisps, salted egg yolk snacks, Singapore Laksa, and Egg Prata with Fish Curry Crisps.

Not quite the same as the real thing but a treat nonetheless. They also ship internationally in case you're cravings can't wait!

Nasi Lemak Singapore

Nasi Lemak: tricky to bring home as it is but I've found you another way...


3. Nasi Lemak cookies

Nasi Lemak is one of the key dishes in Singapore, second in fame only to the chilli crab, I'd guess. With Malay origins, it involves rice cooked in coconut milk and you'll often find this gentle, fragrant dish served with spicy sambal, anchovies, cucumber and peanuts. 

Suffice to say, the real thing doesn't travel very well. But you can pick up these crunchy Nasi Lemak cookies and take those home instead.  Does it sound strange to have such a savoury dish as a biscuit? The coconut makes the pairing work surprisingly well.


4. BAKKWA 

If you like your meat products slightly sweet and very chewy, then Bakkwa is for you! Traditionally eaten at Chinese New Year, Bakkwa is available all year round in Singapore. It also makes for an ideal souvenir as it's light and lightweight. 

The most traditional kind of bakkwa is made from pork and cooked over charcoal for many hours.  Pick some up at Bee Cheng Hiang and munch away when you get home, safe in the knowledge that they have no added tenderizer, preservatives, colouring or artificial ingredients.

TWG Tea - a great food souvenir from Singapore

TWG Tea - By 夏天

5. Singapore Breakfast Tea from TWG

TWG, from The Wellness Group, is a chain of luxury teahouses, with its heart in Singapore. Pay one of their shops a visit and then pick up a tin of Singapore breakfast tea to bring the taste of it all home. Lightweight and not easily damaged, this is one of the most suitable Singapore food souvenirs on the list.

But if all else fails, you can also order online once you've got home. 


Best Singapore food souvenirs

6. SAMBAL 

Sambal is a spiced, chilli condiment whose origins range from Indonesia to India to Malaysia and to Singapore. It's found nearly everywhere and a versatile addition to most dishes. It goes particualrly well with Nasi Lemak, Nasi Goreng, Mee Goreng, and Roti Canai.

I'd always recommend heading into local supermarkets when you travel and now you have a focus: to pick up one of the best food souvenirs in Singapore and buy yourself a jar of sambal.


Durian Puffs - a quirky food souvenir from Singapore

7. Durian puffs

Ah, durian. Once smelled, forever remembered. It comes with a thick, spiky rind and an unforgettable (awful!) smell. Simply, put, it doesn't make a great food souvenir. 

Happily, though, you can grab a snack version. Locals recommend these Sunlife durian puffs and pastries. 

Freshly baked and featuring lashings of custard and cream, if you're lucky, the durian part will be the least of it...

Raffles Hotel Singapore

Raffles Hotel: Skip the Long Bar but try a Singapore Sling anyway

8. The Singapore Sling

Despite all the grumblings about the queues to get into the Long Bar, what wrap up of Singapore food souvenirs would be complete without mentioning the Singapore Sling?

Splitting gin from its loyal partner of "tonic" is what makes a "sling." The Singapore part adds in cherry brandy, orange juice, pineapple juice and sometimes a hint of lime. The invention honour goes to bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at the beginning of the 20th century.

The place? Of course, the Long Bar at the iconic Raffles Hotel.

You can buy pre-mixed Singapore Slings to take home as a souvenir but, of course, they are heavy. Better to stock up on the raw ingredients yourself and experiment at home, I'd say. 

9. KUEH LAPIS 

Kueh Lapis are also known as nine-layered cake because they're, you guessed it, cakes with many layers. They're of Indonesian origin but the Singapore brand Bengawan Solo makes some of the most famous food souvenirs in Singapore.

Founded by Anastasia in 1979, a woman who moved from Indonesia to Singapore for love, they also sell other sweet treats like getuk getuk and ondeh ondeh. According to locals, the best time to visit is after noon, when the lapis are at their best.

At their simplest, they appear a caramel brown but you'll also find them decked out in rainbow colours, especially lime green and scarlet. 


BONUS: SCOFF AN ICE CREAM SANDWICH

One of the best things about a visit to Singapore, so the world tells you, is the chance to taste its food. Flavours from India, China, the Malay, remnants from Britain, influxes from almost everywhere else plus an infusion of unmistakably Singaporean identity line the stomach in a unique, and sometimes challenging, way.

People even say "have you eaten?" to mean the more generic "how are you?" and queue patiently at specific food stalls in hawker markets to wait for THE version of nasi lemak, curry puff or shaved ice kachang.

Yet one thing the world HADN'T told me about was a difference kind of culinary specialty: the ice cream sandwich.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is a slab of ice cream (think chocolate, strawberry or mango) served with a single slice of bread.The bread wraps around the melting block to keep your fingers warm (Abi's interpretation) and the bubblegum swirls represent Singapore's cultural diversity (er, also totally made up.)

So there you are. No matter how old you grow, the world can still surprise you.

Who needs a sophisticated Singapore Sling when you can embrace such raw pink syntheticity?

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS FOR Singapore


How about you? Have you tried any of these? Which do you think are the best Singapore food souvenirs?


Tags

Food Guide, Souvenirs


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