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. They make for great gifts for overseas friends and or as formal corporate gifts and you can pick up many of these items at Changi Airport.
I wouldn’t plan on waiting until the last minute, though. Shop during your trip and you’ll also benefit from the experience of handling these goods in atmospheric surroundings – and tasting them yourself. After all, the best places to taste local food is when you’re on location!
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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: 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.
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 ribs 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.
You may also see it written as bak kwa, but no worries. It’s all the same stuff.
- Not sure if food is for you? Branch out with our guide to the best souvenirs to buy in 2024.
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. And pop into a coffee shop when you’re there.
Sambal is a spiced, chilli condiment whose origins range from Indonesia to India to Malaysia and to Singapore. It’s found nearly everywhere in southeast Asia 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. Look for local brands and add them to your list of Singaporean souvenirs.
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… One of the unforgettable flavours of 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 juice. 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. As edible gifts go, these are some of the best.
10. Pandan Cake
Bright green and brilliant, pandan cake makes for a tasty Singapore food souvenir. It’s a kind of sponge cake made green from the juices of the Pandanus amaryllifolius plant. And green it is!
You’ll often find it decorated with coconut icing. However, for ease of transport, look for the ring shaped cakes without icing instead.
- Hungry for more Asian food? Check out our Borneo food guide.
At a glance: the best Singapore snacks for foreigners
If you’re short on time, we’d recommend these Singapore snacks to bring home. Or, if you life in Singapore then these are the Singapore foods to buy for overseas friends. Why? Because they tend to travel best. And, of course, they taste good!
- Kaya Jam
- Singapore breakfast tea
Travel Essentials for Singapore
- Check out our two days in Singapore itinerary for more on the Lion City.
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- Don’t forget after dark. There are plenty of things to do in Singapore at night as well.
How about you? Have you tried any of these? Which do you think are the best Singapore food souvenirs?