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What is food from Singapore and Malaysia?

Singaporean and Malaysian food share many, many similarities, with some differences here and there, because of geography and culture. The two countries were of course, one and the same until the 1965 separation, when it was realised that the racial demographics made it impossible for a symbiotic relationship.

The racial mix is similar in that you have the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians and a few other small ethnic groups. What is different, is the percentage per race. Malaysia is predominantly Malay, with the Chinese, Indians, Eurasians and Nyonyas making up a small part of the general population. Singapore, on the other hand is predominantly Chinese, although Singapore’s indigenous race is actually the Malays.

Their fantastic racial mix is brilliantly reflected in the various local cuisines. To talk of the local food of Singapore and Malaysia is to talk of Malay, Chinese, Indian (north and south), Eurasian, Nyonya, and to some extent, Sri Lankan and Yemeni (Middle Eastern) food.

And it is because of this racial mix that Christmas, Eid, Chinese New Year and Diwali are all public holidays in these two countries.

My family is a fantastic reflection of the cultural diversity that makes up these 2 countries. And that's before we take into account the European mix! One of these days, I might share a family wedding photo, and you'll see what I mean!

To read more about each culture that I mention above and recipes, head on over to my blog:

#singaporefood #malaysianfood #linsfood
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Fried fish steaks with spicy tangy sauce
By my Malaysian bud, +Isobel Tan (Recipe below)

Thank you for a lovely recipe, Belle!


* 600-800g of fish steaks. Rub with corn flour + salt.
* 1 big onion, thinly sliced.
* 1 thumb sized ginger, thinly sliced.
* 3-4 dried chilli padi or red dried chillies
* 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2 inches long and bruised.
* juice of 3 calamansi limes.
* Fish sauce, light soy sauce, salt, brown sugar to taste.
* corn flour slurry for thickening and enough water for sauce.


Heat non stick pan. Add oil. Shallow fry fish pieces till crispy outside n juicy inside. Remove, set aside.

Leave enough oil to fry aromatics n spices (ginger, big onion, lemongrass, chilli) until fragrant. Sprinkle in salt while frying.

Add in seasonings (fish sauce, soy sauce), calamansi juice + approx 1 n half tsp of brown sugar, corn flour slurry to make a thickish gravy. Add additional water and taste to preference. Pour gravy over fish. Serve with steaming hot rice. Enjoy!
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Bak Chor Mee (肉脞面)
A very Singaporean Bowl of Noodles

Recipe here:

Bak Chor Mee, a much loved noodle dish found in hawker centres all around Singapore, is a singularly Singaporean fare.

There are noodles a-plenty, of course, all over East and South East Asia, but the way Bak Chor Mee is prepared and served, with its stewed mushrooms and various toppings, is pretty unique amongst its brethren!

I have to be honest, the recipe does takes a little bit of an effort; call it a labour of love. There are a few parts to it: the stewed mushrooms, the soup, the meat, which needs marinating and cooking, the sauce and the garnishes. However, you can make life easier by doing stuff the night before.

I admit it, the first time I ever made it, over 20 years ago, living alone in London, it took me 4 and a half hours! Almost as long as my London marathon time! Don’t panic, I did also make the fishballs and meatballs from scratch at the same time! To set your mind at ease, these days, actual hands on time for me is only about 30-45 minutes.

You'll find a comprehensive post, explanation and recipe, on my blog, LinsFood. The link is at the top of this post.

#recipes #cooking #food #noodles #foodblogger #foodie #chinese #linsfood
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Eurasian Corned Beef Stew

Recipe here:

This Eurasian Corned Beef Stew is a favourite childhood recipe from the Portuguese Eurasian community in Singapore and Malaysia. It can be a bit of a strange one for some people, given that corned beef isn’t usually eaten “wet”.

This was one of my mum’s lazy recipes; she was a nurse and was always working different shifts, and so easy meals were her thing!

It's a fairly light mix of beef and vegetables; as you can see from the images, the beef falls apart in the stew and ends up being a “secondary” ingredient, with the vegetables being the star of the dish. And like many Eurasian recipes, this stew is a combination of European and Asian, but is lighter on the spices, with just cloves and cinnamon.

You'll find the recipe for this dish on my blog, link is at the top of this post.

#recipes #cooking #food #stews #eurasian #beefrecipes #linsfood
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Sambal Matah

Recipe here:

Sambal Matah is a raw, spicy shallot salsa or condiment from Bali, Indonesia. There is no direct translation of the Malay/Indonesian word sambal. It usually refers to spicy condiments, both raw and cooked, but can also refer to mains and sides. You can read more about the sambals on my blog post.

It is also a word used in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, but spelled sambol.

Today's recipe is a superquick one, and I often make it at home to liven up a boring weekday meal. It's traditionally served with grilled food, so if you are lucky enough to still be barbecuing in your part of the world, try this spicy and piquant shallot salsa from The Island of The Gods.

You can read more about this recipe on my blog post. The link is right at the top of this post.

#recipes #cooking #food #grilling #linsfood #rawfood #spicy #chilli
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Roti John

Recipe here:

Roti John is a favourite childhood hawker food from Singapore. It is a baguette sandwich, as you can see from the image here. A couple of years ago, I cooked this live with +Jasmina Brozović & +Zvonimir Fras cooking along with me in Croatia, where they were living then. You can watch the show on my YT Channel via my blog.

Jasmina & Z, I watched the show last night, and boy, that was a lot of fun!

How did Roti John come about?

The story goes that at sometime during the mid 20th century, a local food stall owner was approached by an Englishman and asked if he could do him a hamburger.

Not quite knowing what he meant, despite the Englishman's attempt at describing the hamburger, the stall owner beat together some eggs and onions and proceeded to make an omelette baguette sandwich, but cooking the omelette within the bread. He then served this up with tomato ketchup on the side and said, "Sila makan roti, John".

Sila = please do, please help yourself

Makan = eat

Roti = a generic term for all sorts of bread

John = all Caucasians were John!

And a legend was born.

You will find the super easy recipe on my blog. The link is right at the top of this post.

#linsfood #recipes #cooking #food #roti #bread
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My Mum’s Homemade Laksa Recipe
plus a Cheat’s Laksa Recipe

Recipe here:

If you are a Singaporean or Malaysian, chances are, laksa is one of your favourite childhood dishes. Laksa, to me, has got to be one of the best comfort foods ever – reminds me of my mum, my granny and of everything I love about South East Asian food!

There are 2 distinct types of Laksa: Asam Laksa and Laksa Lemak (also known as curry laksa). Each Malaysian state and even Indonesian ones have their own version of either or both. And let’s not forget the Thais, who have their own Laksa called Laksam.

Laksa Lemak, today's recipe

The Malay word lemak, in culinary terms, refers to any dish that has coconut milk in it. As far as laksa lemak is concerned, there are many, many different types in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Some are more curry like in flavour, some lean towards the Red Thai curry flavour, some are a little on the white side in appearance and some are a combination of sour and creamy. You have Laksa Johor, Laksa Sarawak, Nyonya Laksa, Katong Laksa, and the generic Curry Laksa.

Why do I sometimes use the word laksa at the front and sometimes at the end? Find out on the blog, as well as get the recipe. The link is at the top of this post.

#linsfood #recipes #cooking #noodles
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Singgang Serani
A Eurasian Fish Curry from Singapore and Malaysia

Recipe here:

A Quick Language Lesson before we proceed, as always:

Singgang = a Malay word that refers to gravy type dishes native to the East Coast of Malaysia

Serani = is the Malay word for Eurasian

Singgang Serani = Eurasian Stew/Curry (in this case fish curry)

You can read more about the Eurasians and other ethnic groups in Singapore and Malaysia on my blog page.

Singgang Serani is a fairly spicy but light fish stew, relying on only a few aromatics and spices for flavour. Interestingly, it doesn’t have the requisite garlic or ginger and instead, we use turmeric and lemongrass for the aroma and taste.

It is also a touch sour from the tamarind, with sharp, citrusy notes from the lemongrass. It bears similarities to other fish curries up and down the Malaysian Peninsula and even Thailand and Vietnam.

You'll find the less-than-30-minute recipe on my blog. Link is right at the top.

#linsfood #recipes #cooking #eurasian #singapore #malaysian #seafood #curry
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Nasi Ulam
Malaysian Mixed Herb Rice Salad

Recipe here:

Malay language lesson first:
Nasi = Rice
Ulam = Salad (can also be used to mean herbs)
(you'll find lots more Malay words on the blog post)

Here's another very old recipe from the blog, a rice salad from North Malaysia, served with a variety of side dishes, as you can see from the image below.

Traditionally, and perhaps in days gone by, Nasi Ulam was made with 100 different types of freshly picked wild herbs, resulting in a rice dish that was practically green in colour!

These days, and for many of us not living in the country or villages, getting 100 fresh herbs is no easy feat, so one makes do with what one can get.

When I make Nasi Ulam in the summer, I am rather spoilt for choice with the types of herbs I have access to, not quite a hundred, but most certainly, a varied lot. This is mainly because I grow lots of tropical herbs in the milder/warm months. And then, there are all the other "Western style" herbs that I thrown in, the common and the not so common.

To read up on it, as well as for the recipe, head on over to my blog. The link is right at the top of this post.

#linsfood #recipes #cooking #malaysianfood #ricerecipes #malayfood
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Singapore Sling
Because every hour should be happy hour!

3 Singapore Sling Recipes here:

An iconic name in cocktail folklore, the Singapore Sling is probably one of the most messed around, messed up and bastardised drinks in mixology history!

It has always been one of my favourite cocktails ever since I had my first sip on the hallowed grounds of The Long Bar, at The Raffles Hotel in Singapore; at the ripe old age of 22.

On my blog post, I give you three, yes three, Singapore Sling recipes, the first one is courtesy of The Raffles Hotel, as printed on the recipe cards in The Long Bar along with 2 others, including one that gives you an idea of the origin of this much loved drink.

You'll also get history, because this, is a drink with a past.

Blog post link is right at the top.
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