January 19, 2024

Around the World in 80 Plates: Singapore

singapore cuisine

Welcome to Singapore! It is a country full of people and food from around the world, along with a few locals. Singapore is an island country at the southern tip of Malaysia.

Singapore Cuisine 

Since Singapore is basically a city on an island, they must either catch or import much of its food needs. They simply don't have enough space on the island to grow all their own food!

The 3 pillars of cuisine in Singapore (aka the 3 most common ingredients) are noodles, rice, and seafood.

If you get the chance to visit Singapore, you'll find that the most popular way to taste many different dishes at once is to eat from a hawker stall, where people serve one type of food from their food stand in a market or street corner setting.  

Food from Singapore hails from everywhere, but also, in a sense, from nowhere: the local cuisine is defined by what it's borrowed, and how those puzzle pieces are assembled into something totally unique.

Max Falkowitz from Serious Eats

The Background on Singapore Food

Some of the food they like to eat now in Singapore comes from when it was a British colony. The country of England had colonies around the globe at that time, and many British subjects that were traveling and governing these colonies had hired help from their colony in India. Indian cooks are most familiar with Indian food, which explains why Indian Curry is the most popular food in London, and also why many Indian style dishes are popular throughout Singapore too. People cook the foods they know, and when those people travel, they often take their recipes from home with them.  

Many other residents in Singapore are Chinese, and they brought traditional Chinese recipes with them, and made them into their own Singaporean foods over time as they were prepared in the city.  

Chicken Satay Recipe

Many foods from street stalls can be made at home and chicken satay is one of them. This dish is great for spring and summer because you can prep them ahead and cook them outside on the grill, over a fire, or inside in the oven with the broiler if rain ruins your outdoor dinner.  

Using chicken legs for this dish is the key to juicy satay, because breast meat will dry out and leave your satay sticks chewy, instead of spiced and delicious. You can serve these as the entree, or as part of a bunch of appetizers, whichever suits your needs.  

Try out this tasty recipe from Captain Create, and serve it with your favorite rice or noodles and sautéed or roasted veggies!  

Recipe adapted from MilkStreet. 


  • Chicken Marinade
    • 2 T. finely grated ginger
    • 6 finely grated garlic cloves
    • 2 T. brown sugar
    • 3 T. toasted peanut oil
    • 2 T. ground turmeric 
    • 4 t. ground cumin
  • Satay Sauce: 
    • 1/4 cup boiling water
    • 1 T. creamy peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar 
    • 2 T. white sugar 
    • 2 T. toasted peanut oil 
    • 2 t. finely grated fresh ginger 
    • 1 finely grated garlic clove
    • 2 t. ground turmeric 
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped, salted dry-roasted peanuts


  1. To prepare the chicken, in a large bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, sugar, oil, turmeric, cumin 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 cup water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then stir in the chicken. Cover and refrigerate refrigerators for 2-3 hours. 
  2. To make the sauce, in a medium blow, whisk the boiling water and peanut butter until smooth. Whisk in the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar, then set aside. In a small skillet over medium heat, heat the oil, ginger and garlic. Cook stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chili-garlic sauce and turmeric, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk the garlic mixture into the soy mixture. Reserve 1/4 cup for basting the chicken. Cover and refrigerate the remaining sauce for serving. 
  3. About 30 minutes before skewering and cooking the chicken, remove the sauce from the refrigerator. Stir in the chopped peanuts. Heat the broiler with a rack about 4 inches from the element or heat your grill to med-high. 
  4. Drain the chicken in a colander. Thread 2 or 3 pieces of chicken on to each of the eight 8-inch metal skewers, evenly dividing the meat and pushing the pieces together, but not tightly packing them. Evenly space the skewers on the wire rack or grill. 
  5. Broil or grill the chicken until it begins to brown, 5-7 minutes. Flip the skewers and continue to cook until the second side begins to brown, another 4-6 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush each skewer with 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved sauce. Return to heat until well-charred, 2-4 minutes. Repeat on the other side until all satay sticks are cooked through nicely and charred in a few places. 
Serve with the dipping sauce and a side of cooked rice and veggies. 

singapore chicken satay recipe

If you enjoyed this recipe, make sure to check out our other posts!