We’re too busy fighting over whether Singapore or Malaysia has the best nasi lemak or checking out the latest pho offerings to see what other yummy dishes our neighbours boast. Ready to expand your geopolitical consciousness a little bit? Here are some of the best spots for where you can get lesser known Southeast Asian delicacies.
1. Filipino: Iskina Cebu
Sink your teeth into the crispiest and juiciest national dish at Iskina Cebu. Here the lechon is spit-roasted for five hours over a charcoal fire — as close as you can get to authentic without flying over. The marinade packs a punch and makes the wait worthwhile. If pork’s not your thing, then check out the inasal na manok, or roasted chicken. Iskina Cebu does not offer a huge menu, but what they do, they do well.
Find it at 73 Ayer Rajah Crescent, #01-27, Singapore 139957.
Click here for more information on Iskinda Cebu.
2. Burmese: Inle Myanmar
Make sure you go with friends to this basement joint, because you’ll want to try everything. We love the flavourful Mohinga, a fish-based noodle soup filled with what seems like a thousand other flavours — assam, onion, banana blossom, ginger — that come together to do one thing: get you hooked. Then there’s the Pickled Tea Leaf Salad, which gives you that added punch you need for the day with its crisp peanuts, toasted sesame seeds and fried garlic. Check out the rest of the chef’s recommendations, and don’t forget to leave room for dessert.
Find it at 111 North Bridge Road, #B1-07, Peninsula Plaza, Singapore 179098.
Click here for more information on Inle Myanmar.
3. Cambodian: 51 F&B Cambodia Steamboat & Mookata
We still haven’t found a place that serves our favourite Cambodian dish, fish amok, just yet, but if you don’t have the time for a weekend trip, why not try this standalone stall in the east? Run by a Cambodian lady, 51 serves up Khmer food with a Singaporean spin. Try their Loc Lak Khmer — wok-fried beef paired with a zesty, cilantro dipping sauce — or their fried white-spotted rabbitfish for a healthy(ish) but hearty family meal.
Find it at 51 Guillemard Road, Singapore 399705.
Click here for more information on 51 F&B Cambodia Steamboat & Mookata.
4. Laotian: IndoChine Chijmes
While Singapore does not have many Laotian restaurants just yet, IndoChine can be counted on to bring some of the best dishes to our shores. Its founder, Michael Ma, does hail from the “Land of a Million Elephants” after all. At this gorgeous outlet in Chijmes, order the Ping Xinh Nam Tok, or marinated beef rump, which also comes with a wagyu option. And while this landlocked country may not have much seafood naturally, you can still savour the Beer Battered Sea Bass Fillet with a Laotian-inspired tomato salsa. Delish.
Find it at 30 Victoria Street, #01-21/22, Singapore 187996.
Click here for more information on IndoChine Chijmes.
5. All in one stop: Colony
Why do you have to choose which Southeast Asian dish you want to explore? Pick a top-notch buffet like the Ritz’ Colony, and you can go around Southeast Asia, and the rest of the world — if your stomach allows. With its seven kitchens and live cooking stations, you’ll indulge in Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Malaysian and Western dishes — and other cuisines during special occasions.