Singapore is undeniably one of the world's best foodie destinations, thanks in part to is blend of cultural influences that have created the ultimate fusion cuisine experience. In a place with such varied dishes and ingredients, it's no surprise that some are a bit more odd than others. For all the adventurous eaters out there, here are 10 unusual foods to try in Singapore.
Singapore's iconic seafood dish isn't really that weird, but the no-frills presentation of a whole crab drenched in sauce and staring up at you from the plate can be a bit shocking, though in a completely delicious way. This is a dish even non-daring eaters should try -- you'll probably come back for seconds.
Fuzhou UFOs come from China's Fujian province and get their name from their UFO-like shape. They're actually deep-fried fritters stuffed with oysters, minced pork and prawns, and you can find them at the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre for a quick and tasty treat.
Sample this and other Singaporean Chinese dishes on a Chinatown Food Tour.
People generally love or really, really hate durian -- the spiky fruit you might see in markets all over Asia. In Singapore, where it's quite popular, you'll also see signs posted in hotels and public spaces banning the fruit, since it omits a pungent, and some would say rather unpleasant, odor. Once cracked open, the chunks of raw durian inside have a strange, alien-fetus-like look.
Durian Ice Cream
If you don't have the stomach for sampling raw durian, you can also try the bizarre fruit in the form of the comfortingly familiar ice cream sandwich. This sweet treat is sold by street corner vendors and in Singapore's hawker centers.
You won't find any cream cheese frosting on the Singapore version of carrot cake. This savory dish is actually made from grated daikon radish that gets steamed into a cake-like form, cubed and stir-fried with eggs, garlic and a variety of spices. It usually comes either "black" with a semi-sweet soy sauce or "white" with no sauce.
Fish Head Curry
In Singapore, nothing goes to waste, as is evidenced by the Indian fusion dish known as fish head curry. Basically a whole fish head simmered in a spicy South Indian-style curry sauce, this dish is a favorite with locals who will be quick to tell you that the cheek meat and the eyeballs are the best parts.
Shaved ice might not sound like a very unusual dessert until you see what ingredients get dolloped on top in Singapore. Known locally by its Malaysian name of ice kachang, the dish consists of a mountain of fluffy shaved ice topped with sweetened red beans, flavored (and oddly colored) jellies, myriad neon syrups, corn and peanuts among other options.
Bamboo Clams (and Other Seafood)
Walk through a Singaporean seafood market and you'll see a whole host of strange creatures you likely didn't know existed. You can also eat pretty much everything you see. One of the more interesting offerings you'll find at seafood restaurants in Singapore are bamboo clams (razor clams), which are elongated bivalves with shells that resemble huge fingernails.
Mochi, originally from Japan, has become a popular dessert throughout Asia, including in Singapore. Mochi are made by pounding cooked glutinous rice into a paste and molding it into a cake. These chewy sweet morsels often come stuffed with various fillings, including sweetened beans or chopped nuts, or flavored, most popularly with green tea.