Cai fan? Check. Chicken rice? Yes. Living on campus, you’re probably used to eating the same variety of go-to meals, on a different rotation each week. But why limit yourself to those few options? We are lucky to be spoiled for choice here in Singapore, where we are a melting pot of cultures with easy access to food from all over the world. So if you’re looking to expand your palate — or just want to get a taste of something exotic while stuck in this pandemic — here are five unusual and interesting foods that are sure to jazz up your campus dining experience.
This unique protein may not be for the faint-hearted or those who balk at the mention of innards. Consuming animal hearts may not be common in local culture, but chicken hearts are widely found on menus in Hong Kong — where this delicacy is said to have originated. Our beloved Hong Kong Kitchen does a brilliant take on this vitamin-packed meat, stringing bite-sized pieces on skewers, then barbequing it. With the addition of a herby spice-rub marinating each piece, the meat ends up with a light yet smoky flavour — the hallmark of a well-barbequed skewer. As the heart is lower in fat content, it also gives a more satisfying chew with every bite. So even if you don’t normally eat chicken hearts, give it a try because you might end up liking it!
Cost: $1 Rating: 9/10 Address: 24 Clementi Rd, Singapore 129753 Opening Hours: 11am-11pm, daily
Many students already frequent this stall for their tasty Basil Pork Rice and Tom Yum Goong, but this raw prawn salad is an item that has been much glossed over. Similar to Amaebi in Japanese Cuisine, prawns in their most natural state have a sweeter flavour profile and a more tender texture. Nana Thai serves this dish with a twist, garnished with a handful of chopped garlic, lettuce and bitter gourd. A drizzle of their lime-based spicy fish sauce also helps to cut through any remnants of rawness and cure the prawns such that they are safe for consumption. Raw prawns also have a lighter taste, readily soaking up the umami flavours of the sauce. If you’re a fan of sashimi, don’t miss out on trying this Thai version!
Cost: $12.90 Rating: 9/10 Address: 18 Clementi Rd, Singapore 129747 Opening Hours: 11:30am-1am, daily
3. Chitlins from Formosa Delights
Living in Singapore, you’ve probably tried Laziji. For those who haven’t, it’s a spicy yet gloriously comforting Taiwanese street snack – bite-sized chicken pieces that are deep-fried in Sichuan chilli peppers, garlic and ginger. Best eaten at supper or during a movie night. At Formosa, chitlins are prepared in the exact same way, using large intestines of a pig instead of the usual chicken meat. This gives it a much chewier texture, as the meat is first boiled then fried at medium heat. Compared to other parts of the pig, chitlins are also more tender and mild in terms of flavour, making it a great vessel to pile on spicy, savoury marinates. Order these chitlins over Laziji, if you’re looking for a new, yet equally delicious version of the mala-like dish.
Cost: $13.90 Rating: 8/10 Address: 20 Clementi Rd, Singapore 129749 Opening Hours: 11am-1am, daily
Despite its eye-catching name, we aren’t talking about politics or USA’s ex-president here, but the fried rice served at Al Amaans. This dish is interesting to say the least, especially with the combination of foods served on the plate. The main star of the show, the spiced rice, is yellow in colour and tastes similar to Thai-style pineapple rice. A clear, red-coloured sauce is then generously poured over, with a sunny-side up egg, slice of cucumber and Belachan chilli to top it all off. There was also a helping of beef provided, which was a nice addition. However, the meat was rather chewy and oddly tasted like the beef patty at MacDonald’s. So if you’re dining there, switch out the beef for chicken if possible, or get the safer option altogether — the more popular Kampong Fried Rice instead.
Cost: $7 Rating: 6/10 Address: 12 Clementi Road, S129742 Opening hours: 11am – 3am, daily
5. Banh Mi from Pham Quyen
Lastly, here’s a shout out to the new kid on the block: the Muslim-owned Vietnamese takeaway stall, Pham Quyen. If you’ve never travelled to Vietnam, you can now get a taste of authentic Vietnamese street food right at our campus doorstep. Can anyone think of Vietnam without thinking of the ubiquitous banh mi?
The delicious baguette rolls they use are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, complementing the refreshing crunch you get from the cucumber and thinly-sliced carrots. Generous chunks of well-marinated pulled-beef are also sandwiched between the bread — adding a salty soy-sauce kick. What was most surprising though, was the slices of big chilli and coriander that sat on top, delivering a slight spice to the mix, but not overwhelmingly so. This would be a good option for a quick and easy takeaway lunch, or really any day that you want something light and tasty.
They currently only have one type of banh mi on the menu, and their spring rolls need to be ordered in advance. Also, if you flash your student card, you can get a special discount from them too — double thumbs up!
Cost: $4 (student price), $4.50 (original price) Rating: 9/10 Address: 6 Clementi Rd, Singapore 129741 Opening Hours: 11am - 1am daily, Closed on Wednesdays Pre-order: +65 8742 0433
What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten? Let us know in the comments down below!
PS: You can now save 15% off your next meal at Supper Stretch when you select “Pick Up” on the Food Panda app. *subject to availability