Shiok! Books About Singapore's Food Culture

If there's one thing that unites Singaporeans, it's food. Our diverse and exciting food scene can be attributed to our historical roots and the influence of migration, and is an integral part of our way of life and one of our country's shining glories. These books brilliantly encapsulate Singapore's culinary traditions and rich food culture.

Early Hawkers In Singapore by Lai Chee Kien
Illustrated by Chang Yang

The hawker centre is an integral part of Singapore's urban landscape. As they are now easily found all around the island, many may not be aware that the concept of housing hawkers within designated space was not common before Singapore's independence in 1965. Instead, hawkers plied the streets on foot, toting their wares in portable makeshift stalls.

Illustrator Chang Yang captured the street hawkers from the 20s and 30s in a series titled "Our Vanishing Street Hawkers" (消失了的过街小贩), which ran in of the Singapore's Chinese evening dailies from 1987 - 1988. Featuring the full series of 128 illustrations, Dr. Lai Chee Kien also writes in detail on the history of hawker centres in Singapore, and presents a visual and analysis of Chan Yang's illustrations.

La Kopi by Alvin Mark Tan

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in Singapore. But how many of us know what it takes to brew a cuppa? Full-time artist Alvin Mark Tan returns from Italy and rediscovers the coffee culture here through oils, inks, watercolours and videos. In his first sketchbook brew dedicated to his hometown, he plunges into the coffee scene to see how it has percolated throughout the island.

Singapore Cooking by Terry Tan and Christopher Tan

An abiding Singaporean passion, food is a central part of life on this multicultural island quite simply because there's so much of it that's so good! Singapore Cooking is a fabulous collection of beloved local classics, including the most extraordinary Chicken Rice and Chili Crab you will have ever eaten, as well as less common but equally delightful dishes, such as Ayam Tempra (Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Stir-Fried Chicken) and Nasi Ulam (Herbal Rice Salad).

With this Singapore cookbook by your side your acquaintance—or re-acquaintance—with Singapore food promises to be an exciting and mouthwatering experience.

Wet Market To Table by Pamelia Chia

Wet markets promise charm and authenticity that supermarkets and online grocers cannot replicate. Local chef Pamelia Chia explores uncommonly used vegetables, fruits and herbs found in Singapore wet markets, using over 80 recipes to bring out their unique flavours and textures. Writing in a frank and easy-to-read manner, Pamelia shares stories from wet-market vendors, memories of grocery shopping with her mother and how each ingredient inspires her to push the boundaries of local cooking.

The Way Of Kueh by Christopher Tan

More than just a collection of recipes, The Way of Kueh delves into kueh culture with a lyrical, and at times humourous, contextually rich approach, focusing on kueh families and genres, key kueh heritage cooking techniques, and kuehs with special historical or social significance, or particularly endangered status. It includes well-researched and detailed recipes, backstories, interviews with kueh artisans, short essays on pertinent topics like the colonial ancestry of various kuehs, and helpful glossaries on key ingredients and essential kueh-making equipment.

'Others' Is Not A Race by Melissa De Silva

What is a Eurasian? Are Eurasians Singaporean? What does it mean to be a Eurasian living in Singapore?

'Others' Is Not A Race is a tapestry that weaves together the multiple genres of narrative fiction, creative nonfiction, literary food writing and family memoir, to offer insight into the micro-minority Eurasian community through the intensely personal lens of the writer's own experience living and growing up as a Eurasian in Singapore. Throughout are interwoven the themes of memory, loss, language, identity and cultural reclamation.

Similarly, it is a reflective and provocative journey of self-discovery; a journey the reader may also take to explore what it means to exist at the confluence of being Singaporean and being Eurasian, and to interrogate the liminal space between two cultures, Asian and European, occupied by this community.

How To Cook Everything Singaporean by Denise Fletcher

For the first time ever, a comprehensive guide to Singaporean cuisine is available. Featuring over 1,000 recipes of familiar home-cooked and hawker favourites from the various ethnic groups, as well as contributions from some of Singapore’s most exciting chefs, cooks can find something to satisfy every palate—from simple comfort food to the more gastronomically adventurous.

Compiled and tested by Denise Fletcher, these authentic recipes are written in a casual and approachable style. Broken down into clear, easy-to-follow steps, even those new to Southeast Asian cuisine will find How to Cook Everything Singaporean an essential companion in the kitchen.

Seasonings Magazine

Seasonings Magazine is an independent quarterly publication that celebrates diversity in Singapore through the lens of food and culture.

Issue 1 pays tribute to the beauty in Ramadan and the celebration that ensues, the importance of community, the beauty of rituals, and the diversity of Muslim celebration food in Singapore.

Issue 2 explores the universal themes of togetherness, remembrance, love, and legacy during the month of Hungry Ghost Festival in Singapore.

Issue 3 commemorates Deepavali, with recipes that can be traced to diverse parts of India, giving you a glimpse of how rich this festival culture is and whets your appetite for more.