IKAN PARI PANGGANG
(Spicy Chicken Soup with Noodles)
(Chicken in coconut-milk gravy)
SAYUR LEMAK WITH LONTONG
(vegetables in coconut milk with compressed rice)
The rhizomes and seasonings typical of Malay food can be combined with spices like coriander, cumin, and fennel, although not as commonly as in Indian curries. Coconut milk, widely used in Southeast Asia, is used liberally to enrich many Malay dishes. Malay food also tends to be slightly sweet with the addition of palm sugar or white sugar, while juice form the sour fruity tamarind adds tang and subtlety.
Although Malay food is not as prominent in Singapore as Chinese, it is nonetheless part of the mainstream diet. Familiar favourites are the Malay classics like Korma, Rendang, Chicken Curry and the various sambals. Sambal Belacan is so accepted that it even appears as a standard condiment in Teochew restaurants, complete with half a lime.
Nasi Lemak, a coconut-rich rice dish served with a variety of accompaniments such as crisp fried anchovies (ikan bilis), peanuts, prawns, shredded omelette and chilli sambal is what many Singaporeans eat for breakfast. Some of the kuih (cakes) associated with the nonyas were Malay to start with, and along with Chinese Chui Kuih (steamed rice cakes with preserved vegetables) and Indian Roti Prata are consumed for breakfast and at tea-time
In Singapore, the highlight of Malay cuisine is Satay, thought by some to have been derived from the Arab ‘kebah’ but with a character all its own. Satay has even spawned two Chinese versions: Satay Chelop and Nonya Pork Satay as well as the hawker dish Satay Bee Hoon.
On the other hand, Roti John (John’s Bread) was said to have been inspired by a homesick tourist named John who, so the story goes, was in search of a sandwich. a helpful hawker sliced up a loaf of French bread, clapped in a mixture of minced mutton and onion and dipped the whole in beaten egg which he fried until crisp. If the tourist named John was bemused, locals took to Roti John and it is now a staple at Muslim food stalls. It is more likely, however, that Roti John is an adaptation of Murtabak, an Indian Muslim dish which is the Asian answer to Italian pizza.