Tree species Singapore is a melting pot of cultures, and this is reflected in the variety of food found here – from chilli crab to nasi lemak to roti prata.
And we are passionate when it comes to local food.
So it’s no surprise that Singaporean netizens, puzzled by what they saw, aired their concerns in the comments section of a TikTok video that supposedly showcased ‘Singaporean food’.
The 76-second clip was posted on April 28 by user ghobs aka DrHobs. The Canadian influencer is known for trying and rating different cuisines from all over the world with more than 1.2 million fans.
@ghobs Replying to @qwertyyyyy365 ♬ Singapur – El Alfa & Chael Produciendo
However, instead of his usual fans, the comments section was filled with scrutiny from Singaporean netizens, stating that the featured dishes are not really considered Singaporean food.
While others took issue with the Singapore-related factoid presented by DrHobs in the video: “Singapore is one of the most developed European country [sic] in the world.”
The ‘Singaporean’ menu
The first dish he presented was called “laksa Singapore spicy coconut soup”. It was cloudy and pale in appearance with a light sprinkling of chilli flakes.
Despite the dish’s appearance, DrHobs called it a “good soup” with super salty flavours that hit him right away and rated it a 7.5 out of 10.
Rightfully, netizens were bamboozled by it as it looked nothing like the fiery red laksa we know and love.
“I have never seen and heard of these food,” one netizen commented, highlighting the fact that the cloudy soup was nowhere close to the real thing.
Up next was ngoh hiang, and it’s probably the only food in the video that looked close to the actual dish Singaporeans are familiar with.
But dipping it in orange jam? That’s where one netizen drew the line as he mentioned that the jam has “got to go”.
Ngoh hiang is a five-spice pork roll wrapped in beancurd skin whereas what DrHobs tried looked more of a deep-fried spring roll. He rated the ‘ngoh hiang’ 8.7 out of 10 as he found the flavour to be amazing.
The Singapore satay chicken noodles got an eight out of 10 for its flavours. It came with pieces of chicken, and DrHobs said it was “very well done”.
Though one netizen pointed out that our local makciks might not approve of it. We have to agree as well, since satay bee hoon is typically a wet dish.
While DrHobs’ version did look like it was made with vermicelli noodles, it lacked the delicious peanut sauce which is an important part of the dish.
Last but not least was the infamous Singapore noodles. In this video, the dish is served with prawns, beef and vegetables.
The dish got a nine out of 10, with DrHobs praising the seasoning.
What are Singapore noodles?
This is not the first time someone has questioned the authenticity of Singapore noodles.
In a TikTok video posted on April 4, local influencer Kevin Tristan shared how “there’s this thing called Singapore noodles” in many Asian eateries he encountered when travelling in the US.
In hopes of getting to the bottom of the mysterious ‘Singapore noodles’, he asked a server at one such eatery what the dish was.
The response he got was shocking, to say the least.
“She goes like, ‘our Singapore noodles is like our version of a pad Thai’,” said Kevin with much incredulity.
It’s safe to say the exchange with the waitress did not answer his question.
The origins of Singapore noodles
Contrary to the name of the dish, Singapore noodles actually has its roots in Hong Kong.
According to renowned Singaporean chef Damian D’Silva, the dish was invented in the 50s or 60s by chefs in Hong Kong. They wanted to create something exotic, so they added curry power to the noodles.
“The dish then spread overseas and to Europe during the travels of the Hong Kong chefs while they were under British rule.”
The closest dish to Singapore noodles would be xin chow (the old name of Singapore) bee hoon, or sin chew bee hoon, which is made from stir-fried vermicelli, vegetables, seafood and soy sauce.
And not a speck of curry powder is used in this local dish, if you were wondering.
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