ADM16028 – Mapping Overlooked Cultures and Histories of Singapore

Some notes about the “invention” of unique Singapore dishes – while I will try to categorize the dishes according to ethic groups, because of how all the ethic groups mingle and traded dish ideas, some dishes are a mixture of techniques, ingredients, and cooking styles from different groups. It should also be noted due to the history of post-WWII Singapore (ie merger of Singapore), some dishes popular in Singapore actually originated in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

List of Unique Singapore Chinese Dish

Hainanese Chicken Rice (Original Dish)

Chilli Crab (Original Dish)

  • invented by Cher Yam Tian in the mid 1950s when she added bottled chilli sauce to her dish of stir-fried crabs
  • 1956, she and her husband began selling the dish from a pushcart along the seaside
  • 1962, called Palm Beach, at 514 Upper East Coast Road
  • Hooi Kok Wah, one of the four local chefs known as the “heavenly kings” of Chinese cuisine in the 1960s, is also considered a pioneer in the history of chilli crab in Singapore

Black Pepper Crab (Original Dish)


  • Created by Long Beach Seafood Restaurant around 1980s
  • Bedok Rest House (1946), where LONG BEACH Seafood was then one of the few restaurants that served local food
  • During that period, locals hardly ate out
  • LONG BEACH was frequently patronized by the British Army and soon became a bustling location popular with locals

Kaya Toast (Original Dish, Remix of established dish – Jam and Toast)

Satay Bee Booh (Original Dish)

Bak Kut Teh (Local Variation)

Carrot Cake (Original Dish)