Foods of Singapore: Otak Otak


When we decided to make Singapore our destination, food was top on our minds. And it didn’t disappoint. The food draws heavily from the mix of the different cultures that make up the country – Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian. Almost every day was a food adventure.

I was glad that I had family who live there and know the right places to go. I had great meals for less than $10 while my colleague laments about the S$4oo she spent on a two person brunch. Great food doesn’t have to be expensive in Singapore. Hawker centers abound with great food and make you feel part of the culture when you eat at these local places., while going easy on your pocket. See images of hawker centres here.


Otak-otak is made by mixing fish paste (usually mackerel) with a mixture of spices including chillies, garlic, shallots, turmeric, lemon grass and coconut milk. The mixture is then wrapped in a banana leaf that has been softened by steaming, then grilled or steamed. ( Link)

It is delicious! In my opinion, anything cooked in banana leaves taste divine. While I couldn’t eat more than one at a time, my fellow traveller ate plenty at a time.


An Otak otak vendor.

To see another vendor, click here.


The banana leaf packets are cooked atop a grill till the leaves start to char in the middle. Otak hot off the grill is sooooo good!

13 responses »

  1. I think most of Malaysian, Singapore, Indonesian and some of Thai dishes have a lot of similiarity.

    Here in Indonesia he have the same otak otak also….

  2. At the Singapore airport, there is a South Indian vegetarian restaurant called Kaveri. I really enjoyed their food when I visited a few years ago. They had a Singaporean dish called “Mee Siam” It was a noodle dish, hot and spicy! That was probably the best noodle dish I have had in my life!

    Thanks for the pictures and descriptions!

    മനോജ് എമ്പ്രാന്തിരി, കാലിഫോര്‍ണിയ.

  3. I miss Singapore and the food. (I grew up there,havent been back for 3 years now) We are visiting this summer and I was telling my dh, I wanna eat, mee goreng, nasi lemak, mee rebus, chilli crab,hokkien mee and etc etc. he looks at me and says, do you miss the foor or your family.. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Jakarta’s Grilled Fish Cakes (Otak-otak Jakarta) | Scent of Spice

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