10 favourite Singaporean breakfasts

In anticipation of going home. That and the fact that we had number 1, 3, and 8 all this week.
1. Kaya toast and half boiled eggs


Do people actually dip the toast in the egg? I don’t really know. My mum makes half boiled eggs using a drip contraption. In Ithaca we have an egg timer that you place in the boiling water with the eggs and turns black gradually to show doneness. Liangze made this for breakfast ytd since his aunt sent him yet another bottle of kaya (she sells kaya in Minnesota to make some income on the side. “Oriental coconut jam”)

2. Economic bee hoon

Usually I have this mixed with mian, or the egg noodle that has been fried in sweet soy sauce until it’s dark brown
You get to choose different fixings, like luncheon meat, fried eggs, hot dogs, taiwanese sausage, fried cabbage with anchovies and carrots, chicken cutlet, chicken nuggets, fish cutlet, or fish cake. The variety of the fixings depends on how popular the stall is. Everything is deep fried and very heart healthy :D I used to eat this in the DSO canteen for breakfast with a huge dollop of chilli. Back then (and probably in the future) I sat alone cause I got to the office so early and my nose would be running in a corner because of the chilli.

3. Nasi Lemak

Had to make this to use up the anchovies and pandan leaves in the freezer. Didn’t have the deep fried fish though, just spam.

4. Kueh
A nyonya(?) contribution to our breakfast menu. OK not all kuehs are nyonya, apparently soon kueh is Hakka

This contains shredded turnip and carrots simmered together in a dou jiang broth.

Peng kueh is teochew. OK I kind of knew this because I saw the peng kueh moulds in my ah ma’s house once.

The pink comes from the food colouring in the glutinous rice flour dough
. This one contains glutinous rice with peanuts and shiitake. It’s awesome! Sometimes it has little hae bee bits which I don’t care for.
The above two need to be eaten with sweet soy sauce.

Chwee kueh
Arguably the best kueh. I love the salted radish top, and even better if there is the correct chilli. This is what liangze used to bring me in the mornings from chong pang when we were back in sg last summer. Those halcyon chye poh filled days.

Jiu cheng gao

I used to like this alot more when I was younger but don’t go for sweet things so much any more. Loved peeling it off layer by layer, kinda like picking a 9-layer high scab and popping it into your mouth.


Never really got a hankering for this either cause it’s filled with coconut which I hate.

Ang ku kueh
This seems to be vaguely teochew too, because of the similar pattern to the peng kueh. I never knew ang ku kueh meant red tortoise kueh until I looked for this picture. Of course it all makes sense. I don’t know how many dialects ‘ang’ means ‘red’ in but definitely teo chew. These are either filled with peanuts or lotus bean paste, both are good.

5. Paos
As with most of our breakfast foods, they need an incredible amount of prep work and skilled labour. As far as I know none of the best paos are machine-made, all have to be hand crafted. And you definitely can’t just wake up one morning and decide you want to cook chwee kueh or ang ku kueh or economic bee hoon for breakfast, there is so much work involved in steaming all those things that one just buys them from the nearest hawker center. Not like cereal and milk or an omelette and bacon, all of which require virtually no skill to prepare.

Paos come in different shapes and fillings. My favourites are the char siew pao and the purple yam pao. Not a big fan of tau sar pao and lian yong pao but i’ll eat them if they are well made. There is also rou4 pao and one of the most memorable paos I’ve eaten is when weixun’s mother made a teriyaki chicken pao and sent it down (back when our two families were exchanging food. I used to hate it when my mother sent me up with a plate of her confections cause I was painfully shy. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were him or his sister answering the door but if it were his parents I was really scared.)

6. Dao hui and you tiao

I never really understood that they went together until recently, and till now am not very comfortable with dipping my you tiao in bean curd. But they are both great as separate entities.


In the you tiao family also goes all the hum ji peng, the salted kind, the tau sar kind, and the butterfly style. My favourite is the salted one, if salted properly.

7. Dim sum
There are too many kinds to name so I’ll put a picture of my favourite:

The more common dimsum that you can buy for breakfast are the fried radish/turnip cake

and the chee cheong fun.

I personally like the chee cheong fun in the salty zhup better, y’know, the ones with char siew/prawn/you tiao filling with a much lighter, less viscous sauce.
fyi, the chee cheong fun filled with you tiao also goes by ‘zhar leong’.

8. Mehdonner breakfast
Self-explanatory. Also takes a lot of time to prepare if it weren’t mechanized. We also have the sausage mcmuffin with egg meal. I wonder how many singaporeans would have chosen the exact same kind of kuehs and hum ji pengs and nasi lemak sides as me. I don’t think I’m special, I probably belong to some savoury-preference class of people. Some one should construct an MBTI for breakfasts. It would be perfect for foodies, we can all discuss favourite foods and figure out what kinds of foods we would like without having tried before.

9. Roti Prata
A bastardization of parantha (I think they are actually not even related),

This are super unhealthy but out of this world good, especially when paired with a good fish curry. I only discovered last summer that the curry I like best is fish curry, when I went to an Indian stall and ordered and they asked me what kind of curry I wanted. How should I know? I got a little bit of each and concluded. I like my kosong with sugar, and my egg prata with curry. Because I am not at all traditional/corseted in thought, I also like the prata with cheese and mushroom at Evan’s Road near the Botanic gardens. I hear the circle line to there is up now, which is great news.

10. Curry puffs
The spicier end of the spectrum. I have always wondered why I can’t find this in the States. It’s like nobody can get the pastry right, but so many people in singapore can, so I don’t see what’s tripping the americans up. I think it’s probably cause the stalls that sell curry puffs sell it as an appetizer among a crapload of other chinese entrees like shrimp in mobster sauce, so they don’t have all day to sit around kneading curry puff pastry unlike the curry puff stalls in singapore which are pretty much specialized or mechanized.
I like both the flaky kind

and the crusty kind

Have always been amazed at how they manage to make the pastry come out in concentric circles.
I’ll eat all kinds of curry puff but my one requirement is that they have a wedge of hard boiled egg in them:

That’s the best part! I love eggs in curry. Also, I hate sardine puffs. The only curry puffs without egg I’ll eat are those sold in crates by Malay men on overhead bridges (the one at Buona Vista) on the way to or from the MRT. Those are always piping hot and very small, so the abundance of pastry (the next best part) helps to make up for their egg deficiency.

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