Singapore Food Series: Rojak

A sweet and spicy vegetable and fruit salad.

Mommy Rhey | Sept. 7, 2021 | 464 reads
Singapore Food Series: Rojak
Credit: visitsingapore.com

Countries can offer delicious foods that are absolutely satisfying. From Singapore's traditional dishes like Chili Crab to Nasi Lemak, or the famous Chicken Rice to Fried Carrot Cake (Chai Tow Kway), you can see that the dishes are influenced by either Malaysian, Indonesian or Chinese cultures. But do you know that there's a food that perfectly complements the cultural diversity of Singapore?

Rojak means an eclectic mix of ingredients that suitably describes the multi-racial landscape in Singapore.

As we know, today there are consumable single fruits and vegetables available at supermarkets and other places, but with this Singaporean dish, all these ingredients are mixed in.

Rojak is a mixture of vegetable and fruit salad with sweet and spicy dressings. It is commonly sold at hawker centers, and restaurants in Singapore.

What kind of fruits and vegetables are added to Rojak and how do they differ to other salads?

There are various types of salads and the dishes are often described based on their main ingredients and dressings.

The Westerners have a creamy, vinaigrette, and cooked dressings.

Meanwhile, Singaporean Rojak has tangy, sweet and spicy dressing! A bit unusual, a bit interesting. This salad dish consists of cucumber, jicama, pineapple, bean sprouts, tau pok (deep) fried tofu, and youtiao (Chinese-styled Fritters) but other vendors adds unripe mangoes, and green apples that are cut in bite-sized (one mouthful). While the dressing is a combination of sugar, belacan, water and lime juice while others add some prawns, black bean paste and tamarinds then tossed with crushed peanuts.

Rojak originated from the Javanese Ethnic tribe of Indonesia. In an article by Bonny Tan in the National Heritage Board, Rojak has been sold in streets in the 1960s through pushcarts and later on, by bicycles in 1980s. Rojak was often packed in a leaf that is folded as a cup daun upeh and pierced with a toothpick (used to pick vegetables and fruits).

Where can you find the best rojak in Singapore?

Among the places to get the best rojak in Singapore are the hawker stalls. Find one of those old hawker centres such as the Old Airport Road Food Centre & Shopping Mall, Sembawang Hills Food Centre, Albert Centre (Bugis) or Lorong 8 Toa Payoh Hawker Centre. The rojak sellers here have been selling rojak for decades and have perfected the ingredients ratio and dressing.

Which rojak is the best in Singapore? Send us your recommendations.

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