Seven dishes you must try in Singapore: Candlenut restaurant's Malcolm Lee

AYAM BUAH KELUAK, CANDLENUT

A Peranakan signature dish unique to this part of the world only. It is one of those foods you either love or hate, very much like our durian fruit. Try both traditional and modern interpretations at my restaurant, Candlenut at Dempsey Road, such as the beef buah keluak. See comodempsey.sg

HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE

Purists savour this dish with old (tougher) chicken accompanied by a coarse chilli mix, not to be confused with the Cantonese version. My favourite version is at the deeply traditional Yet Con Restaurant at Purvis Street. As a bonus, there's also steamboat served in the most old-school pots you will find. (No website; 25 Purvis Street.)

SCISSOR CUT CURRY RICE

At my favourite Jalan Besar coffee shop, you will find a never-ending line of taxi drivers waiting for their favourite meal break. Calorie-counting foodies need not attempt this feat – think deep-fried pork chop strips doused with an equally sinful curry gravy. The place to check out is Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice. (No website; 229 Jln Besar.)

ENG'S WANTON MEE

Also known as the killer wanton mee for its seriously potent chilli sauce – you have been warned. This 60-year-old recipe boasts tender and springy egg noodles tossed with slippery good wantons and traditionally barbecued pork slices. Definitely go for the dry version of the dish instead of the soupy one. The coffee shop is located at Tanjong Katong Road. See facebook.com/EngsNoodlesHouse

WHAMPOA KENG'S FISH HEAD STEAMBOAT

A quintessentially Teochew dish, fish head steamboat is my go-to comfort food, especially on rainy days. While many steamboat joints now use electric induction cookers or portable gas stoves, Whampoa Keng Steamboat still uses the traditional charcoal stove, which I feel adds to the flavour and richness of the fish soup. See whampoakengrestaurant.com

KILLINEY CURRY PUFF

I can't resist a good curry puff that's crisp and filled with the perfect amount of curried potatoes. My favourite is definitely the one from Killiney. I can easily polish off five in one go. See killiney-kopitiam.com

ANYTHING AT TETSUYA'S WAKU GHIN

I've always been intrigued by Chef Tetsuya's culinary philosophy and inspired by how he masterfully melds the best of French and Japanese techniques to create unique dishes. The sensational skyline view at Waku Ghin completes the whole dining experience. See tetsuyas.com

Based in Singapore, Malcolm Lee is the founder of the world's only Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, Candlenut. He recently collaborated with Australian chef, Adam Liaw, to create a modern twist on the classic Singaporean dish, Hainanese chicken rice. For more information and the recipe, see visitsingapore.com/SGxAUFoodies

See also: 10 things you didn't know about Singapore

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