There are just some things you can't buy easily overseas. So, if you've ever wanted to smuggle your favourite sambal in your suitcase, this story is for you.
Local food cravings hit hard while travelling abroad. That’s a fact. Have you ever noticed how good instant noodles taste when you’re 3000 miles away from home? Which is why we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 local Singaporean faves to bring with you on your travels. These are the items that we’ve brought overseas on holidays with us. Yep, one whole suitcase dedicated to food from Singapore… What can we say? We love Singaporean food!
Psst – you won’t want to get too attached to these snacks in case your goodies don’t make it through customs, especially in Australia. Check the customs laws for your destination, and make sure all your food is commercially sealed and packed in your check-in luggage.)
10 Singaporean foods to bring abroad
You might be surprised, but some cities just don’t have a good supply of Asian groceries – have you shopped for noodles in Florence lately? Whether it’s instant ramen for a late-night snack or egg noodles for homemade Hokkien mee, bring a stash (dried, of course!). Pack them in a box to prevent crushing them. We won’t judge you for bringing your favourite cup noodles. Do kids love the Mamee Monster? Just make sure it’s not an everyday treat, and use half the flavour sachet as it’s high in sodium.
2. Paste packets (hello, chicken rice and curry!)
Have we mentioned paste packets just aren’t the same overseas? We just couldn’t live without our chicken rice. And with the chicken rice paste (it’s okay to cheat, we won’t tell anyone), it’s an easy one-pot meal. With a packet of curry paste and a can of coconut milk, you can easily whip up a decent curry.
3. Mushrooms and fungus
Dried mushrooms are a perfect addition to any veggie or soup dish. Plus, who doesn’t love a bit of shiitake mushroom or wood ear fungus? They come dried in big packets and you can easily rehydrate them in a bowl of water and pop them in broth. Or cut and fry them up.
4. Powdered drinks
We all love our Lipton, Twinings and Cadbury’s Hot Chocolate but there’s just no substituting Singapore drinks. Make it easier on yourself and get the multipack Milo sachets for breakfast when the kids need their fave pick-me-up, or instant kopi or teh tarik for that Kopitiam taste.
5. Goji berries
This sweet superfood is known for its medicinal properties and tastes amazing when added to salads, meat, veg dishes, porridge and even tea! They’re sold dried in packets here and last for ages. Sure, you could probably pick some up at Whole Foods for a small fortune, but who’s got time for that?
6. Sambal or chilli sauce
We have strong feelings about our favourite sambals and chilli sauces. Taking back a jar to season an otherwise boring dish is a must. HoneyKids Editor Selina confesses to bringing her fave (Two Rabbits Smoky Chilli) every time she goes back to Sydney and has to bring extra for friends who are now hooked. Double bag to prevent spillage. Trust us.
7. Bak Kwa and lap cheong (Chinese sausage)
I’ve braved customs for some decent-tasting fried rice and some tasty cured jerky. Both come dried and individually packed, so just make sure you look up customs restrictions (e.g. calling it jerky, not exceeding the weight limit) and proceed at your own risk.
8. Ikan bilis and baby shrimp
Ikan bilis and shrimp are used in some of our fave dishes like nasi lemak and fried rice. There’d be something missing without that special fishy crunch. A handful fried up to garnish rice or noodles makes all the difference. Especially when you live in Cornwall like my poor sister, where ikan bilis is nowhere to be found.
9. Kaya jam
Ahh, sweet, sweet coconut jam toast, let me count the ways I love you… just keep your supplies of kaya jam under the check-in weight limit!
10. Keropok (dried snacks)
Whether it’s seaweed, prawn crackers or salted egg fish skin chips, having a crispy, salty treat is the absolute best for munching on long trips (and seeing your relatives’ and friends’ faces contort as myriad foreign flavours hit their tongues!).
What’s your favourite Singaporean food to bring overseas? Send us a DM and let us know!