Truth be told, we couldn’t believe it either when the world’s most revered gourmand Anthony Bourdain shocked the world with his passing. While we continue mourning the loss of everyone’s favourite bad boy chef, join us as we look back at some of his favourite Asian dishes which he helped put onto the global map.
Thank you for everything, Tony. This one’s for you.
1. Hainanese Chicken Rice – Singapore
If there’s one dish Singapore is famous for, it’s Hainanese Chicken Rice, hands down. This humble dish is simple and straightforward – steamed or roast chicken breast or thighs chopped up and drizzled over with a soy sauce and sesame oil, served with a side of rice cooked in chicken broth – and it’s a plate of comfort locals turn to.
We all know and love Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, which many gourmands such as Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay have sung praises for. But don’t stop there; take things up a notch with special chicken rice dishes with a twist. From Hainanese Chicken Pasta from Froth to Hainanese Chicken Rice Risotto from Stateland Cafe, let these innovative creations tantalise your taste buds in more ways than one.
2. Char Kuey Teow – Singapore
Anthony Bourdain loved this local delight, so much so that it almost made it onto the menu of his street food hall (if the plan had fallen through). I mean, what’s NOT to love about this plate of tender flat rice noodles stir-fried in a concoction of sweet dark soy sauce, crispy pork cracklings, beaten egg, Chinese sausages, and bean sprouts?
Relive his memory by tucking into one of the meanest plates of char kuey teow you will ever find in Singapore at Xiao Ya Tou. The generous amounts of ingredients like plump oysters and Chinese sausages and the unmistakable ‘wok hei’ will win you over, period.
3. Sarawak Laksa – Malaysia
Cr: Food Vibrations
Fragrant, spicy, and overall satisfying, it’s pretty difficult to not fall in love with this heartwarming bowl of goodness. Deemed Breakfast of the Gods on Bourdain’s Instagram, Sarawak Laksa is essentially rice noodles topped with shredded egg and whole prawns, served in a spicy coconut broth that will have you hooked after the first spoonful. Don’t neglect that calamansi on the side; squeeze a hit into your bowl to brighten up the flavours before you proceed to indulge.
If this all seems too hyped up to be believable, try it for yourself. For the most authentic experience, pop by 林玉梅 Sarawak Kolo Mee (stall #01-33) at Haig Road Market. When Sarawakians swear by it, you know you’re golden.
Find it at #01-33, 14 Haig Rd, Singapore 430014.
Click here for more information.
4. Sisig – Philippines
People probably wouldn’t have given this dish a second thought if it were not for Bourdain who anointed it as THE Filipino dish to rule them all. Chopped up pig’s face may not sound extremely appetising but trust us, it is.
While you can probably find a slew of local eateries available at Lucky Plaza that serves this delicacy, a household name that ensures quality is Gerry’s Grill. Order this bad boy (or maybe even three!) and tuck in – you’ll devour this in minutes. Even if your friends aren’t ready to join you in your adventurous endeavour, there are other lip-smacking selections that will win their hearts (and stomachs).
Find it at 51 Cuppage Road, #01-12 Starhub Centre, Singapore 229469.
Click here for more information.
5. Sushi – Japan
Bourdain named Sukiyabashi Jiro the place to have his last meal if he only had 24 hours to live, and we totally get it – who could ever resist a good Japanese meal?
Sukiyabashi Jiro has gotten so popular that it’s close to impossible to get a spot (they only accept arrangements made by hotel concierges), but the closest experience you can have in Singapore would probably be at the two Michelin-starred Shoukouwa Sushi Restaurant. Much like Jiro’s 10-seater establishment, Shoukouwa’s intimate 14-seater restaurant serves top-notch omakase that will pamper your taste buds silly.
6. Bún chả, phở, and more – Vietnam
“Vietnam. It grabs you and doesn’t let you go. Once you love it, you love it forever.” – Anthony Bourdain
Like many other Southeast Asian cuisines, Vietnamese food rose to fame fairly recently. Singapore hopped onto the bandwagon shortly after, and this saw a rise of numerous pho houses and Vietnamese restaurants setting up camp across Singapore.
To curb your cravings, Little Saigon is your best bet. From heartwarming bowls of beef broth and rice noodles to the grab-and-go baguettes stuffed with cold cuts and pâté, this little eatery proves that satisfaction doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s quite simple, really.