Cai Fan (noun)
Also known as ‘economic rice’, cai fan is a Chinese meal compromising rice and a selection of meat or vegetable dishes. Typical dishes include gu lu yok (sweet and sour pork) and shui dan (steamed egg custard).
Jelat (a mispronunciation of the word jelak) (adjective)
Used to describe something that is sickeningly or overwhelmingly rich
Means ‘oily’ or ‘fatty’ in Malay, but in the Singaporean food context, this is used to describe something that is rich, particularly something that is very rich in coconut milk or cream
Nasi Padang (noun)
Nasi padang is a meal of rice with an assortment of meat or vegetable dishes, available at Malay or Indonesian restaurants. Typical dishes include beef rendang and sambal goreng tempeh (stir-fried tempeh with sambal).
Rempah is a Malay term for spice paste that form the backbone of many Malay, Eurasian and Peranakan dishes. The core ingredients of most rempahs are shallots, garlic, ginger and chillies, but can also include galangal, kaffir lime leaves and belacan.
A chilli condiment, commonly made in a mortar and pestle
Shiok (exclamation, sometimes adjective)
An exclamation one makes to describe something that is divine on a visceral level, such as food or a massage
Tadka (noun or adjective)
Tadka or tempering is an Indian technique that involves quickly heating whole or ground spices in hot oil or ghee to release their fragrance. It can also be used to describe the spice and fat mixture that is added to a dish.
Tze char/ Zi char (noun)
Tze char is a Hokkien term that literally means ‘cook and fry’. It describes an open-aired Chinese eatery that serves a wide variety of dishes at affordable prices. It also refers to a style of cooking. Most tze char restaurants in Singapore specialize in wok-fried dishes. Even though the dishes are generally more rustic than at Chinese restaurants, the food is quite different to what is served at hawker centers and in Singaporean Chinese homes.
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