Comforting flavors of Singapore’s Zi Char


    The ongoing pandemic prevents many Filipino travelers from finding their way to Singapore’s awesome spots and satisfying culinary delights. That is why the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is bringing a slice of Singapore to Filipinos.

    Zi Char (pronounced as ‘tse-chah’), derived from the Hokkien words for cooking and frying, has just landed in the Philippines. It is a popular cooking style in Singapore influenced by home-cooked food.

    The dining term refers to a wide array of Chinese dishes with hints of Malay, Indian, and Peranakan influences.

    Ruby Liu, STB’s area director to the Philippines, said STB introduces lesser-known aspects of Singapore to get to know the country better and entice tourists to try something new when they are finally able to travel.

    Zi Char dishes are usually served on colorful melamine plates and are a go-to for many Singaporeans because of their “affordable prices, huge portions, and comforting flavors.” Such dishes are especially popular for family or barkada meals.

    Liu said Zi Char stalls can be found within a hawker centre as well as other places such as coffee shops or standalone eateries. Zi Char eateries, she added, are also known for their surprising and creative food or ingredient combinations like coffee pork ribs.

    Chili crab and cereal prawn are examples of Zi Char dishes foodies may already know.

    Many Zi Char eateries in Singapore have Michelin recognition and one of them is even featured on the Netflix series Street Food Asia, Liu related.

    Next-generation chefs are enlivening the culinary scene with creative and unexpected takes on dishes which will truly captivate foodies’ taste buds.

    For Filipinos who would like to get to know Zi Char better, STB will launch a web series with actor, chef, and restaurateur Marvin Agustin, where he will learn about the Zi Char from Singaporean chef Bjorn Shen and then prepare the dishes using what is available in the Philippines.

    The dishes will also be available for sale on Agustin’s Instagram account.