Singaporean cuisine strikes southern metro

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Ms. Thuy Linh, the chef and owner of the Ech Xanh (Green Frog) Restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City has been surprised, of late, by the increasing number of patrons ordering her restaurant's namesake specialty.

At Linh's District 1 restaurant, the little croakers are served fried with salted egg, stir-fried with vegetables and curry or sliced into pomelo salad.

Most patrons order the traditional frog porridge which runs between VND70,000-180,000.

In Singapore, the dish is prepared using only the best rice and freshly killed frogs. The fresher the meat, the better the dish will absorb the rich flavors of the stew base - garlic, shallot, dark soy sauce, chili, sugar, pepper and ginger. The ingredients are combined with the frog meat and stewed until a rich stew is produced.

Customers can enjoy Singaporean delicacies at the following restaurants in HCMC:

Red House
79 Ngo Thoi Nhiem Street, District 3
Tel: (08) 3 933 3399

Ech Xanh (Green Frog) Restaurant
245/19 Nguyen Trai Street, District 1
Tel: (08) 6 652 9350

Fragrance - Singapore Barbecued Meat Store
144 Nguyen Trai Street, District 1
Tel: (08) 3 925 9656

Lion City
141 Nguyen Duc Canh Street, District 7
Tel: (08) 5 412 3331, (08) 2 210 1097

In a separate pot, the chef slow-cooks a light porridge of fragrant glutinous rice and tops it off with chopped green onions.

The sheer variety of frog on offer at Linh's place stands as a testament to the versatile nature of the tiny nation's cuisine.

"Singapore is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society," Linh told Thanh Nien Weekly. Indeed, the country's native Malay traditions have been informed by Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and English influences.

When dining out in HCMC, keep your eyes open for Singaporean chilli crab, Hainanese chicken rice, Rojak (fruit salad), fried carrot cake (steamed rice flour and white radish, fried with egg and garnished with spring onions), Roti Prata (a type of Indian pancake), Hokkien Mee (stir-fried noodles), Char Kway Teow (noodles with soy sauce, bean sprouts, sausages, fish cakes and cockles), Mee Siam (rice noodles in spicy, sweet and sour light gravy) and Bak Kut Teh (pork ribs simmered in herbs).

For Linh's part however, you haven't had Singaporean cuisine until you've sampled frog porridge.

Where to eat it

People can enjoy numerous delicacies from "the fine country" right here in HCMC.

Seafood lovers should head straight to the Red House which belongs to the owners of the famous Long Beach seafood restaurant on the East Coast Parkway.

Their repertoire includes fried crab with chilli sauce, Canadian elephant trunk snail, and steamed Scottish fingernail snails sautéed in garlic.

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