I’m over at Serious Eats, a site with “a democratic yet scientific approach to cooking the best dishes, busting food myths, and delivering strong opinions on what you should eat next, where, when, and why,” with my guide to best experience all the vibrant foods that make Singapore’s Little India special.
When I first moved from New York City to Singapore, it was in Little India, a neighborhood to the east of the metropolis’s Central Business District, not an American expatriate enclave, that I found an escape from homesickness. It was here that I heard the melodies of familiar languages and ate familiar foods, dishes that my family has cooked and eaten in both the Old World and the New.
Serangoon Road, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, has been for centuries a commercial and community space for immigrants from the Subcontinent. Indians were among the first migrants to Singapore in the early 19th century, and Singapore was part of a larger interlocking colonial network, the hub of which was India.
The area continued to develop as the center of South Asian life (largely Hindu and Tamil speaking), as a focal point for a new migration, and as a growing commercial center. The name “Little India,” is a Singapore Tourism Board (STB) concoction—the moniker was not used until the 1980s. That was when Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority earmarked Little India as a conservation area and STB demarcated the neighborhood as a cultural heritage tourism area. Today, the neighborhood is a religious and cultural hub for the South Asian community, both local and foreign, as well as a major tourist destination.
Food is the neighborhood’s choice commodity, yet few travel guides detail the rich and unique cuisines found in Little India. Where else can you find the authentic tastes of the entire Subcontinent in the area of less than one square mile? The flavors found in Little India are the real deal and not watered down for Western palates; the neighborhood’s restaurants cater to this city’s large, diverse and discerning South Asian population.
Continue reading “Why You Should Visit Singapore’s Little India Now.”