Beer is a mainstay at any hawker centre; there’s always at least a few tables with bottles of Tiger beer waiting to be opened. But I’ve mostly only seen people order beer when they’re having zi char, we don’t seem to enjoy pairing beer with other dishes such as chicken rice or fishball noodles, but that’s something to change.
Here are eight unexpected hawker dishes that pair pretty well with beers, and you should definitely try them out.
1. Fishball Soup
I know, beer sounds like a bad idea to have with a bowl of fishball soup, but pairing a light beer would probably go well by ensuring that the lighter taste of the broth and fish balls aren’t overpowered by a dark beer.
The Tiger Silver would do very well in this case, with a lower than average ABV and special hops used in the brewing process which results in a light and smooth beer.
Fishboss: #02-146, Taman Jurong Market Food Center, 3 Yung Sheng Road, Singapore 618499
2. Yong Tau Foo
Since there are so many possibilities with yong tau foo, this really depends on personal preference and what you pick to add to your dish. I tend to go have it dry and laden with lots of sauce. Again, something lighter would be good in order to complement the flavour profile of the dish to enhance the taste of the dish.
My choice here would be a wheat beer, something with a hint of citrus to provide that a bit of contrast against the food.
Sung Kitchen: #01-02, 9 Tagore Lane, Singapore 787472
Jia Le Yong Tau Foo: Our Tampines Hub, 1 Tampines Ave 4, Singapore 528523
3. Fried Rice
There are quite a few types of fried rice around, but most of them tend to be quite flavorful, so you’ll need to find a beer that is on the heavier side because the subtle notes in lighter beers will most likely be covered by the salt and taste from the ingredients in the fried rice.
For me, a pale lager like the standard Tiger Beer would do the trick nicely.
Fried Rice Uneed: #01-86, Golden Mile Food Centre, 505 Beach Road, Singapore 199583
Perhaps one of the best things that beer does is cut through spiciness, and that’s exactly why laksa is a great dish that should be paired with beer. The fizzy, refreshing drink will help to cut through the richness of the laksa as well as provide a nice offset to the spice.
The beer that you pick for this should be light and refreshing, in order to avoid getting too jelak . Tiger Radler is a prime candidate, with the lemony notes helping to keep everything on the refreshing side.
Yam Mee Teochew Fishball Noodles: #01-15, 51 Yishun Avenue 11, Singapore 768867
Kampong Assam Laksa: #02-153, 335 Smith Street, Singapore 050335
5. Nasi Lemak
I usually have nasi lemak with a can of carbonated soft drink, but after a friend of mine persuaded me to try it with beer, I’ve been wondering why I’ve missed out on this for so long.
The fragrant rice goes well with beers that are on the lighter side, with the added benefit of being able to relieve some of the spicinesses from the sambal chilli. Also, we know that nuts and beer is another great combination so that will work altogether pretty well!
Jia Xiang Nasi Lemak: #01-08, 114 Lavender Street, Singapore 338729
Wonderfull Nasi Lemak: #01-96, 51 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390051
6. Prawn Soup
A good bowl of prawn soup has loads of flavour, and what better way to heighten all that natural sweetness than with beer? Light beers won’t shine as much here, so try a darker beer that has more flavour in order to stand up to the broth.
I’m slightly partial to Tiger Black myself; brewed with black rice, this black lager offers good depth while still retaining some of the drinkability of pale lagers.
Prawn Village: #01-97, Golden Mile Food Centre, 505 Beach Road, Singapore 199583
While I’m not a big porridge person, I was quite surprised to learn that beer is a decent accompaniment to this dish. On paper, it sounds all kinds of wrong, but when you try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Again, this is subjective, based on what kind of porridge you’re having, but I like lighter beers when I’m having plain porridge, and a darker beer to go with porridge dishes that have seafood or meat in it. Think of beer as a tickle to your palate, to refresh the taste buds after every few mouthfuls.
Botak Delicacy: #01-65, Hawker Centre @ Our Tampines Hub, Singapore 529684
8. Chicken Wings
Pan-seared, deep fried, baked, chicken wings are a sinful pleasure that I can’t say no to. And of course, almost anything greasy goes well with beer, but chicken and beer seem to be a match made in heaven.
You can’t go wrong with a light beer or even a wheat beer. Tiger’s new Tiger White beer seems like a good choice for this, with notes of orange peel, clove and coriander to enhance the taste of the chicken.
Ah Tan Wings: #01-40, 51 Yishun Avenue 11, Singapore 768867
If these pairings piqued your interest, head on down to the Tiger Street Food Event on 22 September at the open field at Tan Quee Lan Street to try out these dishes with beers that pair best with them!
Tan Quee Lan Street used to be a bustling food street in the past with plenty of food stalls before it was cleaned up for development, so I thought it was a wonderful nod to the past to hold an event that introduces new hawkers to the public, as well as preserve our hawker culture.
The hawker stalls listed above are all Hawkers of the Tiger Street Food Support Fund, and the event is held to canvas funds for the future, pledging to commit an amount equivalent to the proceeds towards the next Tiger Street Food Support Fund.
The stalls will be selling dishes from hawkers, including Jia Xiang Nasi Lemak and Ah Tan Wings with the various Tiger beers — Tiger Beer, Tiger Black, Tiger White, Tiger Silver, Tiger Radler and Tiger Slushie. All you have to do is follow the beer pairing chart at the food event and let your senses go on an adventure.
With a beer or two in hand and a bowl of my favourite classic hawker dish, set in a backdrop filled with ping pong lights and live bands playing English and Chinese tunes, I definitely know where I’d be on a Friday evening!
Date & Time: 22 September 2017, 5pm
*This post is brought to you in partnership with Tiger Beer