Otak otak fishcakes are a classic example of Nyonya cuisine. If you haven’t already sampled these delicious, healthy snacks, you’re certainly missing out. Our foodie crew has recently been researching Nyonya cooking in Singapore, and we’d like to highlight just how tasty and nutritious otak otak fishcakes can be. You could pick up a couple of these snacks from a local street vendor to try them out, or perhaps even drop into popular Nyonya restaurant Guan Hoe Soon to discover several more of these classic fusion dishes.
About Nyonya cuisine
Delicious Nyonya cuisine is a fusion of typical Chinese ingredients with the techniques and spices used within Malay and Indonesian dishes. These dishes have been popular throughout South East Asia for hundreds of years and were formulated by Chinese migrants and their descendants, following inter-marriages and assimilation with local populations. This type of cookery is also termed Peranakan and offers diners an aromatic, tangy food experience. Some of the most common ingredients of this type of cuisine are coconut milk, pandan leaves, lemongrass, lime juice, chillies and laksa leaf.
Nyonya cooking varies between different regions, and Singapore is blessed with lots of classic Peranakan restaurants serving unique Nyonya dishes, often using coconut milk as a sign of our local Indonesian influences.
What’s so good about otak otak fishcakes then?
Otak otak fishcakes are some of our most popular street foods, but also a really healthy Nyonya classic dish. Here in Singapore, Spanish mackerel tends to be the most commonly used fish, but this varies between regions. Barracuda, cod and even salmon can be used in the fishcakes, but the standout feature of this dish is its tasty, spicy paste. Ingredients for the paste include garlic, ginger, lemongrass, chilli paste, lime and turmeric. You may be served your otak otak in bowls if you’re dining in restaurants, however, street hawkers sell their fishcakes wrapped in banana leaves.
Ways to eat otak otak fishcakes
One of the most popular ways to eat this dish is “on the go”. Buy some fishcakes from street markets, then find a comfortable bench to sit on and enjoy your yummy, steaming hot and spicy otak otak fishcakes. Definitely healthier than a burger, and much, much tastier! Alternatively, order fishcakes as an appetiser or side dish when dining at popular local Peranakan restaurants or as part of any takeaway order.
Where can I find otak otak fishcakes on the menu?
You’ll find loads of delicious Nyonya dishes on the menu at Guan Hoe Soon and the Blue Ginger, including fishcakes, rice and Nonya archar, and spicy Ayam curry. Order your meal on foodpanda for the quickest local deliveries in town!