SATAY has a special place in Singaporean street food, as Adam Liaw has discovered.
The dish and its history in the tiny city state are on the menu in the latest season of Destination Flavour, Adam's award-winning food and travel show.
He spent nine weeks exploring the island to bring the secrets of its roadside vendors and high-end chefs to Australian audiences.
"I think Singaporean food is very much a personal story about the people who came to Singapore," Adam said.
"It is a fusion cuisine," he said. "They've been able to embed their multiculturalism as part of their cuisine."
The country was founded only 51 years ago and its national dishes are a reflection of its history of immigration, Adam believed.
Vendors often make only one dish that is based on a recipe passed down through the family.
Satay is one such dish that takes pride of place in the street. Adam said one busy CBD street was shut down every night to host satay vendors.
"Everyone pours out of their office and they'll grab a satay and a beer," Adam said.
"It's a very civilised way to end the working day."
He warned Aussie home cooks not to focus on the concept of satay sauce when trying out their own version - the meat itself is where the flavour should be.
"A satay should be really tasty and flavourful on its own," he said. "This one should be marinated quite well."
The secret? Adam recommended slicing the meat very thin to marinate it before skewering each slice several times over. He said grilling the meat over coals would get the best flavour.
Alongside Singaporean street food, viewers of Destination Flavour will also get a glimpse at Singapore's burgeoning luxury dining scene.
Adam said the country was earning its place among the world's best fine dining spots.
"When I was a kid going to Singapore, it was kind of laughable to think there would be Michelin-starred restaurants," he said.
In a major moment for Destination Flavour, Adam was tasked with cooking for the country's best-known foodies as well as the Australian High Commissioner.
"That was certainly extremely nerve-wracking," he said.
"I can't remember being more nervous."
Destination Flavour Singapore will premiere on SBS at 8pm on January 12.
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