For a taste of Singaporean nostalgia, take a class specialising in kampung cooking. Kampung is the Malay word for ‘village’, which was the centre of life in the Malayan peninsula before high-density urbanisation replaced most villages. Many older Singaporeans once lived in kampungs.
Cookery Magic's Pulai Ubin Kampong Cooking Escapade is a class held in a century-old family home in a surviving kampung on the island of Pulau Ubin, which you'll reach with a short ferry ride from a jetty in Changi. Once on the island, you'll collect wild herbs to use in preparing traditional kampung dishes including nasi kerabu (herbed rice with fried chicken and condiments).
If you prefer to stay on the mainland, Cookery Magic also has simple home cooking classes for local and regional cuisine such as Hainanese chicken rice, chili crab, and roti prata. On most days of the week, you can add a shopping trip to a local wet market where you’ll be amazed at the mélange of sights, sounds and smells that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
A similar experience is offered by Palate Sensations cooking school. Its tourist cooking class was designed especially for visitors to Singapore. You'll shop for fresh ingredients at a local market, cook up a menu of Singaporean favourites in a professional kitchen, and afterwards enjoy eating your culinary creations.
And if you want to learn as many recipes as you can in a short amount of time, check out the Singaporean cooking classes at Coriander Leaf. The chef will demonstrate making six or seven local dishes, such as Hainanese chicken rice, lamb satay, and bee hoon (Singapore-style vermicelli noodles) – so you'll walk away practically an expert!
The Singaporean cooking culture is traditionally communal, and cooking a meal is as much of a social experience as eating it. Recipes and secrets are passed down from generation to generation, and many Singaporeans have strong opinions on the best ways to make local dishes.