5

In the UK, Bami Goreng or Nasi Goreng appears extremely rarely on far-eastern take away menus however almost all menus offer Singapore Noodles described as a

Dry, spicy noodles with ham, shrimp and/or chicken

Are these two dishes exclusive or is Singapore Noodles for all intents and purposes the dish of Bami Goreng?

My a palette is not refined enough to pick out any subtle differences such as lack of soy sauce etc which may yield a clue.

7

There is a high level of similarity between the two dishes, as they share an origin in the same Chinese dish. To answer your question, let's look at the differences:

Bami Goreng is an Indonesian / Malayan dish where the flavor is influenced heavily by the presence of Terasi in the spicing mix. This type of shrimp paste has a very unique taste that sets Indonesian cuisine apart from all other Asian traditions I have tasted.

Bami Goreng in the Indonesian kitchen is made from thick flat noodles made from wheat flour such as the ones shown here.

As far as I know the Singapore variety is always made with thinner rice noodles. A very important distinction as the two types of noodles have very different flavor and texture.

Where the taste/spicing of the two is concerned, the Indonesian version is mostly savory from the use of the Terasi, sambal and ketjap. What is typically served as the Singapore version is seasoned with Curry Powder and should therefore have a more spicy/sharp character.

In all honesty, all these distinctions rely on the correct naming of the separate dishes in the UK. They should be quite different, but in practice the same dish might be sold under both names.

4

Even if some "Singapore Noodles" are the same thing as Bami Goreng, not all of them are!

I live in Singapore and write on the local food scene in Singapore. I am always bemused by the dish 'Singapore Noodle'. There is no such dish as Singapore noodle, not at least in Singapore.

But in my travel, I am invited to cook at restaurants in Melbourne (and as I have also observed in London), I see 'Singapore Noodles' on menu. And it varies in interpretation from one Western country to another.

There are probably more than 30 different noodles type dishes in Singapore, influenced by their Chinese migrants heritage.

The Indonesian Chinese innovated the dish Bami Goreng from their Southern Chinese migrant forebears of the 1920s. For your information, 'Bami' is a Chinese Fujian words meaning meat balls with wheat-based noodle. And where 'goreng' means stir fried. Indonesian language syntax put the noun before the adjective. Again, it varies in interpretation in my travel from Jakarta to Surabaya!

So don't get too hung up on it.

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