Singapore is a melting pot when it comes to cultures. The city-state may be small, but the variety of cultures make it a mini-continent. With strong Asian and European influences, it’s a truly special country. There are a lot of different ethnic groups forming the population of Singapore and Indians make up one of the largest groups (behind the Chinese and Malay people). This smorgasbord of cultures has made Singapore into one of the most diverse nations in the whole world. In this article, we are going to focus on the influence that Indian culture has had on Singapore from cuisine to culture and see how much the island has been impacted by it.
Since Singapore is so heavily influenced by a range of cultures, there are a lot of customs which have had an influence. As a result, there are a number of official languages, including Malay, English, Indian and Chinese. The prevailing etiquette in Singapore is one which is common among Asian countries, which is for the utmost respect for elders. However, those who hold high positions in society and are wealthy will be subject to the highest amount of respect.
As a result of the many cultures in Singapore, a range of different religions are practised here. Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism comprise the most popular religions in Singapore, with 5.2% of the country being practicing Hindus. Of them, 99% are ethnic Indians.
One of the most powerful impacts of Indian culture in Singapore is the food. Indian cuisine has made a huge impact upon the food served in Singapore. Since food is so cheap and local to most Singaporeans, most people go out to eat rather than eat at home and Indian restaurants are some of the most popular.
Many spices used in Indian cuisines become a common ingredient in most Singaporean food, including chili, curry powder, cumin, coriander and cardamom. Indian curries are beloved by all and, while meats such as chicken and fish are hugely popular ingredients in Indian curries and rice dishes, there are a lot of great Indian veggie dishes to enjoy too. You don’t even need to leave your hotel, as sites like Deliveroo.com.sg are hugely popular in Singapore and hosts a huge range of authentic veggie-friendly dishes from vegetarian restaurants.
Indian culture has had such an impact on Singapore that there is even a Little India. Here, not only will you find a lot of delicious, authentic Indian cuisine, but there are plenty of stores selling traditional Indian clothing. Indian clothing is often worn at weddings and formal events in Singapore. For the guys, the salwar kameez are easy to find. This outfit consists of loose pants featuring drawstrings instead of a belt or zipper and a long tunic top. The similar style of the churidar kameez can also be found here and they are often referred to as Punjabi suits. There’s an endless range of styles and patterns to choose from and you can make an outfit as unique and colorful as you’d like.
For women, a sari is the most popular form of dress. Little India has a lot of places to find saris in many different styles, ranging from the traditional form of wrap to more modern styles which can be worn like a blouse or with zippers to make wearing them a little easier. For fancy events, many ethnically Indian women opt for more glittery and glamorous outfits, perfect for weddings.
Singapore is a cultural hotspot where you can find cultures from all around the world. These cultures have made a huge impact on the country and shaped the cultures and customs within it. Everything from food to religion has been impacted by Indian influences, so make sure you experience it for yourself next time you visit Singapore.