Rojak means an “eclectic mix” in colloquial Malay, and the dish sure lives up to its name. Its ingredients reflect the cultural diversity of Singapore, bringing together disparate items with strong flavours into a harmoniously tasty blend.
No one really knows the origins of rojak as Asia has many different types. These include the Indonesia gado-gado with rice cakes and vegetables drenched in a peanut sauce to the Indian rojak whose peanut sauce is fiery orange in colour and used as a dip for its ingredients like fried dough, potatoes and steamed squid. Rojak is typically sold by Chinese hawkers. Until the 1980s, rojak sellers could still be found, often illegally, moving through neighbourhoods on bicycles. Today, they have found a home in most food centres in the city.
The typical style you’ll find in Singapore is sweet, comes with dough fritters, a salad mix and lathered with pungent black prawn paste.