Satay or sate is a dish of skewered and grilled meats, served with a sauce. Contrary to popular belief that Satay originated from Thailand, it is actually an Indonesian dish. In the early 19th century, after the influx of Arab immigrants in Indonesia, it is believed that Satay is the invention of the Javanese street vendors.
While the most common meat used for a Satay is chicken (Satay Ayam), there are other meats that you may want to try. You can ask if there is mutton (Satay Kambing), beef tripe (Satay Lembu), beef intestine (Satay Perut). The more creative types are pork, fish, shrimp or squid. If you are more to the exotic side, you can try turtle, crocodile and even snake meat.
To add to the flavor, the meat is marinated before it is grilled over coals. It is an affordable dish that is usually eaten together with delicious and spicy peanut sauce. The dish has its characteristic yellow color because of the used of Turmeric to marinate Satay. Other than peanut sauce, Satay may be served with onions and cucumbers, not forgetting ketupat (rice cakes).
Since the 1940s, Satay is one of the earliest foods in Singapore. Before the city was developed to what it is today, it was sold on makeshift roadside stalls and pushcarts. Due to the concerns over public health, Satay stalls at Beach Road during the 1950s became know as the Satay Club. When it moved to the Esplanade Park in the 1960s, the Satay Club became a major tourist attraction in Singapore. Although, the Satay club is no longer where it was, without a doubt, it is defined how Satay is served in Singapore since then. It used to be a popular nightspot despite most hawker stalls and modern food courts, including upscale restaurants had Satay in their menu at any time of the day.
Several stalls from the original Satay Club have moved to Sembawang, the north of the city although the name has been transferred to the Clarke Quay site. Lau Pa Sat has become the tourist hotspot. The stalls at Lau Pa Sat occupy Boon Tat Street, when it is closed to vehicular traffic to serve this purpose. It clearly mimics the “al fresco” concept, of its previous establishments. Other popular places that serves great Satay are, Newton Food Centre, East Coast Park Seafood Centre and Toa Payoh Central.