Posts in Singapore

Things You Should Do In Singapore

When friends used to ask me about what they should do when visiting Singapore, I would draw a complete blank. After all, growing up in a country doesn’t necessarily enable you to look at it through tourists eyes. To me, eating has always been the only thing worth doing, and I would always make my recommendations accordingly.
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Slake, Singapore

You know you’re getting older when you get together with a girlfriend you haven’t seen in ages, and you find yourself talking about…houses. Weird, isn’t it, when you find yourself suddenly all grown up and not even resisting the idea! Even the setting’s grown up – we ate at a swanky new gastropub in Singapore – Slake.
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Happy Singapore National Day!

I am Singaporean. It may explain a lot about my queueing habits and my obsession with getting value for money, but being Singaporean is more than that. Political stability – and we shall not discuss the specifics of politics here – have allowed me to use my little red passport to travel just about anywhere I’d like to in this world, and the mishmash of cultures and languages have allowed me a better food knowledge, exposure and understanding than I would have if I was born anywhere else.
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Singaporean Foods You Should Try

Whenever I mention that I’m from Singapore, I inevitably get asked about Chilli Crab and Chicken Rice. And while they might be our most popular exports, Singapore is so much more than that. Yes, go to your Tian Tian Chicken Rice if you absolutely have to, but trust me, you’ll wanna hit up a few other dishes that you won’t get a chance to try otherwise. Here’s my list of Singaporean foods that will get you eating like a local!

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A Little Street In Singapore

Ah Singapore. I think I have a love/hate relationship with it. After all, it’s where I spent my best childhood years, and my worst teenage ones. And despite my distaste for the humidity that poofs¬†my hair into the worst version of a 70’s afro (blessed with sleek Asian hair, I was not) and the heat that makes me sweat like a criminal on trial, I do have a fondness for the people and the food – because you can find nothing like it in any other part of the world. So once in a while I visit. And when I do, it’s a whirlwind.

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Singapore Eats: Kway Chap, Bishan North

It can be very hard to explain to a non-Singaporean the concept of Kway Chap – after all, how do you describe what is essentially a Singaporean version of haggis, except that it’s all chopped up and not stuffed into a sheep’s stomach.

Well, I’m sure going to try, because this local delicacy is not only worth the explanation, it’s worth the effort.

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Marmalade Pantry, Singapore

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I’ve long had a love affair with crustaceans of all types. And carbs, I love carbs too. So when they come together in something called Crabmeat Linguini, I am just about as close to heaven as I can get.

When I first heard about The Marmalade Pantry, I didn’t peg it for much of a savoury place. After all, the name to me conjures up image of scones and tea on a lazy afternoon in Autumn.

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Well, I’m happy to admit that I was wrong. The Crabmeat Linguini is a must-order every time that I’m there, and the relatively large serving – my friend Yina and I shared a plate – means that you get to try other things on the menu as well. Chunks of mud crab are folded through a rich, tomato based sauce that is flecked with chilli and topped with a scattering of grated parmesan. It’s incredibly moreish, and you could very easily find yourself stuffed to the brim and on the brink of a food coma.

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We also tried the Sticky Date Pudding. Warm, moist pudding, drizzled with caramel and paired with classic vanilla ice cream serving as a cold foil. It was definitely rich enough that I wouldn’t have finished a whole serve by myself, but it was fantastic to share.

The Marmalade Pantry is a great place to meet up at, and the service, while not drop dead fantastic, has always been consistently good. The savouries seem to have made more of an impact for me, but the sweets have always been decent enough. Worth dropping by for lunch if you’re spending a day shopping at Ion.

We ate at:

The Marmalade Pantry
Unit 03-22 ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn Singapore 238801
T: +65 6734 2700
F: +65 6734 2279
enquiry.city@themarmaladepantry.com.sg


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Ippudo, Singapore

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After seeing the long queues outside Ippudo in Westfield’s Sydney, I thought I’d give a Singapore outlet a try whilst I was there. Riding on a good experience from Ippudo Tao, we decided to go to Ippudo Mandarin.

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We ordered the Shiromaru Tamago and the Akamaru Tamago (left, and right respectively). The broth was actually decent, and the noodles springy. But the bit that I was really waiting for was the ni tamago. As mentioned before, whenever I go to eat Ramen, I always order a ni tamago if they have it. The egg should be a lovely dark brown colour on the outside, and a fluid or oozy egg yolk on the inside. Most of my attempts to find a great egg in sydney have failed, with most places serving up way too over-cooked egg yolks, but I still have hope!!!

Unfortunately though, my egg dreams were shattered this time.

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All of the eggs that came with our noodles were failed eggs. Entirely too overcooked, and lacking in flavour. While the main dish was decent, it wasn’t amazingly mind-blowing enough for me to overlook the bad egg.

Oh, and the sides?

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While decent in flavour and texture, the sides were let down by the service. We were mostly ignored by the service staff, and even after ordering, they completely forgot one salad and a side that we ordered to go with the meal.

All in all, a relatively disappointing experience. And, since Singapore has no lack of great places to eat at, it won’t be my first choice for a comforting dinner any time soon.

We ate at:

Ippudo SG
333 Orchard Road
Singapore 238897
+65 6235 2797


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Stories From My Childhood, Part 1

Happy Lunar New Year y’all!!! (And happy Valentine’s Day if you celebrate it!) Chinese New Year has always been a tasty and food-filled tradition for me and this year hasn’t been any different. Most of my childhood memories are closely associated with food, and growing up in a food obsessed culture, it’s not hard to see why.

two pictures featuring both the soup and dry versions of beef kway teow, a local noodle dish.
From top: Beef Kway Teow in soup, with tendon, tripe, meatball and braised beef pieces, and Beef Noodle in thick gravy, with salted vegetables and braised beef pieces

Every Sunday afternoon my mom would bring me to music class, and on the way there, there used to be a really popular Beef Kway Teow stall which had queues going around the block. As the class was at 1pm, we would often visit that stall for lunch, and I would always top off my Beef Noodles (dry) – with it’s thick gravy, fragrant toasted peanuts and crunchy salted vegetables – with extra chilli sauce with its tangy undertones and capsaicin kick, and cinchalok – which is an incredibly tasty condiment made of salted krill, chilli, shallots and plenty of lime. A taste bud explosion, I love the combination of the silky noodles drenched in thick gravy, textured with tender pieces of beef, and punctuated with the high notes of chilli and cinchalok.

A layout of two pictures featuring a busy hawker centre scene on the top, and brilliantly lit fluorescent signs of the food these stalls offer.

Hawker centres are often a crazy maze of people driven by hunger. Besides the dozens of stalls – some selling similar food – vying for your attention, you have to navigate getting a table, not losing your dining companions, and making sure that your table does not get commandeered by other, louder groups.

So why go to a hawker centre? Often the food is wayyy better (and cheap! $3 is often enough to get you a meal), and really, isn’t good food meant to be paired with the appropriate atmosphere?

From top: Chee Cheong Fun, Fried Yam Cake, Fried Carrot Cake
From top: Chee Cheong Fun, Fried Yam Cake, Fried Carrot Cake

Although these lovely morsels aren’t anywhere near to all of what hawker centres in Singapore have to offer, these are certainly some of my must-haves when I visit home.

When I was little, my mother used to put me in a pram and take me for a walk to Seletar Market. There, there was a friendly matronly lady who, upon seeing that I liked the Fried Carrot Cake (Cai Tow Kuey), used to have a plate ready whenever my mother wheeled my pram to a table. Fried Carrot Cake is so named because of the little pops of diced salted radish that give the dish its characteristic taste. Add in fried egg, and diced rice cakes and there you have it! It comes in a white version and a black version, with the black version having the addition of dark soy sauce and sweet soy sauce. Unfortunately the market has since been torn down in favour of high rise apartments, but I still remember it fondly as a big part of my childhood.

When I was older, I attended a kindergarten that was part of the childcare programme organized by my mother’s workplace. The building that my mom worked in was located conveniently near Amoy Street Food Centre, where a middle aged man with a round belly and a white singlet dished up the first food that I was truly addicted to – Chee Cheong Fun. A rice flour mixture is first steamed into thin sheets of noodle, then rolled. Usually served with a sweet, thick sauce, I now prefer to unravel the rice noodles and toss it in a mixture of soy sauce and sesame seed oil. The silky noodles carry the hint of salt from the soy, and the fragrance from the sesame seed oil. These plain rice noodle rolls are sold in most Asian stores in Australia as well, if you fancy steaming them and dressing them yourself at home. =)

Food, to me, is a great conveyor of memories, and these are foods that give me constant (and enjoyable) flashbacks.

What are your childhood favourites?