Times have changed. These days we scoured the deep recesses of hashtags and photos of others to see what they are having for dinner, and then we promptly make our way to the new café in town to be seen (and actually eat) before others.
You see, taking photos of your wagyu sliders and showing off to your friends you just dined at a hipster café is the newfangled prefix to food shoveling. In the interest of our hungry readers (and also because we’re interested in stuffing our own faces with food), UrbanWire recommends 10 new must-try foods.
Consider your Instagram feed to be in good hands.
The Bing-soo craze originating from South Korea has finally made its way to our shores although you must know bing-soo is pretty elementary – it’s simply a shaved ice-and-fruits dessert after all, similar to our local ice kacang (um, shaved ice dessert).
At Bing-go-jung, a Korean dessert house located at Guillemard road, we’ve got to try a variety of flavors besides the usual Injeolmi bing-soo, from the milk & red bean, lemon to the choco banana bing-soos.
The choco banana bing-soo consists of a bed of shaved ice drenched in chocolate sauce, piled high with brownie fudge cubes, chocolate rice flakes, slices of banana and lastly, topped with chocolate ice-cream and almond flakes.
For added sweetness, douse the whole shebang in condensed milk. Turns out the dessert doesn’t taste too cloyingly sweet.
Eating the dessert feels like opening a Matryoshka doll. The deeper we dug into the mountain of ice, the more surprises we found at each layer, such as ice flakes and almonds. It’s best to embark on this frozen dessert expedition with a friend as the generous serving is of gargantuan proportions.
Shibuya Brick Toast
Toast is an unequivocal breakfast food. Slices of crisp, fragrant kaya toast at your neighborhood kopitiam have been satisfying locals for a while.
However, the Japanese have other ideas – the Shibuya brick toast is one of Tokyo’s audacious interpretations on how toast can be served. Stacked into towering square blocks and piled high with fruits, macarons and ice cream, the boxed-shaped treats are now becoming a familiar sight at dessert tables.
Foodies can get their fill at the popular Taiwanese Dazzling Café, opening soon at the newly restored Capitol Theater.
Thai-Style Coconut Gelato
Singaporeans enamoured with the famous Thai coconut ice cream at Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok are in for a sweet treat without the need to hop onto a plane.
Pong Gelato at *Scape serves coconut gelato with sorbet in a husk ($5.50), a perfect remedy for the sweltering heat. The sweet treat comes with a cup of coconut juice to quench your thirst too.
“My Dad doesn’t take dairy stuff so with this non-dairy gelato, anyone can eat it as well,” explained Seah Ping Long, owner of Pong Gelato. “We have Thai customers as well as locals, and we’re expecting more due to the hot weather.”
Korean Soft Serve
Milkcow Singapore is the new kid on the Korean soft serve block. Using only milk and other fresh ingredients imported from South Korea, this is as close to tasting authentic Korean soft serve.
Soft, thick and creamy, it doesn’t have much of a taste by itself, unless it’s coupled with a few interesting ingredients from the tried-and-tested honey, to pistachio and (we kid you not) red ginseng syrup.
Keeping in line with the offerings at the original Milkcow in South Korea, we hope to see them changing it up with new flavors to entice the locals – perhaps durian.
Lobster Rolls and More
To most, a lobster meal has always ranked high in the upper echelons of dining. But when the buttery, herbs-infused lobster rolls from Boston tumbled across the world, we knew it was only a matter of time before they reared their shiny pincers in restaurants here.
Gone are the days of worrying about breaking the bank when sinking your teeth into lobsters because the myriad of preparation methods are jazzing up the new eateries in town.
Pince & Pints on Duxton Road opened its doors last July with a lobster-exclusive menu, featuring a local-inspired chili lobster.
Closer to Bugis, the recently rebranded Platypus Lobster Shack (formerly known as Platypus Kitchen) has also turned its gaze towards the impending popularity of lobster dishes.
Alongside their signature lobster rolls ($19.90), they’re dishing up mains like lobster risotto ($26.90) and lobster mac ‘n’ cheese ($26.90).
For those with a faint heart, Platypus Lobster Shack’s lobster rolls may overwhelm with their butter-soaked buns and sizeable chunks of tender lobster meat. Basted in a glimmering, bright cream of parsley and basil, the rich filling was tactfully paired with a balsamic vinegar salad.
Local Homemade Spreads
There is nothing more depressing than plain bread for breakfast. However, for every discerning bread lover out there, the increasing attention on artisanal homemade spreads is a welcome variety.
From vanilla kaya from Social Food Company, calamansi marmalade from Straits Preserves to jams from GSH Conserves, these freshly-made spreads will make for tastier breakfasts, or for surreptitiously licking off the spoon.
Speculoos (locally known as Lotus) cookie butter is an internationally-acquainted spread, the most famous of which is arguably Trader Joe’s interpretation. An alternative would be local establishment Poppy & Co.’s equally moreish version.
Established in July last year, Poppy & Co. has been the go-to purveyor of quality Speculoos cookie butter, in both crunchy and smooth variants. “Most homemade spreads are made by passion-driven people,” observed Jacqueline Koay, Poppy & Co.’s Sales & Marketing Manager.
Jacqueline hopes that homemade spreads will continue to germinate as a trend, perhaps with more innovative flavors. She said: “There’s more than meets the eye to sustain a food trend. I hope it doesn’t die a natural death, like bubble tea.”
You can get your hands on Poppy & Co.’s Speculoos cookie butter spread at various cafés around the island, including Compound Coffee Co..
Salted Egg in Everything
The concept of salted egg crabs, prawns and even crayfish may be familiar with many but what about salted egg dip and salted egg donuts? Better still, how about salted egg sauce drizzled over ice-cream and charcoal waffles?
Despite concocting a dessert that elicits raised eyebrows and sceptical, FatCat Ice Cream Bar’s ice-cream on charcoal waffles with salted egg sauce ($10.50) is a hot favorite amongst the locals – believe it or not, it’s sold out even before dinner time on most days.
We decided to go a little wild when we tried this interesting dessert, selecting butterbeer ice-cream to go with it.
Sweet and a little heady with the taste of alcohol, the texture of the butterbeer ice-cream was smooth, rich and fresh. It melted quickly, because it had little to no emulsifiers. The characteristic, light coarse texture of the salted egg sauce was a harmonious combination with the caramel sauce drizzled around the waffle.
The sweet and savoury yin-yang didn’t overshadow the mild, pleasant bitterness of the fluffy, charcoal waffles. The waffles however could have been crispier.
“Everything is paired with salted egg these days! When you go to a tze char (wallet-friendly, home-style Chinese cuisine) stall, you get salted egg pork ribs, salted egg crabs – everything is with salted egg!” remarked David Law, one of the service crew at FatCat Ice Cream Bar.
Drinking coffee is no longer about your run-of-the-mill latte or cappuccino anymore. Ushering in the new age of coffee-making technology and enhancing the coffee-drinking experience is recently-opened coffee joint, The New Black.
The sleek joint is equipped with the Steampunk Alpha Dominche machine that allows baristas to set the parameters for each brew and ensure the consistency of each cuppa. The parameters, which include volume, exposure time, agitation, filter type, temperature, extraction, and multiple steeps, are all controlled by the barista, which allows for consistent reproduction of recipes for a perfect cuppa each time.
If you know your green coffee beans from the black ones, you would know this sets a new benchmark in making artisanal coffee. To boot, the New Black brought in roasters from all over the world, such as Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. from the United States, Single Origin Roasters from Sydney and even Nylon Coffee Roasters right in Singapore.
The Sermon Espresso coffee ($5.50) from Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz, has a fruity scent and heavy body, where the flavours gradually get stronger, leaving a heavy aftertaste.
The San Sebastian Reserva brewed coffee ($7.50) from Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. in Columbia on the other hand, has a sweet, caramel-like taste with a light body.
“Everyone is trying to get used to it. Most Singaporeans who come here are a little confused, as they don’t know what to get,” shared Mr. , one of the baristas at The New Black.
Thai-Style Wanton Mee
Singaporeans who have been flocking to Bangkok for countless bowls of Sab x 2 wanton noodles can find it here instead at BaaMee Bangkok on Syed Alwi Road, which serves tantalizing Thai style wanton noodles ($4.50), and couples as a great lunchtime hideout for you to go “555” with your co-workers.
Characterized by its unpretentious simplicity, the dollop of thin, stringy yellow noodles topped with char siew (roasted meat) and fragrant pork lard is what good old comforting bowl of noodles should be.
With Vietnamese-branded restaurants and franchises like So Pho and Pho Street popping up all over the island, it’s evident that there is a burgeoning demand for Vietnamese cuisine.
A piping hot bowl of pho (rice noodles) afloat in a beef-and-vegetable broth is commonly considered to be the staple of Vietnamese cuisine. So if you’re gunning for a more authentic Vietnamese dining experience, Joo Chiat Road’s “little piece of Saigon” got you covered.
Along this particular section of Joo Chiat Road, you will find many Vietnamese food stalls, among which is Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant, known to be the cream of the crop along the street (don’t take our word for it).
At $6.50, their beef pho is relatively affordable. Its crunchy onions, coriander and tender beef slices makes it a serious contender for best-tasting pho, at least on our list.
“The food here isn’t bad. I come here often to have beef pho,” remarked Long Phung diner Christopher Lee. “I also like the atmosphere. With the whole lot of Vietnamese restaurants around, it feels like Little Vietnam here!”
Even in our thriving city of mixing cultures, food will always be the subject in dinner conversations and debates among friends where to find the best wanton noodles. Food fads come and go, but at least we’ve spotted the trends so you can quickly get there to eat.
And snap a photo or two.
Address: 102 Guillemard Road, #01-01
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 11pm
Contact no.: 6440 5509
Address: The Cathay, 2 Handy Road, #01-03
Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday (11.30am – 9.50pm), Friday – Saturday, PH, Eve of PH (11.30am – 10.50pm)
Contact no.: 6734 4307
Address: 45 Syed Alwi Road
Opening hours: 11am – 9pm
Contact no.: 9636 0048
4.Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant
Address: 159 Joo Chiat Road
Opening hours: 1pm – 2am
Contact no.: 6344 2005
5.The New Black
Address: 1 Upper Circular Road
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday (8am – 6.30pm), Saturday (8.30am – 4.30pm),
Closed on Sundays
Contact no.: 6410 9318
6.Platypus Lobster Shack
Address: 200 Victoria Street
Opening hours: 12pm to 10pm
Contact no.: 6333 4434
7.Compound Coffee Co.
Address: 180 Depot Road, #01-08
Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday (8am – 6pm), Saturday – Sunday (8am – 7pm),
Closed on Mondays
8.Dazzling Cafe (opening soon)
Address: Capitol Building
11 Stamford Road
9.FatCat Ice Cream Bar
Address: 416 Bedok North Avenue 2
Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday (12pm – 10pm),
Friday & Saturday (12pm – 11pm), Closed on Tuesdays
Contact no.: 6241 0830
Address: Play Nation – *Scape
2 Orchard Link #02-18C
Opening hours: Daily, 1230pm – 10pm