Bishan Food Guide – 11 Highly Rated Hawkers, Cafes & Thai Food Joints

Bishan – a breeding ground for great food

TSL's Bishan Food Guide!

Adapted from source:

With a good 10 schools in the neighbourhood, Bishan is habitually crowded by hangry students. I would know. After all, I spent 2 years here, a glassy-eyed student in the morning and a ravenous zombie by the afternoon.

For this foodie, discoveries were endless. All the places featured here – some well-known, some more ulu – were gems I found while on one of my hunger rampages. From eateries easy on the wallet to slightly more atas ones, there are choices for everyone.

1. Grin Affair

We’ve all experienced that panic: forgetting a friend’s birthday and having to rush out a last minute birthday present. On such days, Grin Affair was my life saver.

Cakes in a jar at Grin Affair!

Source: @hayzgal

With their cakes in a jar, you won’t have to worry about lugging around a burdensome cake box, or fear the accidental cake smash on a crowded MRT. The Honey Lavender mousse cake ($ 6) has never failed to help me bring a smile to a birthday girl’s or boy’s face – with a burst of flavour from real lavender flowers and fresh blueberries.

Waffles at Grin Affair!

Source: @sssamuelseah

The fluffy waffles ($ 9-$ 10.50) have always been my solution for a post-school sugar fix. Topped with a sizable scoop of Earl Grey gelato, cookie crumbs and maple syrup, this is pure bliss.

Address: Block 505 #01-408, 505 Bishan Street 11, Singapore 570505
Opening Hours: 12pm – 8pm (Mon to Sat), 1.30pm – 6pm (Sun)
Telephone: 8222 2678

2. Ming Kee Chicken Rice

Smooth, slippery chicken flesh served cold – now that’s one of a kind. At Ming Kee Chicken Rice, freshly-boiled chicken meat is immersed in ice cold water until serving time. The result is tender meat with a layer of gelatin under the skin that slides exquisitely across your taste buds.

Chilled chicken at Ming Kee Chicken Rice.

Source: @dizijoyjoy

Each plate is priced at a very enticing $ 3.50, but sharing a bigger portion among family and friends is always a good idea. I recommend coming slightly after lunch-hour from 2pm to avoid the half hour-long queues, so ain’t nobody will get in the way of your chicken rice dose.

Address: Kim San Leng Food Centre #01-522, 511 Bishan Street 13, Singapore 570511
Opening Hours: 10pm – 9pm

3. Mata Thai Restaurant

A tze char-style menu at Mata Thai makes it an ideal place for group sharing. My go-to order is the large sized Tom Yum Seafood Soup ($ 16) – served in a claypot, this tom yum comes with a generous medley of fresh seafood. Be sure to also grab some lemongrass juice for an extra zing.

Affordable sharing options at Mata Thai!

Source: @yellowsalmons

Give their set lunches a miss though. I’ve tried their Seafood Fried Rice ($ 8.80), but was left disappointed by a lacklustre plate of yangchow fried rice with a paltry seafood-to-rice ratio.

Address: 508 Bishan Street 11 #01-390, Singapore 570508
Opening Hours: 7am – 10pm
Telephone: 9276 2629

4. Wowffle Burger

If you’ve ever had to choose between waffles and a burger, this hole-in-the-wall burger joint housed in a humble coffee shop solves that dilemma. Instead of the usual burger buns, expect crispy charcoal waffles sandwiching the juicy patties at Wowffle Burger. Choose from a range of wacky flavours: Soy Garlic Chicken ($ 6.80), The Satay Burger ($ 12.80), and The Agaricus ($ 12.80).

Charcoal waffle buns at Wowffle Burger!

Source: @kimberleyyong_

My personal favourite is the Salted Egg Fried Chicken ($ 13.80), featuring a generous piece of fried chicken topped with a smooth and thick salted egg yolk sauce.

Fun fact: Wowffle’s salted egg yolk sauce is entirely homemade by way of a 5 hour-long process! Talk about dedication.

Salted Egg Fried Chicken Burger at Wowffle Burger.

Source: @eatoutsg

Address: 38 Jalan Pemimpin #01-04 M38, Singapore 577178
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm

5. 284 Kway Chap

Delicious kway chap at 284 Kway Chap!


Turning on their stall lights from 8.30pm all the way into the early mornings, 284 Kway Chap’s fare makes for a great supper – it sure did for me during my late night study sessions.

Eat away the insomnia with a combination of sliced pig intestines, tau pok and tea eggs, all braised to perfection. All innards are impeccably cleaned, so you won’t get any of that gamey pork stench. And at less than $ 5 per person, this won’t burn a hole through your pocket.

Address: 284 Bishan Street 22, Singapore 570284
Opening Hours: 8.30pm – 4am (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sundays.

6. Meld Grilled Kitchen

Housed in the same District-20 coffee shop as Wowffle Burger, the Japanese-Western Meld Grilled Kitchen is often overlooked. But for my peers and I, this has become a place for repeat visits.

Smoked Duck Aglio Olio at Meld Grilled Kitchen.

Source: @shoniah

My favourite is the Smoked Duck Aglio Olio ($ 9.90), a perfect balance of chunky duck slices, bacon slabs and lightly spiced pasta. Seafood lovers will love the Mentaiko Pasta ($ 10.90). Packed with fried oysters, fried prawns and splattered with mentaiko, this is a dish that’ll make your heart melt.

Meld also gives you an extra reason to be decked out in your school garb – students get 10% off all items.

Address: 38 Jalan Pemimpin #01-04 M38, Singapore 577178
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10.30pm, Closed on Wednesdays.
Telephone: 9337 8600

7. Jai Thai Restaurant

Delicious Thai dishes at Jai Thai Restaurant!

Source: @tammyneok

2 Thai places in 1 article may seem excessive, but this is a Bishan student staple. With authentic, honest Thai food below $ 10, this is the ultimate bang for your buck.

Affordable and yummy set lunches at Jai Thai Restaurant!

Source: @shaunsimjaykay

The Pineapple Rice Set ($ 8.80) is my top pick for set lunch, with its melange of green curry, fried fish and spring roll.

The Tom Yam Seafood Noodles ($ 5) is also a crowd favourite for its generous serving of seafood and mushrooms, but if you’re not a fan of seafood, there’s also the chicken option. Upon ordering, you’ll be given the option of either clear or thick soup – the latter has a stronger chilli flavour.

The groups of students in the restaurant may put you off a bit, but hey, there’s gotta be a reason behind its popularity.

Address: 7 Clover Way, Singapore 579080
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 9pm (Mon to Thu), 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm (Fri – Sun)
Telephone: 6258 0228

8. Hup Seng Duck Rice

Hup Seng Duck Rice is a little off the central Bishan area, but worth those extra bus stops. Thick, juicy braised duck slices soaked in gravy are the main draw here. The meat is extremely tender – you won’t need any toothpicks for annoying bits stuck between your teeth.

Juicy duck slices at Hup Seng Duck Rice.

Source: @sen028

Hup Seng’s salted duck vegetable soup, or Kiam Chye Arh, is a good choice to warm the tummy, especially on rainy days. The light sour tang of the soup balances the saltiness of the duck sauce. A standard plate of duck rice is priced at $ 3.50, while a set of braised duck and pork for 2, complete with a bowl of salted duck veg soup, costs around $ 15 in all.

Address: Block 22 Sin Ming Road #01-258, Singapore 570022
Opening Hours: 9am – 2.30pm (Mon to Fri), 9am – 1.30pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Thursdays.
Telephone: 6454 3810

9. Grub

Brick-panelled interior of Grub!

Source: @grubsingapore

Located in the heart of Bishan Park, Grub is my favourite for a post-run reward. Indoors, brick-panelled walls and wooden tables make for a cosy, earthy setting reminiscent of a cabin in the forest.

Maple Bacon Burger at Grub.

Source: @grubsingapore

Grub is best known for its hearty burgers, and that comes as no surprise. Reminiscent of a Hawaiian pizza – in burger form – is the Maple Bacon Burger ($ 14), with a thick wad of perfectly grilled bacon and a pineapple ring.

If you’re a sweet tooth like me, the Churros ($ 8) will be fried sugar heaven for you. Try it with the special yuzu white chocolate dip that comes on the side for a delicious cross between sugary sweet and tangy.

Address: 510 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, Singapore 569983
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm (Tue to Fri), 9am – 4pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm (Sat, Sun PH), Closed on Mondays.
Telephone: 6459 5743

10. Tuk Tuk Cha

Tuk Tuk Cha may have already become a household name. But few know of the easter egg in their Junction 8 outlet – the $ 1.90 mini bowls.

$  1.90 Thai boat noodles in Tuk Tuk Cha J8!

Source: @coolheart

This is the ultimate snack hack – mini versions of their regular tom yam and beef bowls at one-quarter the price.

Be sure to also quench your thirst with their Thai Milk Tea ($ 3). Choose your sugar level bubble tea-style, and voila, you can enjoy your Thai thirst-quencher without feeling too guilty about that sugar intake! Finish it off with Matcha and Red Velvet Waffles ($ 9.80) topped off with complimentary Thai Milk Tea ice cream!

Matcha and red velvet waffles at Tuk Tuk Cha!

Source: @jtljun

Address: Junction 8 Shopping Centre #02-20A/21, 9 Bishan Place, Singapore 579837
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm

11. Canopy Garden Dining

Canopy Garden Dining Interior

Source: @verna_0

This al fresco dining spot is great for atas indulgences. With its glass-windowed exterior resembling a greenhouse, Canopy Garden Dining is all about kicking back and quiet time. And of course, lots of natural lighting for the gram.

Crabmeat Aglio Olio at Canopy Garden Dining.

Source: @thesilverchef

One of my favorite comfort foods is their Crabmeat Aglio Olio ($ 19). Garnished with coriander and chilli, this dish makes for a well-deserved treat after a long day of work or school. When paired with a glass of red wine and an overhead sunset, this is one dinner experience you won’t forget.

My dog owner friends also love this place for their pet-friendly policy. So if you’d love a quiet evening with just you and your bae – the furry one – you know where to go.

Address: 1382 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, Bishan Park 2, Singapore 569931
Opening Hours: 8am – 10.30pm (Sun), 9am – 10.30pm (Mon to Thu), 9am – 11pm (Fri), 8am – 11pm (Sat)
Telephone: 9113 4666

Bishan ain’t just a former burial ground

Bishan may have been known as a burial ground back in the day, but now, it’s a densely populated heartland hotspot with some of the best eats in central Singapore. Even though I’ve recently graduated and am no longer bound to the neighbourhood, I still find myself venturing to this part of the island for the food I find so much familiar comfort in.

If you’ve got more Bishan must-tries on your list, let us know in the comments!

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Sinn Ji Chicken Rice: Young, Innovative Next Generation Hawkers

White chicken

There has been much debate about how to preserve our hawker culture.  One idea was to set up hawker “schools” where courses are offered on how to prepare certain dishes.  On paper, this seems to be a good idea.  If you are a young person wanting to sell hawker food, you can enrol to learn how to cook laksa as well as how to rent and set up a hawker stall.  That might work for some hawkers, but it automatically selects for those who are toying with the idea of being a hawker.   They might succeed in earning a stable income, but what are their chances of becoming a hawker legend compared to those who are really driven by passion?


Passionate young hawkerpreneurs like 25 year old Derwin will find ways to carve out their own path.  Derwin has always loved cooking and after earning his diploma in animation, decided to pursue his first love.  He apprenticed himself under a chicken rice master for a month, learned the basics and then proceeded to innovate and improve on what he had learnt.

Chicken tube

I was quite impressed by some of the things he is doing to make a better chicken rice.  One of things he has come up with is a simple tube which he inserts into the cavity of the chicken which helps to cook the chicken so that the breast meat doesn’t dry out.


What the tube does is to ensure that the hot water is able to circulate and cook the inside of the chicken so that the breast meat is cooked evenly on both sides.  This enables him to lower the temperature of the poaching liquid. He also cooks his chicken in a large thermal vat which keeps the water at a constant temperature and he adds chicken bones and other ingredients to the broth so that the chicken is seasoned as it cooks.


The results of his innovations are quite evident.  His chicken is perfectly cooked and the breast is moist, tender and flavourful. There is a nice layer of jelly under the skin and his drizzling sauce is also very tasty.  Overall the white chicken is very good.  4.5/5

The rice is also good but can be improved.  The grains are well seperated but it does lack that fragrance that you find in really good chicken rice stalls.  He tells me that he doesn’t add any msg to the rice which is what he was taught to do during his apprenticeship and found other ways to make the rice tasty.  4/5

I found the chilli sauce to be a little on the sweet side, but there is a nice fragrance from the freshly squeezed lime juice.  Try some of his minced ginger when you are there.  Derwin personally travels to Pasir Panjang wholesale centre every week to buy his ginger which comes from Indonesia that is really fragrant and has a robust gingery zing.

Roast Chicken

The roast chicken is quite good but between the white and the roasted chicken, I would go for the white.  I felt it still lacked the oomph of a good spice mix. 4/5


It is really good to see young hawkerpreneurs who are willing to take a traditional recipe, innovate and make it even better.  This 25 year old’s chicken rice can easily rival some of the best ones which has been around for longer than he has!

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New Openings in March 2017 Part I: New Cafes, Bars, and Hawkers 

I thought we are facing a recession, but here we are in the month of March with so many eateries opening I have to split it into two entries. This entry will focus on new cafes, bars and hawkers opened recently while Part II will list the new restaurants.

These are the 17 cafes, 4 bars, and 12 hawkers:


20Grams Specialty Coffee and Roastery
14 Arumugam Rd, #01-05, Lion Industrial Building C, Singapore 409959
Tel: +65 6694 8109
M-Th 10am-6pm, F 10am-9pm, Sat 10am-5pm

16487131_1837123156503949_4821512991831642548_oThey source, roast, and brew their own coffee. Their lobster roll ($ 27) is tossed with homemade mayo.

Alakai Poke
3 Everton Park #01-79 Singapore 080003
Tel: +65 6094 4957
11am-2pm, 5pm-8.30pm, closed weekends

13680953_1725942207675942_1198545234809865006_nThe trend of poke bowls, a Hawaiian dish with marinated raw fish and rice/salad, is going strong.

Cook Mee
5 Raffles Place, Raffles Place MRT Station , #B1-32/33, Singapore 048618

16587052_1541769802517353_4933032140388304009_oCook Mee is by Wheat Baumkuchen, and serves dry ramen ($ 9.90) and light bites.

Dot & Dash
1 North Bridge Road, #B1-11/12 Singapore 179094

I Am
51 Tampines Avenue 4, Our Tampines Hub, Singapore 529684

I am Cafe Haji Lane ReviewPopular halal cafe I Am opens second outlet at Tampines.

Lab Made
3 Gateway Drive, Westgate L2-K3, Singapore 078884

15585087_375362246151972_2190451432199865207_oThey make ice cream using liquid nitrogen.

Makai Poke
7 Wallich Street, Tanjong Pagar Centre B1-08 Singapore 078884

img_2468The poke bowl game is going strong. This is a takeaway kiosk, selling poke bowls from $ 9.90. Full review.

Nesture Bird’s Nest
491 River Valley Road, #01-13, Singapore 248371
12pm-9pm daily
T: +65 6821 1771

16105914_415791858753301_5403432540498724904_nA takeaway shop, Nesture puts bird’s nest on top of Western desserts such panna cotta, creme brulee, and waffles. The bird’s nest comes from Sumatra, Indonesia, and is cleaned with filtered water with no chemical washing or bleaching.

Poke Doke
9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk #01-95, Singapore 039596
10am-9pm daily
T: +65 9181 9140

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset Poke Doke gets their fish fresh daily, and you can choose from Norwegian salmon or ahi tuna.

412 Bedok North Ave 2 #01-122 Singapore 460412
T-Th 12pm-10pm, F & Sat 12pm-1am, Sun 12pm-11pm, closed Mon

16486961_603766019808195_8253243230906213260_oRoutesixtysix is a coffee-and-dessert cafe, serving waffles and coffee beans from Common Man.

Salmon Samurai
100 Tras Street, #03-22 100 AM, Singapore 079027
Tel: +65 6543 6823
M-F 11am-8pm, Weekends 12pm-6pm

16463716_1279882472090209_8303024540435955463_oBy the people behind Standing Sushi Bar, the salmon-themed restaurants serves salmon dishes from $ 9.90.

Slayer Coffee
2 Havelock Road, Havelock II, Singapore 059763
tel: +65 8688 4256

16114589_1255690097844610_4310236086211070355_nSlayer Coffee, which provides mobile coffee service for events, finds a shop at new mall, Havelock II.

Soma Coffee Singapore
8 Enggor Street #01-03 Skysuites@Anson, Singapore 079718
M-F 9pm-5pm, Sat 9pm-3pm

16707671_1736947256635509_9009991707542341039_oFrom their fb: “Specialty Coffee Shop serving Indonesian single origins and various foods.”

Super Bistro
314 Bedok Road, The Bedok Marketplace, Singapore 469478
Tel: +65 6702 0231
M-F 10.30am-9pm, weekends 8am-9.30pm

16665282_1369369199773714_7863709956504791704_oA subsidiary of Chong Pang Super Penyet.

Sweetfish Poke
13 Stamford Road, Capitol Piazza #B2-30, Singapore 178905

16715908_1793894607597412_1244595970225181227_oAnother poke bowl shop! This is mostly a takeaway shop. Bowls start at $ 9.

Takumi by Sushiro
301 Upper Thomson Road, Thomson Plaza #01-113F, Singapore 574408
11.45am-2.15pm, 5.45pm-9.15pm, closed Mon

16729481_1346275862099226_4815607582595437249_nFamed for their inexpensive barachirashi don, Sushiro has expanded and opened a new shop called Takumi which sells gyuniku (beef) don at $ 12 nett.

Thrive Kitchen
1 West Coast Drive, #01-73 NeWest, Singapore 128020
Tel: +65 6255 9030

15590854_1809971272602224_1714198657795267523_oThrive Kitchen serves wholesome pastas, sandwiches, French toast, crepes, and gluten-free cakes baked in-house. They try to substitute unhealthy ingredients with healthy ones. For example, cream is replaced by nut milk.


Atlas Bar
600 North Bridge Road, Parkview Square, Singapore, 188778

atlasThe bartenders at Atlas, Roman Foltan and Carla Davina Soares, were formerly from Artesian at The Langham (London), which is the World’s Best Bar for four years. Opening this month.

Growlers Craft Beer & Bistro
37 Tai Thong Crescent, Singapore 347862
Tel: +65 8118 4677
11.30am-11pm, closed Sun

16715952_751488011683170_3456979282558342692_oThey brew their own beer at their own microbrewery but they only have 5 mains on their menu, the rest are mostly drinks. The food items include beer battered fish chips ($ 18) and salted egg yolk chicken burger ($ 19).

Lucky Bar
243 Holland Avenue, Singapore 278977
Tel: +65 6208 6845

Sister to the Cantonese restaurant Full of Luck Club by Li Bai.

The Wall
76 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088497
Tel: +65 6225 7988
5pm-1am, closed Sun

16665732_1670681693226235_25580048999526879_oSumiyaki (Japanese skewers) and cocktails.


Benson Salted Duck
Blk 168 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #01-1040, Singapore 310168
Tel: +65 9781 4042
9am-7pm, closed Tue

13708228_1759888940924043_271144733824894470_oBenson is 8-month old but it is worth being informed about. It sells poached salted duck with butter rice, a traditional dish seldom found these days. They also sell smoked duck breast, fish maw pork stomach soup, and braised duck heart.

Corner Burger
228 East Coast Road, Singapore 428925
Tel: +65 9827 4562
8am-3pm, 5.30pm-9pm, closed Mon

16195126_1068227819973474_1056791651551970701_nYoung hawkerpreneurs.

Hawker Chan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken
18 Tai Seng Street #01-02, Singapore 539775

hong-kong-soya-chicken-michelin-star-singaporeAfter receiving one Michelin star, Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken has opened a restaurant at Smith Street. Now the third outlet is at Tai Seng.

Kim’s Kuehs
Blk 18 Toa Payoh Lor 7 #01-232 Singapore 310018
Tel: +65 9749 7163

13939381_1579014659061329_7071714825324670120_nYoung hawkerpreneur uses his grandmother’s recipe and makes handmade kuehs (Peng Kueh, Soon Kueh and Gu Chai Kueh) from $ 1.10 onwards.

Mr Lorbak
Blk 531 Bedok North St 3, Singapore 460531
12pm-8pm daily, closed Tue

Mr Prawnie
Blk 721 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8, Singapore 560721
Tel: +65 8700 3168

15338670_1706675266316799_7874499315994953986_nOne of the recipients for Tiger Street Food Fund, Mr Prawnie serves luxurious hokkien meeA plate with with lobster, crayfish, and big prawns goes for $ 36, good for 3-4 persons.

Nimman Soi 5
Blk 201 Tampines St 21, 21 Street Eating Place, Singapore 520201
Tel: +65 8569 2482

15380867_1267563183300702_759548495762658474_nThe founder of Jane Thai, who sold it in 2012, has opened a stall in a kopitiam.

Pasta by Fraction Kitchen
51 Telok Ayer Street, China Square Food Centre #01-12, Singapore 069877

16473885_1863249840559685_9093448900949103333_nPasta shop at food court, starting from $ 8.

Sinn Ji Hainanese Chicken Rice
275 Thomson Road, Novena Regency #01-05, Singapore 307690
Tel: +65 6258 0855

14310308_1207470505939630_2377547499726697923_o25 year-old Derwin Chan improved on the cooking of Hainanese chicken and even came up with his own invention to blow air into the chicken before roasting. He makes his own chilli sauce using a ginger, more pungent than usual, from Pasir Panjang wholesale centre.

Wok Hey
200 Victoria Street Bugis Junction B1 Singapore 188021

This is a kiosk for takeaways. They sell fried rice and fried noodles.

Your Nasi Lemak
596B Sembawang Road, Singapore 758455
Tel: +65 6100 3242

They use traditional recipe that has been passed down for generations.

1 Kadayanallur St, Maxwell Food Centre #01-25, Singapore 069184
Tel: +65 9723 5720
8.30am-4pm, closed Sun

16487643_1755026628147661_8799614415988584424_oMuslim-owned Yugo bakes their own bread freshly to make sandwiches starting from $ 4.50.

You may be interested in…
New Openings in Jan 2017
New Openings in Feb 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Photos without RERG logo are taken from the respective eateries’ facebook pages.

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Soon Heng Hot and Cold Desserts: Hawkers we grow up with

Tau Suan

Our hawkers are really a big part of our lives here in Singapore, don’t you think?  Most of us would have grown up eating from the same hawker stall for years and and these hawkers would have become much more than just a person who sells food.


I am sure that this particular lady hawker at Soon Heng Hot and Cold Desserts would have many regulars who have grown up (or grown old) eating at her stall.  I have met many hawkers but she was the first one I met whose smile was sweeter than her desserts!

I get a lot of different reactions whenever I pull out my DSLR camera.  Some hawkers ask why I am taking photos.  Others continue to work as if I wasn’t there.  But when Mrs Yang saw my camera, she quickly struck up her kawaii pose!

Lotus seeds
Lotus Seed Sweet Soup (Lian Zi Suan)

What first drew me to the stall was the availability of lian zi suan. (Lotus seed soupThis traditional Teochew sweet soup is not easy to find nowadays because of the rising cost of lotus seeds.  (A 200g pack of lotus seeds at the supermarket costs around $ 6!)  The only other stall that I have come across that sells this is “House of Dessert” at Tampines Round Market.  They actually stopped selling it for a period of time because of the increase in price of raw lotus seeds.  Thankfully, they started selling it again last year.

This soup is not difficult to cook but it is easy to get it wrong unless you get a tip from grandma (or from the internet nowadays).    Most of us would intuitively soak the seeds first before cooking, but this is the last thing you want to do as the seeds will ever turn into the nice, mealy, powdery texture no matter how long you boil them.  Instead, the seeds must go straight into hot boiling water for a while then followed by either a slow simmer or steam.  Once they are soft, simply add them to syrup which has been thickened with tapioca starch.

For all that trouble, I think most people wouldn’t mind forking out the $ 2 for a bowl of lian zi suan at this stall.  I think this is probably also the cheapest place where you can buy this in Singapore.  In fact, all her other desserts are also just $ 1!  Talk about old school prices.  When I asked Mrs Yang how she managed to keep prices so low, she just smiled and said that its her way of keeping her customers happy!

Aside from the lotus seed soup, her tau suan is also very good.  4.25/5What was impressive was how her you tiao remained so fresh!  I managed to try some of her other desserts like cheng tng and honey sea coconut.  They were average but at $ 1 a bowl, I don’t think anyone is complaining!



Old school sweet soups served with an even sweeter smile which will make you smile even more when all you need is some spare change to enjoy it!

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New Openings in Feb 2017: New Restaurants, Cafes, Bars, and Hawkers

13 restaurants, 6 cafes, 6 bars, and 7 hawkers. Because of the bad economy, some trends that I’ve been noticing show up in these new openings:

1. Fewer and fewer fine-dining restaurants. Eateries are moving towards casual dining.

2. Casual dining means that hawker food stalls are expanding into restaurant setting. This sounds counterintuitive; what?! people should be eating at hawkers, not restaurants, if we are in a bad economy. But people are used to some comfort, and these hawker-restaurants offer a good compromise.

3. More bars are opening, combining food and alcohol, because since people aren’t spending much on food, f&b establishments need to supplement their income. Alcoholics are spendthrifts, you don’t need much manpower to pour a drink, and the profit margin for alcohol is high.

4. Because of the bad economy, kids with rich parents aren’t opening cafes; parents just aren’t giving them money. The cafes are either holes in the wall or takeaway or opened by big companies. Small cafes become more specialized.

5. Young people are opening more Western food stalls in foodcourts, instead of cafes or restaurants.

These are the new openings in Feb 2017:


10 Tebing Lane, Punggol East Park, Singapore 828836

16298703_10154527341409121_2398741543644485448_nLocated in one of the cargo containers in Punggol, D’grill serves pastas and seafood cze char dishes like lala and sambal stingray.

Don Meijin
201 Victoria street, Bugis+ #04-10, Singapore 188067
T: +65 6238 1011

nonameFound inside the compound of Ramen Champion, Don Meijin’s signature dish, spicy chilli crab tendon, consists of tempura prawns, asparagus, pumpkin, fish fillet, eggplant, and kakiage, all of which are drizzled with chilli crab sauce.

eGrill & Piza
2 Handy Rd, The Cathay, #B1-01/02/03, Singapore 229233
T: +65 6736 3055

15622673_1042472619230007_1356267468132344324_nNo, this is not a spelling error. It is “piza.” It is a casual restaurant focused on Japanese-styled pizzas and skewers. Recommended: salmon mentai pizzaspicy teriyaki chicken pizza, grilled mackerel skewer, salmon belly fin skewer, and beef Köttbullar skewer.

Half Pound
8 Purvis Street Singapore 188587
T: +65 6906 1900

15994397_353261701721535_8736712999249125242_oHalf Pound is a burger and grill bar, which also serves pizzas and pastas. Unique items include deep-fried spare ribs ($ 15), honey butter fries ($ 10), and bacon and caramelized onion pizza ($ 18).. The half pound burger ($ 18) and mother of all burgers ($ 24) use Angus beef, and come with truffled gouda.

Hot Buns and Thunder Balls
39 Syed Alwi Rd, Vagabond Hotel, Singapore 207630
T: +65 6291 6677
12pm-3pm, 7pm-midnight

bar-vagabond-homeTaking over the space of 5th Quarter, Hot Buns and Thunder Balls serves Asian-inspired burgers such as Slow Burn ($ 22, dark soy and spiced braised Iberico pork belly) and Sexy Indian ($ 18, chicken tikka). The namesake, Thunder Balls ($ 10),  is a dessert of ice cream and dried glutinous rice dumpling balls with a choice of filling.

74 Amoy St Singapore 069893
T: +65 6221 9928
11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10pm

15894344_1632718577030222_4648101517071324219_nK-Tower serves the latest fad to hit Korea, a stacked 9-tier seafood, steamed in a tower. The juices trickle down, accumulating in a hot pot. A 3-tier, which includes lobster, costs $ 88; 5-tier $ 188; 7-tier $ 288; and 9-tier $ 388.

25 Dempsey Road #01-04 Singapore 249670
T: +65 6266 3822
T-Th 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm, F & Sat 12pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm, Sun 10.30am-3pm

16266056_1323889984323604_7630702532601882917_nThe 4 year-old Morsels has shifted to Dempsey. Chef Petrina Loh serves small plates, highlighted by Asian accents.

Numazu Uogashizushi
100 Tras Street, 100am #03-K1, Singapore 079027
T: +65 6444 0868
11am-3pm, 5.30m-10pm

15202775_1176109342471197_3765653190972678779_nHousing 5 restaurants, Itadakimasu by PARCO is another Japanese food enclave like Japan Food Town and Emporium Shokuhin.  What is special about Numazu Uogashizushi among the 5 restaurants is that it is established in 1979, and it is one of the few sushi restaurants to have limited auction rights at Numazu Fish Market in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Okinawa Dining
07 River Valley Road, #01-57 UE Square, Singapore 238275
T: +65 6735 2212
Sun-Th 6pm-11.45pm, F & Sat 6pm-1am

15800098_214605718999649_8698971701991326617_oTaking over the space of En Dining, Okinawa Dining is by the same people behind Tsukada Nojo and Yonpachi Gyojo.

One Night Only
397 River Valley Road Singapore
T: +65 6235 1248
T-F 12pm-1pm, Weekends 9am-10pm

15977144_166168913784219_5173762008908288219_nTaking over the space of Tony Pizza, the people behind Muchachos and The Daily Cut have opened a diner serving American favorites such as catfishchicken-fried steak ($ 27), Nashville hot chicken ($ 21), and buttermilk fried chicken ($ 19.50). If you can’t find the shop, look for the neon signage that says “Applause.”

Ramen Atelier
2 Science Park Drive, #01-34 Ascent, Singapore 118222
T: +65 9008 3614
M-F 12pm-3pm, closed weekends

15732008_1628834620753407_8633424105288168094_oTrained in French cuisine, Chef-owner Andrew Ng uses French culinary techniques for ramen.

Sea Tripod Seafood Paradise
331 New Bridge Road, #01-02 Dorsett Residence, Singapore 088764
T: +65 6444 9266

15940568_237081063398308_4906930732688234010_nSeafood Tripod is a Chinese fine-dining restaurant, specializing in steamed seafood. The seafood is steamed in front of you, and you can put porridge below the steamer, so the porridge collects the essence of the seafood. There are sets which go for $ 58 (2 pax) to $ 588 (8 pax). Recommended: Australian jade tiger abalone ($ 18) and Scotland bamboo clam ($ 10).

Seven7h Cucina
275 Thomson Road, #01-02 Novena Regency, Singapore 307690
T: +65 6493 2134
11am-4pm, 5pm-10.30pm

15036575_1804935493112288_860027521556550328_nThe halalcertified Italian restaurant is managed by chef-owner Firdauz Nasir who was formerly the Executive Chef of the Arteastiq group of restaurants. Their signatures include Creation Pizza Burg (angus beef patty encrusted with pizza dough and served with truffle fries), fermented tapioca, bresaola beef cured in-house, and leg of lamb.


Big Fish Small Fish
10 Tebing Lane, Punggol East Park, Singapore 828836

img_1492Big Fish Small Fish is in one of the seven cargo containers in Punggol. It serves fish and chips with a choice of dip: tartar sauce, or mozzarella cheese dip, or homemade XO mayo. You can choose the type of fish you want, from the cheapest dory ($ 6.90) to the most expensive, fresh red snapper ($ 15.90). Full review.

House of AnLi
163 Tanglin Road, #03-17 Tanglin Mall, Singapore 247933
T: +65 6235 3851

16143859_1403358873050270_8442298244844511029_oHouse of Anli is an interior home decor furniture shop which has opened a cafe-bistro recently. They use fresh produce, including New Zealand organic eggs.

Leung Kee Healthy Dessert
10 Tebing Lane, Punggol East Park, Singapore 828836

img_1477One of the seven new cargo containers at Punggol East Park, Leung Kee serves Chinese desserts.

Salt & Delight
9 Yio Chu Kang Road #01-02 Singapore 545523
T: +65 6909 0140
T-F 11am-7pm, Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 2pm-6pm

14114909_1590394057928939_2988460639719847742_oSalt & Delight is a hole-in-the-wall cake boutique cafe with limited seating; more a takeaway shop than a cafe. They specialize in entremets, cakes with many layers of mousse and sponge. 2 Degrees North Coffee Co supplies their caffeine.

Seoul Good
10 Tebing Lane, Punggol East Park, Singapore 828836

15994358_1837290533219617_3766892996834119454_oSeoul Good is situated in one of the seven cargo containers in Punggol. It serves bingsu, coffee, and Korean fried chicken.

Tachihara Coffee
9 Raffles Boulevard, # 01-97 / 98 Millenia Walk, Millenia Walk, 039596
T: +65 6337 3575

Pullman Bakery (previously known as Tachihara Bakery) first started in Hokkaido in 1978. There are 3 outlets in Japan and 1 in Singapore. Now, just beside Pullman Bakery, they opened a cafe called Tachihara Coffee.


Boost @ Banks
10 Tebing Lane, Punggol East Park, Singapore 828836

One of the seven new cargo containers at Punggol East Park, Boost@Banks is a bar.

L’Chiam Bistro
10 Tebing Lane, Punggol East Park, Singapore 828836

Currently, L’Chiam Bistro serves only drinks, but it intends to serve homecooked Peranakan food by one of the partners’ mother, and once it’s sold out for the day, it’s out. L’Chiam Bistro is housed in one of the shipping containers in Punggol.

52A Amoy Street Singapore 069878
T: +65 8869 6520
6pm-12am, closed Sun

15621783_933625793404306_3993080591793780873_nFounded by Vijay Mudaliar (formerly of Operation Dagger), Native is thus named because the cocktails use regional and exotic ingredients such as turmeric, tapioca, fish eggs, and ants.

Pixy Bar and Cuisine
16 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-01 Singapore 238965
T: +65 9171 7682
6pm-12pm, closed Sun

Pump Station 1965
10 Tebing Lane, Punggol East Park, Singapore 828836
T: +65 9459 7703

img_1475One of the seven new cargo containers at Punggol East Park, Pump Station 1965 is a bar that serves finger food and mains like beef pasta ($ 14.90), beef stew ($ 14.90), and dong po pork belly ($ 12.90, with rice $ 14.90).

WTF Coffee House & Bar
11 Penang Lane, Innotel Hotel, Singapore 238485
T: +65 6545 4818

16195926_365440117165378_724566226225393410_nA coffee house by day, a sports bar screening English Premier League by night, WTF serves pastas, sandwiches, pizzas, and an affordable barachirashi don at $ 15.90++.


BAP Korean Food
321 Alexandra Road, Alexandra Central Mall #01-01, Singapore 169971

Although this is a comfortable restaurant setting, it’s self-service Korean chap chye png. You get to choose 3 side dishes with rice from $ 9.50 to $ 15.

Burger Buddies
1 Cantonment Road, Essen at the Pinnacle #01-01, Singapore 080001
T: +65 6727 6066

15894285_239583396467848_8105449955311057301_nA stall in a food court, Burger Buddies uses freshly ground meat for the patties. They have unique burgers like lamb burger and duck burger with orange wedges. 

Coffee Break @ Savourworld, Ascent
2 Science Park Drive, Ascent #01-28, Singapore 118222
T: +65 8100 6218

16002789_1680440115303126_549411455933835793_nThe coffee stall at Amoy Street Food Centre has opened an offshoot at Ascent which has limited seating in a kopitiam setting. They are known for their kaya and butter toast with coffee but they have come up with creative drinks like butter pecan latte ($ 3.80).

Enaq the Prata Shop
Blk 21 21 Ghim Moh Road Singapore 270021

The popular Jurong prata shop has opened an outlet at Ghim Moh; it is a restaurant setting. This is their central kitchen where they make their own dough and deliver it to the Jurong outlet.

Goruden Singapore
31 Lower Kent Ridge Road, NUS Yusof Ishak House, Central Square Level 2, Singapore 119078
M-F 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-3pm

15894753_1844771439099467_2424430724432745650_nA stall in a school canteen, Goruden offers quite a range from wraps and salads to basmati rice and pasta. Their signatures are their burgers, which have fillings like pulled pork, crispy pork and grilled chicken.

Le Bouillon
24 Raffles Place #B1-01/10 Clifford Centre, Stall 13 @ Food Emporium, Singapore 048621
M-F 8am-7pm, Sat 8am-3pm

Operating as a stall in a food court, Le Bouillon serves affordable French food with many items below $ 10.

The Wanton Mee Co. by 88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist
153 Tyrwhitt Road Singapore 207566

88 Hong Kong Roast Meat is known to serve one of the best sio bak in Singapore. They now have a new stall beside it: The Wanton Mee Co, which dishes out, well, wanton mee.

You may be interested in…
New Openings in Jan 2017: 24 Restaurants, 15 Cafes, 5 Takeaway Shops, 3 Bars, and 4 Hawkers

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PHOTO CREDIT: Photos of Burger Buddies, Coffee Break, eGrill, Goruden, Half Pound, House of AnLi, K-Tower, Morsels, Native, Numazu Uogashizushi, Okinawa, One Night Only, Ramen Atelier, Salt & Delight, Sea Tripod, Seoul Good, Seven7h, WTF are taken from their facebook pages. Photo of D’Grill is taken by Ishabel Low. Photo of Hot Buns is taken from their website. Photo of Don Meijin is provided by them.

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Hawkers Are Heroes. Praise Them as We Should.

tigerbeer-charkwayteowHawkers are heroes because they define our national identity, they create our heritage and culture, and they make us miss Singapore. Whenever I go overseas for a long time, and return to Singapore, the first dish that I eat upon touchdown is always, always bak chor mee—never any fine-dining restaurants—because you can’t find BCM anywhere else in the world.

It is well known that hawkers work very hard. Some of them open at 6a.m. Most of them remain open on weekends and public holidays while we sleep in and conveniently take a walk to the nearest coffeeshop to eat brunch. We often sing praises of diligent people. So why aren’t we singing praises of our hardworking hawkers?

Furthermore, our hawkers have put Singapore on the map for being the first to receive a Michelin star for street food. They work hard to provide us with affordable and tasty food, without expecting anything in return.

tigerbeer-chickenriceIn April, Tiger Beer launched its Street Food Movement that showcases three of our very own hawkers in three short films. Now into the second phase of the movement, Tiger Beer is back with two new films that bring to life the heartfelt stories of our unsung heroes, reminding us to show appreciation not just to our beloved local street food, but also to the ones behind them – our hawkers.

In the first film, Mdm Wong Li Er is not merely a hawker selling food to earn a living; she’s also giving out free food to the needy that live around the Pek Kio area where her stall Cambridge Rd. Hong Kong Roast Pork is located. She says, “I don’t have many skills, so I use food to give back to society and the needy. It’s the best I can do. When I see smiles on their faces, it brings me so much happiness.” This is what a hero is.

tigerbeer-claypotriceBeing a hawker is not a glamorous occupation, they work ceaselessly, and tirelessly, and yet few people have shown appreciation for their craft and effort into sustaining and keeping our local street food heritage vibrant.

It takes a hero to recognize another hero. Tiger Beer’s Street Food Movement now urges us to show our gratitude to these unsung heroes. Post a photo of your favourite street food or hawker with your “thank you” messages on Facebook or Instagram, using the hashtag #uncagestreetfood. For all that our hawkers do, it’s time to say thank you.

tiger-beer-popiahApart from expressing your appreciation through “thank you” messages on social media, you can also be a hero by having a Tiger Beer to accompany your favourite street food! Or have it as part of your snacking routine with the limited edition Nasi Lemak Sambal Flavoured Nuts – a collaboration between homegrown brands Camel Nuts and Tiger Beer.

camel-nasi-lemak-sambal-flavoured-nutsThe savoury nibbles come with every purchase of two 500ml cans of Tiger Beer at select convenience stores, while stocks last.

For more information on Tiger Beer’s street food movement, please log on to Tiger Beer Singapore’s website and Facebook page.

Written by Photo credit to Tiger Beer.

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Ho Guan Satay Bee Hoon: Pioneer Generation Hawkers!

Cuttlefish Kangkong

Satay Beehoon and cuttlefish kangkong belong to that category of hawker food which may be best described as “niche”.  Some hawker dishes like chicken rice, roti prata and carrot cake are so much a part of the Singaporean identity that one really cannot be considered a true blue Singaporean if you have tried these dishes in your life. (Ok lah, vegans excepted) But I am very sure that there will be some readers here who have never eaten Satay Beehoon before, right?

Satay Beehoon

The origins of Satay Beehoon are rather sketchy.  All we know is that it is a Teochew dish and it has been around for a while.  We do know of satay beehoon stalls which can trace their history back to the 50’s, but no one seems to have any idea of how it came to be.

It probably wasn’t brought to Singapore by migrants from Chaoshan.  (That part of China where we Teochews came from) In fact, the opposite is true.  According to Wikipedia, migrants from Nanyang (South East Asia) actually brought back the idea of satay sauce which became what is now known as 沙茶醬 shāchá jiàng.  However, the Chinese version of the sauce doesn’t contain peanuts but has dried shrimps instead.  I think they must have confused satay sauce with hae bee hiam, because the list of ingredients for 沙茶醬 bears closer resemblance to hae bee hiam which is a condiment made from fried shallots, garlic, chilli and dried shrimp.

So how did Satay Beehoon come to be?  Who is this mysterious Teochew man who came up with the idea of pouring satay sauce over beehoon, cockles and cuttlefish?  Why is this Teochew Ah Hia (Teochew man) even using satay sauce when satay is traditionally associated with the Hainanese?


Here is my theory.  I think that Satay Bee Hoon probably evolved from cuttlefish kangkong.  The two dishes are quite similar and uses some common ingredients.  Perhaps there was a certain Teochew hawker selling cuttlefish kangkong who was located next to a Hainanese Satay Man and along came a customer who ordered both dishes and started to pour the satay sauce over his cuttlefish kangkong which slowly started a trend?  It’s only my own theory, but it sounds quite plausible doesn’t it?

Anyway, I was alerted to this dear old couple who is selling satay beehoon at Changi Village Food Centre.  My friend, who is a satay beehoon connoisseur, tells me that he has been going round Singapore tasting at all the satay beehoon stall until he finally found that old school flavour at this stall.

The couple has selling food at Changi Village since the food centre opened over 40 years ago.  They had been selling economic rice for over thirty years but recently changed to Satay Beehoon as it was less labour intensive.  The secret to their satay sauce is freshly ground spices and peanuts which they spend hours cooking over a slow fire.  Their satay sauce is less sweet than other places and is pretty potent, although my personal preference is for it to be a tad sweeter.  4.25/5



Old school satay bee hoon prepared by a Pioneer Generation couple!  If you are a fan of satay beehoon, it behooves you to make a pilgrimage to Changi Village to see if this will trigger a flashback to the 50’s!

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Hong Heng Fried Sotong Mee: Michelin Guide Hawkers!

Hokkien Mee

The Michelin Guide has put Singapore’s hawker food on the world gastronomy map with the announcement of 2 One Michelin Star Hawkers this week, viz Hillstreet Tai Hwa Bak Chor Mee and Hong Kong Soy Sauce Chicken.  Now we can boast that Singapore is the cheapest place in the world where you can eat at a Michelin Star establishment!  Two dollars!  Yes $ 2 is all you need to eat a Michelin Star meal!

When I published “The End of Char Kway Teow” in 2010, my intention was to “glamorise” hawker food so we Singaporeans might realise the uniqueness of our own cuisine and not take it for granted. Having spoken to so many hawkers, I realised back then, that most of our hawkers are due to retire with not enough young hawkers wanting to take over the wok.  Most young aspiring chefs want to cook French cuisine and eschew local food which is often seen as “low class”.  Thus, “The End of Char Kway Teow” was meant to sound the alarm that unless we do something soon, there might not be a Char Kway Teow worth eating in the future!

Now that our hawker food has officially been anointed by the Michelin inspectors are food worthy to be placed alongside the best cuisines in the world, I am hoping that it will motivate more young Singaporeans who are planning to go into the food trade to cook Singapore food rather than some foreign cuisine.

Young aspiring chefs now have a role model in Malcolm Lee of Candlenut who, at 32, has managed to earn himself a Michelin Star and put Peranakan cuisine on the world stage.  Like most young chefs, he had dreams of becoming a Western chef, but his passion for his own heritage,  inspired by his mother and grandmother, pushed him to discover his roots. To me, the message is very clear — if you are a Singaporean cooking Singapore food, you will stand a better chance of winning a Michelin Star then if you try to compete with all the other French Chefs of the world!

Interview with our two Michelin Star Hawkers right after the announcement of the awards.  Congrats to Mr Tang Chay Seng, 70 of Hillstreet Tai Hwa Bak Chor Mee, and Mr Chan of Hong Kong Soy Sauce Chicken.

Earlier, the announcement of the “Bib Gourmand” awardees caught many by surprise, not least Manfred Lim, the man behind the wok at Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee.  The Bib Gourmand is usually regarded as those stalls which are just shy of winning a Michelin Star but are still providing really good food for less than $ 45.

The social media was abuzz with Singaporeans expressing their disagreement with some of the awardees.  This is not unexpected as we Singaporeans are really passionate about our food,  and when we know that there are stalls that are far better than what the inspectors picked, we just need to “let go” some steam!  After all, what do these foreign inspectors know about hawker food anyway?

I have quite a different take on this.  I don’t see the list of 2 Michelin Star and 17 Bib Gourmand hawkers as a comprehensive list of all the best hawker food in Singapore.  After all, I have been doing reviews for a decade already and I have yet to cover all the best hawkers myself!  Bear in mind that there are 6500 hawkers in the NEA run hawker centres and another 10,000 stalls in coffeeshops, cafeterias and food courts.  So 19 is just a mere 0.1% of all the hawkers and I am quite sure the inspectors don’t have the resources to try them all.

Of course, I don’t expect that the inspectors will know as much about local food as we do but what they have is the vast experience of eating from some of the best restaurants from all over the world.  So, when they assess our hawker dishes, they are grading it according to the best foods that they have eaten in Japan, Europe and the US.  That,  to me, is HUGE!  Because it says to me that our hawkers are able to cook up a dish that is comparable with the best in the world and if some of the ones they picked are what we regard as just average, then wait till they get round to the other gems!  We should be looking forward to more Michelin star hawkers in next year’s edition!

The inclusion of Hong Heng Fried Sotong Mee in the Bib Gourmand list came as quite a surprise to a lot of people.  Not least to myself who have written extensively about the dish.  I thought that I had every famous Hokkien Mee covered already, but instead of picking the really famous ones like Geylang Lor 29 Hokkien Mee Nam Sing Hokkien Mee, or any of the five most famous hokkien mee stalls, they picked one that has escaped my foodie radar for the last ten years!

It turns out that Hong Heng has been around for as long as Tiong Bahru market and food centre has existed and has its fair share of fans.  Manfred is a third generation hawker who took over from his mum who in turned took over from another relative.  He is an unassuming man in his early forties who was himself surprised to have been won the award!

I felt that the fried Hokkien Mee was well fried and it has all the elements of a good Hokkien Mee, viz, the noodles have been given adequate frying time such that they are nicely charred before the stock is added and they still include some slices of pork belly to the dish.  However, I have to admit that like most Singaporeans, I felt that there are other Hokkien Mee stalls which are more worthy of the award.  That is not to say that they don’t deserve it.  I am very happy that Manfred’s dedication to his craft is finally gaining recognition.  All I am saying is that, if Hong Heng can get a Bib Gourmand Award, then we should be seeing more Hokkien Mee stalls in next year’s edition of the Michelin Guide! 4/5


Many people have been expressing their concerns about long queues, lowering of standards and increased prices of the award winners.  I too have these concerns.  However, do spare a thought for the hawkers who have laboured so long to provide cheap and good food for us.  Let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture and ask not how the Michelin Guide will affect you,  but ask how it will benefit the hawkers, the chefs and Singapore as a whole. We have the ambition to become the culinary centre of Asia and this is a significant milestone along the path to that goal. Let’s consider how the Michelin Stars might play a part in preserving our hawker heritage in the long term rather than how it will affect our own pockets and conveniences in the short term.  This is our hawkers’ finest hour, let’s not rob them of their well deserved honour!

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