National Day 2020: Tastemakers Share Their Favourite Local Food in Singapore and Where They Get it
Loh Lik Peng
“For me, it has to be Eurasian food. It is now very hard to find genuine Eurasian food like Devils Curry or Feng. A great pity because a whole generation of young Singaporeans will not get to sample this most quintessential of Singapore cuisines. It is a great loss because when I was growing up it was still quite possible to go to a restaurant to have Eurasian food but now it's extremely rare to see these dishes. Fortunately, our Peranakan sector remains strong and vibrant but sadly Eurasian food is slowly disappearing from our culinary lexicon.”
“If I were to choose one [favourite hawker] dish, it would have to be bak chor mee! My favourite place in Singapore would be Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle at Crawford Lane. It’s special because it is still made by either Mr Tang, the owner, or his chef whom I believe has been with him for over 10 years. Every time I visit the stall, the quality [of the food remains] so consistent. I love the way you have so many different textures and tastes from the crunchy fried sole fish to the melt in your mouth liver and the springy mee pok. Top that all off with some glorious chilli and vinegar, and it’s a match made in heaven and so unique to Singapore.”
“I love hawker food! If I had to choose a favourite, then fried Hokkien mee it is! I also enjoy visiting the In Good Company store at Jewel Changi Airport—it also features another local brand I really like: Birds of Paradise. That gelato is delicious!”
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"I’m a huge foodie so I’m always on the lookout for new makan places to eat. One of my favourite dishes is Nasi Ambeng because it’s a platter of the most colourful and flavourful dishes that you can get in one sitting—and it’s a fun way to eat because you share it with people, you don’t eat it alone. It’s a very ‘togetherness’ kind of dish. I used to go to the Ambeng Cafe by Ummi Abdullah but it recently closed. Pu3 Restaurant [02-20, 111 Somerset] is very good, too."
“My favourite dishes have to be my dad’s Hokkien mee, and my mom’s clay pot rice. To me, dad (Mervin Wee), mom (Jean Yip) and my aunt (Dawn Yip) are the best cooks. The food is delicious, they use the freshest ingredients, and most of all they prepare it with love.”
“My favourite heritage pastry store is Tong Heng, where they sell these fantastic diamond-shaped egg tarts. I realised that they did a full rebranding across their brand mark. It looks really great and brought the brand into this era.”
“Food is a unique component of Singapore's society—especially hawker fare from the various ethnic groups. Many have attained Unesco status and not without reason! So it’s a tad difficult to go below the radar. But after much thought, one of them has to be the Indian thosai, paper-thin or otherwise, served with vegetarian condiments and more. I wash it all down with Indian ginger milk tea.”
Beppe De Vito
“My wife, Lynn, is such a big supporter of local dishes so she introduces me to a wide variety of local food. Maybe the most under the radar item that I have been exposed to recently would be dry laksa by her godmother, Melina Yong. We’re used to taking laksa with soup, but her godma has perfected the dry version and since then we have only had the dry version of it because it’s less heavy and more intense in flavours. Commercially, Violet Oon does a great one.”
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“My favourite food is white chicken rice because it's hearty, comforting and filling; I like to get my fix from Fook Seng Goldenhill Chicken Rice and Tong Fong Fatt Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice. I love having it with lots of chilli and ginger. I also enjoy bak chor mee—I love noodles in general because it's something I grew up eating almost every lunch. I usually get my bak chor mee from Block 58 in Lengkok Bahru. Other favourites of mine are yong tau foo, beef ball noodles and laksa from Sungei Road.”
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"My favourite local dish is satay bee hoon and I usually get my fix from Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon or Bak Kee. I actually love to do it at home except it’s too much work!"