The most hipster versions of local food

Popular hawker food that has been given a pretentious makeover 

The most hipster versions of local food
The most hipster versions of local food
12 Jul 2017

The most hipster versions of local food

Don’t we all love twists? Be it in movies, novels and even our food.

The growth of Modern Singapore (or Mod-Sin) cuisine has been remarkable in recent years. A rising generation of chefs is redefining and revitalising local cuisine through new cooking techniques, a bold mix of flavours, and innovative presentation methods, while retaining the familiar taste of our favourite hawker food.

And now even McDonald’s has jumped on the “Mod-Sin” bandwagon with its latest offerings: spruced up renditions of local favourites such as nasi lemak and chendol.

One of the menu items is the nasi lemak burger, which consists of a juicy chicken thigh patty, fried egg, caramelised onions, cucumber slices, topped with sambal sauce. Every bite is an explosion of flavours from the tender, lemak-infused patty to the crunchy cucumber slices and sweet, spicy sambal. Our only gripe is that it didn’t come with ikan bilis because what is nasi lemak without fried anchovies?

If you want to go full local, finish off the meal with the crispy coconut pie, a delectable dessert oozing with coconut filling and chewy nata de coco bits, or chendol ice cream cone, which comes served on a chendol infused into the vanilla cone. Pro tip: Dip the hot coconut pie in the chendol ice cream for an even more mind blowing experience.

Launched in conjunction with the Singapore Food Festival, McDonald’s limited edition menu will be available from today (July 13).

If you are still hungry for more, read on for more eateries where you can find popular, local dishes that have been given a tantalising makeover.

Frisée Salad with Crispy Muah Chee from Sinpopo
Frisée Salad with Crispy Muah Chee from Sinpopo
12 Jul 2017

Frisée Salad with Crispy Muah Chee from Sinpopo

Think of this as Caesar salad with a twist. But instead of croutons, the refreshing salad comes tossed with battered muah chee, which gives the dish a crunchy, chewy texture. Served with shimeiji mushrooms and seaweed, and topped with cheese and garlic hollandaise sauce, give the salad a good mix so you get a wonderful balance of sweet and savoury with every bite.

Photo: Sinpopo

Beef Rendang Nachos from Slake
Beef Rendang Nachos from Slake
26 Jun 2016

Beef Rendang Nachos from Slake

Beef rendang is a meat stew slow-cooked in coconut milk and ground spices, and is usually served with steamed rice. A reflection of Singapore’s multicultural society, Slake’s Beef Rendang Nachos is a colourful dish comprising hefty chunks of beef and toppings including edamame (boiled green soybeans), cherry tomatoes and pomegranate seeds. Now, you may forget about pairing your chips with plain old nacho cheese.

Run by the same owner, Dusk by Slake, located at hipster dining venue Timbre+, reinvents nasi lemak into a Japanese hand roll. Designed to offer a “full nasi lemak experience in bite-sized format”, the temaki constitutes homemade otah, egg, anchovies, peanuts, cucumber and sambal mayonnaise. It is cute, convenient and tastes almost similar to the real thing.

Slake
15 Swan Lake Avenue, Singapore 455711

Dusk by Slake
73A Ayer Rajah Crescent, #01-22, Singapore 139957

Photo:  Veronica Phua via Burpple

Char Siew and Roast Pork Donburi from Bazuka Yakibuta
Char Siew and Roast Pork Donburi from Bazuka Yakibuta
26 Jun 2016

Char Siew and Roast Pork Donburi from Bazuka Yakibuta

Our favourite sio bak and char siew receive Japanese treatment at Bazuka Yakibuta. You may choose a Combi bowl to enjoy the best of both worlds or you can opt for a Single rice bowl. Each bowl is filled with tender meat with crackling crunch and/or glossy slices of caramelised pork, as well as Japanese rice, pickled carrots and cucumbers, and generous serving of hae bee hiam (dried shrimp sambal). Enhance your experience by adding an onsen egg – mix the runny yolk into the rice and meat before sending the spoonful of goodness into your mouth. Oishii!

Bazuka Yakibuta
1 Kim Seng Promenade, #B1-12A, Great World City, Singapore 237994
One Raffles Place, #B1-06, Singapore 048616

Photo: Bazuka Yakibuta's Facebook 

Har Jeong Kai Burger from Sinpopo Brand
Har Jeong Kai Burger from Sinpopo Brand
26 Jun 2016

Har Jeong Kai Burger from Sinpopo Brand

Established by the team behind Awfully Chocolate and Everything with Fries, Sinpopo Brand celebrates all things local. One of the menu highlights is the Har Jeong Kai Burger whose description reads: “The best selling chicken burger from Everything with Fries, so good that we had to replicate it here.” Yup.

Har Jeong Kai, also known as prawn paste chicken, is a popular zi char dish consisting of deep-fried chicken wings that are coated with fermented prawn paste. With the reincarnation of Har Jeong Kai into a burger patty, you can enjoy the same sumptuous taste without dealing with bones. The patty is so thick (but tender) that it can barely fit in the toasted buns. Sinpopo’s version is so good that we daresay it triumphs over the original.

Sinpopo Brand
458 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427671 

Photo: Sinpopo 

Yam Ring with Poached Egg from Ding Dong
Yam Ring with Poached Egg from Ding Dong
12 Jul 2017

Yam Ring with Poached Egg from Ding Dong

The yam ring, a zi char favourite, gets an atas makeover at Ding Dong. The yam is deep fried till crispy on the outside, while the inside remains moist and creamy, with a hint of five-spice powder. Cut the poached egg and let the runny yolk seep into the yam to add richness to the dish.

Photo: Ding Dong

Crispy Caramel Anchovies from Timbre
Crispy Caramel Anchovies from Timbre
26 Jun 2016

Crispy Caramel Anchovies from Timbre

When the crux of nasi lemak is no longer nasi (rice). Famous for its Roasted Duck Pizza, Timbre recently launched a new menu item called Crispy Caramel Anchovies, which is in fact the rebirth of nasi lemak in pizza form. Sauteed red onions, melted mozzarella cheese, julienne-cut cucumber and aioli make up the pizza toppings. The secret to the surprisingly well-matched flavours lies in the sambal base and caramelised anchovies which yield a comforting familiarity and tastiness.

Click here for a list of Timbre outlets.

Photo: Timbre's Facebook
 

Bak Chor Foie Gras Pasta from redpan
Bak Chor Foie Gras Pasta from redpan
13 Jul 2017

Bak Chor Foie Gras Pasta from redpan

A brainchild of homegrown architecture firm DP Architects and young culinary company GRUB, redpan marries design and food through creative interpretations of modern dishes, with a spotlight on local ingredients and familiar flavours. Amongst its list of exciting menu items is the Bak Chor Mee Foie Gras Pasta, a gussied up version of one of Singapore's favourite hawker food. Though the vinegar taste, that is associated with bak chor mee, was sorely missed, the fragrant stewed minced pork and slabs of tender seared pork belly and foie gras more than made up for it.

redpan
6 Raffles Boulevard, #02-03/04, Marina Square, Singapore 039594

Photo: redpan's Facebook

Poached Chicken Sushi from Lepark
Poached Chicken Sushi from Lepark
26 Jun 2016

Poached Chicken Sushi from Lepark

Locating Lepark may be a little tricky, but you will be rewarded with a Instagram-worthy view of Chinatown and trendy culinary creations once you get here. Nothing spells Singapore like chicken rice. At Lepark, the succulent poached chicken sits atop a bite-sized portion of flavourful rice. After sprinkling some savoury garlic chilli, a seaweed strip wraps the delicious package. For those who work in the vicinity, this bistro can be your ideal after-work spot to lepak one corner.

Lepark
1 Park Rd, #06-00, People's Park Complex, 059108

Photo: Lepark's Facebook
 

Hainanese Chicken Bread from Crown Bakery & Cafe
Hainanese Chicken Bread from Crown Bakery & Cafe
26 Jun 2016

Hainanese Chicken Bread from Crown Bakery & Cafe

A classic dish made into an epic bread. Crafted from chicken soup, skinless chicken thigh, garlic, ginger and shallots, the Hainanese Chicken Bread is an avant garde interpretation of the classic dish. As the chicken soup is simmered for 12 hours, the essence of it is locked within the dough which also boasts a texture that hits the right note. The bread even had chicken chunks in it and comes with chilli sauce as a dip – there is nothing not to loaf about this.

Crown Bakery & Cafe
557 Bukit Timah Road, #01-03, Crown Centre, Singapore 269694

Photo: Crown Bakery & Cafe

Chilli Crab Linguine from Habitat Coffee
Chilli Crab Linguine from Habitat Coffee
26 Jun 2016

Chilli Crab Linguine from Habitat Coffee

Despite competition from the numerous cafes that have sprouted along Upper Thomson Road, Habitat Coffee remains strong and steady largely due to its consistent food standards. Here, the world-famous chilli crab gets a spinoff and is transformed into a pasta dish.

While there are several places offering chilli crab linguine, Habitat Coffee’s rendition stands out for its depth – though the homemade sauce is spicy, you can taste tinges of sweet and salty. Also, it comes with generous chunks of crabmeat and fried mantou. After all, what is chilli crab without those golden-brown buns?

Habitat Coffee
223 Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574355
 

Nyonya Chendol Waffle from Shrove Tuesday
Nyonya Chendol Waffle from Shrove Tuesday
26 Jun 2016

Nyonya Chendol Waffle from Shrove Tuesday

These days, waffles come in all forms and flavours. Shrove Tuesday’s Nyonya Chendol Waffle is a fusion of classic dessert and modern favourite. Liberal scoops of rich chendol gelato sit atop glazed buttermilk waffle and are accompanied by azuki beans, green jelly and gula melaka syrup. As the knife cuts through the waffle, you can experience its crispiness even before sending it into your mouth. This is one waffle that would be loved by people of all ages. Another must-try is the Mao Shan Wang Chendol Milkshake, which is thick, creamy and every durian lover's dream come true.

Shrove Tuesday
94 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, #01-32, Singapore 310094

Photos: My Food Story via Burpple
 

Duriancanboleh from The Quarters
Duriancanboleh from The Quarters
26 Jun 2016

Duriancanboleh from The Quarters

From Satay Burger to Curry Favour (grilled chicken and linguine in curry leaf and chilli cream sauce), The Quarters serves Singapore-inspired dishes that marry Eastern and Western culinary elements. The highlight here has to be Duriancanboleh (we love the pun) – crème brûlée made from Mao Shan Wang durian.

It may look like an ordinary crème brûlée, but beneath the caramelised top lays the smooth, luscious custard whose piquant taste swirls in your mouth. Compared to the fruit, the scent of durian is not as pungent and yet the flavour is satisfyingly potent. If you are a durian fan but dislike the lingering smell on your hands after eating the fruit, this is your next best bet to satiate your craving.

The Quarters
16 Enggor Street, #01-09, Icon Village, Singapore 079717 

Photo: The Quarters' Facebook

Pulut Hitam tart and Orh Nee cake from Bloomsbury Bakers
Pulut Hitam tart and Orh Nee cake from Bloomsbury Bakers
26 Jun 2016

Pulut Hitam tart and Orh Nee cake from Bloomsbury Bakers

Tucked away in a row of nondescript shops under a HDB block, Bloomsbury Bakers is a small, cozy outfit whose owners hail from Le Cordon Bleu London. Not only has the confectionery earned a reputation for making pretty dessert tables and fanciful customised cakes, but the owner-bakers are also known for incorporating local flavours into their bakes.

Pulut Hitam is a Nyonya dessert that is made from black glutinous rice and coconut milk, and can be served warm or chilled. At Bloomsbury, the dish is reinterpreted with a French touch and in solid form – chewy pulut hitam and coconut panna cotta are encased in a buttery tart shell and capped with shreds of nougatine.

Similarly, traditional Teochew dessert Orh Nee (yam paste) is given an atas makeover here. The Orh Nee Cake consists of yam filling layered within fluffy vanilla sponge cake and coated with fresh coconut cream. Paying tribute to the original dish, the cake is adorned with candied gingko nuts and toasted coconut flakes to add a crunchy texture. When all components combine, the result is a well-balanced and delectable dessert.

Bloomsbury Bakers
Blk 30, Bendemeer Road, #01-889, Singapore 330030

Photos: Bloomsbury Bakers' Facebook

Heritage Flavours cookies from The Cookie Museum
Heritage Flavours cookies from The Cookie Museum
26 Jun 2016

Heritage Flavours cookies from The Cookie Museum

Apart from gourmet cookies, The Cookie Museum offers a range of local-themed cookies categorised under “Heritage Flavours” including Nasi Lemak, Hae Bee Hiam, Pandan Chiffon and Laksa. The aroma of Laksa attracts you at first bite. As the spiciness kicks in, the cookies get more addictive and you may find it hard to stop yourself from reaching for the pretty box. Besides satisfying your snacking needs, these cookies also make a great gift for overseas business partners or foreign friends.

Click here for a list of The Cookie Museum outlets.

Photo: The Cookie Museum's Facebook 

Related:
9 activities to check out at Singapore Food Festival 2017

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