10 creative takes on familiar foods that are SO extra, yet so Instagrammable

Carrot cake with carbonara sauce, butterfly pea glass noodles, bandung in a cone, and more ways familiar foods have been reinvented

This ain't your grandpa's hawker fare
This ain't your grandpa's hawker fare
14 Nov 2017

This ain't your grandpa's hawker fare

Earlier this month, we paid a visit to Hawkerman, where co-founder Ah Boy gave us a gastronomical tour of the newly-opened restaurant’s three proprietors: Tenderfresh, Warong Kim’s, and Ah Boy Popiah. Housed at the basement of SingPost Centre, which reopened last month, Hawkerman exists to woo young people who have forgone heritage fare for more Instagram-friendly meals. How? By reinventing old favourites to produce creations like Kimslaw (Kimchi coleslaw) with Fried Muah Chee, Ice Cream Popiah (which come in Banana Vanilla, Gong Tang Coconut, and Gula Melaka Coconut), salted egg popiah, carbonara carrot cake, and more.

While purists might bristle at Hawkerman’s unconventional offerings, these innovations are fairly mild compared to other creative takes we’ve spotted around town, such as rainbow prata, blue nasi lemak, and technicolour pasta.

Keep reading to see more.

Pictured above: Hawkerman’s Bao Ka Liao, which contains the aforementioned Kimslaw with Fried Muah Chee, alongside more conventional fare.


Yuan Yang Carrot Cake
Yuan Yang Carrot Cake
14 Nov 2017

Yuan Yang Carrot Cake

Where: Hawkerman

East meets West in Hawkerman’s take on carrot cake, which pairs XO Sauce Carrot Cake with…a carbonara-styled carrot cake with turkey bacon. In case you ever wondered what that would taste like.

On a scale of “creative” to “overdoing it”, this is…
Creative. Sure, carbonara sauce and carrot cake are a bit of an odd couple, but the presence of a more conventional XO sauce carrot cake makes the former easier to swallow.


Rainbow Peking duck
Rainbow Peking duck
14 Nov 2017

Rainbow Peking duck

Where: Kai Garden

Well, this certainly isn’t your run-of-the-mill Peking duck. Kai Garden’s take on the classic Chinese dish is not only served with rice crackers, but it comes with five colourful wraps: original, pumpkin, spinach, beetroot, and bamboo charcoal.

On a scale of “creative” to “overdoing it”, this is….
Creative. When we heard that Peking duck had fallen to the rainbow trend, we fully expected to see tie-dye-patterned wraps – so we’ll give Kai Garden’s Signature Crispy Peking Duck credit for keeping each of them to one colour.

Photo: Kai Garden

Rainbow Pasta
Rainbow Pasta
14 Nov 2017

Rainbow Pasta

Where: Sugarlips

Sugarlips’ rainbow pasta, which is basically cartoon food brought to life, comes in three varieties: Rainbow Duck Pasta, Rainbow Spicy Fish Pasta, and Rainbow Prawn Pasta.

On a scale of “creative” to “overdoing it”, this is….
Scary. This looks more like Play-Doh than pasta. We can’t imagine anyone other than five-year-olds or obsessive foodstagrammers being into this.

Photo: Sugarlips Facebook page

Butterfly pea nasi lemak
Butterfly pea nasi lemak
14 Nov 2017

Butterfly pea nasi lemak

Where: Jia Xiang Nasi Lemak

Move over, millennial pink – butterfly pea blue might just be the hue du jour, judging by often we see foods dyed this colour on our social media feeds. In addition to being photogenic, Jia Xiang’s butterfly pea nasi lemak reportedly tastes extra fragrant.

On a scale of “creative” to “overdoing it”, this is…
Creative. While the use of butterfly pea is nothing new, it looks especially vibrant when nestled against a chicken drumstick and a cheery yellow egg.

Photo: Jia Xiang Nasi Lemak Facebook page

Butterfly pea glass noodles
Butterfly pea glass noodles
14 Nov 2017

Butterfly pea glass noodles

Where: Available for a limited period at Soi Thai Soi Nice in Alexandra Central and Seletar Mall.

Soi Thai Soi Nice has an entire menu dedicated to butterfly pea, which include glass noodles that look like they came straight off the set of Avatar.

On a scale of “creative” to “overdoing it”, this is….
A bit much. Blue rice, tea, and desserts are one thing, but noodles of this colour – perhaps thanks to their stringiness – look like radioactive jellyfish.

Photo: Soi Thai Soi Nice Facebook page

Baked black sesame egg tarts
Baked black sesame egg tarts
14 Nov 2017

Baked black sesame egg tarts

Where: Full of Luck Club
We love egg tarts. We love black sesame. You’d think someone would have figured out earlier that these two are a perfect match, but perhaps the world wasn’t ready to see dan ta go goth.

On a scale of “creative” to “overdoing it”, this is…

Creative. Intimidating as black foods can be, this twist on a Chinese favourite looks melt-in-your-mouth INTENSE.

Photo: Full of Luck Facebook page

Rainbow prata and thosai
Rainbow prata and thosai
14 Nov 2017

Rainbow prata and thosai

Where: Banana Leaf Pork Briyani

It’s official, the rainbow trend has jumped the shark. Sure, the additives set this prata stall apart from the rest, but the sight of these technicolour creations drenched in curry isn’t too appetising (or even Insta-worthy).

On a scale of “creative” to “overdoing it”, this is….
The epitome of extra. We’re all for innovation, but this particular aesthetic flourish seems unnecessary.

Photo: Banana Leaf Pork Briyani Facebook

Bak Chor Mee Grilled Cheese
Bak Chor Mee Grilled Cheese
14 Nov 2017

Bak Chor Mee Grilled Cheese

Where: Loof

As if grilled cheese weren’t already sinful enough, Chef Bjorn Shen had to marry it with bak chor mee. Talk about a cheat day meal.

On a scale of “creative” to “overdoing it”, this is….
Creative. The abundance of carbs and cheese, with the absence of rainbows, makes this the perfect meeting of western and local comfort foods.

Photo: Loof Facebook page

“Nasi Lemak” dessert
“Nasi Lemak” dessert
14 Nov 2017

“Nasi Lemak” dessert

Where: Non Entrée Desserts

Most delicious trolling ever: this dessert, comprised of coconut nasi, pandan mousse, gula melaka sauce, "Kuning fish" onion tulip, salted peanuts, and a hard-boiled egg made of yogurt mango, is a dead ringer for actual nasi lemak.

On a scale of “creative” to “overdoing it”, this is….
All right, this is a LITTLE extra, and would cause some cognitive dissonance, but it’s so meticulously crafted that we can’t help but admire the thought that went into creating it.

Photo: Instagram/@nonentreedesserts

Bandung Babycino
Bandung Babycino
14 Nov 2017

Bandung Babycino

Where: The Coffee Academics

Pink is oh-so-trendy right now. Bandung? Not – unless it’s served hot in a chocolate-coated waffle cone.

On a scale of “creative” to “overdoing it”, this is…
Creative. While we’re pretty sure our parents would scold us for paying $8.90 for some jazzed-up bandung, we’ve got to admit that this presentation gives it some serious hipster cred.

Photo: The Coffee Academics

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