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Out of sight, out of mind. We clicked our heels thrice and found these along the forgotten Yellow Brick Road. Abacus yam beads Also known as ‘suan pan zi’, this traditional Hakka snack combines mashed steamed yam with tapioca flour to give it its chewy texture before it’s tossed in shallots, Chinese mushrooms and dried prawns.This one’s strictly for taro lovers, and starts at $3.50 for a plate. TRY IT AT Mei Zhen Hakka Delicacies (#02-26 Shunfu Mart Food Centre, 320 Shunfu Rd. Wed-Sun 7.30am-2pm). Cabbage kueh This traditional Teochew kueh’s a real find: for $1.10, dig into chunks of diced cabbage, mushrooms, pork and hae bi, gently salted and encased in a chewy, translucent kueh skin. These babies are built from scratch daily on floured counters in the open kitchen, and sell out fast on weekends – so go early. TRY IT AT Yong’s Teochew Kueh (1022 Upper Serangoon Rd. Daily 7am-5pm). Kueh bong kong 'Kueh bong what?' we hear you cry. This Nonya snack is kueh in its most Platonic form: it’s made from rice and tapioca flour, coconut milk and palm sugar, then wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. Make sure to call before heading down to Glory Catering – its kueh bong kong’s ($1.80) only available after mid-afternoon. TRY IT AT Glory Catering (139 East Coast Rd. Daily 10am-7.30pm). Read our conversation with six modern Singaporean hawkers who are cooking up a storm in the local kopitiam scene.
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Step into the ryokan-inspired interiors of the refurbished Hashida Sushi Singapore and you might feel a little intimidated. But don’t be. Because Chef Kenjiro ‘Hatch’ Hashida is no stern shokuhin – he’s more likely to crack a joke as he moulds a flawless piece of nigiri before you. The sushi joint, now expanded to seat 35 across three dining rooms, offers sterling Edomae-style sushi alongside modern interpretations of traditional Japanese dishes. And, yes, it’s omakase only: lunch ranges from $80 to $250 while dinner will set you back $350 or $500.
SQUE Kitchen and Alehouse (Mapletree Business City)
The second branch of this casual bistro keeps true to the chef Emmanuel Stroobant-owned brand’s recipe: laid-back, rustic and perfect for post-work drinks. The menu is as fuss-free as you’d expect. Pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, burgers and salads start from $12, while a finger food section – calamari rings, fries, and the like – begins at $8.50. If you’re there as a large group, go for SQUE Platter ($98), which packs in spring chicken, pork knuckle, pork ribs and a trio of sausages. Ten types of draft beer ($9-$14.95/half-pint, $14.80-$21.95/pint) run the gamut from Singha to Guinness to rarer London Prides and Benediktiner Dunkels. And, if you’re the kind who thinks beer bloats you up, a glass of wine or Prosecco will set you back about $16.
The Other Room
Dario Knox, the mastermind behind the drinks programme at tapas joint FOC, launches this intimate speakeasy that’s super serious about its spirits and cocktails. For one, you’ll find no labels on the bottles here. That’s because each liquor – rum, whisky, moonshine, what-have-you – and its many expressions have been aged and finished in casks by Knox himself. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but take it from us and order a flight of your favourite poison (each 15ml pour is cask-finished differently), suss out the one you love most, then ask for cocktail recommendations. Even if you’re just there for one tipple, The Other Room’s exhaustive cocktail list covers all the standards. But trust us and carve out a few hours for the full experience.
Before its six months are up, head to the pop-up sake bar at Japan Food Town to sip on the Dassai brand of rice wine. The bar seats 25 and features premium junmai daiginjo sake – Dassai 50 ($88/720ml), Dassai 39 ($15-$114), Dassai 23 ($25-$194) and Dassai Beyond ($170-$1,100) – served in wine glasses so that drinkers can better appreciate the colour of the sake.
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