Top 5 brunch places in Singapore


After some time in Singapore, I have grown really fond of brunches. It’s just the perfect way to start off (or continue) a lazy Sunday…

Of course I am not pretending to surpass food bloggers like ladyironchef here, but I thought I’d share with you my top 5 brunch places so far!

1. P.S. Cafe at Ann Siang Hill

Brunch at the counter

P.S. Cafe is well known in Singapore for great quality and healthy food in wonderful settings. I love the one at Ann Siang Hill (just uphill from Club Street), because it is surrounded by a little greenery and the counter area is both simple and sophisticated. All in all, it’s a wonderful place to relax! And their meals are always healthy, with a fresh spinach salad or avocado on the side to green up your brunch! To note that it may be a little pricy for the average budget you might have for brunches.

2. Strictly pancakes

The perfect start to your day if you have a craving for pancake and a little tight budget! Strictly Pancakes is affordable and yummy, and the service team is young and smiling. You may think pancakes are overrated… in which case you can get creative and add on scrambled eggs and bacons! Yes, it may seem like a strange sweet-savoury combination at first but you grow into it 🙂 And they have a good sense of humour too !

Strictly Pancakes

Strictly Pancakes

There are 2 outlets currently in Singapore, one in Siglap and one on Prinsep Street.

3. Group Therapy

One of my favourites too! Located on Duxton Road (lots of good coffee places there!), Group Therapy is not easy to find the first time you go there. You have to spot the sign outside on the ground floor, showing you the way up the stairs, and there you go! A hidden brunch paradise…

Group Therapy

To be honest, at first I was a little put off by the name of this place “Group Therapy“. I found it odd to have a brunch in a “therapy” place! But once you step in, you will love the decor and ambiance here, and their menu is quite long so you’ll be sure to find you perfect brunch.

One minus point though, this coffee place is so successful that more often than not there is a queue on week-ends and the staff does not take reservations. But try your luck! If it’s not too many of you, you should be able to get a table within 15 minutes!

4. Toby’s Estate

Toby's Estate

Excellent coffee at Toby’s Estate! And I like the fact that they are located by the Singapore River, near Robertson Quay area. If it’s not rainy, choose to sit outside and enjoy a nice cup of coffee while watching passers by. Food-wise I remember the brunch as decent, however not top-of-the-chart so far.

5. Selfish Gene

Last by not least on my top 5 is Selfish Gene Cafe on Craig Road. Inside you will find a stretch of tables leading to the counter where you can order your meal. I love the glass ceiling that lets the daylight come through! I enjoy the food there, however there is often a long waiting time (average 20-30 minutes from my experience!) and some of the menu items are overpriced. My recommendation would be to stick to one plate each and don’t order sides or add-ons, they’re a bit too expensive for my taste.

Selfish Gene Cafe

 

I hope you liked my top 5 so far! Brunch places in Singapore are ever-changing so please comment and leave us your thoughts on the trendiest brunch spots now !!

Char Siew… Yumms !!


You know how Singaporeans’ favourite topic is often FOOD ? I’m sure you’ve heard Singaporeans say:

hey! there’s this new place who just opened! great food! you should try it out!

… or…

remember that place there, well I went last week and they changed owner! Yea I know right… but the food is still good though! shall we go together sometime?

Well, here’s one for you: Where is the best Char Siew in Singapore?

Let me rewind a little – what’s “char siew” you say? Yes, Char Siew stands for “cha shao” in Mandarin pinyin, which literally means “fork roast”. However Char Siew is most commonly known as a barbequed pork Singapore delicacy.

Char Siew in Singapore

Yes, that’s Char Siew!

You’ve probably seen Char Siew around without knowing the name of the dish… It’s white pork meat in a sweet barbequed sauce, often served with rice or noodles. Very often too it is served together with delicious crispy roast pork…

Singapore Crispy Roast PorkYummmms !!

Now the real question is…. Where is the best Char Siew Roast Pork dish in Singapore?

Honestly it’s a really tough question. A lot of places sell Char Siew Roast Pork but the roast pork is not crispy enough or there is too much sauce on the Char Siew to really appreciate the taste of the meat…

One of my current favourites is next to the 328 Katong Laksa stall on East Coast Road, but it’s only good in the earlier part of the day. If you go there for dinner you will have the less tasty parts…

I want to know your opinion, so the debate is open !!

Click here for more Singapore delicacies.

Emerald Hill


A few weeks back, I was looking for a place to grab a beer with some friends visiting in Singapore. Someplace casual, easy to access, and not (too) expensive… so I scratched my head… and thought of Emerald Hill !!

I don’t know whether you are familiar with this area, but to me the first time I went there was really a good surprise and it has been one of my favourite spots in Singapore ever since.

Contrasted Singapore

Contrasts of Old & New Singapore

The first great thing about Emerald Hill is that it’s super conveniently located just off Orchard Road. It’s a few steps away from Somerset MRT and the mall 313@Somerset.

The second great thing is that as soon as you turn into this uphill street you forget that you’re on Orchard Road! The place is peaceful, green, quiet… and it’s only shophouses and traditional Chinese mansions. It’s truly amazing, in all honesty!!

Emerald Hill

Atmosphere on Emerald Hill

There are a few outlets here, mainly bars and restaurants. Their deco is also really nice. The one on the picture above is traditional Chinese with red lanterns lit, but there are also more Westernised places like Que Pasa, a Spanish tapas bar with a really wide selection of wines. I personnally like Que Pasa, with a quiet alfresco area, and a quaint deco inside, with wine bottles on the wall and authentic wooden tables…

Emerald Hill evening sky

Clear skies tonight

Overall, Emerald Hill is a good spot when you feel like trying something else for an evening out in Singapore. Clarke Quay and Club Street are great nightlife spots, but I feel after a while you sort of grow out of it…

I would strongly recommend Emerald Hill for a relaxing night out. However if you prefer sitting outside, it’s usually quite crowded so you should go there early!

Green Emerald HillGreen Singapore at night

Isn’t it nice to keep discovering hidden places… sometimes you think you’ve seen it all, and yet a new place is just round the corner! 🙂

A slice of Mexico in Singapore…


Do you ever get tired of Asian food? Sometimes I do… Not that I don’t enjoy it (on the contrary!!) but just that after a while it’s nice to go for a change…

When I feel like having something different for dinner, one of my favourite places is Piedra Negra, a Mexican restaurant and bar on Haji Lane. “Piedra Negra” (which means “black stone”) actually has nothing to do with Black… it’s extremely colourful!! And I love it because the atmosphere is lively and very latino-like!

Deco at Piedra Negra

Deco at Piedra Negra

Deco at Piedra Negra

Some of the deco reminds me of Barcelona, some of South America… Actually the menu is not all Mexican, as you can have Spanish tortillas or South American empanadas! Hmmm yummy all my favourites! A luxury to have these in Singapore maybe?

Piedra Negra is also a great chill out place, and I recommend you try the nachos, served with guacamole, frijoles, jalapeno chili (careful there, it’s really spicy!!), and covered in melted cheese – see picture.

Tacos muy buenosAlso a good combination, have it with a glass of cool sangria, or frozen margarita (even though in the Singapore heat it will not stay frozen for long).

Prices are reasonable too, and the staff is really friendly. There is an outdoor area as well, right along beach road, which is very pleasant on a windy evening…

Go check it out and tell me what you think! 🙂

Seah Street Deli


Who says Singapore is boring and always the same? If you look hard enough, you might find a couple of surprising places… like this American Diner on Beach Road, incorporated into the Raffles Hotel building !

Seah Street Deli is a very surprising restaurant to find in the Raffles Hotel. While you might be expecting fancy European food or beautifully served Chinese meals, Seah Street Deli will serve you typically American food! Interesting for a restaurant located in an iconic hotel of Singapore right? 🙂

Their menu includes salads, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, pizzas and snacks… basically anything you might be in a craving for if you are American and miss your home country. The portions are huge too, so make sure you don’t eat too much during the day before you go there 🙂

I must admit the food is sometimes a little oily or fat… However one of the reasons why I love this place is because of the atmosphere! The decoration, floor and furniture really make you feel like you are in a whole other place. There’s even a jukebox in a corner!! And even though I’m not American, I love to be able to “travel” while still being physically located in Singapore. Well, actually, located in the HEART of Singapore!!

That is yet another great thing about Singapore, it’s that it is truly global and connected to the world, and not only to Asian countries!! I guess that is why so many Foreigners choose to settle down in Singapore… not only are there great career opportunities, but it’s also a place where you can feel at home, no matter which country you are from!! And from my point of view, it is very rare to feel at home in another country… so if you are American and need a taste of home, do try out this restaurant! And let me know what you think 🙂

Make a joke with Bakkwa


Have you ever heard the term “Bakkwa” (or bagua) ? It’s a very local term in SouthEast Asia, and in particular in Singapore…

Bakkwa is a Hokkien term for barbecued meat. It is usually pork meat, but has been declined into beef, mutton and chicken versions too. It’s basically sliced barbecued meat, which looks a little like beef jerky. Mmmmmmm yummy !!

In Singapore, people snack on it during the day, and even queue up for it during Chinese New Year. You can find some either in established shops (one of the most famous shops is Bee Cheng Hiang) or sometimes in hawker centers.

The last time I went to Singapore I saw Bakkwa on sale at People’s Park Complex hawker center in Chinatown, on the ground floor. If I remember correctly it was labeled Kim Hua Guan, which is another reliable brand for Bakkwa (but there are many other brands too!). It’s actually nicer to buy some in a hawker center because you can watch the cook barbecue the meat for you. Plus, you can be sure it’s super fresh 🙂

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Personnally, I simply love Bakkwa. But what I love most is making jokes with it to my non-Singaporean friends !! Try this one out for fun:

Step 1: Buy packs of Bakkwa from Singapore, pack them individually and fit them in your suitcase. Make sure there is no ingredients description on the package.

Step 2: Give them out between your friends when you come back from Singapore and say it’s a Singaporean delicacy. Serve some on a plate for them to try. Cut it into pieces so that the meat is not recognisable.

Step 3: Tell them it’s DOG MEAT … and watch their reactions !! I can guarantee you, you are in for a good laugh !! 😀 See how many of your friends agree to actually taste it and bring back some home.

Do let me know if you try it out 🙂

Dialects and Teo Chew food


Singapore is a real melting pot… And there are four official languages : English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. So most important signs are translated in all 4 languages!! Don’t you just love it when announcements in the MRT are translated into all 4 languages? I know I do 🙂

To these four, you might want to add Singlish, even though it’s not a real language…

However, if you do go to a local food court or hawker center, you might be surprised to hear languages which are none of the 5 above… They are dialects!! In the streets of Singapore you might hear people talking Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hakka, Hainanese…

Most dialects would be Chinese dialects, as most of Singapore’s population is of Chinese origins. Here is a video to give you a glimpse of what the Hainanese dialect sounds like for example …

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But in Singapore dialects are more than just languages. They are a culture of their own. Which explains why some restaurants specialise in Teo Chew cuisine for instance.

In Teo Chew restaurants in Singapore, you will find very “simple” food, in the sense that ingredients are usually served without too much sauce covering it so you can really enjoy all the flavours. Teo Chew food also includes a lot of seafood (steamed fish, oyster omelet, cold crab…) and their Yam dessert is super good too !!

One of the Teo Chew restaurants I would recommend in Singapore is SWA Garden Restaurant on MacPherson Road. It’s small, local and cosy, and not too expensive either 🙂

The best ice cream in Singapore


One of the things I enjoy most about Singapore is the heat… I know I know, some of you might find it unbearable…

Well, I believe that after a few days your body gets used to it and you can get to the best part of Singapore (in my opinion) : being able to wear only summer clothes, bathe in the sun, have a quick swim and… enjoy an ice cream break !!

Here are two of my favourite ice cream places in Singapore, that I discovered thanks to very good friends. In my opinion, definitely some of the best ice cream places in Singapore. Go try them out !!

1. Cold Stone Creamery

Their menu is quite impressive. But the way they prepare your ice cream is even more breathtaking. They simply scoop up the flavour you like, toss it in the air, and land it in the cup or waffle you asked for. And if you ask for a flavour with add-ons (like apple bits for instance), they will show you how they mix the ice cream with other ingredients, on a clean frozen granite stone (thus the name Cold Stone…) and you can just tell from their gestures that they are experts at it. They blend it all and create a new ice cream to fit your taste. Such a delight to watch!! Plus the staff is very friendly.

Last time, I had the “Apple Pie a la Cold Stone” and it was really good! Although a little too sweet, you could really taste the apple bits and the caramel topping was superb. I truly recommend it!!

2. The Daily Scoop

Unlike Cold Stone Creamery, the Daily Scoop has more of a small cafe feel. They are located in Clementi, but have recently opened in Holland Village too.

The great thing about Daily Scoop is that they make it a point to use super fresh ingredients and they prepare the ice cream for you in real time when you order it. And they have more than 40 flavours available, some of which are very local (like with chendol, green tea, durian or cempedak!).

When I went there I had the Lychee Martini ice cream, as recommended by a friend. Really worth your time !! Especially on a super hot day like there are many in Singapore.

What are your favourite places for ice cream in Singapore?

Chinatown


How can you go to Singapore and not go to Chinatown?

When Sir Raffles organised the city of Singapore, he determined zones for each ethnic minority. The Indians have what is today Little India, the Malays have the Kampong Glam area with Arab Street… and the Chinese have Chinatown.

Today, Chinatown is still mostly populated by Chinese people. You can go there very easily by MRT and experience a China-like atmosphere. If you really want to see the way some locals live, have a stroll around People’s Park Complex. It is a huge shopping complex – not very beautiful, but at least it will give you a taste of locals’ daily lives.

What is there to do in Chinatown?

Visit the area to begin with. When you step out of the MRT, simply walk around. Do not stay only on Pagoda Street (which is the most “touristy” street), but instead do feel free to take a turn and go into Mosque street, Temple street… Among Chinatown’s must-do, do not miss out on the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple (an Indian temple in Chinatown! That’s Singapore’s melting pot!), and of course the Chinatown Heritage Center – a wonderful Museum that will tell you everything about how Chinese migrants settled in Singapore. Also don’t forget to look up once in a while to admire ancient shophouses and Chinese lanterns!

Eat of course!! Hawker food in chinatown is not bad, I particularly enjoy their noodles. Try “food street” (which is actually Smith street) at night, or you can also go further to Maxwell Center too, where they serve excellent Chicken Rice !! However if you prefer to sit in a restaurant and enjoy the aircon, there are many restaurants in the area that you can choose from. A personal favourite would be Kok Sen Coffee Shop, on Keong Saik Road – their Chicken Claypot is simply to die for !!

Food street at night

And shop!! In Chinatown you will find lots of decorative objects and fun things for tourists to bring back to their home country… chopsticks, key chains, small buddha statues, scarves and so on. But you can also find Chinese medicine and herbs (check out Eu Yan Sang for instance), or refined jewellery and antiques on South Bridge Road. Other shopping options include chinese dresses (“cheong sams”) or tea. There are also a few designer boutiques if you go further to Ann Siang Road and Club Street, not too far away.

So don’t just walk through Pagoda Street and say there is nothing to see in Chinatown… you will soon find out this area is more interesting than you thought!

East Coast Park


This is a post I have been wanting to write for a while! East Coast Park is definitely one of my favourite places in Singapore, and it shows perfectly how surprising Singapore can sometimes be.

Many people think Singapore is covered with skyscrapers. But few know that there is a beach where you can enjoy satay sticks, barbecue, camp, rent a bike, fish and do watersports… all of these in East Coast Park!

East Coast Park is a park on East Coast beach, in the Southeastern area of Singapore. It’s a great place to have a stroll on a lazy Sunday.

If you have time, you definitely should rent a bike (or a tandem!) for an hour or two. It is quite cheap and very, very nice to ride a bike by the sea. The path can actually lead you quite far out in the direction of Changi airport!

Also, if you would like to escape from the urban atmosphere for a while, you can do it the Singaporean way!! Go camping in East Coast Park! There are spots allocated for you to plant your tent, and no need to worry about infrastructures, there are plenty of CLEAN showers and toilets around.

As for food (what else?), I strongly recommend you go to East Coast Lagoon Food Village. They have good satay sticks there (see Local delicacies), and also a personal favourite, Oyster Omelet! Not everyone likes it, but I really do. And it’s pretty safe too, as oysters in Singapore are usually fresh.

Oyster omelet and fresh coconut. What a treat!

And let’s not forget watersports! You can go sailing from East Coast Park, and also waterskiing and wakeboarding. I’m sure you didn’t know about that 🙂

Time to plan your outing! Check out some more information and go have fun!!