Food

24 Top Singapore Food Trends Of 2016 That Seriously Upped Our Instagram Game

Last Updated: July 4, 2017

Written by Marissa Mir

It’s 2017 (whoop whoop) and I can’t think of a better way to start another food blogging year than with a look back at some of the crazy food trends 2016 gave us. Some made us queue for hours (and were totally worth it), others, not so much.

One thing is for sure though: these food trends seriously upped our Instagram game. And we all know how that’s the landmark of something worth mentioning these days. Take a look at 24 top food trends in Singapore 2016 that made the cut:

1. Raindrop Cake

soo bing bing raindrop cake

What started in Japan and then made waves at a Smorgasburg food market in NYC eventually found its way to Singapore. The Raindrop Cake (made from agar-agar and spring water) took the Internet by storm (heh) and I guess I can see why, given the pretty cute and simple presentation.

Flavour-wise though? It’s basically jelly to be eaten with the various syrup accompaniments. I unfortunately don’t think this cute raindrop is going to be seeing much of 2017…

Soo Bing Bing: #03-01, Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive, Singapore 608532 | Tel: +65 9838 2973 | Facebook

O Raindrop Cake (DIY): Website

2. Korean Bingsu

bingsu-nunsaram2

I sometimes live under a rock and sort of didn’t notice the Korean Bingsu trend take hold till the snaking lines made it quite apparent that this dessert definitely resonated in the tummies of many Singaporeans.

Fine ice shavings are topped with an array of ingredients like condensed milk, nuts and ice cream to produce what I’m sure is going to stay on dessert menus for some time still. Customise your very own at some of the many stores now selling this island-wide!

Nunsaram Korean Dessert Cafe: 181 Orchard Road, #05-51/52 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896 | Website

3. Galaxy Cakes & Donuts

sugarhaus charissa castillo galaxy taro cake

Baking in itself is a skill many have yet to master and then someone comes along and changes the game completely with Galaxy Cakes and Donuts. The mirror-glazed beauties are definitely something you’d want to serve to impress guests (or Instagram followers) and look almost too good to eat.

Replicating one may take a few tries but take comfort in the knowledge that you’ll end up with something out of this world.

Sugarhaus: 10 Jalan Serene, #01-03A Serene Centre, Singapore 258748 | Opening hours: 12pm – 10pm

Sinseh : The Grocer: 9 Jalan Pisang, Singapore 199076 | Tel: +65 6291 5743 | Opening Hours: (Mon to Sat) 12pm – 8:30pm (Closed on Sundays) | Facebook 

4. Rainbow Foods

rainbow toasties singapore epicurious-115247-2

Bagels, cakes, burgers and even toasties… Rainbow Foods certainly took over 2016. Probably the most Instagrammable of the lot, some rainbow foods not only look good, but taste great to boot and I’m quite sure 2017 is going to give us even more rainbow options.

Epicurious (rainbow toasties): 60 Robertson Quay, #01-02 The Quayside, 238252 | Tel: +65 6734 7720 | Website

Word Cafe (rainbow burger): 906 Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 787110 | Tel: +65 9699 4829 | Facebook

5. Salted Egg Yolk Anything

salted egg croissant antoinette-5

There came a point in 2016 when almost every cafe and restaurant in Singapore had at least something on the menu that involved our favourite Salted Egg Yolk. I mean, even McDonald’s introduced a Salted Egg Yolk Chicken Burger, much to the dismay of a few fast food purists.

The Salted Egg Yolk Croissant was probably one of the best pairings of the year but I think the Liu Sha Prata Bomb was a strong underrated contender.

Antoinette: 30 Penhas Road (off Lavender Street) Singapore 208188 | Tel: +65 6293 3121 | Website

Flavour Flings: Block 121 Hougang Avenue 1, #01-1348, Singapore 530121 | Tel: +65 6286 0051 | Facebook

Big Street Singapore:  104-106 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208828 | Tel: +65 6100 2661 | Facebook

6. Uni

buona terra uni pasta

Many went Uni-crazy in 2016 and it’s no wonder since the sea urchin roe is considered quite the delicacy especially in Japan. Usually eaten raw as sashimi or as a sushi, uni soon started appearing in loads of other Western dishes like pasta.

Rich, sweet and brine-like in taste, most people either love or hate uni and not being a fan could be a blessing in disguise – this delicacy doesn’t come cheap.

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Buona Terra: 29 Scotts Rd Singapore 228224 | Tel: +65 6733 0209 | Website 

7. Mentaiko

En Sakaba Mentaiko Scallops

Mentaiko probably changed my life, I mean, I’ve yet to meet someone adverse to having this topped and torched on anything Japanese and food-related. First used in Korean cuisine, mentaiko is pollock or cod roe combined with butter or mayonnaise which is now very popular in Japanese cuisine.

Have it as a pasta sauce or slightly torched on top of grilled seafood or sushi and the salty and savoury flavour will keep you coming back for more. This is the very definition of umami.

En Sakaba: 181 Orchard Road, #01-16 Orchard Central Singapore 238896 | Tel: +65 6634 1018 | Facebook

8. Japanese Cheese Tarts

bake-tarts

Hands up if you or someone you know queued for these Hokkaido Cheese Tarts when they first came to Singapore? The popular BAKE franchise finally opened at ION and I think it’s safe to say that people got a bit overzealous with the queing.

I’ve personally tried them myself and okay… they’re good. Lucky for all of us, the hype has plateaued so you can now get some, minus the stress. Or maybe just try patronising some of the other places that suddenly popped up replicating the yummy cheese tart.

BAKE: 2 Orchard Turn ION Orchard #B4-33, Singapore 238801 | Website

9. Themed Food/Cafes

gudetama cafe eggs royale

2016 was the year of themed food and themed cafes and you won’t believe how many cropped up on our island. Gudetama, Pokemon, POMPOMPURIN, FRIENDS, Hello Kitty and even a pop-up Craftholic cafe opened to long queues and Instagram-ready folk.

An equally common theme seemed to emerge though and that was that the actual taste of the food at the cafes just didn’t live up to the hype. The Central Perk FRIENDS Cafe is probably the only exception to that, but even then the prices are hard to justify.

Gudetama Cafe Singapore: #01-61 Suntec City Mall, 3, 3 Temasek Blvd, Singapore 038983 | Opening: 30th November | Facebook

Pokemon Cafe @EWF (Bugis Junction): Now – 19th Feb 2017 | 200 Victoria Street, #04-05, Bugis Junction, Singapore 188021 | Tel: +65 6338 0135 | Website

POMPOMPURIN Cafe: #04-08 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road , Singapore 238896 | Tel: +65 6509 8672 | Website

Hello Kitty Orchid Garden: #01-22 Arrival Hall Central, Terminal 3 Singapore Changi Airport | Opening Hours: 24 hours daily | Website

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Central Perk: 1 Magazine Road, Singapore 059567 | Tel: +65 9025 2524 | Website

10. Oozing Buns

Koki Tamagoyaki - Shuu by Koki

Any avid Singaporean foodie who travelled to Hong Kong in 2016 would have probably heard of Dim Sum Icon’s oozing buns where customers are encouraged to play with their food. Character-based liu sha baos dominated Insta-stories and videos and the oozing bun trend obviously soon reached Singapore.

Back home, Choux pastries like the ones pictured were all the rage, and anything ball-like with an oozy center made its rounds on Instagram.

Koki Tamagoyaki: 252 North Bridge Road, Raffles City Shopping Centre, #B1-54, Singapore 179103 | Facebook | Website

11. Raclette Cheese

Western Co. Raclette

For a non-angmoh country, we Singaporeans seem very obsessed with anything cheese-related. The Swiss tradition of heating half a cheese wheel and scraping the melted cheese onto food seriously took off here in 2016 and the trend doesn’t look set to back down anytime soon.

Get a more traditional Raclette cheese experience at Wine Connection Cheese Bar or try some of the more unusual variations this 2017, like having melted cheese scraped onto sushi. Yupp.

Wine Connection Cheese Bar: #01-05 Robertson Walk, 11 Unity St, Singapore 237995 | Tel: +65 6238 1279 | Website

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Hana Japanese Restaurant: 583 Orchard Road, #01-17 Forum The Shopping Mall, Forum The Shopping Mall, Singapore 238884 | Opening Hours: Daily 11:30AM–10PM | Tel: +65 6737 5525 | Website 

Flavour Flings: Block 121 Hougang Avenue 1, #01-1348, Singapore 530121 | Tel: +65 6286 0051 | Facebook 

12. Melted Cheese In Hotpots

hook on steamboat

I did say we seem slightly obsessed with cheese and in 2016, it became a thing to incorporate cheese into your average steamboat and hotpot experience. It used to be the case of just finding joy in grilling your own marinated meats right at the table but we Singaporeans went a step further and made it possible to then dip said meats into yummy, gooey cheese.

I’m a fellow cheese addict, so there was no way I wasn’t getting on board with that.

Ladyboy Mookata: Lor 40, 644 Geylang Road 389574 Singapore | Tel: +65 8444 4487 | Opening Hours: Daily, 6pm – 2am | Website

Hook On Steamboat: 389 Changi Road, Singapore 419838 | Tel: +65 68440389 / +65 93893806 | Opening Hours: Tue – Sun 5pm – 12am, closed on Monday | Facebook 

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The Flame Cafe: Level 1 Centro Bianco Building, 73 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 534818 | Opening Hours | Tel: +65 6288 6346 | Website

13. Tiered Hotpots

Flame Cafe Steamboat

Speaking of steamboats and hotpots, it was a year of levelling up (literally) in that food scene. Two tiers soon became three and four, taking multi-tasking to a whole new level. And of course, one of the tiers involved cheese.

I can’t get over how far we’ve come as a nation and I hope we continue to dream big this 2017. Nine-tier steamboat and hotpot anyone?

The Flame Cafe: Level 1 Centro Bianco Building, 73 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 534818 | Opening Hours | Tel: +65 6288 6346 | Website

Peach Garden at Thomson Plaza: 301 Upper Thomson Road, Thomson Plaza #01-88, Singapore 574408 | Tel:+65 6451 3233 | Opening Hours: Mon to Fri: 11am – 3pm, 6PM-10PM, Sat & Sun 10AM-2:30PM, 3PM-5PM, 6PM-10PM | Website

14. Parmesan Wheel Pasta

Almost everyone loves parmesan with their pasta and I know a few cheeky people who basically empty the parmesan container onto their plate. A few restaurants probably noticed this and thought, “Why don’t we just twirl the warm pasta in an actual parmesan wheel before serving?”

Ta-da. Great tasting pasta, great Instagram story.

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District 10: Outlets | Facebook

15. Floating Noodles

hana floating noodles

Whoever conceptualized this probably got bored of just having their noodles served in a bowl. Embarrassingly enough, it took me awhile to work out how this sorcery was being achieved, and for that very reason, I’m going to let it remain a mystery to those not in the know.

Hana Japanese Restaurant revolutionised the Japanese noodle world with this creation and my sincere congratulations to anyone who managed to recreate this at home.

Hana Japanese Restaurant: 583 Orchard Road, #01-17 Forum The Shopping Mall, Forum The Shopping Mall, Singapore 238884 | Opening Hours: Daily 11:30AM–10PM | Tel: +65 6737 5525 | Website

16. XXL Seafood Platters

Hi Joyful-7

‘Bigger is better’ seemed to be the philosophy with a lot of food in 2016 and I certainly wasn’t complaining when it came to seafood platters. All the prawns, crayfish, mussels and clams in the world apparently congregated in a couple of Singaporean restaurants, sitting pretty and waiting to be devoured.

Get a few friends together, loosen your belts and undertake one of these monstrous platters in 2017!

Hi! Joyful: 27 Smith St, Singapore 058941 | Opening hours: Daily; 1pm – 1am | Tel: +65 6222 9555 | Facebook

BBQ Box: 21 Tan Quee Lan Street, #01-03, Singapore 188108 | Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm daily | Tel: +65 68357456 | Facebook 

17. Deceiving Desserts

non entree desserts

XXL ice gem biscuits and ang ku kueh? YES PLEASE. Before you get too excited, these deceiving desserts that were floating around Instagram in 2016 are not what they seem. Non Entree Desserts cleverly turned our favourite local classic desserts into, well, other desserts.

They even turned kaya toast and bak chor mee into sweet treats, and as weird as that may sound, there’s no denying that these wonderful creations sure are photogenic.

Non Entrée Desserts: 204 Rangoon Rd, Singapore 218451 | Tel: +65 9878 6543 | Facebook 

18. Health Food Bowls

ninja cut gimme chimi chicken

Ah… eating clean, one of my favourite bound-to-fail new year resolutions. In 2016, loads of people (and thus restaurants) tried to jump on the healthy eating bandwagon and some, more successfully than others.

A few stood out and showed us that healthy food could definitely be yummy food (at a price) and health food bowls comprising cous cous and quinoa became a thing. With such vibrant ingredients and colours, you too could be on your way to looking as good as the food you eat.

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Ninja Cut: 32 Seah Street, Singapore 188388 | Opening hours: 9.30am to 7.30pm (weekdays), 9am to 6pm (weekends) | Tel: +65 6264 7727 | Facebook 

Grain Traders: 138 Market St, #01-01/02/03 CapitaGreen, Singapore 048946 | Tel: +65 6348 6559 | Website

19. Poke Bowls

alter ego poke bowl

Speaking of vibrant ingredients and colours, I have to highlight one of the standout food bowl trends of the year: Poke Bowls. Hailing from Hawaii, the healthy combination of fresh tuna or salmon sashimi, avocado and other healthy ingredients made for a flavour explosion on the palate.

Reminiscent of a Japanese chirashi, these bowls dominated the CBD and most inevitably, our Instagram feeds.

A Poke Theory: 27 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069623 | Opening Hours: (Mon – Fri) 11.00am – 6.00pm, (Sat) 10.00am – 4.00pm, Closed on Sun | Facebook | Website

Aloha Poke: 92 Amoy Street, Singapore 069911 | Tel: +65 6221 6165 | Website

20. OTT Milkshakes

cakespade milkshake-1114

Back to the mantra of ‘bigger is better’, OTT (over the top) milkshakes made for some of the prettiest and most impressive food pictures of 2016. These gravity-defying creations really do look too good to eat/drink and I personally always struggled with the best way to approach the situation.

If I knocked one Oreo off, would the rest come crumbling down? At least get the Instagram photo first.

Cake Spade: #01-06, 1 Tras Link, Orchid Hotel, Singapore 078867 | Tel: +65 6444 3868 | Website

 The Benjamins: #01-20/21 Forum Shopping Centre, 583 Orchard Road, Singapore 238884 | Tel: +65 6887 4117 | Website 

Shiberty Bakes: #01-277, 46 Owen Road, Singapore 210046 | Tel: +65 6291 5221 | Closed Monday | Tuesday to Sunday, 1:00pm-10:00pm | Website

21. Thai Iced Milk Tea

thai milk tea collage

While not exactly a food trend per say, for some reason, Thai Iced Milk Tea was actually really popular in 2016. I couldn’t go to a single pasar malam without walking by at least three stalls selling the exact same thing.

There was even that time where it was the norm to have it served in a drink bag (something like a ziplock bag) and this is an example of a trend I will never understand. Still, I can’t deny a good Thai Iced Milk Tea and you should check out our breakdown of the best Thai Milk tea in Singapore.

Nam’s Brewing Thai Tea & Coffee: #01-05, 137 Amoy Street, Singapore 049965 (Inside Far East Square) | Tel: +65 93830419 | Website

Soi 55: #02-21, 50 Market Street, Golden Shoe Food Centre | Tel: +65 9429 6538 | Website

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CHA Thai: #01-01, 82 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 048467 | Tel: +65 6636 3696Website

22. Rolled Ice Cream

21 cube artisan ice cream

Anddd Thailand gives us yet another food trend that became a hit in 2016. Videos of rolled ice cream made its rounds on the Internet and I guess it’s easy to see why the dessert became a thing.

Ice cream is flattened on a cold surface and then scraped to create these rolls to be arranged neatly in an ice cream cup. It’s still basically ice cream so… yeah. Cool.

21 CUBE Artisan Ice Cream: Block 710A, Ang Mo Kio Ave 8, #01-2631, Singapore 561710 | Tel: +65 94500725 / +65 96206810 | Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday : 12pm – 10pm, Friday to Saturday: 12pm – 11pm, Sunday: 12pm – 10pm

COyOrO: 430 Upper Changi Road, #01-13 East Village, Singapore 487048 | Tel: +65 8522 0487 | Website

23. Thick Lava Toast

meet-and-melt-hype-2-11

Thick toasts decorated with interesting toppings and flavours made for a great 2016 food trend and a few cafes went a step further and included delectable fillings. Thick Lava Toasts became the star of Boomerang Instagrams and I guess, made the thick toasts less dry to eat.

You know where to start your 2017 dessert game at.

Meet and Melt: #01-49, 915 Tampines Street 91, 520915 | Tel: +65 91858173 | Opening Hours: Tues to Fri 3pm – 11pm, Sat & Sun 2pm – 11pm | Website

24. Singapore Fusion Food

Meat & Green-9

If there’s anything 2016 food trends showed us, it’s that you can never really go wrong with an amalgamation of flavours. Too many restaurants and cafes to count started introducing more of a fusion cuisine, particularly with the incorporation of local Singaporean classics.

Chicken rice inspired wraps and risottos? Hae bi hiam and laksa pastas? I’m sold. 2017, may you bring A LOT more of these fusion flavours.

Meat and Green: 84 Circular Rd, Singapore 049436 | Opening Hours: (Mon to Thurs) 11am-9pm, (Fri & Sat) 11am to midnight | Tel: +65 6557 0457 

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Redpan: 6, Raffles Boulevard, #02-03/04 Marina Square, Singapore 039594 | Opening Hours: (Mon to Fri) 9am-10pm, (Sat, Sun, PH) 11am-10pm | Website

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Stateland Cafe: 30 Bali Lane, Singapore 189966 | Opening Hours: (Tues) Closed, (Sun to Thurs) 12pm-10pm, (Fri & Sat) 12pm-11pm | Tel: +65 9800 7628 | Website

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