The dynamics of the local Singapore food scene has seen a radical shift over the recent years. The DIY (Do-It-Yourself) food scene has seen a massive surge in its growth.
These DIY food businesses let customers decide how the want their food made, as they know what is the best for themselves. It seems inevitable that in the competitive food sphere, food businesses have to innovate and increase their distinctiveness for a better comparative advantage.
Here we have put together a definitive list of the Best Do-It-Yourself Food Outlets which we think you should ultimately be visiting to build your own meal.
Korean D-I-Y juice chain
Expanding into Singapore from the land of the K-pop infused, Beesket is a highly innovative Korean D-I-Y juice bar with a unique concept.
The Beekset counter is a whirl of poppy attractive colours and is arranged in a honeycomb-like design. The offerings are extensive where each hue represents a fruit or vegetable. Some of the offerings include strawberry, watermelon, dragon fruit, pineapple, pear to the more unusual picks such as kale, paprika, plum or brocolli.
Customers can pick and choose out of the 39 fruits and vegatables available, and have their ideal juice blend connocted out of a stunning 5000 combinations. An amalgamation of the words “bee” and “basket”, an experience at Beekset is creative, unforgettable and provides a great deal of fun.
Customers pick up a ‘basket’ and fleet over (just like a honeybee) to the Beesket counter to choose their desired 3 flavours and drop each representative flavour capsule into it. After completing the basket, customers then proceed to the cash counter where staff prepare to create their very own customized juice blend based on the selected flavour.
Each capsule also contains a Radio-frequency Identification. When scanned, a score card is created which states the amount of calories present in the drink, and you will also get to know the amount of Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Fibre and even the amount of Vitamins B, C and E.
I tried out the Melon/Strawberry/Grape combination and was impressed with the lightness of the drink which left me feeling refreshed in the afternoon. At a price of $5.90, Beesket offers a high quality juice drink along with an interactive and unique experience. It is also an ideal place for a leisurely session of catch-up with friends as it sits about 20 comfortably at both its Changi City Point outlets.
Beesket (Changi): Changi City Point, 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, #01-20, Singapore 486038 | Tel:6612 1497 | Website
Beesket (Clementi): 321 Clementi Mall, #02-03, Singapore 129905 | Tel:6612 1497 | Website
2. Fat Boy’s The Burger Bar
Build your own burgers
Fat Boy’s The Burger Bar delights in bringing speciality burgers on a new level. With its Build-Your-Own-Burger option, burger fans can DIY and build their very own fully customizable mouth-watering burgers. With over 4400 permutations available, customers are in full control of how they want their burger to taste.
You start off by choosing the kind of bun you will like as your burger base, where you can opt for the Sesame Seed Bun ($1.50), Whole Meal Bun ($1.80) or Honey Oat Bun ($1.80). You then make your choice of patty which range from beef, lamb, pork, grilled chicken to salmon. The patty will cost you $7.50 to $8.80 each, depending on your choice.
An extensive list of add-ons is available, such as the Wild Arugula at $1.50, Guacamole at $1.50, Onion Marmalade at $1 or Grilled Pineapples at $1. Finally, you choose your sauces where options include Nutella at $0.50, Mango Chutney at $0.80, Smoked Chipotle at $1, Fatboy’s Homemade BBQ at $1.
Fat Boy’s is like every burger fan’s dream come true – think of oversized burgers complete with savory caramelized onions with other juicy toppings rested on tantalizing beef patty.
If you have dreamt of creating a wholesome burger which titillates and melts in your mouth, then you know where you should be heading to.
Fat Boy’s The Burger Bar (Thomson): 187 Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574335
| Tel: 6252 8780 | Website (other outlets on their website)
3. Brother’s Ramen
Self-service ramen ordering
Brother’s Ramen is a stand-out and unusual ramen restaurant located at International Plaza. Founded and run by brothers Cai Wei Li and Cai Wei Sheng, it used to take form as a stall located within a coffeeshop at Tanjong Pagar, but has since shifted into a restaurant within International Plaza.
With the exception of the actual cooking of the ramen, everything at Brother’s Ramen is DIY. Brother’s Ramen resembles that of a restaurant you can find in Japan with its self-serving vending machine to take orders.
Customers can choose their inhouse handmade ramen, customize their toppings and choose their drinks through the machine. The spin is that since there is not a single cashier or waiter, customers also make their payment with either cash or netts through the vending machine.
Brother’s Ramen offers their signature ramen dishes such as the Brothers set, Chashu Set, Spicy Set and Super Set. They also offer noodles and vegetables top up free-of-charge, at no cost at all, for those who have a bigger appetite.
I tasted the Brothers Set which cost me $12.90 for the ramen and an additional $3 for a drink and a topping. The original soup base was flavourful and well-balanced. I also enjoyed the springy texture of the noodles and would definitely consider this ramen to be one of the higher quality ramens available in Singapore.
Brother’s Ramen: 10 Anson Road, International Plaza #01-20, Singapore 079903 | Tel: 94762677 | Website
The Mexican bar with no fixed menu
Fancy a fully customized Mexican taco? Mexout is a hidden gem located at Far East Square. Featured in newspapers and magazines, Mexout is designed to resemble a basement space. It is also one of the very few Mexican food fare bistros in Singapore.
This bistro serves delectable Mexican cuisine at very affordable prices where you customize your Mexican fare through its multi-step ordering process. Since there is no one fixed menu, Mexout inspires you to create your own Mexican meal based on what your cravings are at the moment.
Customers first pick their carbs and decide whether they will like tacos, burritos, rice or salad bowls as the base. They then choose one main filling out of choices such as char-grilled chicken, cochinta pibil (braised pork shoulder), char-grilled carne asada (tender marinated NZ flank steak), beef barbacoa, lamb birria (braised lamb shoulder) and vegetables de la cruz.
Customers then get to pick as many cold fillings as they like such as shredded iceberg lettuce, cabbage and sour cream. Finally, as a bonus, they will also get to choose one salsa as accompaniment with varying degrees of spiciness.
When I paid the bistro a visit, I had customized my “Street Style Tacos” and asked for additional guacamole. The fillings and salsa were packed with flavour. The char-grilled chicken had a smoky aroma, melting in your mouth as the flavours of the various fillings blend together in synchronicity.
Mexout serves a variety of fully customizable Mexican cuisine that is bound to revv up your taste buds. It is a must-go for an epicurian experience.
Mexout: 39 Pekin St, Singapore 048769 | Tel: 9770 7441 | Website
Japanese chain serving DIY protein bowls
How does a Japanese DIY Protein Bowl complete with sashimi sound?
Shinkansen is a chain of Japanese customizable salad bars which infuses salad, sushi and sashimi together. Named after Japan’s high speed railway line, Shinkansen is really popular with the lunch crowd and it’s really fitting with its efficient service, priding itself as serving “lunch on the fast track.”
A Shinkansen experience entails that customers know what they want already and empowers customers by enabling them to create their fully customizable Japanese protein bowl. Fast.
The experience is highly fuss free where you make your choices on their order sheet. You will first have to choose the size of your protein bowl as either Transit or Station.
Transit $13.80 (1 Base + 1 Protein + 3 Toppings + 1 Sauce)
Station $16.90 (1 Base + 2 Proteins + 3 Toppings + 1 Sauce)
Firstly, choose your base: between Romaine and Butterhead Lettuce, Buckwheat Soba or Mixed Grain Sushi Rice.
Next, make your choice of protein options which include Yuzu Honey Roast Chicken, Miso Braised Pork, Spicy Miso Tofu or Salmon Sashimi. You may choose to top up an additional $1-$1.50 for more premium protein options such as Yakiniku Rib Steak, Tuna Sashimi, Tuna Tataki or Maple and Genmaicha Cured Salmon.
After making your choice of proteins, you get to opt for 3 toppings where choices include Onsen Egg, Edamame & Seaweed, Quinoa and Baby Potatos. Finally, you choose a sauce to complete your protein bowl: Yuzu Mayo, Wafu Plum Dressing, Pomegrenate Chia or Truffle Balsamic Vinaigrette.
True to it sister brand “The Standing Sushi Bar”, Shinkansen is very generous with its servings and is known for the freshness of its ingredients. Shinkansen may be a little on the pricey side, but it has received raving reviews. It is a great concept for salad or sashimi lovers alike, and yes healthy food which makes for a gustatorial sensation as well.
Shinkanesen (Raffles Place): Raffles Place, Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay, #B1-08, Singapore 049315 | Website (other outlets on website)
6. Nook Cafe & Bar
Make any pancake you wish
Nook’s Cafe & Bar (formerly DIY house of pancakes) is the ultimate pancake customization cafe and bar located at the quiet Lorong Kilat. It is a cosy place perfect for outings where you can design your own pancakes simply by following the steps on Nook’s chalkboard.
You first make your selection out of colourful arrays of pancake batters such as the Original Buttermilk, Asian Pandan, Dark Chocolate, Funky Banana and Strawberry Farm. You then make your choice of sides and toppings such as Caramelized Apples, Digestive Biscuits and Rainbow Sparkles.
Tables are fitted with a griddle in the middle where you squeeze your pancake batter on it and create your masterpieces. Nook offers an entire set of 2-flavoured pancake with 3 toppings which will set you back by $28.
Nook’s D.I.Y House of Pancakes:21 Lorong Kilat #01-03 Singapore 598123 (Upper Bukit Timah)| Tel: 6466 1811 | Website
7. Slappy Cakes
Customize your pancakes
Originating from Portland, Slappy Cakes is a popular breakfast dining destination which has since been introduced to Singapore. As equally awesome as Nook’s, Slappy Cakes offers a one-of-a-kind D.I. Y pancake dining experience for its customers.
At Slappy Cakes, you choose a homemade batter among its offerings such as Buttermilk, Whole grain, Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Zucchini. Each batter will serve about 7-8 pancakes and will cost $8.
You also get to choose your own fixings to add on to the batter as it is simmering on the griddle. Fixings comprise of sweet or savory, where you can choose sweet fixings such as blueberries, raspberries or hazels which cost $1.50 to $3. You may also choose savory fixings such as brie, chopped scallions, cripsy bacon or roasted mushrooms, which cost $2 to $3.
Finally, you get to add toppings to your pancakes such as Pure 100% Maple Syrup, Greek Yoghurt, Raspberry Jam, Lemon Curd to Whipped Cream which will cost you $1.50 to $3.
Here are Slappy Cake’s top 7 recommendations:
Buttermilk + Blueberries + Lemon Curd
Zucchini + Mushrooms + Scallions + Blue Cheese
Whole Grain + Granola + Banana
Peanut Butter + Banana + Crispy Bacon
Chocolate + Toasted Almonds + Fresh Raspberries
Whole Grain + Pork Sausage + Cheddar Cheese
Buttermilk + Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread + Strawberries
Slappy Cakes (Grandstand): The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road (Old Turf Club in Bt.Timah) #01-20/21, Singapore 287994 (Upper Bukit Timah)| Tel: 6465 1854 | Website
Slappy Cakes (RWS): Resorts World Sentosa, 26 Sentosa Gateway (next to Universal Studios), #01-29 , Singapore 098269 | Tel: 6795 0779 | Website
Make your own Maki
Conveniently located at The Cathay, Makisan prides itself on its unique one-of-a-kind customization concept where you can DIY your own maki roll right from scratch.
A ‘Little San’ will cost you $7.90 whereas a ‘Mega San’ will cost you $9.90.
At Makisan, you can also choose your rice type and opt for either brown rice or normal rice. As for fillings, some popular ingredients include tamago, prawn roe, unagi, soft shell crab and tempura enoki. There are in fact more than a whooping 80 ingredients which you can choose from, and some dressings take on a localized spin such as char siew and thai chilli sauce.
Makisan advocates for tasty and healthy food, and it is here that you can fully decide how just how healthy you would like your maki to be. I had my Little San, customized with traditional nori, healthy brown rice, ebiko, tamagoyaki, bonito, chimichurri.
My maki was delicately wrapped up and placed in a bright pop art box which I found so gorgeous that I could not bear to discard it. Makisan encourages its customers to be creative with their choices and also offers a fully customizable salad for those who would prefer cutting out the carbs.
Makisan: 2 Handy Rd, The Cathay Building, Singapore 229233 | Tel: 6365 1854 | Website (other outlets on website)
One of the best D-I-Y Salads available
Crunch is a D-I-Y salad store located within Tanjong Pagar mrt itself. The reason why I am including it in this list is because it is one of the best and most affordable DIY salad store within the Singapore CBD area itself.
Crunch offers a salad bowl at $5 for a base of vegetables (romaine lettuce) + 4 ingredients, or 3 ingredients + 1 premium ingredient which is usually a meat filling such as smoked duck breast, black pepper chicken, pesto chicken or sashimi.
I have recently converted into a fan of Crunch and here is one of my favourite combinations. Base of romaine lettuce with fresh peaches, pasta, sweet pumpkin and sashimi. I consider my $5 to be really well spent. I decided to go Jap-style and chose Sumo Wafu as my salad dressing. The salad itself was addictive, surpassed my expectations and I soon found myself making a second visit.
Crunch keeps things interesting and varies its salad dressings in flavours which lean towards a Pan Asian varieties. It offers a unique and extensive range of dressings where you can opt for Original Caesar, Sumo Wafu, Ranch, Thousand Island, Sweet Raspberry Vinaigrette, Honey Mustard Vinaigrette, Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette, Japanese Sesame, Spicy Korean, Creamy Avocado, Zesty Citrus, Sour Plum, USA BBQ, Sweet Miso or even Tom Yum Goong.
Crunch: B1-14 Tanjong Pagar Xchange, Singapore 069119 | Tel: 9018 9236 | Website
10. d’ Good Cafe
Blend and brew the way you like it
d’ Good cafe is known for serving its specialty artisan coffee. This place is serious about its coffee and coffee aficionados will be thrilled to know that the cafe offers a coffee making experience unlike no other.
For $12, you get to create your individualized blend of coffee where you are able to tailor the way how the beans will be blended (fine/coarse) to the method of brewing. The custom blend process is as follows:
1) You fill in a one-time short survey, indicating your preferences in acidity, body and flavor for your blend of coffee.
2) You will try coffee cupping, where you smell and taste the single origin beans.
3) Blending different beans and brewing depending on the method which you prefer. Methods include Paper Filter/ Woodneck/ French press.
4) You get to name your very own blend of coffee which is unique to you!
You can also order your blend of coffee for only $5.50 at subsequent visits. I think that this is an exceptional deal, considering that you get to enjoy your very own blend of coffee catered to your preferences at a reasonable price.
d’ Good cafe is rested along Holland Avenue and is a hit among students and the working crowd alike. Do take note that the Custom Blend option is only available on weekdays and that it is better to make an appointment in advance as the baristas may be busy especially during the peak lunch or dinner hours.
d’ Good Cafe: 273 Holland Ave #02-01/02, Singapore 278992 | Tel: 6219 9807 | Website
11. McDonald’s Create Your Taste
Create Your Own Lovin’ it Taste
McDonald’s is almost always a good idea. It knows what its customers love best and gives them what they want based on insight-driven behavior. Back in March 2015, I spotted McDonald’s Create Your Taste digital kiosk at its JEM outlet. The idea was intriguing and has thus taken off – the Create Your Taste offering has since expanded to 5 of its outlets here. Do note its not available in every single McDonald’s.
With McDonald’s Create Your Taste offering, customers get to enjoy the experience of creating their customized premium burgers and choose from 26 of the savory ingredients available.
At the moment, the only patty available is the 100% Angus Quarter Pound Beef Patty although McDonald’s says that it may be widening its D.I.Y selections in the near future.
The price for a burger ranges from $8.95 onwards. Some selections which you can add to create your premium burger are Grilled Pineapple Ring, Guacamole, Caramelised Onions and Tortilla Chips.
Although McDonald’s is not a place where one thinks of for a restaurant experience, you do otherwise get to enjoy a pretty decent customized burger made fresh off the grill which will be served on a wooden board, with fries served in a metal basket and along with your choice of drinks. Talk about upping their game!
Create Your Taste has created quite a buzz on social media and it’s not difficult to understand why. You get to enjoy a premium burger which may have cost you over $20 elsewhere.
McDonald’s Causeway Point: 1 Woodlands Square #01-35 Causeway Point Singapore, 738099 | Tel: 68941461 | Website (other outlets on website)