This year has certainly been an interesting one; finding ways to strike a balance between work, personal life, a pandemic, and of course, always trying to find new food haunts around Singapore. For those of us who have yet to travel, we can almost guarantee that our foodscape has been a huge source of comfort.
It’s definitely shown here at SethLui.com, with the gratifying support each and every one of you has shown for our publication—with every click and scroll through our articles. So, we thought, it’d be a great way to celebrate all the amazing food that has been shared on our site in the past year by re-visiting the best 10 food spots you loved reading about in 2021.
1. Selera Sumang Nasi Padang; Like an addict, I kept going back for more
“I used to be amazed by how some people can shove down plates of nasi padang or nasi lemak at the break of dawn, but now, I finally understand. It’s not about how heavy the meal is; it’s about the flavour and comfort it provides.
Just one bite into the Nasi Rawon and I was hooked. Like an addict, I kept going back for more. Even as I am writing this, I am constantly reminded of the sambal chilli padi and that scrumptious gravy that flooded my plate.”
2. Mr and Mrs Moghan’s Super Crispy Prata; Its cult status is entirely affirmed
“Although, at Mr and Mrs Mohgan, there is nothing plain about this. It’s a shatteringly crispy disc that toes the line between chewy and perfectly fluffy on the inside; it seems like perfection comes easy at Mr and Mrs Mohgan.
The dough is flavourful and wonderfully elastic, so eating this with your hands feels mandatory. The experience only gets better when you tear those supple folds and dip them into the curry. Mutton curry is always my preferred curry of choice for its robustness and depth of flavour. I take that lone chunk of potato swimming in the curry as a bonus and reward for waking up this early.”
3. Fortune Curry; The granddaddy of all curries
“Each sip coats the tongue in a rich and intensely savoury lather. It’s incredibly robust, heavily empowered by the fragrance of coconut milk. Lovingly thickened with potatoes, every mouthful presents a warm, comforting hug for the soul. Perfect for strange cold days like the ones we’re having in Singapore in January.
Although more commonly associated with family potlucks and reunion dinners, Fortune Curry’s bowl, however, presents itself as a largely personal affair—I don’t want to share it with anyone else. Let me grow old with it, for my only regret is that we didn’t get to meet sooner. It’s the granddaddy of all curries, and what I imagine every young and impressionable bowl of curry should look up to.”
4. Omoté; Affordable modern Japanese dining at Thomson Plaza
“Easily my favourite appetiser among the three was the Spicy River Squid (S$13). Yes, I do know what you are thinking as you look at the picture. Looks nothing close to a dish served in a Japanese restaurant right? Those were my exact same thoughts. But, I’m definitely not complaining since this Spicy River Squid was delish!
The amount of char was perfect with its tentacles being the cream of the crop largely due to the more distinct burnt taste that the ends encompassed. Drenched in Thai-inspired pestled lemongrass and chilli infusion the dish was tripartite of texture and flavours that I couldn’t get enough of. It is simply the kind of dish that will make you scream, “Bring on the Asahi!”, unknowingly as you chew on the squid.”
5. Warong Java; A masterclass in Nasi Padang
“Here, I’m incredibly seduced by a serving of urap, maybe more so because it’s shrouded in mystery. The magic behind these vegetables? Serunding. It’s a dressing of grated coconut that’s laboriously fried till lightly crisp, golden, and exceedingly fragrant. Sure, it might not achieve world peace, but I’ll be darned if it doesn’t come close.
The ubiquitous beef rendang makes an appearance here. And of course, it’s fork-tender and beautifully spiced, yet I hardly found myself missing it throughout the entire meal. It’s a sentiment I’m happy about. Perhaps my time at Warong Java has lured me away from the nasi padang starter kit if you will.”
6. Incredible Roasted Meat; I would travel here just for these succulent Roasted Wings
“We went for the Chinese Sausage (S$3 – S$4 with rice/noodles) next and was mindblown. Unlike most other dishes where the lup cheong is only a supporting actor, it was a standout here.
To begin with, it was firm yet tender. Its natural savoury notes perfectly complemented the decadent black sauce which coated the meat. I’d never had lup cheong like this and you can imagine how life-changing a moment it was for me.”
7. Chef Kin HK Wanton Noodle; The glorified stall’s one saving grace is the wantons
“I sneaked a sip of the gleaming, golden broth before savouring the noodles and right off the bat thought “Hmm, not too shabby!” Since it was my first meal of the day, it was rather energising to savour a bowl of hot soup that was light on the palate, yet so tasty. The alkaline notes grow more as you go and were pretty nostalgic.
For me, what made it work was the wantons. Each was filled with juicy prawn chunks and minced pork. I do fancy water chestnut bits in wantons, although Chef Kin’s version delivered deliciousness even without. What a solid start to the meal!”
8. Ah Kong Wah Kuih; A piece of heritage to keep
“I spotted some shredded mushrooms and dried shrimps interspersed in the kueh. They did lend some of that rich umami flavour that they are known for, although I would have liked just a touch more.
The sauce is a sweet, savoury, tangy thing that the uncle keeps continuously stirring with a fancy gizmo. The minced garlic adds the punch that garlic is known for, while the chilli sauce ties everything neatly in a bow.”
9. Lucky Cat Cafe; Boundless potential — worthy of a second try
“Shiitake Cream & Cheese (S$7)—based on its name alone, I can already see why this is one of the most popular dishes on the menu. I mean, who could ever resist deep-fried shiitake mushrooms filled with cream and crowned with torched cheese?
Here, the contrast of the crunchy batter, juicy mushroom and rich, indulgent cream was just texturally sinful to the lips. Torching the cheese slice gave it a touch of smokiness, complementing the smörgåsbord of flavours that excited my palate.
If a dish leaves a pregnant woman and her husband fighting for the last piece, you know it warrants a try.”
10. The Neighbourwok; Easily one of the best-kept secrets in the West
“I’ll cut to the chase: this was divine. Cue every word in the dictionary that is synonymous with ‘spectacular’. For starters, the wok hei was certainly present yet not too overpowering, which I greatly appreciated. It allowed for the rich prawn stock to come through and rise to the occasion.
The supporting cast consisted of pork belly bits, sotong, prawns, the glorious crunchy pork lard, and sambal chilli made in-house. They all deserve honourable mentions in delivering nothing but pure, unadulterated deliciousness.”
From all of us here at SethLui.com, we’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout our editorial journey. We love sharing the good—and sometimes, not so good—parts of Singapore’s food scene.
Have a great new year, and we’ll see you in 2022 with more delicious news of new openings, hidden gems, and trendy favourites!
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