Singapore’s ever-changing food trends never fail to excite me. My first and perhaps most memorable food craze took the form of Taiwanese Bubble Tea, with pioneer joint SweetTalk receiving most of my allowance in return for those classic Ice Blended beverages. (In hindsight, they were pure syrup and completely unhealthy — why did I like them so much? Good grief, WHY?)
Of course, that was some eight years ago and since then, the Singapore food scene has gotten a lot more sophisticated and definitely pickier. I’m not a hype-chaser, but I always do try to make stomach space for new and interesting eats.
Nowadays, food fads pop up so quickly and it’s quite hard to keep track of all of them. As June comes to an end and the next half of the year rolls around, I thought I’d do the work for you so you don’t miss out on what’s been going down. (P.S: Food is such a great talking topic that with this list, you can own the conversations at social gatherings. Ha!)
Here, I present my midyear roundup of the most trendy foods in 2016.
10. Raindrop Cake
Do you remember this little guy? The clear, wobbly agar jelly known as Mizu Shigen Mochi appeared on our radar after starring in a slew of over-shared, America-based Facebook videos. It has been said to resemble a raindrop or… a breast implant (hahaha).
Eaten with roasted soybean powder and brown sugar syrup, this dessert is a delicate and light, alluring because of its classic Japanese simplicity.
For an affordable, customizable Raindrop Cake: Soo Bing Bing | 3 Gateway Drive #03-01, Singapore 608532 | Tel: 9838 2973 | Website
For a more authentic Raindrop Cake: Sushi Murasaki | #02-08 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Blvd, Singapore 039569 | Tel: 6341 9668 | Website
I believe Salted Egg Yolk is Singapore’s most enduring trend, having been continuously featured in our food scene for a good two to three years. The local flavour first ambled on to the scene in the form of Liu Sha Bao, but has very quickly infiltrated every food item imaginable.
This year’s Salted Egg Yolk craze came in the form of Salted Egg Yolk Croissants, which took Singapore by storm — 6 prominent bakeries (and many, many other smaller ones) manufactured these delightfully flaky, ooey-gooey treats. Personally, I doubt these croissants will be a mainstay for long, so do grab them before their time is up.
For the best croissant and a savourier egg filling: Antoinette | 30 Penhas Road (off Lavender Street) Singapore 208188 | Tel: +65 6293 3121 | Website
For mini croissants that also come in a selection of other fillings: Delifrance | Website
For most economical $1 mini croissants: BreadTalk | Website
Health food is quite readily gaining a foothold in Singapore’s food scene, especially so in the Central Business District where office workers are all about that salad life. Bowls have been all the rage this 2016, with several new joints popping up and peddling savoury grain bowls and fruity smoothie bowls.
If you’ve been bowled over by foreign-sounding words like ‘cold-pressed’, ‘quinoa’, ‘acai’, ‘fair-trade’ and ‘bulgur wheat’, you’ve definitely got to get yourself one.
For hearty grain bowls: Grain Traders | 138 Market St, #01-01/02/03 CapitaGreen, Singapore 048946 | Tel: 6348 6559 | Website
For delicious savoury bowls: Ninja Bowl | 15 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089481 | Tel: 6222 8055 | Website
For a relatively-affordable acai bowls: Absolute Acai | 3 Pickering Street #01-38, Nankin Row, Singapore 048660 | Tel: 6224 4088 | Website
Another item that made its way around Facebook via widely-shared videos, the Rainbow Cheese Toastie rides on the coattails of its other popular Rainbow Food predecessors. I was quite envious myself at the vibrantly-coloured, magical sandwich only available overseas. That is, until Singapore-based Epicurious Cafe produced its own version.
The colorful rainbow effect is mostly from natural ingredients as mentioned, but admittedly there is just a splash of food coloring to make the colors pop more. Mozzarella, parmesan and truffle oil mingle between buttery, crisp toast layers, making this technicolour sandwich a real satisfying eat.
Epicurious Cafe: 60 Robertson Quay, #01-02 The Quayside, 238252 | Tel: 6734 7720 | Website
Pratas have always been a staple in the Singaporean diet, but were always understated and simply dressed with an egg, onion or at very best some sausage if one was feeling extra decadent. 2016 has unveiled some exciting new innovations in the Prata department.
Prata makers have drawn inspiration from the West in formulating a Prata Benedict, topped with Hollandaise sauce. Some other unique flavours include an Umami Prata that tastes like a Floss Bun, a Chilli Crab-stuffed Prata and even a Salted Egg Yolk-oozing Prata Bom.
Needless thosai, you have to try one if you’re a Singaporean who loves a good prata.
For oozing prata bom and pratas with unique stuffings: Big Street | 104/106 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208828 | Tel: 6100 2661 | Website
For flavourful pratas like the Umami & Eggs Benedict pratas: Springleaf The Prata Place | No. 1, Thong Soon Ave, Singapore 787431 | Tel: 6459 5670 | Website
5. Mochi Donuts
Donut balls are my childhood comfort food, coated in powdered sugar and sold by the bag at neighbourhood bakeries. This perennial favourite of Singaporeans has been taken a notch higher by the incorporation of soft Japanese mochi into the mix at Stateland Cafe, giving these donut a chewy, extra sticky bite.
These donut balls even ooze a variety of fillings — salted egg yolk, earl grey and raspberry — for extra texture and visual effect. Served alongside a tower of cookie butter soft serve, they are irresistable, and incredibly photo worthy.
Stateland Cafe: 30 Bali Lane, Singapore 189966 | Tel: 9800 7628 | Website
Over-the-top milkshakes took the Internet world by storm when they first appeared some two years ago. I’m pleased to report that these dramatic, flamboyant beverages haven’t reached the point of no return. In fact, these milkshakes are quickly making a comeback,with several cafes reintroducing them on their menus.
At the end of the day, us consumers first eat with our eyes, and these over the top milkshakes are a visual feast. With so many creative variations, this is one food item I won’t tire of seeing on my Instagram feed.
For well-dressed milkshakes in interesting flavours: Shiberty Bakes | 46 Owen Road, #01-277, Singapore 210046
For the most OTT of OTT milkshakes (Imagine a tower of candyfloss atop your drink!): Cake Spade | #01-06, 1 Tras Link, Orchid Hotel, Singapore 078867 | Tel: 6444 3868 | Website
For good old-fashioned milkshakes: Meet & Melt | Block 915, Tampines Street 91, #01-49, Singapore 520915 | Tel: 91858173 | Website
3. Molten Lava Cookies
How do you like your cookies? I always had a soft spot (ha… ha) for soft, chewy cookies but never in my wildest dreams did I ever anticipate a cookie with a runny, oozing centre. Kooks Creamery has managed to slay the cookie game with their Molten Lava Cookies that come with a number of differently flavoured centers.
Kooks also serves ice-cream alongside these Lava cookies. When added to the top of the baked beauties, the weight of the ice-cream scoop causes the filling to ooze out in a dramatic and instagram video-worthy shot. Yes, we all love theatrics.
Kooks Creamery: 211 Serangoon Avenue 4, #01-02, Singapore 550211 | Website
‘The Best Cheese Tart Ever’ — how could I miss this pot of gold? Hailing from Hokkaido, the famous BAKE Cheese Tarts had us all queueing for ages to get our hands on some, and threw local bakeries Prima Deli, Antoinette and even The Icing Room into a tizzy trying to produce their own versions of the delectable tart.
Made from three types of cheese, the tarts’ mousse filling is airy, almost marshmallow-like but packs a lot of flavour — savoury, sweet and so good. It’s been more than a month but the queues persist till today. Really, this is the cheese tart that started it all.
BAKE: 2 Orchard Turn ION Orchard #B4-33, Singapore 238801 | Website
Molten lava thick toast takes first position on this list for its glorious visual appeal. The dish has been crazily hyped up this year, with popular website INSIDER sharing a video featuring Singaporean cafe The Bakery Chef’s Charcoal Lava Toast, that come in a variety of flavours, not limited to Matcha and Salted Egg Yolk.
What sets the thick toast apart from the equally-oozing cookie is the truly #winning combination of warm, flowing sauce with thick, pillowy bread. The voluminous thick toast soaks up whatever custard comes its way, making it more satisfying and less jelat (compared to the molten cookie).
Harder-to-find, Eastie cafe Meet & Melt has also put its own spin on this trend, which is also worth a try.
The original INSIDER-featured Lava Toast: The Bakery Chef | #01-3711, 161 Bukit Merah Central, Singapore 150161 | Tel: 6273 9211 | Website
For Oozing Toast with interesting flavours like Thai Green Tea: Meet & Melt | Block 915, Tampines Street 91, #01-49, Singapore 520915 | Tel: 91858173 | Website
So, how many of the 10 have you tried? Let us know in the comments on a scale of one to ten how much foodie street cred you’ve got.
Also, do drop us a note if you know of any other unusual and upcoming food fads that you’ve seen on the rise because we’d love to try them out!