It’s an exciting time to be a foodie on our Little Red Dot. From hip Western franchises to Michelin-starred restaurants from Japan to fast-food chains, the galore of new brands means we can now taste some of the best grub from around the world, all while staying in Singapore.

[Philippines]

While Filipino food has been around in Singapore for decades, we tend to only see mom and pop’s stores serving the country’s best-known dishes like sinigang or adobo. So you can imagine how glad we, and the large population of Filipinos residing in Singapore, were when JolliBee nally decided to open a branch in Lucky Plaza. Aside from attracting snaking long queues, JolliBee’s tremendous success has also lured other fast food chains from Philippines to enter the market.

Yellow Cab Pizza Co.

A household name in the Philippines, Yellow Cab Pizza Co. was first introduced in Makita in 2001 and is now one of the archipelago’s leading fast food chains. Having expanded across the globe to Qatar and China, the New York-inspired pizzeria opened here this January. The Singapore branch is designed to be more upmarket, boasting hip furnishing and proper serving plates, yet with unbeatable prices. Must-try dish: Dear Darla Pepperoni ($16 nett). The paper-thin crust is baked with pork pepperoni, button mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, black olives and capers, and garnished with fresh arugula and alfalfa sprouts. To eat, drizzle chilli oil and roll it up like a Swiss roll. B1-01/02 CityLink Mall, 1 Raffles Link. Tel: 6327 9000

[Japan]

From their savoury delights to sweet confectionaries, Japanese grub has long been a favourite in Singapore and across the world. And in the past year alone, we’ve seen a rise in Nippon-themed market halls in leading shopping malls across the island, bringing even more Japanese chains into town.

Tsuta Ramen

Expect a long wait if you wish to dine at this 18-seater restaurant. The offshoot of the world’s first and only Michelin-starred ramen store in Tokyo, Tsuta Ramen offers just two soup bases—shio or shoyu—along with a small selection of light bites. Just like the outlet back in Japan, you rst have to queue to order and pay at a self-service kiosk, before waiting in line again for your turn. They have also opened a second outlet at Tai Seng! Must-try dish: Out of the two, we much prefer the Shoyu Soba ($15) for its heady broth made with custom brewed shoyu, dashi featuring a blend of seafood, vegetables and chicken. Pulling the dish together is an aromatic black truffle sauce. #01-01 Pacific Plaza, 9 Scotts Road. Tel: 6734 4886

Hattendo

First making its appearance at food fairs in Takashimaya, Hattendo Singapore Café has found a home in Tanjong Pagar Centre opposite the newly opened Japan Rail Café. The pillowy-soft buns were invented by Kaoru Morimitsu 80 years ago in Hiroshima with the intention to cheer up his fellow Japanese during the Great Depression. Must-try dish: From the five flavours—Matcha, Chocolate, Azuki Sweet Bean, Whipped Cream, and Custard—we enjoyed the Azuki Sweet Bean for its nutty taste. Using Hokkaido-grown Azuki sweet beans, the velvety cream boasts Azuki chunks for an added bite.#01-05 Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street.

[Hong Kong]

Singaporeans love Hong Kong’s trendy creations especially the famed salted-egg yolk croissant (first served in Hong Kong’s Urban Bakery Works) and now, their craze over the healthy poke salad.

Pololi

Targeting CBD executives, this Hawaiian poke store was designed for takeaways, although there are a couple of bar seats out front if you rather dine in. The rotating menu features five flavours daily, so poke lovers can constantly look forward to new variants such as yuzu salmon and sweet onion teriyaki sword sh. Available in two sizes, Kama’aina ($17.99) and Keiki ($15.99), with a base of brown or white rice, salad, or mixture of both. Must-try dish: We felt that the fresh chunky tuna with its umami taste worked best with the Thai Sweet Chilli for its sweet and flowery notes. To beat the afternoon work slump, pair the dish with brown rice.#01-06A, 51 Telok Ayer Street.

Kam’s Roast

Despite being the first overseas store of the Hong Kong flagship, which was awarded a Michelin star three years in a row, Kam’s Roast in Singapore, sadly, doesn’t offer the famed goose meat due to AVA regulations. Nonetheless, the ducks (from $16.80for upper ⁄ to $55 for whole) sourced from across the Causeway are succulent enough. Exclusive to Singapore is the Wonton Noodles ($9.80)—air- own from Hong Kong daily, the noodle is springy with a nice eggy tang. Kam’s Roast now offers takeaway options, easily ordered through Chope. Must-try dish: The star of the show is certainly the “toro” char siew. The premium pork belly is well-marinated in their secret house-made sauce, and roasted until charred and tender. #01-04/07 Pacific Plaza, 9 Scotts Road. Tel: 6836 7788

[USA ]

Due to irresistible Hollywood and Western influences, our Lion City has seen a number of big American names since we could think of, both big franchises—McDonalds, Dunkin’ Donuts and KFC—as well as more boutique names.

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

Flying in from Miami is Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. Set to open in the first half of 2017 under the name The Bird Southern Table & Bar, this is the restaurant’s first expansion outside of the States. The menu centres on—you guessed it—Southern cuisine, with tried-and-true recipes passed down from founder John Kunkel’s grandmother. Must-try dish: What’s Southern cuisine without the classic combination: chicken and waffle? We sampled Yardbird’s Lewellyn’s Fried Chicken, Watermelon and Waffles last year, and we dare say it is out of this world. The chicken is brined for 27 hours before being coated in special spiced our and fried in a pressure fryer. The watermelon is spiced, while the savoury waffles are made of cheddar cheese and chives.

Kuro-Obi

Part of the IPPUDO group, Kuro-Obi originated in New York, with Singapore being its first Asian offshoot. Kuro-Obi only offers takeaways and all the broths are made entirely with chicken, not pork. Must-try dish: For the full works, order the original Kuro-Obi ($12), which comes with an umami egg, three pieces of chicken chasu, seaweed and spinach. The noodles used are Japanese le kei (house style) ramen from Yokahama, which is thicker and chewier than the usual ramen noodles to better soak up the creamy broth. #B2-54/55 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue.

[Thailand]

Bangkok is, undoubtedly, one of the most frequented holiday destination by Singaporean’s, and we are number 1 fans of their local dishes. Whether it’s mookata or a joint serving boat noodles, one can expect a steady stream of customers. It’s surprising that there are few Bangkok-born restaurants in Singapore, with many being opened up by our fellow citizens—until now that is.

Greyhound Cafe

A stalwart in Thailand’s F&B and fashion scene, Greyhound has been around since the 80s, where it rst started as a hip men’s fashion boutique. Now with branches in Hong Kong and China, the fashion cafe’s dishes showcase creative twists with a local touch of ingredients, all set on cool crockery. Must-try dish: Skip the usual suspects and try the lesser-known Complicated Noodle Dish ($18). The ingredients, which comprise crisp lettuce, rice noodle sheets, fragrant minced pork and green chilli, are to be assembled yourself, making the quirky appetiser a fun dish to enjoy with friends. Taste-wise, it’s refreshing and light, with the sapid and potent chilli punching up the flavours of the pork. #01-25/25A Paragon, 290 Orchard Road. Tel: 6235 4078

Yentafo Kruengsonge

Owned by Madam A.Mallika, this is is one of Bangkok’s most popular noodle chains specialising in Thai yong tau foo; or pink noodle soup. Since November, franchisee Minor Food Group has opened three outlets, with an expanded menu that includes spicy fried rice with tuk tuk herbal pork ($9) and comforting steamed pork ribs ($12.90) with rice or noodles. Must-try dish: Each yen ta fo bowl ($8.50) comes with a generous serving of eight items, including fried tofu, black fungus mushroom, squid ball and fried seasoned taro, to go with rice noodles. Try the popular tom yum ($9) variation. #02-06A/B Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, 8 Grange Road. Tel: 6736 0971

[Korea]

Seoul food for your soul. With the rise of the Hallyu Wave, Singapore has seen an influx of Korean joints popping up. Popular among K-fans, the success of these eateries rely on the hype and star power from its appearance in K-dramas, such as Dal.Komm coffee in Descendents of the Sun.

Kiss The Tiramisu

A hit in South Korea since its debut in the hip Hongdae district, Kiss The Tiramisu fuses two of our favourite treats: creamy tiramisu and soft serve ice cream. Served in a posh-looking wine glass; perfect for that Instaworthy shot. Look forward to a wide range of flavours and cakes with ice coffee in the near future. Must-try dish: Offering three variants at $6.90, our favourite is still the Original Tiramisu Ice Cream. The intense aroma of the cocoa and espresso is balanced out by the savoury mascarpone cheese and sweet ice cream, while the fresh ladyfinger biscuits gives the sweet treat a nice bite. #01-15 Orchard Gateway, 277 Orchard Road.

 

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