The year has almost whizzed past us, and it would be appropriate to do a report card of some of the trending food of Singapore in 2015.
15 Trending Food For 2015 – Bingsu, OTT Milkshakes, Gourmet Burgers and Shibuya Toasts
Early 2015, Daniel’s Food Diary wrote that the ulu Nunsongyee has opened, one of the first few Korean cafes in Singapore to sell authentic bingsu made with shaved milk.
Fast forward many months later, there are no less than 20 new Korean Bingsu shops in Singapore.
The better shops generally use shaved milk (rather than ice) with quality ingredients such as injeolmi specially imported from Korean Apparently, Nunsongyee has done well enough to open two more branches (one’s a franchise), all in a single year.
Report Card: A-. Still going strong, but definitely seeing a dip and extremely differing qualities.
Korean Fried Chicken
Korean Fried Chicken has been going strong for a good 2-3 years, and doesn’t look like stopping anything soon. These double-fried chicken wings all juicy and moist, glazed with savoury sauces of garlic or soy, are (borrowing an ad line) indeed finger-licking good. (Read: 16 Best Korean Fried Chicken In Singapore)
Report Card: A. Will still last for a while.
Shibuya toasts have become dazzling again. Eating carbs with big scoops of ice cream and syrup doesn’t seem so sinful anymore, right?
We love the Shibuya Toast from Loaves Me, Wa Café, Nam’s and Stateland Café – which has come out with a tasty chewy black toast with coconut ice cream. Don’t say I never tell you.
Report Card: B-. Different flavours and Thai-style cafes coming up is still keeping the toast around for a short while. New entrants may suffer.
Over The Top Milkshakes
It all started with a small café in Canberra Australia, where the then newly-opened Pâtissez decided to do some shakes “so ridiculous and over the top that people just had to take a photo of it before they ate it.”
They got what they wanted. And these dessert drinks spread across social media like wild-fire, spawning off copycat versions. Then some Singapore cafes also jumped onto the bandwagon very quickly, and you saw mugs of milkshakes topped with all sorts of ingredients from candy floss, candies, cheap biscuits and sauces.
Report Card: C. Came fast, going faster.
Report Card: A-. Before we say ‘liao liao’ (finished), llao llao and Milk & Honey have short queues. It’s the perceived healthiness, and happiness froyo gives.
Not just any ordinary burgers, but ‘artisanal burgers’ and ‘gourmet burgers’ with home-made juicy patties and soft buns. The fast food types are $2-3.
These are $20-$30. MEATLiquor from London has come to Singapore, Wildfire Kitchen does a pretty neat one, Michelin recommended The Butchers Club Burger has arrived from Hong Kong, and you can even find them in the kopitiam.
Report Card: B+. Slow and steady. More gourmet burger shops to be expected end December, such as South Bronz at PoMo, and Wildfire Number 2 at 313 Somerset.
‘Fried’ Ice Cream Rolls
This trendy fad has made its rounds among street vendors in Thailand 2-3 years ago (or even much earlier). What made these cool things hot again?
Could be due to Happy Rollies, the bazaar stall at Geylang Serai which attracted long long queues just to get a cup. 21 Cube Artisan Ice Cream, The Famous Ice Cream Rolls Shop, and cOyOrO are some of the shops that surfaced.
Report Card: C+. Stand alone shops may find it hard, survival in pasar malams may be a safer bet.
Thai Coconut Ice cream
I-dtim Mat Phrao. That means ‘coconut ice cream’ in Thai. While we only used to see them sold by mobile ice cream vendors in Bangkok and stalls at JJ Chatuchak Weekend Market, Singapore is seeing a mini-wave of Thai dessert shops opening up. (Read: 5 Thai Ice Cream In Singapore)
Report Card: C+. The better ones will survive, plus coconut water is still in trend for its superfood value.
Thai Boat Noodles
It all started with a humble shop at the basement of Golden Mile. These cheap (most priced them below $2), small bowls of ‘kuai teow ruea’ have even eating competitions dedicated to them.
These noodles were originally sold by boat vessels in Thailand, created small to prevent spillage. Do note that Singapore’s versions are different because no pig’s blood can be added.
Report Card: C. Some stores are apparently quite badly hit by falling sales. Should take a cue from Thai Boat Noodles at Bedok, which diversified into the successful Tuk Tuk Cha kiosks.
Strange that in a hot country like Singapore, we love our Korean BBQ, Chinese hotpots. and Thai mookata – where you BBQ on a metal dome and with little soup around the skillet.
Just in case, ‘moo’ means ‘pork’ and ‘kata’ means skillet. My Thai teacher was telling me mookata is not even this popular back home!
Report Card: B. Some restaurants doing super well, some others in hawker centres have folded.
Fried Chicken & Waffles
Put two trendy food together – waffles and fried chicken, and you get another trendy food. Few cafes actually got the combination just right though.
Report Card: B. Still a must-order in many hipster cafes.
Chirashi don is quite 2014. We boldly predict that Beef Don, especially Wagyu Gyu Don will fast gain its popularity this year. For some of the best Gyu Don in Singapore, check out Fat Cow, The Sushi Bar, Kinsa Sushi and Babette.
Report Card: B-. Didn’t get too big. But with the raw fish scare, Japanese food lovers may switch from Chirashi to Gyu dons.
Elaborate coffee art and 3D latte no longer excite the Instagrammer foodporners that much. In fact, it has become quite the norm.
The fashionable drink in a third wave hipster café is going to be the cold brew. Not just iced coffee. Coffee beans have to be steeped for hours to produce a concentrated essence, filtered, diluted with water, then served chilled. Refreshing for the hot weather.
Report Card: B+. Finding its turf, will be even more popular coming 2016.
We didn’t quite envision this, but the roast duck has resurfaced again. Four Seasons from Bayswater London finally arrives in Singapore, only to realise a competitor London Fat Duck has opened at Scotts Square (though not from London). In a more local context, roast duck and meat shop Kay Lee sells their recipe and outlet for a whooping 4 million dollars. (My lady friend even ‘complained’ that 3 different men who wanted to date her all suggested eating roast ducks.)
Report Card: B-. Waiting for Kam’s from Hong Kong to come for the big boost.
Hong Kong has gone ecstatic over matcha. Singapore took some time to warm up to the bitter green tea taste, but have soon found them in cakes, soft serves, lava cakes, waffles…just about any desserts you can name. (If you are a matcha fan, you must read this.)
Report Card: A-. We are still seeing green.
So what do you think is the next big food trend in Singapore?