Chef Benny Se Teo of Eighteen Chefs is one of the most prolific, and recognizable chefs in Singapore.
The story on how he continues to help troubled youths and people to reintegrate back into society, by giving them jobs and opportunities, is an inspiring one.
This is his latest project – Seng Kee The Black Seed By Chef Benny, not to be confused with the kidney mee sua stall at Kaki Bukit.
You can say it is a kopitiam version of Eighteen Chefs, located at the prominent ground level of Bugis Junction (opposite Honeymoon Desserts).
It seems like the concept continues to target at the youths, with modernized local delights and beverages on its menu.
You can expect items such as their signature 63 degree sous vide runny egg ($2.50 for 2), Chee Cheong Fun ($3.20 – $7.80), localised Sandwiches ($6.50 – $7.80) and Curries in Bread Bowl ($5.20 – $6.60). (Also reminding us of Kokomama Marketplace)
In terms of offerings, it is a positive move to incorporate some of the familiar favourites such as Hainanese Chicken, Beef Rendang, Hae-Bee-Hiam and Sambal Sotong in sandwiches and cheong funs.
But if you are expecting the same type of spiciness or robustness as those served in the hawker centres, let us just say it is not quite the same.
A friend said Seng Kee was “Eighteen Chefs standard lor”. An apt summary.
There were some interesting drinks on the menu, such as Kopi-Guyu ($3.00, $3.20) to pay tribute to the older way of drinking local coffee, and Pandan Teh ($3.00, $3.20). A small suggestion would be to provide siu-dai (less sugar) options for drinks, as most went on the too-sweet side.
The Eggs ($2.50 for 2) still turned out well.
Here’s the little story behind those eggs: Benny used grants to invest food technology such as a sous vide machine, creating one of his current signatures – an egg toast set with a 63 degree sous vide runny egg which proves to be a hit with customers.
“Most of my boys didn’t get much education, but every single one of them can cook every single dish on the menu with the technology. I want to empower them. When they have confidence in cooking, they will have confidence in their lives as well.”
Seng Kee The Black Seed By Chef Benny
Bugis Junction #01-71/72, 200 Victoria Street Singapore 188021
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 10:30pm