Whip out your finest red-and-white threads, ’cause National Day is almost here. (Good news for those of us who’ve been plagued by this year’s corny ‘Because It’s Singapore’ NDP theme song on repeat.) And just like every other year, we’ve been bombarded by a barrage of National Day-inspired foods at bakeries, cafes and restaurants.
Once again, it’s all about local flavors, hawker-inspired reinventions and, occasionally, the colors of the flag slathered on poor, unfortunate dish that happens to be served between now and August 9. So we sifted through lists of predictable promos to bring you a couple of suggestions, should you be keen on doing a little something to celebrate the nation’s 52th.
For a quiet, relaxing afternoon, get together with your friends and nibble on pandan mochi cakes, gula melaka ginger tea cakes and bak kwa jam sammies from the two-tier Singapura High Tea set at TV personality/chef Angela May’s restaurant.
Available at Angela May Food Chapters from Aug 1-31. $52/two.
Here’s an unexpected contender in the nasi lemak burger realm: Antoinette, which is usually known for its delicate cakes and flaky croissants. This version puts together Japanese rice cooked with fresh pandan juice, sunny side up egg, a crispy XXXL-sized piece of chicken, homemade otah, luncheon meat, and sambal with a drizzle of gula melaka.
Available at Antoinette, 30 Penhas Rd, from Aug 9-31. $20.
Plop yourself down in comfy chairs for an afternoon of small bites with a local twist, including nasi lemak cornet, chilli crab and mantou bits, ayam satay, pandan kaya and butter toast, beef rendang pie, yam chiffon cream chantilly, and chocolate almond kueh pie tee.
Available at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore from Aug 1-31; daily 3pm-5pm, extra weekend seating 12.30pm-2.30pm. $42/person, $80/two.
The bakery’s chendol mousse cake layers chendol and gula melaka cream on pandan sponge, with a topping of chendol jelly — just in case you don’t recognize its namesake inspiration.
Available at all Bakerzin outlets from Jul 25. $3.50/slice, $35/whole cake.
The famous British chef’s Italian eatery takes on chicken rice, a local classic, and gives it a twist with oven-roasted free-range chicken, broccolini, and carnaroli rice infused with chicken stock. Of course, it comes with a chilli dressing made of red chilli and sweet wine vinegar.
Available at all Jamie’s Italian outlets from Aug 1-13. $19.65 (we see what they did there).
The steamboat place offers a new sweet and spicy chilli crab soup base that’s a blend of spices like lemongrass, belacan (shrimp paste) and blue ginger for you to simmer all your favorite hotpot ingredients in.
Available at all JPOT outlets from Aug 1-31. $19.80 for soup base, $52/two-person set.
This one’s not exactly launched specifically for National Day, but what we love about the newly-opened bakery’s chendol cake is its creamy layers of chendol custard studded with bits of red bean and atap chee.
Available at Keong Saik Bakery. $6.50/slice.
Of course, we couldn’t leave out the fast food chain’s National Day menu — its nasi lemak burger ($5.95), chendol McFlurry (from $3), coconut pie ($1.20) and bandung McFizz (from $3) have been all over social media for a while now, even inspiring our Coconuts Singapore team to attempt our own (more authentic) nasi lemak burger. (Update: McDonald’s has announced the limited edition menu is now sold out islandwide, so… fingers crossed the items come back sometime in the near future?)
all none of McDonald’s outlets, sad to say.
Grab three friends and head over to this meat-obsessed cafe for a platter piled high with sambal BBQ pork ribs, baked barramundi, crispy butter cereal chicken, 300g grain-fed ribeye steak with scallion and ginger sauce, and a seafood bucket of prawns, crayfish, mussels and clams doused in chilli crab sauce. The meal for four also includes chicken rice, roti prata, rojak and free flow portions of fried mantou, achar salad and leafy greens.
Available at Meat N’ Chill. $125.20 for a platter for four.
Knock down a couple of cocktails inspired by William Farquhar’s book of natural history drawings at this Ann Siang Hill watering hole, where four concoctions feature a medley of native herbs, spices, fruits or flowers. There’s The King and Queen, made with durian, mangosteen, pandan and coffee beans; Bay Side, a bay leaf-infused gin blended with elderflower liqueur and spiced apple reduction; Oh My Jasmine, a mix of jasmine syrup and green tea liqueur; and Galangal Beer, made of vodka, spiced pear syrup and ginger beer.
Available at Nutmeg & Clove from Aug 1-31. $22.
The British gastro bar joins in the celebration with a show of Singapore spirit in the form of cocktails like Bandung Sour ($19), a mix of spiced rum, rose syrup, calamansi juice and evaporated milk, as well as its version of Singapore Sling ($19), garnished with pineapple and cherry. Pair these drinks with dishes like chilli baby crab and mantou buns ($16) or kueh dadar and vanilla ice cream ($14) to complete the experience.
Available at Oxwell & Co from now till Aug 12.
It seems like Tino’s Pizza Cafe isn’t the only one around here to experiment with durian pizzas. Local pizza chain Pezzo apparently loves the stinky fruit too, and it’s gone one step further to differentiate itself with a charcoal crust. If you can stomach the idea of creamy Mao Shan Wang and D24 on crispy baked dough, go ahead and try a slice.
Available at all Pezzo outlets except Changi Airport T2 from now till mid-Aug. $5.90/slice, $32.90/14-inch pizza.
The local bakery goes nuts for pandan this season, with a new and improved pandan chiffon cake that features a stronger and sweeter pandan aroma. Other treats on offer include pandan kaya fudge loaf, pandan kaya with gula melaka roll, baby pandan chiffon and pandan golden bahulu.
Available at PrimaDéli outlets from Aug 7-31.
The riverside eatery takes inspiration from local dishes to create a three-course set menu, which includes a satay rendition of skewered chicken with kecap manis sweet soy sauce, a Hokkien mee pasta with tagliatelle, pork belly and squid, the thunder tea risotto sprinkled with grilled corn, tempura asparagus and toasted peanuts, as well as the roti and kopi dessert of gula melaka brioche, kaya and pandan ice cream.
Available at SPRMRKT Kitchen & Bar from Aug 1-31. $52/three-course set.
The coffee chain embraces local flavors with its new range of cakes and pastries, featuring sweet treats like the Ovaltine chocolate cake, Horlicks white chocolate cake, ondeh ondeh gula melaka cake and pulut hitam cake, as well as the savory otah frittata croissant sandwich. Starbucks has also launched its first-ever Shiok-ah-ccino ($7.90/tall), inspired by local desserts, made with coffee frapp, gula melaka, coffee jelly, and toasted coconut.
Available at Starbucks outlets for a limited time. Cakes $6.50-$6.90 per slice.
So what if McD’s nasi lemak burger has sold out? Make your way down to the Bugis area to indulge in The Beast’s version ($20) of fried chicken thigh, house-made sambal, fried egg and deep fried coconut rice ‘buns’ — all served up with a side of luncheon meat fries. And if you yum seng with the servers, you’ll get the burg plus beef rendang cheese fries ($14) and salted egg yolk chicken on pandan waffles ($20) along with two pandan Arnold Palmers for $52.
Available at The Beast from Aug 1-31.
Fancy something sweet after dinner? Pop by the European-style bakery for a red velvet cinnamon bun that’s chock full of chocolate chips and topped with cream cheese icing and tiny red hearts. Props to its natural coloring from roasted beetroot purée, too.
Available at The Bread Table from now till Aug 31. $3.80.
For a nature-filled escape from all that red and white, swing by Botanico for a meal that includes plates of Ibérico char siew ($34), a ‘chendol’ parfait ($14) with frozen gula melaka mousse and rice flour jelly, as well as a chendol colada cocktail ($15) of rum, gula melaka syrup, pineapple juice and coconut cream. At the more casual Bee’s Knees cafe, you’ll be served items like ‘hae bee hiam’ tiger prawns linguine ($18) and chicken tikka pizza ($26).
Available at Botanico and Bee’s Knees at The Garage from Jul 31-Aug 13.
Okay, we promise this one’s the most clichéd suggestion on our list. Don’t be fooled by its appearance — the red and white cake hides layers of pink vanilla sponge with gula melaka fudge and pieces of attap chee — it all sounds rather tasty if you don’t think about the fact that it looks like the Singapore flag.
Available at all Pine Garden outlets from now till Aug 31. From $28/800g cake.
At this Spanish restaurant, tapas plates go local with the chilli crab croquetas ($10), and mains come in the form of sautéed gambas with laksa paste ($22) or Hainanese chicken rice-influenced paella ($46-$66) topped with chicken, cucumber and chilli sauce.
Available at UNA from Aug 1-26.
Not tired of nasi lemak everything, yet? Spend a quiet day at the Seletar Aerospace Park cafe and try brunch items like Atas Kaya Toast ($8) on sourdough with sous vide egg, or nasi lemak hash brown ($10) of crispy potatoes with pandan coconut, sambal mayo and cucumber. Dishes such as bak chor linguine ($18) and wagyu satay ($14/four sticks) make an appearance on the dinner menu, and you can get a Milo dino softie ($6) or a strawberries and cream ice cream sandwich ($6.50) to end things on a sweet note.
Available at Wildseed at The Summerhouse from Aug 7-13.
A combination of bak kut teh (pork rib broth) and xiao long bao (steamed dumpling), Yum Cha’s National Day creation — although not exactly a revolutionary thing (Din Tai Fung has its chilli crab xiao long bao) — sounds like something we’d happily stuff our faces with.
Available at Yum Cha outlets from now till Aug 13. $5.20/basket of three.