Every year, the restaurants, bars, bakeries, and cafes of Singapore pay tribute to the nation’s birthday by concocting “locally-inspired” creations that range from the painfully predictable to the downright bizarre. But because we’re all about the weird and wondrous, we skipped the yawn-inducing attempts to bring you this list of the most intriguing National Day tribute foods we could find.
At this East Coast Park hangout, dishes get the Singapore treatment with the likes of scallop chicken rice ($7.90; basically scallop atop chicken rice… without the chicken) and nasi lemak egg benedict ($18.90), of poached eggs on brioche buns with coconut spread and sambal, plus a side of prawn paste chicken wings and the dish’s usual trimmings.
For more local spins on “western” foods, try the sambal chicken burger ($18.90) on brioche buns or the laksa pasta ($17.90) with stir-fried spaghetti, prawns, and a hard boiled egg. Wrap up your meal with chendol panna cotta ($9.90) or pandan waffles with ice cream ($15.90).
Available from July 23-Aug 31 at Atmosphere Bistro.
Going the traditional route with a red-and-white cake, Bakerzin pipes in creamy layers of cempedak (jackfruit) between each sponge tier and tops it off with chocolate swirls in the same patriotic colors. The flavor profile is subtle enough not to offend those who aren’t fans of the fruit, and you can get it in individual slices ($6.80) or order an entire cake ($39-$56).
Available from July 11-Aug 12 at all Bakerzin outlets.
Local bakery BreadTalk is launching a line-up of goodies featuring familiar flavors for its National Day offerings, starting with a sweet, savory, and spicy chili crab puff ($2.20 each) that’s actually shaped like the crustacean. (That’s no small feat, especially to those of us accustomed to Pinterest baking fails.) If you’re more of a durian person, get the mini croissants ($1.50) filled with Mao Shan Wang cream – since they’re bite-sized, you can totally justify eating more than one.
The carb journey continues with eight buns stuffed with ingredients you’d typically find in hawker dishes. From ikan bilis and bak kwa to satay chicken and rendang chicken, the pastry creations are tagged with prices ranging from $1.70 to $2.20.
Chilli crab puff and durian mini croissant available from July 30-Aug 19; the eight buns available from July 30-Sept 2 at all BreadTalk outlets.
In honor of the nation’s birthday (and in an attempt to draw the crowds away from KFC’s salted egg yolk chicken and chocolate fries combo), Burger King is bringing back two locally-inspired burgers: Double Rendang Beef and Hainanese Tendergrill Chicken.
The former is a stack of double beef patties slathered with the fast food brand’s rendang sauce rendition, while the latter packs a chicken thigh patty dripping with ginger sauce and garlic chili. Their value meals start from $7.95 and come with medium fries and a small Coke Zero – or you can get the combo meal ($17.90) and try both creations with a side of Mexican drumlets. Just, er, stay away from Burger King’s Striploin Steak Mushroom Swiss.
Available from July 17 while stocks last at all Burger King outlets.
Yep, you can believe what your eyes are showing you right now. Those are pulut hitam and nasi lemak ice cream flavors you’re staring at, complete with peanuts, ikan bilis, sambal, and cucumber slices for the latter.
Will they taste good? Is this even a good idea? The only way to find out is to go forth in an adventurous spirit and try it out for yourself.
Available from now till Aug 31 at all Cold Stone Creamery outlets.
For a Singaporean spin on dessert, head to this ice cream parlor and sink your teeth into an ondeh ondeh cookie with Milo dinosaur ice cream ($8.90). It’s basically a chewy pandan cookie that breaks open to reveal a river of gooey gula melaka and grated coconut, made sweeter by the scoop of Milo ice cream and its Milo powder topping.
But if you’re not much of a sweet tooth, brace yourself for a savory lava creation in the form of the chili crab lava cookie with bread toast ice cream ($10.90). Obviously inspired by the seafood dish, this chocolate dessert conceals a core of chili crab gravy that’s rather strange when you first get a mouthful. Even though the lingering spice sort of complements the chocolate, you’ll first have to get past the fact that you’re eating what’s essentially a brownie that explodes with chili crab sauce.
Ondeh ondeh cookie available from July 14-Aug 9; chili crab cookie available from Aug 9-Aug 31 at Creamery Boutique Ice Creams.
The chilli crab gets an homage at Ding Dong in the form of its kuih pie tee dish packed with a sambal punch, while satay is reinterpreted in a plate of duck leg with nutty satay sauce and ketupat. On the sweet side, the classic Baked Alaksa goes the stinky route with durian ice cream, pandan chiffon cake, durian kaya, and pandan meringue shell.
Available now at Ding Dong.
The next time you pop by this massively popular dumpling chain, try its steamed chilli crab and pork xiao long bao, which makes a return for National Day season this year. The bite-sized treats are bigger than Din Tai Fung’s regular ones, and come stuffed with minced pork and crab meat.
Available from now till Aug 31 at all Din Tai Fung outlets.
To celebrate National Day and the Singapore Food Festival, Jamie Oliver’s namesake restaurant whips up several dishes in homage to our colorful culinary scene. To start off, there’s the Singapore chicken rice risotto ($26.95; July 13-Aug 12) of chicken stock risotto with free-range bird and broccolini back by popular demand, followed by the nasi lemak pizza ($29.95; July 13-19) with sambal and coconut cream on a thin crust topped with fried chicken, soft boiled eggs, cucumber, and roasted peanuts.
Next up, red snapper and devil’s curry ($34.95; July 20-26) of pan-seared turmeric crusted fish with vegetable devil’s curry and focaccia, and tandoori baby chicken ($32.95; July 27-Aug 2) coated with spices, roasted in the oven, and served with cucumber salad. To end off, the slipper lobster pasta with chili crab sauce ($32.95; Aug 3-12) comes with pappardelle tossed in the restaurant’s version of the popular dressing.
Available at various dates at both Jamie’s Italian outlets.
For Le Binchotan’s first National Day shindig, the eatery is hosting a supper special for all you patriotic night owls out there. First, an evening bubur chacha cocktail ($16) – a blend of taro-infused vodka, coconut, pandan, and tapioca jelly chunks. Then move on to the chef’s take on a hawker standard: Hokkien Mee ($18). Think sambal belachan, binchotan-grilled tiger prawns, yellow wheat noodles, and white rice vermicelli steeped in seafood stock that’s been simmered for 10 hours with prawns, dried Japanese scallops, bacon, and pork belly.
For a satay snack, order the smoky skewers of Iberico pork collar ($17) that’s been marinated in herbs and spices like garlic, lime, nutmeg, turmeric, and gula melaka, and served alongside a kicap manis dip mixed with shishito, banana shallots, and togarashi.
Available from July 27-Aug 31, 6pm onwards for the cocktail, 9:30pm onwards for the food, at Le Binchotan.
Good old churros get the kaya toast treatment at this Mexican joint, which serves up the fried dough sandwiching a kaya spread and chunks of butter, finished off with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar ($5.30).
Available from now till Aug 9 at Lower East Side Katong and Novena.
Not sure if this one can top last year’s insanely popular nasi lemak burger that spawned several replicas from cafes across the island, but you gotta give McD’s props for trying. This time, still taking inspiration from local hawker dishes, the fast food chain spotlights har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken) with its new burger and drumlets ($2.20/two). The former (from $6.05) sees a whole chicken thigh marinated with prawn paste, flecked with bread crumbs, and drenched in prawn paste-flavored mayo.
This limited edition menu also features a Breakfast Curry Burger (from $4.20) – basically, a McChicken doused with McDonald’s curry sauce, melted cheese, and a sunny side-up – as well as the return of its kueh salat cake (from $5.20; at McCafe outlets). Oh, and let’s not forget the recently launched D24 Durian McFlurry. Because nothing says “I love Singapore” better than durian breath.
Available now while stocks last at all McDonald’s outlets (and via McDelivery or GrabFood).
Old Chang Kee and its sister brands go all out with the chilli crab love, whipping up an entire festival based on the familiar local favorite with dishes like chilli soft shell crab nasi lemak, chilli crab puff, flower bread with chilli soft shell crab, and a chilli crab sauce dip for snacks. Phew, that’s as much chilli crab as we can take for the year.
Available from July 15-Aug 31 at Old Chang Kee outlets, Curry Times, Bun Times, and Dip ‘n’ Go.
OFC’s version of laksa is a seafood pappardelle with prawns, soft shell crab tempura, and curry leaves from its garden. But if you lean towards the vegetarian side of things, try its black bean strozzapreti, with black beans kneaded into the dough for a different flavor. The earthy pasta dish is topped with mushrooms from Kin Yan, organic tofu from Unicurd, and sorrel from Edible Garden City.
Available now at Open Farm Community.
No pics of the food available, so you’ll just have to pay the restaurant a visit and be surprised. On National Day itself, the place will extend its opening hours, with lunch from noon-3pm, cocktails and pizzas from 3pm-6pm, and dinner from 6pm-11pm.
Limited edition offerings include the locally-influenced pasta, a plate of ravioli stuffed with ricotta and lemon zest, tossed with spiced butter and fried soft shell crab, and the Passion Sling, a Singapore Sling-inspired drink made of gin, apricot brandy, St Germain elderflower, passion fruit, and grapefruit juice.
Available on Aug 9 at Publico Ristorante.
Low fat Spanish froyo brand Smöoy offers two Singaporean-style desserts for the month of August: Burbur Chacha Twister ($5.90) and Majulah Singapura ($5.90). The first is a serving of coconut yogurt topped with tapioca cubes, gula melaka drizzles, and coconut shavings, while the second shrugs on our country’s colors in its mix of original and strawberry flavors garnished with berries, white chocolate, and shredded coconut.
Available from July 30-Aug 31 at all Smöoy outlets.
Taking its cue from Peranakan culture and the flavors of Nyonya kuehs, the homegrown tea brand presents three new blends for its National Day collection: Butterfly Pea, Nyonya Kaya, and Gula Melaka ($15/tin).
A blue-tinged brew colored by its namesake flower, Butterfly Pea has hints of lemongrass and pandan in its caffeine-free mix. As for Nyonya Kaya, it’s an infusion of Ceylon black tea, Japanese sencha, pandan leaves, coconut, and cream, inspired by kueh salat. Then there’s the ubiquitous Gula Melaka, a combination of Ceylong black tea and Japanese sencha with coconut.
Available now at all The 1872 Clipper Tea Co outlets.
Take time to chill over the busy National Day week at this Botanic Gardens hideaway, where locally-inspired dishes like laksa tiger prawn linguine ($18) and beef rendang pizza ($25) feature on the menu at Bee’s Knees, alongside sweet creations like pandan waffles ($14) and Chendol Colada ($15), a cocktail blend of rum, coconut cream, pineapple, gula melaka, and green rice flour jelly.
Upstairs at Botanico, the chef’s rendition of laksa ($16) is a cold dish with capellini, laksa dressing, inari, poached prawns, oyster aioli, pickled dulse, and laksa leaf crumbs. Other familiar flavors are highlighted in desserts like lemongrass panna cotta ($10) and Cocorry Spice cocktail ($16), a vodka base with curry leaf syrup, lemon juice, and coconut water.
On Aug 9 itself, both eateries will host old school games like chapteh, five stones, and hopscotch so you can get all nostalgic and patriotic.
Available from Aug 1-9 at Botanico and Bee’s Knees.
Hawker faves get an upscale twist at new hangout The Spot, where oyster omelette ($9/piece) is served as a whole salt-baked French oyster on a bed of scrambled eggs with a pork lard and dried oyster powder crisp, while white “laksa” ($42) comes in a bowl with thin somen noodles, butter poached Boston lobster, pineapple salsa, and spiced coconut foam.
If you’re in a Thirsty Thursday sort of mood, order the Kopiko ($16) for sips of espresso mixed in a reduced dark beer infused with star anise, cloves, and cinnamon. The drink also comes with a side of kaya toast, as a twist on the typical kopitiam breakfast.
Other drinks on the line-up include Gulamerah Sling ($16), a bandung rendition with gin, Cherry Heering, Cointreau, and lemon juice; and Mr. Bean ($16), a soy milk and grass jelly blend made boozy with Famous Grouse whisky.
Available from Aug 6-11, 11:30am onwards at The Spot.
The ice cream shop, already known for its experimental flavors, just released its new chee cheong fun frozen treat — which quickly sold out after it went viral on social media. A collaboration with Kwong Woh Hing Factory, the dessert is apparently inspired by the Cantonese version of chee cheong fun, with a glutinous rice base and bits of sesame seeds. Strange, but apparently it works.
Available on the week of Aug 9 at Tom’s Palette.
Cantonese dim sum bites take the spotlight at Yan in August, with intricate, unique creations like steamed xiao long bao in laksa stock ($5.80/four), deep-fried satay chicken wanton ($6.80/three), pan-fried chilli crab bun ($9/three), and steamed Hainanese chicken with sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf ($4/piece).
Available from Aug 1-31, noon-2:30pm at Yan.
Editor’s note: This story will be updated as and when new National Day-inspired foods come in.