Singapore food influencers' top choices for 2016

When it comes to choosing where to eat, these are some of the more trusted go-to guys.

Eight local food influencers give their must-try places for 2016.

Who: Maureen Ow of

Instagram: @misstamchiak

Recommends: National Kitchen by Violet Oon (#02-01, National Gallery Singapore, Tel: 9834-9935)

"The menu features authentic Nonya cuisine, Singapore dishes from Violet's growing up years and her 50-year-old recipe collection. I was really intrigued by their memory walls because every picture on those walls reflects Singaporeans' life in food."

Who: Jasper Aston Lim of

Instagram: @jazpster

Recommends: Beef Tasting Platter at Ash & Elm (InterContinental Singapore, Tel: 6825-1008) "On the platter is the seldom seen Bavette d'Aloyau. Although slightly more fibrous and chewy, this less common cut is stunningly rich and full of that glorious meaty flavour."

Who: Cheryl Ng of

Instagram: @msskinnyfat

Recommends: Maggie Joan's (110, Amoy Street, Tel: 6221-5564)

"MJ is the epitome of underground hipness, with its hidden back street alley location at Amoy Street.

Try the mod-Mediterranean small plates such as roasted artichokes, egg dukkah, fork tender Iberico belly with prunes and that amazing orange burnt cake. Enjoy them first. You can thank me later."

Who: Sylvester Ng, editor of The Peak Selections: Gourmet and Travel

Instagram: @gourmetandtravel

Recommends: Krapao Thai basil minced pork bee tai mak at Wild Rocket (10A, Upper Wilkie Road, Tel: 6339-9448)

"It's a common Thai dish but chef Willin Low gives it a modern, Singaporean twist. He replaces the sunny side up with an onsen egg and the rice with bee tai mak. The runny egg yolk serves as a creamy sauce and flavours the silver needle noodles to perfection."

Who: Tan Min Yan, associate lifestyle editor of Her World

Instagram: @herworldsingapore

Recommends: Buta Kakuni at Kakure (29, Scotts Road, Tel: 6733-5251)

"The pork is sweet and firm, the layer of fat a melt-in-your-mouth dream, while a dab of mustard on the side helps cut through the richness of the dish and adds a hint of heat. We've got to thank the Japanese for elevating something so simple to such a sublime dish.


Who: Shawn Loh of

Instagram: @larvitar

Recommends: Salmon dishes at Mad About Sucre (27, Teo Hong Road, Tel: 6221-3969)

"Best known for their impeccable service and outstanding cakes, their tea room savouries deserve equal and immediate attention. Both the hot and cold smoked salmon dishes here - prepared using provincial French-style classical techniques - have revolutionised my perception of how smoked salmon could taste."

Who: Mia Chenyze, consumer and lifestyle writer, Simply Her

Instagram: @simplyhersingapore

Recommends: Pan-fried sea bass at Paper Crane (96, Waterloo Street, Tel: 6837-0836)

"The sea bass is expertly cooked till the skin is crisp, and the flesh flaky and moist. It may sound homespun but there's a lot of 'heart' in it, and there's no mistaking the chef's flawless execution either."

Who: Kelvin Liao, half of

Instagram: @therantingpanda

Recommends: Montagne de Neige at Mad About Sucre (27, Teo Hong Road, Tel: 6221-3969)

"It's made of chestnut, premium white chocolate from Brazil, infused with rum and embellished with meringue. I love this even though I'm not a chestnut lover... I'm very picky about my desserts this year and nothing wows me as much as the ones here."

Mathieu Debuchy redeems himself after Twitter boo-boo

Arsenal’s Mathieu Debuchy, not so much of a social media guy in the first place, was just trying to be nice when he posted a Happy New Year message on Twitter.

The last thing the Frenchman expected was for Arsenal fans to be unhappy with that.

You see, in the accompanying screengrab of himself, it was clear that the fullback had searched for his own  photo on the internet.



The fans, these days a demanding lot, are not so pleased with the lack of effort.






Debuchy swiftly returned to make a last-ditch saving tackle, however.

Thirteen minutes after his original tweet, he posted on Twitter what looked like a selfie, complete with five Happy New Year balloons in the background. 

The caption read: “Better?”



The fans certainly appreciated his sense of humour.


Now, how’s that for a gallant comeback?

Source: talkingbaws

54-year-old charged over counterfeit casino chips

A Singaporean man, arrested in Malaysia on Thursday, was brought back and charged in court here yesterday over the possession and use of counterfeit casino chips.

Toh Hock Thiam, 54, is believed to be the leader of a syndicate responsible for the chips in Singapore.

Counterfeit casino chips worth more than $1 million, mobile phones and cash were also seized.

If convicted, Toh can be jailed up to seven years and/or fined up to $150,000.

The Singapore police thanked the Royal Malaysia Police and the Macau Judiciary Police for their “strong cooperation and assistance”.

"The arrest of this syndicate leader bears testament to the excellent relationships forged between the Singapore Police Force and the RMP and MJP," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Investigations & Intelligence) and director of the CID, Tan Chye Hee.

"We are appreciative of the assistance from our foreign police counterparts and will spare no effort to bring to justice, criminals who commit crimes in Singapore and flee our borders thereafter."

Grilled scallop salad

Grilled scallop salad.

Feeling overwhelmed with guilt from all that festive feasting?

Try this grilled scallop salad - it is slightly indulgent with the bacon but hey, it's still a salad.

If your resolution is to eat healthy, it may be more practical to ease yourself into a healthier diet without going from festive feasting to a depressing diet.

Go for bacon with lower sodium because scallops are naturally salty. You can also skip the bacon or use prawns instead of scallops.

I like the refreshing taste of mizuna, which is also known as Japanese mustard. It has a slightly peppery taste but is milder than rucola.

But mizuna is not easily available. Substitute with any salad leaves of your choice if you cannot get mizuna.

You can make more of the salad dressing, store it in an air-tight jar and keep in the fridge to use the next day if a salad diet is part of your New Year resolutions.


  • 8 scallops
  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 3 fresh button mushrooms
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 125g mizuna
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 tsp cooking oil


  • Mix the following:
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp honey


1. Place the egg in a saucepan and add enough water to cover the egg. Bring the water to boil on medium-low heat, then cover the saucepan and turn off the heat. Leave for 10 minutes.

2. Remove the egg and place in a bowl of cool water. Peel and slice the egg. Set aside.


3. Wrap each scallop with bacon and use a toothpick to hold the bacon in place. (A)

4. Use the medium setting of your oven grill to grill the scallops for 4 minutes. Flip them over and grill for another 4 minutes or until the bacon and scallops are cooked through. (B)


5. Heat one teaspoon of cooking oil in a pan. Fry the sliced mushrooms. (C)

6. Slice the avocado and squeeze lemon juice over the slices to prevent them from browning.

7. Place salad leaves in a serving dish. Arrange the mushroom, cherry tomatoes, avocado slices, egg and grilled scallops on top of the leaves.

8. Drizzle on the salad dressing or serve it on the side.

A taste of the brave

Cheese and chicken chop rice

I wanted to check out these two hawker stalls that had been beckoning for a while.

So I went food trekking and found both stalls located in the same kopitiam... right next to each other too.

It's a good sign that comforting deliciousness will abound in this new year.

Our very own Michelin food guide will hit our shores this year and so will the 10th edition of the Makansutra guide.

Also, new hawker centres will be launched and it's encouraging to know that a brave new breed of young hawkers are ditching their academic papers to join the street food trade.

To do my part in encouraging the continuity and viability of this meaningful culture of ours, here are two appropriately delicious stories.

One is of a very young chef who set up a hawker stall right after his gig at Shatec, an old and reputable culinary school here.

The other is of a hawker from Ipoh, Malaysia who saw an opportunity here and promptly started offering what no one else is selling.

The stalls are located at Delicious Coffeeshop, 456, MacPherson Road.


At 23, Daniel Windsor had an itch to be independent and his own boss.

So, three months ago, he set up his own hawker stall.

His brand of Western fare has a local twist - it comes with rice. That's because he "listened to the feedback of the customers in this area".

He and his wife Jacqueline Wong, 18, are at it seven days a week offering a menu of meat chops, steaks and fish and chips.

A popular dish is the cheese and chicken chop rice. Daniel does the crispy chicken well, thawing it nicely before frying it, and it comes juicy inside.

It's the sauces that come with a twist.

The liquid cheese sauce he slathers over the chop is a kiddie perennial favourite that does not go away even in adulthood.

I like the pan roast chicken with black pepper sauce (above). The Western herb mix was not mild or timid.

All sets come with a blob of coleslaw, topped with a spoon of crispy bacon bits.

It used to be a one-man show but Jacqueline now helps out.

He says: "For now, it's a seven-day week for us, but I will consider one day of rest every two weeks in the near future.

"We take home no more than $2,000 a month, but it's better than having a regular job because of the freedom."


John Ng's friends in Ipoh told him fried porridge was not available in Singapore and he jumped at the opportunity of being the first to offer the dish here.

The first time I had fried porridge was when I was filming in Chiew Lai, a little town near Kuala Lumpur.

They kept thick rice porridge overnight in a chiller to intensify the flavours before frying it up over high heat with whatever ingredients they had.

It's rice porridge with wok hei.

John's version is much thicker, as he uses the starchier Japanese pearl grains. He tops it with some crab meat and chopped chives.

It can get heavy, so it's best to share this claypot of intensely flavoured rice porridge.

Also, he is looking for bigger premises and will be relocating in the second quarter of the year.

Daniel's Western Delights

Delicious Coffeeshop, 456, MacPherson Road

  • 10am-8pm, daily

Malaysia Famous Fried Porridge

Delicious Coffeeshop, 456, MacPherson Road

  • 10.30am-9.30pm, one irregular day off every two weeks

Makansutra, founded by KF Seetoh, is a company that celebrates Asian food culture and lifestyle. It publishes food guides in and around the region, produces a food series, develops interactive mobile content and services, operates foodcourts and eateries, organises food tours and events, and consults on culinary concepts.

Why the Fed hike should interest you

Want to make your money grow but don't know how? CHAI HUNG YIN ( speaks to experts

UNCERTAIN OUTLOOK: Bull and bear statues outside the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Germany.

Over the last few months, this column has examined the merits of investing to boost savings, and explored the different options available.

We also introduced amateur investors who spoke of the mistakes they had made and the lessons learnt.

This was an effort to highlight the role investing can play in helping to enhance your savings at a time of low payouts on your bank savings account.

Moving on to the new year, investors should be aware of external events and the impact they could have on the markets.

On Dec 16, the US Federal Reserve (often referred to as the Fed) raised the benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points - the first increase since 2006.

It is not a one-off exercise and most experts believe the Fed will continue to gradually raise interest rates this year and beyond.

Experts say interest rates here will also rise as they are generally positively correlated to US interest rates.

As Singapore is a small and open economy and the US is a major trading partner, US interest rates have a significant influence on our economy and the interest rate outlook here, says Mr Vasu Menon, OCBC Bank's vice-president and senior investment strategist of Wealth Management Singapore.

"If the Fed's rate hikes lead to a stronger US dollar vis-a-vis the Singapore dollar, this could cause rates here to rise," he says.

"This is the result of the weaker Singapore dollar causing some outflow of funds, and possibly reducing the supply of Singapore dollars in the local money market. This will cause interest rates here to rise.

"Also, a weaker Singapore dollar means that investors may seek higher yields as compensation for holding the weaker currency."

The effect of capital outflows from neighbouring emerging markets has generated a broad effect on the stock market here, says SGX market strategist Geoff Howie.

He says: "Together, the STI (Straits Times Index), KLCI (Kuala Lumpur Composite Index), SET Index (Stock Exchange of Thailand) and Jakarta Composite Index faced similar declines in the year (2015)."


Another effect is that bond prices could weaken if interest rates rise more sharply than expected, given their inverse relationship with interest rates, says Mr Menon.

He says: "Bonds with a longer tenor tend to be more vulnerable to rising interest rates, which is why investors looking to buy bonds can reduce downside risk by buying bonds with a shorter tenor of four to five years."

Investors too, need to bear in mind liquidity risk, as a seller may not be able to sell his bonds if there are no buyers when he is ready to sell, Mr Menon notes.

"In addition, there may be a big gap between the seller's asking price and the buyer's bid price if the buyer is concerned about rising interest rates."

He adds that rising rates may take some shine off real estate investment trusts and dividend-yielding stocks, and weigh on their share prices.

"However, as interest rates here are likely to remain low by historical standards, the search for yield should continue and thus provide downside support for these groups of stocks," he says.

"Bonds with a longer tenor tend to be more vulnerable to rising interest rates, which is why investors looking to buy bonds can reduce downside risk by buying bonds with a shorter tenor of four to five years."

- Mr Vasu Menon, OCBC's vice-president and senior investment strategist of Wealth Management Singapore.

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Traffic cops are not road ninjas

Contrary to popular belief, traffic cops don't ambush motorists but have a holistic approach

PATROL: Traffic Police officers do not condone riding in blind spots and they do not ambush motorists by riding in them.
SHARE: ASP Firdous Haniff tells Biker Boy what traffic cops look for while on patrol.
CHECK: A traffic cop monitoring motorists at a road block with the help of a laser speed gun.

On Nov 25 last year, The New Paper on Sunday followed Traffic Police (TP) officer ASP Firdous Haniff on a 55km-long patrol route.

A video clip of the patrol, which shows some motorists breaching traffic rules, has gone viral with more than 450,000 views and 5,000 shares.

I got to see at first hand what ASP Firdous' job entails.

And today, I'm sure traffic cops aren't ninjas who don invisibility cloaks while on patrol.

I say this after hearing a number of motorists claim they were ambushed by traffic cops "who came out of nowhere" - perhaps suggesting traffic cops ride in other vehicles' blind spots.

ASP Firdous laughs at this notion, describing it as "definitely not a fact".

"We do not ride in blind spots and we do not condone riding in them," says the officer, who rides a 900cc Yamaha police bike.

"On duty, we are most visible because of the size of our bikes and the white jackets we wear.

"Logically, the tendency to spot us is higher. Besides, we want to make ourselves as visible as possible," he adds.

On my half-day patrol experience, I saw motorists who drove and rode as if they were wearing blinkers.

In the first 19km of riding, ASP Firdous, 29, spotted five infringements.

So what does he look for on patrol?

ASP Firdous, who has been with TP for two years, says: "The traffic police officer must look out for potential violators who might pose a danger to others. He will be looking out for traffic directly around him."

Of course, the officer's personal safety is equally important.

Some things naturally stand out, such as a motorist travelling faster than the flow of traffic or motorists who suddenly encroach into another motorist's lane.

Less obvious are drivers who don't wear seat belts or are talking on mobile phones.

ASP Firdous attributes his "spotting" skills to being able to "look far" and "look through a vehicle".


With practice, motorists can also use these skills to their advantage.

ASP Firdous says: "If the motorists practise the habit of preempting oncoming traffic, then they will have a defensive driving habit."

He stresses TP's approach to road safety is a holistic one. The strategy involves engaging, advising and educating motorists.

But traffic cops will not hesitate to mete out summonses for dangerous motoring habits or infringements when necessary.

There are signs of drink driving awareness getting through.

ASP Firdous says it's common to see valet drivers being stopped during TP operations. The intoxicated car owner is usually asleep in the passenger seat.

He adds: "The occurrences of meeting a valet driver is actually higher at night at our road blocks. It's becoming a common sight and a very encouraging sign for us."

So are we safer riders on the roads?

Figures show motorcycle-related fatalities declined from 50 in the first six months of 2014 to 37 in the same period in 2015.

But the number of motorbike-related injuries in the same six-month period rose from 1,953 in 2014 to 2,107 last year.

The main reasons for motorbike accidents when riders are at fault include failing to keep a proper lookout, failing to have proper control of their motorcycles and failing to give way to traffic with the right of way.

ASP Firdous says: "The bikers' knowledge is apparent when you engage them. They are aware of proper riding attire and manners."

Still, some peculiar trends need to be ironed out - the use of bald tyres and motorcycles without mirrors or mirrors folded inwards should be discouraged.

"They tend to remove their mirrors or fold them in simply to squeeze through traffic. When we see this, we will safely escort the biker in the fastest way possible to the side of the road," says ASP Firdous.

S M Ong on 1 Sengkang Mall versus Eunoia JC

Last week, I wrote in this column defending Compass Point mall's new name: "Who could've guessed that in a year when teen troll Amos Yee falsely accused his bailor of molesting him and Mediacorp executive Sharon Au played Mrs Lee Kuan Yew (badly) in The LKY Musical, the biggest scandal of 2015 would be the renaming of a shopping centre?"

That was on Dec 27.

Once again, I spoke too soon. Or wrote too soon, as the case may be.

There were still four more days left in 2015.

"It ain't over till it's over," said US baseball legend Yogi Berra, who died recently, in September.

Or as UK heavy metal legend Lemmy Kilmister, who died last week, sang: "Killed by death."

Who could've guessed that in those remaining four days, an even bigger scandal would rock the nation right down to its flip-flops, surpassing the outrage over 1 Sengkang Mall?

Coming in just under the wire, the most explosive scandal of 2015 turned out not to be the renaming of a shopping centre - but the naming of a junior college.

Ground zero was Acting Minister for Education Ng Chee Meng announcing on Tuesday that a new junior college will be named Eunoia Junior College.

He said that the name "Eunoia" has Greek origins and means "beautiful thinking" and "goodwill towards others".

Future historians will look back on this as the announcement that launched a thousand puns - "you know, ya", "pneumonia", "Yoshinoya", "Little Nonya", et al.

Even The Straits Times said Eunoia is a name that will surely annoy ya and sounds like an awkward cross between "urine" and "ammonia".

Cramming all the vowels in the alphabet into a name without repetition is not a selling point.

While Eunice (for girls), Eunuch (for boys) and Eunorexic (for the very thin) have been suggested for what to call EJC students, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has pre-emptively coined its own term in the school's vision statement: "Every Eunoian a youth with purpose, thinker with heart, leader with courage."

Yes, by the looks of it, every Eunoian would probably need a lot of courage to go to a school called Eunoia.

And it's not even in Eunos.


Before moving to its permanent home at the junction of Sin Ming Avenue and Marymount Road at the end of 2019, Eunoia JC will temporarily be in Mount Sinai.

Wait, why are people complaining about Eunoia being a foreign name when there's a place in Singapore called Mount Sinai? Isn't that where Charlton Heston received the 10 Commandments?

Thou shalt not give names to places in Singapore that may confuse taxi drivers.

Which is why 1 Sengkang Mall is a better name than Eunoia JC.

Remember when people complained that the name 1 Sengkang Mall was uncreative? Now they complain Eunoia is too creative. That's what I call ironoia.

Also, 1 Sengkang Mall is a very local name and there's no debate over its pronunciation.

MOE says Eunoia is pronounced "yoo-noh-iea". One language expert says it's "eh-yu-no-ya". Another claims it's "ev-nee-ah".

Since when did Singaporeans care so much about correct pronunciation? This is a country where we still mispronounce "algae" as "el-gay".

I'm surprised no one created an online petition to stop algae from performing in the Mediacorp countdown show.

But you know what really makes the naming of Eunoia JC a bigger scandal than 1 Sengkang Mall?

The name 1 Sengkang Mall was chosen after Compass Point held a renaming contest in October and a woman won $1,000 for it.

MOE said the name Eunoia Junior College was chosen to demonstrate "not only the college's commitment to nurture students with outstanding academic abilities, but its belief in the importance of building character and wisdom in tandem with intellectual pursuits".

I believe the people at MOE are paid a whole lot more than $1,000.

Oh, before I forget, since this is my first column of 2016, let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy eu noia.