First up, what’s fusion food? According to Dictionary.com, fusion food is “any dishes combining ingredients or cooking methods from 2 or more regional or ethnic culinary traditions”. In fact, fusion food is not that distant a concept to Singaporeans. Peranakan cuisine is the perfect example of fusion food, which originated from Chinese-Malay marriages back in the early days by using ingredients from classic Chinese dishes such as pork and garlic, with spices commonly used in Malay dishes such as lemongrass, and belacan (yum!).
While Asian-Western fusion cuisines and restaurants are commonly known, what about specifically, Singaporean fusion food? Think nasi lemak risotto, laksa maki, chendol xiao long bao, and chilli crab cheese fries… Local-fusion or confusion? You’d only know if you’ve tried.
- 49 Seats: Seafood Tom Yum Pasta
With its affordable prices and accessible outlets, 49 Seats has increased in popularity over the years. Its original outlet at Kreta Ayer Road opens till 2am from Mondays to Thursdays, and 5:30am on Fridays and Saturdays, thus making it a great supper spot to satisfy those midnight hunger pangs and sudden cravings. Other outlets are located at Bugis+ and Orchard Central. For $14.90 with no GST and service charge, enjoy a generous serving of tom yum pasta topped up with succulent prawns, mussel and clams. Be warned, it is spicy! (Discover More)
You know the 风和日丽 neon signage that appears a lot on Instagram? That sign belongs to Loof, a rooftop bar at Odeon towers that provides an amazing panoramic view of the city’s urban landscape. On its menu under the die-die must try section is Chilli Crab Cheese Fries (S$14) – a combination of Sri Lankan crab, chilli, cheddar cheese and scallions. Another interesting food option on the menu is ang moh popiah (egg, mayo, daikon, carrot, cucumber and red radish in a wrap). (Discover More)
- Everything With Fries: Har Jeong Kai Burger
Located at Holland Village, Everything With Fries has an interesting and unique selection of items on its menu such as the Har Jeong Kai Burger at S$8.90 (a la carte), featuring har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken) a dish often found in local zi char stalls (Chinese food stalls where home-cooked dishes are cooked to order). This dish is also on its menu at EwF by Everything With Fries, a fastfood concept restaurant found on the 4th level of Bugis Junction. Other local-inspired items on the menu include Ma Ling Luncheon Crisps, Curry Fries and the Tandoori Chicken Sandwich. (Discover More)
- Sinpopo: for an array of Singaporean fusion desserts and salads
Situated along Joo Chiat Road, Sinpopo has an adventurous menu serving up delectable local cuisine with a twist. It’s difficult to select only one when there is so many to choose from: Chilled Pandan Soufflé, Orange Kaya Pisang Crème Brulee,, Gula Melaka Cake (a crowd favourite!), and the Frisee Salad with Crispy Muah Chee (S$10). As it is owned by the same brand behind Everything With Fries and Awfully Chocolate, you’d find the popular items such as Har Cheong Gai Burger and Nutella Tart on Sinpopo’s menu too. (Discover More)
- Lepark: for “Chicken Rice Sushi” and more
Hidden away on Level 6 of People’s Park Complex (at Chinatown), this is one gem you wouldn’t casually chance upon. It takes a bit of effort locating the rooftop bar, but it is worth it. (Take the lift at the shopping mall up to the 5th floor and walk one level up.) Aptly named after the Malay slang ‘lepak’ (idling), Lepark provides a laidback setting to lepak with friends over craft beers, good food and live music. The Poached Chicken Sushi (S$8) on its menu is made from a homemade chicken rice recipe. Other local fusion dishes include the Salted Egg Yolk Soft Shell Crab Slider (S$12), the Slipper Lobster & Crabmeat Tom Yum Pasta (S$18) and Satay Marinated Braised Beef Cheek with Fried Bun (a new addition!). (Discover More)
- Eight Café & Bar: Seafood Laksa Pasta
Housed within a shophouse along Bukit Pasoh Road, Eight Café & Bar is a retro eatery decorated with eclectic furniture that brings one back to the olden days in Singapore. The Exotic Seafood Laksa Pasta (S$25.80) with home-style cream laksa paste, fresh prawn and scallop is a little spicy, and highly recommended. Eight Café & Bar is also known for offering super affordable lunch sets starting at S$12.80! The menu for the lunch sets differs daily, but if you’re lucky, you might just chance upon another Singaporean-fusion concoction by the Chef. (Discover More)
- Reddo Sushi: for Laksa Maki and other Japanese dishes with a local twist
Reddo Sushi is one of the six restaurants under The Passion Group, and is located at Bugis+. It offers a similar Singaporean-fusion dish involving laksa, but this is definitely a quirkier one. The name of the dish, Laksa Maki (S$9.80), is pretty self-explanatory. However, instead of rice, Reddo Sushi uses the original thick beehoon used in cooking laksa and compliments it with fried salmon skin, vegetables, eggs, crabsticks and Japanese seaweed. It does sound peculiar to me, but online reviews for this dish have been positive! The restaurant also sells Chilli Crab Sushi, Black Pepper Crab Sushi and Salted Egg Crab Sushi at S$5.90 for 2 pieces. In addition, other Singaporean-fusion dishes include Kaisen Udon (S$13.90), Chilli Crab Pasta (S$15.90) and Black Pepper Crab Pasta (S$15.90). (Discover More)
- Wanton Seng’s Noodle Bar: Contemporary Wanton Noodles and Singaporean-inspired cocktails
Tucked away in one of the shophouses along Amoy Street, Wanton Seng’s Noodle Bar serves up the familiar wanton noodles we grew up with in a contemporary and chic setting. While the usual wanton noodles found in kopitiams (coffeeshops) are accompanied by dumplings and charsiew, the noodles at Wanton Seng’s are S$1 a bowl (during dinner) and can be accompanied by your choice of premium sides, such as Salted Egg Sweet Potato (S$8), Batalong Eggs (S$9), and Aburi Pork Belly (S$12). The drinks available are impressive too! Signature drinks include Ju-Hua (vodka, chrysanthemum tea and lychee liquor) and Amoy Cosmo (infused pandan vodka and cranberry juice). (Discover More)
- Hyde & Co.: for Nasi Lemak Risotto, Ondeh Ondeh French Toast, and more
Hyde & Co. is a minimalistic and chic British café at North Bridge Road, offering a wide selection of local-fusion food. It has somehow successfully managed to fuse the odd combination of two distinct dishes into one, in the Nasi Lemak Risotto (S$22) with homemade Sambal, prawns and topped with a poached egg. Furthermore, its new brunch menu has been updated last weekend with novel additions such as Rendang Beef Cheek Pasta and Ondeh Ondeh French Toast. (Discover More)
- Restaurant Labyrinth: for Chendol Xiao Long Bao and other reinvented local recipes
Located in Esplanade Mall, Labyrinth is an award-winning restaurant that has established itself in the local culinary scene since its opening in early 2014. The upscale restaurant reinvents traditional local recipes to provide guests an out-of-the-ordinary gastronomic experience in a fine dining setting. Some of these reinvented recipes include Chendol Xiao Long Bao, Hokkien Mee (with Boston Lobster, Egg Yolk Noodle and Smoked Bacon) and Bak Chor Mee (with Hokkaido Scallop, Squid and Dried Anchovies). (Discover More)
- Arbite: for Liu Sha Matcha French Toast and many more
Located in Serangoon Gardens opposite Chomp Chomp (above Guardian pharmacy) lies Arbite, a casual and cozy space that serves modern European cuisine with local influences. It has an extensive menu of innovative dishes, and an array of Singaporean-fusion dishes to choose from. This includes Pork Floss Fries, Salted Egg Fries, Liu Sha Matcha French Toast, Gado Gado Salad, Horlicks Panna Cotta and Gula Melaka Tiramisu. Even the seemingly ordinary Pan Seared Salmon (S$20) is a fusion dish, as the dish is served with an Asian vegetable laksa pistou, using Asian herbs to make a fragrant pesto sauce. (Discover More)
- The Tuckshop: beer with hints of Gula Melaka, Bandung Latte and more
Hidden away in a shophouse around the corner of Guillemard Road, The Tuckshop is a contemporary cafe and bar with an industrial chic interior. While not all of the 5 founders were born and bred in Singapore, they interpret the term ‘local’ as someone who supports their ‘local’ neighbourhood wherever they may have come from. They have created their own rendition of beer: The Tuckshop Edition (S$10), a lager style beer with fresh calamansi juice and hints of Gula Melaka. There are also local sides to go along with your beer, such as chilli ikan bilis (S$6), carrot cake (S$9), and pork floss wings (S$10). If you are not a fan of beer, there are also non-alcoholic fusion drinks available such as Kaya Butter Kopi (S$6) and Bandung Latte (S$6). (Discover More)
13: Chupitos Bar: any interest in Pandan Cake shots, or Milo Godzilla shots?
Situated in Clarke Quay, Chupitos Bar is the only specialized shooters bar in the city with more than 130 shots and dropshots. Expect to be surprised by the innovative flavours available on the menu, ranging from flavours in its yummy section such as Black Forest Cake, to flavours in its deadly section, such as Girl Scout (served with a marshmallow on a stick). At $12 for a pair of shooters, you can give the local flavours a shot – Bandung, Milo Godzilla and Pandan Cake. (Discover More)
- Wild Rocket: expect nothing less from the inventor of ‘Mod Sin’
How can this list be complete without Wild Rocket? Chef-Owner Willin Low terms his cuisine and himself as “Mod Sin”, which means Modern Singaporean. Drawing inspirations from our local hawker fare, Chef Willin Low has impressed us with his take on Singaporean cuisine. The high-end restaurant serves up unique concoctions such as Krapao Thai Basil Minced Pork Bee Tai Mak with Onsen Egg (S$32) and Baked Halibut with Buah Keluak Pesto & Roasted Vegetables (S$42). (Discover More)
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