When in JB: Kedai Makan Sing Kee @ Jalan Chengai, Taman Melodies – Taste of Home in JB

When in JB, eat cheap (and good) food. During a recent trip across the Causeway, a friend of mine introduced me to Kedai Makan Sing Kee at Jalan Chengai, a homely restaurant situated a short Grab ride from KSL City Mall. After a brief afternoon of mall-hopping, it seemed like an ideal place for a pit-stop to fuel up and rest our feet. 

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It’s a pretty non-descript place, but also on the clean side. It was also noticeably empty on both nights we visited. Still, if you’re looking for a food spot that can accommodate larger groups, Kedai Makan Sing Kee is a decent option. 

The menu is also pretty straightforward, with typical dishes you would expect to find at eateries like it. 

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Whisking Bakes @ Crawford Lane, Lavender – Singapore’s First Taro Cafe by a Home-Based Baker

Do you believe in second chances? Former air stewardess and founder of Whisking Bakes, Chanel, certainly made good use of hers when she struck out on her own after the pandemic claimed her job. The home-based business has grown tremendously since its inception in May 2020, even moving into a permanent space on Crawford Lane to sell the world’s first orh nee tart balls, among other taro-themed baked goods. 

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Mentai-Ya Japanese Cuisine @ Tampines GreenWeave, Tampines – Affordable Mentai Bowls in the Heartlands

Mentaiko is one of those guaranteed crowd-pleasers in Japanese cooking. After all, who doesn’t love a blanket of creamy, umami goodness layered generously on their rice bowls? 

With five branches scattered across Singapore, Mentai-Ya Japanese Cuisine is serving up this thicc Japanese-style cod roe sauce for customers in heartland areas like Tampines and  Bukit Panjang. 

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51 Tras @ Tras Street, Tanjong Pagar – Collaborative Space Serving Artisanal Snacks for Your Aesthetic Enjoyment

Aesthetic, minimalist cafes are having their moment, and I’m here for it. Named for its exact location, 51 Tras in Tanjong Pagar is a self-proclaimed “creative space” that brings together several local, artisanal F&B brands under one roof. Making it somewhat of a godsend for hipster cafe-hoppers who can never decide which new space to check off their ever-growing list. 

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Tigress By 82SOHO @ Orchard Gateway, Somerset – Lush, Bali-esque Bistro with Gaming and Social Spaces

With the pandemic putting quite a damper on Singapore’s F&B scene over the past couple of years, it’s refreshing to encounter new spaces opening again, especially experiential concepts that combine eating and drinking with other lifestyle and entertainment options. 

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Tucked away on the third level of Orchardgateway in Somerset82SOHO has set itself up as the place for gatherings, be it for hardcore video gamers or friends looking for a relaxed session of board games. The jungle-themed Tigress is where ravenous customers can satisfy cravings for good food and slurp-worthy drinks. 

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Nian Nian You Yu @ Maxwell Food Centre, Kadayanallur Street – Value-For-Money Steamed Fish Sets by Ex-Fine Dining Chef

Stories of ex-restaurant chefs striking it out on their own are hardly new. But, what about chefs that completely switched cuisines along the way? That is how Nian Nian You Yu – a fairly new hawker stall opened by a former chef of a Michelin-starred restaurant – came about. 

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Operating alongside iconic neighbours such as Tian Tian Chicken Rice and Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake at Maxwell Food Centre on Kadayanallur Street, one would never suspect that Nian Nian You Yu’s chef once churned out mod European at the likes of Bacchanalia and Sommer. Still, it’s not hard to miss this up-and-coming stall with its neon blue sign and its name spelled in both mandarin and pinyin.

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