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2019 In (Food) Review: The Trends You Loved

The promise of 2020 looms overhead like mistletoe and you mentally prepare to kiss 2019 goodbye. Pat your belly in satisfaction — let’s reminisce on food memories of the year! Here’s a recap of what the community went crazy for in 2019.

Thirs-tea for Bubble Tea

pjimage (1)(Left) Strawberry Cheezo Tea from HEYTEA. Photo by Burppler Laurensia Anjani (Right) Yu Lu Lime Tea from CHICHA San Chen. Photo by Burppler Jia Li Lee.

“On some days, I get Heytea cravings so bad. The kind where I need to make plans and actually head to an outlet to quench that thirst for King Fone Cheezo Tea.” Pretty sure 80% of you reading this faced similar problems as Burppler Vanessa Scully in 2019. Places like CHICHA San Chen also saw you guys share 93 solid reviews in just a few months. “Not a fan of boba or milk tea, so this 玉露青柠 is my #1 favorite now as it is refreshing, light and make me feel guilt-free while drinking!”, shared Burppler Jia Li Lee. There were so many places to choose from, we even had to mediate by pitting the best BBTs up against each other.

Oozy burnt Basque cheesecake

pjimage (3)(Left) Burnt Cheesecake by the kins’. Photo by Burppler Evan Mua. (Right) Burnt Cheesecake by Olivia restaurant & bar. Photo by Burppler Nobelle Liew.

How could we all resist the Basque burnt cheesecake with its smooth, oozy, cheesy middle and burnt upper crust? You loved the kins’ velvety version that Burppler Evan Mua says shows “elegant restraint — rich but only sufficiently so, and never entering the realm of cloyingness.Keong Saik Bakery’s was so good it inspired Burppler Wuu Yyiizzhhoouu to “buy a second slice”. However, Olivia restaurant & bar’s was THE crowd-favourite, with Burppler Nobelle Liew aptly describing it as “excruciatingly addictive”. Those in search of a good but affordable option were rewarded with TXA Pintxo bar’s airy cheesecake with a molten centre — it even transported Burppler SG Food on Foot right back to Spain!

A burger chain invasion!

pjimage(Left) Shack Stack from Shake Shack. Photo by Burppler Eric-Isabella CHUNG. (Middle) Cajun Little Fries from Five Guys. Photo by Burppler Eunice Sng. (Right) Black Onyx Black Angus beef Mbs 3+ chuck tender by BurgerLabo. Photo by Burppler Cecil Dulam.

2019 brought with it the openings of amazing “branded” burgers. One of the highlights? Shake Shack’s crispy portobello mushroom burger that Burppler Kar Yan Yeong raved about —“I love this better than ANY meat burgers. It’s so amazing how a meat-free burger can taste so good.” The recent opening of Five Guys brought with it the queues and as Burppler Zhihui Lim thinks "the fries actually stole the show - super crisp and fluffy". But big brands from the US aside, we’re proud that homegrown BurgerLabo truly holds its own — Burppler Nicholas called their Basic Burger a “superb burger”. Go try it for yourself.

It was mala err’thang

2eff04af8cdf6d0dd0f41752542_original.jpegMala Xiang Guo by Wan Xing Mala Xiang Guo. Photo by Burppler Athena Koo.

Mala took over so hard, 24-hr MLXG spots opened to satiate cravings at all hours. This place even satisfies non-chili lovers like Burppler Athena Koo, “Best 不辣香锅. When you have cravings for mala xiang guo but can't eat spicy, this is the best place to go and one of my regular hangout spots”. Mala even made its way into Geylang Serai’s Ramadan Market earlier this year, with Mala Beef Cubes and French Fries. Wanna know the best mala spots to numb your lips at? Here ya go.

Sourdough continues to rise 

pjimage (2)(Left) Grilled Cheese by micro bakery. Photo by Burppler Gan Zhang Xun. (Middle) Nut Butter With Honey Toast by The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough. Photo by Burppler Valerie Chua. (Right) Honey Mascarpone Toast by Starter Lab. Photo by Burppler Alice Tan.

This year, we said hello to “designer sourdough”, courtesy of Starter Lab from Bali. However, our local bakers really upped their game, like micro bakery opening their second outlet in the iconic Red House in Marine Parade. Burppler Jason Wong and many more enjoyed their Grilled 3-cheese — “an excellent rendition...with a triple whammy of brie, smoked cheddar and mozzarella...the addition of sauerkraut and tomato jam is what makes their version stand out from the pack”. Much to everyone’s delight, the lovely Chalith and Nur of The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough re-opened their bakery in Thomson after a year of travels. Huzzah!

Chinese food went mod

trends_shangsocialDeep Fried Glutinous Rice Ball With Eight Treasures by Shang Social. Photo by Burppler Jason Wong.

Chinese tapas, Asian-inspired craft cocktails, chrysanthemum beer on tap? Places like Shang Social are gaining momentum serving these unique, modern twists on Chinese cuisine in an approachable way. Burppler Joy Yao enjoyed “a cup of hands-down “bestest” Pu-er Tea infused softserve 🍦”. Burpplers are enjoying Yunnan cuisine (courtesy of Yun Nans) all over Singapore, first opening in Jewel and now in Westgate (and more to come). Classic dishes like Cross Bridge Rice Noodles wow-ed Burppler Potato Tomato and many more — “a very comforting noodle dish; with this and the chicken soup I was torn between which soup to stuff my face with.”

2020 Speculations

Pop-up concepts such as The Feather Blade and private dining spots such as Mustard Seed have found permanence in brick and mortar stores in 2019. We’ve heard through the grapevine that Benfatto and Casa Nostra might soon be joining them! Fingers crossed...

Dear Food Gods, if you’re listening, please bless us with:

  • MORE natural wine bars

  • Affordable, tasty Mexican food

  • Goood doughnuts

  • Woodfired pizzas in more neighbourhoods

  • Halal Din Tai Fung (DIN), come to SG please!

  • Impossible meats in more dishes, not just burgers