The F&B scene in Singapore had been bustling in recent years, with new eateries popping up every now and then. #jiaklocal attempts to showcase Singapore's locally born and bred names; from notable cafes to budding hawkers who just started their business that deserves a mention, all in the attempt to show some support to these Singapore-born icons.
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Have came across the new Rascals at PSA Tanjong Pagar via social media some time back; had also been passing by the area quite a number of times and pretty intrigued by what the gastro bar has to offer — the space being pretty chill and simply decorated with a slightly raw touch. Offering different menus during lunch and dinner service, Rascals serves up set menus during lunch service — think a three-course set menu with a basic price of $25++ per set, while dinner service comprises of an ala-carte menu and a set menu at $88++ per guest that features snacks, large plates and desserts.

We enjoyed all of the dishes that we ordered, which also included the Crispy Potato Waffles, the “Mee Thai Larb” (essentially Thai Pork Larb, Fresh Herbs, Stir-Fried Mee Tai Mak Noodles and Soft Egg, and also the Rockmelon Granita. That being said, we had a soft spot for the Chicken Tofu Meatball — an item that features clam and chicken broth that is served with ring roll, carrots and two chicken tofu meatballs. While we are usually a fan of heavier flavours of which the other two savoury items are, there was something quite comforting with the clam and chicken broth here — despite the use of clam here, the broth is undoubtedly clean tasting without being especially briny, yet not particularly salty when compared against chicken broth elsewhere. It is almost akin to a home-cooked bowl of ABC soup; lightly flavourful, yet warms the soul. There, the ring roll adds a thin chewiness as it unravels when one picks it up with a fork or a spoon, while the carrots still carried a soft crunch though personally I do prefer it to be cooked just a little longer for an even softer bite. I absolutely loved the chicken tofu meatball; it’s especially soft — not quite as springy as a fishball on the first bite, but the texture is consistent throughout, almost akin to that of a cuttlefish ball being more on the firm, yet soft sort of texture. Could totally imagine having this with just a bowl of rice even if I am a little under the water — nothing short of being cosy, comforting and warming to the soul; an item that is rather atypical of what a gastrobar will serve.

Being a modern Asian gastrobar, Rascals seems to be a spot that tries to break the traditions of what one would typically find in such establishments, serving fusion fare that is interesting and fun, but not seemingly pretentious — also pretty fitting to the wide range of alcoholic beverages that they have to offer. A destination that those looking for inventive, modern Asian cuisine should add to the list of places to visit.

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Most that knows me well would know that #IFindComfortHere. A place that I had discovered while I was still very much chasing every single new cafe in town, but little did I expect at that point of time that this would be a constant spot that I would be visiting over the years. Having visited countless of cafes in the past few years, what really draws me back is the passion and their drive behind their coffee; all blends are roasted by themselves and the pride behind their craft, whilst being simple and honest in their food and business. The owners used to talk to almost every single one who walked through their door at the old place, not just for the sake of small talk but more of an exchange that one would have with a friend. It also probably helped that the old place was a cosy little nook where you tend to end up bumping into someone you might know, thus creating a neighbourly and friendly vibe that you hardly get elsewhere. These days, the larger space meant more noise and all the staff getting busy, but they still never fail to greet and have a little chat if they have the time; even the new staff does try remembering the regulars and their names and do interact with them if they can. Having seen them grow for more than two years from the small space to what they are now can be a little surreal sometimes, but it was really a journey worth looking back where they have always strived to improve and perfect that cuppa, and also a trip down the memory from a time before I got enlisted in the army to now where I have turned into a university student. All these while they have still remained the humble and honest neighbourhood cafe that is sincere and passionate in whatever they do. It's really no longer a cafe to me now, but somewhere where friendships are forged, and a place where you share happiness whilst you have a cuppa; sometimes even as a hideout when things get a little under the water because you know you would definitely feel better the moment you walk out of the door.


Miss Lok is by the same people behind The Refinery, infusing the sushi conveyor belt concept to loklok where the loklok sits in jars rotating around a conveyor belt. Each pax is entitled to one soup base, and the table can order meat platters to share or pick from the loklok on the conveyor belt. Alternatively, pick from the side dishes that is cooked in the kitchen. We pretty much liked the Kimchi, Tom Yum and the Oden soup bases for both the Kimchi and Tom Yum were spicy and replicated the intended flavours quite accurate with lots of ingredients within, while the Oden was flavourful but a little too salty. Settle for dessert, where they also serve things like Thai Mango Sticky Rice as well.


Swung by this idyllic spot that I had not visited for some time and came in just at the time where the owner is giving a demo on the Chemex extraction method to potential buyers of the equipment. Watched the whole process of Chemex, and tasted a sample of the Chiang Mai coffee beans they used from La Moon Coffee which was dark-roasted and has a fruity body. Nice to see such initiatives started up by cafés in the local scene that educates the public on the art of coffee. They also hold regular cupping sessions and also introductory lessons to the various methods of hand brew coffee which the next one is happening in March.


Punggol residents take note: The Original Sembawang White Beehoon has now invaded The Punggol Settlement under the name called The White Restaurant. Opened in 1998 at Sembawang Road, You Huak Restaurant that had been famous for its white beehoon had opened its second outlet at Punggol since Jan 2015. Menu is largely similar as the coffeeshop-style outlet, though prices have increased in this brand new air conditioned restaurant with a few outdoor seats. Their signatures include the Signature White Beehoon (duh!) and Signature Meat and Prawn Roll, dishes that you would definitely find on every table there. Standards are identical or even parallel to their first outlet, so you could get the very best of the north now at the north-east. Those who live around Punggol and had always travelled to Sembawang for You Huak should head down, while those who hadn't tried would need to make a visit to taste and believe!

There are really countless of good bakeries and patisseries in town but there isn't really one much like Do.Main Bakery. Situated at Tanjong Katong, it sits alongside a variety of eateries that serves Nasi Lemak, Ice-Cream and Italian fare. Bakes such as their quiches, tarts, Danishes to even the bread used for their sandwiches are baked in-house daily, ensuring the quality of their food served. While their tarts and puffs would definitely hit all the right spots of the sweet-tooth, the Quiche Lorraine filled with chunky bits of ham and bacon over a light pastry is the one that seals the deal. A spot that would soon be a favourite for the rich taitais in this neighbourhood to hangout for some bakes and tea!


Tai Seng may be a sleepy industrial estate that seems to have nothing in relation to coffee and brunch, but the recent opening of TheCommerz saw a bunch of eateries commencing operations at the first level of the industrial building. 23Jumpin is one of them that is hidden behind dark tinted glass. It is the first F&B venture for the owner, and him mum helms the kitchen and churns out all-day brunch and entrees. Must-tries include the Duck Confit which is all tender and comes with a really delicious tangy citrus sauce that sends the oomph to your tastebuds. While desserts are supplied, the Jumpin's Original Cotta is a creation unique to 23Jumpin; a fortunate result of miscommunication that they decided to stick to and offer as a permanent menu item instead. Coffee is also something to boast; they use a zero-acidity blend from a local coffee roaster to suit the tastes of locals. With the food served at reasonable rates, there is no reason why you should not head down for a visit!


Ghim Moh now has a cafe; and not just any cafe. Flock had recently opened their second outlet in the quiet neighborhood that had yet seen much of the cafe scene, with a slightly different menu variety from its Tiong Bahru outlet. Menu items include all-day breakfast with a Brioche French Toast that comes strangely with Honeydew, and a variety of sandwiches and pastas of which some has Asian-western influences. Apart from serving similar cakes as the Tiong Bahru, the Ghim Moh outlet also serves up plated desserts. Decor is simple, modern and chic; no unnecessary details, bright and welcoming. This outlet seemed to have attracted quite a number of elderly residents within the neighbourhood, who seemingly not only love the vibes but enjoy their light-tasting yet delectable food.


Club Meatballs is Sarnie's latest venture right after The Lokal. Taking on a meatball-centric focus, they offer a variety of meatballs of different meats, from standard ones such as Wagyu Beef to quirky ones such as Salmon & Coriander. Menu varies for lunch and dinner; lunch sees subs, wraps and salads on the menu, while dinner sees a mix and match of carbs, proteins and greens. As per everything offered at The Lokal, expect everything to be made from scratch, from the meatballs all the way down to the sauces. Sarnies affiliation with Club Meatballs would somewhat guarantee the quality of the food served here; a spot that would be worth a shot for lunch for the office workers around the area.

Hidden within the private housing estate not too far from Yio Chu Kang Road is Bing Qi Lin, a new ice-cream parlour which is situated at Jalan Selaseh. Probably wanting to blend in to the quaint estate where most shops were left untouched, Bing Qi Lin features an old-school signboard with minimalistic decor. Here, ice-creams are churned in house, with plentiful of flavours to choose from, such as Matcha, Honey Milk and After Eight. Its been noted that residents usually end up here taking away pints, and Maple & Market is one of their customers who serve their ice-cream atop their waffles. A place to consider for a sweet treat if in the area.


Finding western sweets too typical with flavours too predictable with common tastes such as Chocolate, Vanilla or Salted Caramel? Out of The Cake Box is pretty much out of the box with their creations, from Choux Puffs with Horlick ganache fillings to Chendol Fudge cakes made with Gula Melaka from the sponge cake layer to the jelly right at the top, and their flavour combinations do actually work well with each other for tastes that you would not forget. Previously just a takeaway shop, they have since added a new table for dine-in patrons who might also be willing to have a bake or two with a cup of coffee to go along.

Don't mistake The New Black at Upper Circular Road as your typical takeaway coffee bar that's trying too hard to grab some attention by being vibrant, because it isn't. The New Black defines how the cafe culture is going to head in the coming years, putting an emphasis on espresso-based coffee served via taps and brewed coffee prepared by Steampunk mods. Here, it is more of a collective of various roasters from all over the world; familiar names such as Single Origin Coffee Roasters and Nylon Coffee Roasters are just two of the many roasters whose blends are available here. The blends are on rotating basis, so patrons can get a fresh taste on something new each time they walk in through the door. The New Black also serves light bites; a variety of croissants from local bakery B.A.O if you fancy a light bite, and remember to bring your card as they are cashless.


Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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