Singapore: Tech in Asia SG 2016 and 3 restaurants to definitely try

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What an eye opener – I recently visited Singapore to represent Lamplight at the Tech in Asia Singapore 2016 conference where we served as this year’s offical Social Media Analytics Partner. Knowing a couple peeps working at Tech in Asia, I really appreciated the spirit of the event. I met a lot of startups from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, etc and it was incredible to see the amount of tech vision and talent available in the region. It also was great to see our social media wall and voting system which we built in record time (our dev team is INSANE) worked without a hitch. Really proud to be a part of such a talented team. The event saw some pretty high profile people come through the doors and speak, including Ray Chan, founder of 9GAG (Hong Kong represent!) and one of Facebook’s original founders, Eduardo Saverin. He issued my favourite quote of the night, which was,

Invest in lines, not dots.

meaning, in life, don’t look short term, always try to look at the long play. For me this is a great life philosophy to take in terms of what to look for in education, family, finances, career, love and life goals. Especially for people in my generation and proceeding generations, with the speed of technology, we lose sight of the fact that sometimes, good things do take time and patience to develop into something of value.

While most of my time was spent tending to the logistics of the conference, I had a few spare moments to check out just a few restaurants in Singapore, including some new restaurant hits and some old tourist favourites. I thought I’d summarize my top three (with a bonus) so if you’re ever traveling to Sing’ for business, you’ll have a few more restaurant options in your arsenal.

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant
Address: 30 Merchant Road, # 01-01/02 Riverside Point, Singapore 058282
Phone:+65 6532 3435

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This place is considered a tourist “must try” place and I’ve come to realize it’s for good reason – it’s RIDICULOUSLY good. After meeting up with some friends from Hong Kong who are opening a new sister coworking space in Singapore, we decided to try out a Singaporean delicacy restaurant nearby, Jumbo Seafood. Jumbo is a name synonymous with chili crab in Singapore (though locals will tell you it’s a tourist trap in terms of price). It’s the equivalent of Legal Seafood in Boston for lobster or The Golden Hind in London for fish and chips – it’s an institution. I previously avoided Jumbo because I didn’t want to get caught in the hype, but aside from the sticker shock price at the end of the meal ($120 SG a head), it was divine. It’s probably some of the best chili crab I’ve ever had (though we also ordered a black pepper crab too and for that, I’ve had better). Jumbo is definitely worth a visit, even if you normal eschew most touristy stops.
161 Middle Road, Sculpture Square, Singapore 188978
Phone:+65 6336 6949

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There are bad asses everywhere in the culinary world. In New York we have David Chang, in Hong Kong we have Alvin Leung, the so-called “devil chef.” They are the people that make three Michelin star fried chicken or dishes that look like condoms on a beach. AKA, #NOF**KSGIVEN. I feel in Singapore, Artichoke features the real bad asses of Singaporean cuisine. I mean, these guys only stay open for about 3 1/2 hours a day and don’t seem to give a f**k about growing their business. I went on a Saturday lunch date because their menu promised “booze and beats.” While I was a little hungover from the night before, I appreciated their cast iron presentation of their popular lamb shakshuka dish, a Middle East inspired blend of lamb shoulder, tomatoes, pita, herbs, baked eggs, onions and yoghurt. I can tell this is one of those “if you go here, you’re cool” type of places to eat in Singapore. I’ll definitely be back.
Saveur (multi-location, but this was the Purvis Street location)
Address: 5 Purvis Street, #01-04, Singapore 188584
Phone: +65 6333 3121

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When Saveur first opened, I heard the buzz through Facebook. Who the heck were these guys, daring to open a French themed restaurant at ball breaking prices in Singapore of all places, where it’s $15 SG for an average beer?! As it turns out, restauranteurs Dylan Ong and Joshua Koo come from rather humble beginnings as food stall owners in the nondescript East Road Coffee Shop. For them, foor has never been a pretentious affair, but rather, it’s all about feeding people. Food for the masses. In that spirit, they created Saveur, a small chain of restaurants that serve people French food at a fraction of the price of French Restaurants in the city. Where else can you get a large slice of fois gras on lentils for $8 SG??Besides great prices, Saveur offers great European style fare and an atmosphere that really can’t be beat or found elsewhere in Singapore. A native French patron sitting next to me remarked that even though the food wasn’t exactly “French,” the unpretentiousness of the restaurant coupled with the relaxed atmosphere definitely carried a very distinct French vibe. If I were Singaporean, I would definitely bring a date here; the restaurant carries a nice, unique bohemian atmosphere that usually isn’t found in the clean, “newly renovated” veneer of Singapore.

Bonus – Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, Bengawan Solo Pandan Cake
Address: 1 Kadayanallur St, #01-10/11, Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore 069184 | Singapore Changi Airport, Terminal 1 & 3

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I’ve already written about Maxwell’s Chicken Rice before, but it’s so good it definitely warrants more coverage. Every second person I ask or hear mention Singapore brings up this Hainanese chicken stall. The owner should get some sort of congressionary medal or something. I can almost guarantee this chicken has prevented wars or saved lives.”We bring trouble to Singapore – the Tian Tian chicken rice place exists there.”Every time I have it, I feel like I could move to Singapore just so I can have it once a week – but apparently, that is too much. My friends have warned me it’s actually incredibly unhealthy. How can rice and chicken be unhealthy?! What a cruel world. If you need a gift, the airport also carries Bengawan Solo Pandan Cake in Terminals 1 & 2. Their pandan cake is one of the fluffiest I’ve ever had in my life. In the world of pandan cakes (the green colour coming from the use of a special leaf juice), it is miles ahead of any other brand I’ve tried. If you’re on the short haul flight back home, I suggest you pick up some for your relatives or coworkers.Trust me, they’ll thank you for it.

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