Category Archives: Lunch

Lunching at Five and Dime

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My little beloved ‘point and shoot’ camera has suffered a little mishap at Beerfest (there was a flying Jaegermeister foam hand involved – I shall say no more) so it has been recuperating at the camera hospital (aka the Sony service centre). So, I thought I would take this opportunity to post some things that I’ve been capturing with my iPhone recently.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Fiona and I decided to make the most of a free lunchtime and pay a visit to Five and Dime. Five and Dime is a cute, quirky little spot tucked away on River Valley Road. It’s only been open since the start of the year, but has already gathered a big following amongst Singapore foodies for its laid back vibe, friendly staff and good food.

Lunch at Five and Dime

We both ordered the Eggs Benedict, as it was a bit of a wet and windy day outside and we were in the mood for something comforting. The lunch menu comprises a varied selection of dishes, including other breakfasts, fish and chips, burgers and pasta. The Eggs Benedict came served on brioche toast, with some pan-fried potatoes and fruit salad served on the side. For someone who can’t turn down eggs benny when I see it on a menu, it was nice to have one that at least gave the impression of being healthy (yes, I am well aware Hollandaise is basically just melted butter…).

Our Eggs Benedict

This is quite a heart dish, with the potatoes and the toast, but it was a satisfying if slightly indulgent lunch. It was nice to finish on the freshness of the fruit salad. After our eggs, we ordered lattes to wash everything down. They came out small but perfectly formed, and I loved the coffee art!

Love the coffee art

Five and Dime is a great spot for lunch, and I think it would be fantastic for brunch as well. It’s not a big place so if you were a large group you might struggle. It is also open for dinner and I can imagine that it would be a lovely spot for a laid-back evening. Don’t go expecting culinary fireworks but you certainly will get decent, well-cooked food, served with a smile.

Inside – there are lots of quirky details that I loved

You can find Five and Dime at 297 River Valley Road, 238338. For reservations call (+65) 9236 5002 or check out their website.  

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Eat for a Cause and Bak Kut Teh

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If you know me you’ll know I have a bit of a thing for food. I love eating food, whether at home or out and about, and I love cooking it as well. Living in Singapore has given me the chance to massively indulge my inner food geek. Although there are certain ingredients which I find hard to get hold of (and the lack of any information about animal welfare or origin – free range eggs? Cannot lah!) Singapore is a great place to be a foodie. There are some things which I am not sure I will ever try – pig organ soup is one that springs to mind – I am pretty open-minded when it comes to sampling new dishes and ingredients. I think I am one of the few people who goes into raptures at the sight of the Mustafa’s produce section! I love that I can easily pick up things that were tricky to get hold of, such as Kaffir lime leaves (which are also great in a G&T if you are that way inclined!).

I got invited by notatourist.sg to attend an event organised by NCompass Mobility called ‘Eat for a Cause’  in support of the yellow ribbon initiative, which helps rehabilitating ex-prisoners and drug addicts. To support the cause we ate at two restaurants that only employ ex-prisoners and drug addicts to help them reintegrate into society. One of the things that has surprised me about living in Singapore has been the lack of (or certainly the low-profile) of charities or social enterprises that exist to help the more disadvantaged. Having worked in this sector in the UK, it’s something I feel passionate about supporting, so I was really looking forward to going along and finding out more.

We headed up to Jalan Kayu to visit New Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh. The story behind this place is great. The owner was in and out of prison as a young man, and in his most recent stint he worked as the prison’s chef. On being released, he set up New Soon, serving Bak Kut  Teh which is his favourite dish. He now employs other ex-inmates, giving them a chance of gainful employment and an opportunity to rehabilitate. You can read more about his story here.

So what is Bak Kut Teh? It is essentially a soup with pork ribs. There are several different versions, and the broth can vary between herbal and peppery. We tried the herbal version which was delicious. The pork ribs were deliciously tender and the meat fell off the bone. I was able to get it off with my chopsticks and I’m not the most skilled at using them! The soup was served up with some steamed rice, salted vegetables and the ubiquitous chilli sauce. It was one of things that having tried, I think I would definitely eat again as its such a flavoursome dish.

Bak Kut Teh

After our Bak Kut Teh, we wandered up the road a little to get some Roti Prata which is essentially a fried flour-based pancake. I’d only had the savoury versions before, but here we ordered dessert prata. Some of the others went for chocolate but I ordered strawberry, seduced a bit by the idea of fresh strawberries nestling in a yummy pancake. Sadly the strawberry here was some kind of artificial syrup stuff (I should’ve guessed that!) so although it was enjoyable, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. We also got to try Teh Tarik, otherwise known as ‘pulled’ tea. It is a hot, milky tea drink and is usually made with condensed or evaporated milk giving it a sweet taste. The mixture is ‘pulled’ to give a frothy texture – this involves pouring the tea backwards and forwards between two containers to aerate it. Apparently this is quite a skill, with some teh tarik vendors putting on a show for their customers – I suppose similar to the showmanship that sometimes accompanies getting a cocktail in other countries!  

I really enjoyed my lunch; trying out new food, meeting new people, and supporting a great cause. I also really enjoyed meeting the people at NCompass, who did a fantastic job of arranging the lunch, but also do great work supporting expats in their moves to Singapore and lots of other countries.

Thanks to NCompass for organising the event and notatourist.sg for the invitation. 

Eating Chili Crab

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We had a surprise flying visit from a friend of Will’s who came out to Singapore on a very last-minute business trip. Whilst he was here he wanted to do some ‘typical Singaporean’ things. This included sampling the famous Singapore Chili Crab. We ummed and ahhed about the different places we could take him to sample this classic Singaporean fare. In the end, we decided to play it safe and took him to Jumbos Seafood , by Clarke Quay. We munched our way through a starter of some prawns and tofu, before tucking into a huge chili crab and an equally huge black pepper crab.

Despite the name, chili crab is not generally that spicy. It is served in a thick sauce made with tomatoes. This sauce was slightly sweet, with a slight kick of chili.

Chili crab

Chili crab

The black pepper crab is dry, but with a big pepper kick. I’d say I definitely preferred the black pepper crab as you really got to taste the crab flavour; with the chili crab the flavour is masked and you may as well enjoy dunking bread into the sauce and gobbling that up instead!

Black pepper crab

Black pepper crab

Getting into the crab can be a messy business, so be prepared to get your fingers sticky. They helpfully provide you an apron/bib type thing to cover your top, so you don’t end up with sauce all over you. This is not true of the table unfortunately, which was covered with sauce by the time we left!

Will getting ready to crunch

Handy apron

Handy apron

Eating chili crab is a great fun thing to do in Singapore with friends. It is quite a sociable dish, with much hilarity as you try to dig out all that gorgeous crab meat. Whilst not a staple dish for us since we arrived, it definitely is a taste of Singapore.

Finger licking good