As a person who’s not only keen on, but enlivened by novel experiences, I often find myself hunting down the latest most raved-about place and thing. Food is one such thing, and I’d like to think my presence and patronage has defined a place even to the slightest degree – as it had defined me at some point.
MEATliquor Singapore (now closed) – The first export of London MEATliquor‘s burger + cocktail concept
Sure, not many are as sentimental as I am when it comes to food, food places, food people. Whether it’s finding a ‘Bucks staff-customised frapp that feeds your soul, hacking a good restaurant recipe back home, or just hiding out in spots where the masses have yet to tread, it’s a personal experience and counts for something.
I want food to always be this way to me. Akin to finding a new favourite song from a good band, obscure or not.
Which is why revisiting places and giving some bad discoveries a second chance is a good perspective to have. Longevity is what we’re looking for in an ever fluctuating local F&B landscape. A place that has heart and an edge that really gets people – be it a star dish, affordability or amazing vibe – so many things go into the mix that makes or breaks an establishment within, say, months to two years of its opening.
That being said, if a place has been around for a really long time (and I don’t mean like in McDonald’s case, no disrespect), it definitely says something about it. In my opinion you can’t exactly call an establishment that if it hasn’t been around for a “decent duration”. Which is fine!
I like a new eatery that has an identity that wouldn’t wane over time. As with people and businesses, it’s the journey that counts. It’s one of the most enjoyable and heartening experiences to simply grow with a place that’s won you over. With every major milestone (eg. opening a new outlet or expanding the menu), I’d looked back and realised how little yet much has changed since my chancing upon them.
What keeps an eatery alive and well? Could it be an ideal situation for the masses, or just a niche, devoted cult following that likes it for a certain strength and quirk?
L32 Handmade Noodles, Geylang
It could be either. For starters (no pun intended), what do you like a place for? I absolutely love when staff are personable, and not for service’s sake. When employees are fully in line with what the café or restaurants stands for, it completes the experience. I’ve met baristas, chefs and servers who’ve found a home at work simply because they love what they do and give life to what would be a seating, eating space otherwise.
But that’s just speaking for myself; and to others, price, convenience or ambience might be the major factor. So here’s my quest to you if you’re feeling uninspired, reader. Ask a fellow foodie friend to bring you to their absolute favourite longtime hangout, because they must like it for a reason.
Or just trust us at Foodie Folks to discover and uncover eateries, old and new. To dip our tastebuds in the dodgy soup so you don’t have to, and suggest fantastic places alongside why they’re worth a shot.
Not everything is about the hype – though oh my god, who can resist the idea of salted egg croissants, ice cream macarons and rainbow bagels… But it’s time to fall back in love with that long-neglected eatery and ask, “Why hadn’t I paid this place a visit earlier??”. Together we can obsess over the way we eat the rainbow lapis kueh of our childhoods.
Coming right up: A few fave places that sprung to mind while writing this…