It is my pleasure to welcome Emily Loke, Founder and Creative Director of Paper Tiger Press, Singapore’s first letterpress studio, to notabilia! Paper Tiger Press specializes in luxurious wedding, personal, and business stationery. Her beautiful blog showcases her design inspirations and charts her journey “towards reviving a centuries-old craft in a thoroughly modern metropolis.”
Emily and I began exchanging emails long before I arrived in Singapore. I love all things paper—card-making, scrapbooking, book-binding, letterpress, typography—and I found Emily while searching for like-minded people! We wrote back and forth, discussing crafting, teaching, and cutting up beautiful paper (something we are both loath to do).
And now, to Emily…
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This was such a tough one! Like all Singaporeans, I have so many “favourites” that even narrowing my list down to three was torture. Try them and you’ll see why…
Best Hole-in-the-Wall: Kazu
The gold standard for authentic Japanese Yakitori, Kazu runs a full house every night. It’s cramped, terribly loud, and service can be slow, but the quality of the food makes up for this many times over. The foie gras skewers are to die for, as are the cheesy scallops, and wagyu-wrapped enoki mushrooms. Also, make sure you reserve a mochi ice cream at the start of your meal. The salted chocolate ones go quick.
Best Local Food: Peramakan
Located in a country club but open to the public, Peramakan serves the best Nonya (Peranakan) food in Singapore that isn’t from a grandmother’s kitchen. Their dishes, all typically difficult and time-consuming to make, are consistently excellent and servers are surprisingly attentive. Best yet, they serve buah keluak by the piece, which means no fighting over the last nut in the bowl. Be sure to try the Nonya pork ribs, rendang, and chap chye too.
Best Hidden Gem: Infuzi
I was only recently introduced to Infuzi, but it’s become a family favourite in the last couple of months. I love going at night: driving through the imposing, deserted Biopolis always makes me feel like I’m in a movie! I also love that unlike other fine-dining restaurants, it’s not stuffy or snobby at all. The menu changes seasonally, but everything I’ve tried (almost the entire current menu at this point!) has been spot-on, as were the wines recommended by the warm Head-of-House, Purdy.
I love cooking, so Sia Huat is like paradise for me: four shophouse units of professional cooking, baking, prep, and plating equipment. Almost every restaurant in town stocks up there, so it’s a great resource for home cooks looking for supplies that will elevate the level of their food preparation or presentation. Think of it as a local Williams-Sonoma without the fancy packaging and crazy prices.
My last purchase from there was armloads of new plates and bowls in the chic, modern shapes you’d find at an upscale eatery—you could serve mac and cheese on these things and still have it look fantastic—but I’ll be returning soon to check out the wall of cookie scoops and cutters for my Christmas baking.
Every two weeks, I indulge in my favourite guilty pleasure: a full manicure and pedicure at Sage & Sole. Debs, the owner, only sees one client at a time (unless you deliberately book with a friend) so you have the whole place to yourself. This makes for really personal service, which is such a rarity in Singapore.
She also keeps the place stocked with current fashion and gossip magazines, has a great collection of jazz CDs, and does paint jobs that just last and last, even through rough manual work at a letterpress studio!
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Need directions? Check out notabilia’s My Singapore guide!
(Additional credits: Photographs by Adam Stamenkovic. Used with permission from the artist.)