My Singapore: Shen Tan of Wok & Barrel

Today, I am so delighted to welcome Shen Tan, chef and owner of Wok & Barrel, a trendy bistro in the Duxton Hill neighborhood. She dishes up “re-imagined stall classics (‘Wok’) that are paired with a range of ciders, lagers and ales (‘Barrel’).

Tan’s transformation from corporate events director to nasi lemak (literally “fatty rice”) hawker is legendary in these parts. Her Maxwell Market stall was perpetually busy. Wok & Barrel still offers up her delicious fare. At lunch, find a selection of six nasi lemak sets on the menu. For dinner, indulge in hawker fare with a modern twist, such as rendang pizza and bak chor mee pasta.

And now, over to Shen…

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Must-eats?

My absolute favourite place to eat is at a hawker centre. (Sorry, I can’t help it; I’m a Singaporean!) And my favourite hawker centre has to be Old Airport Road Hawker Centre for dinner with the family. Ditto for brunch. Brunch used to be the Ritz Carlton “Glasshouse Champagne” Brunch but since I left the corporate world my tastes have become… simpler. Now, I like catching brunch at Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre or Imperial Treasures Super Peking Duck for dim sum.

For dinner, I prefer Italian and recommend La Bracceria. Their wild boar ragu is amazing.

Power lunches are fun at Extra Virgin Pizza at Asia Square. Their pizzas are good and they move fast. And it is right in the heart of Shenton Way,  where all the powerful are ;).

De Burg’s is fantastic for Sunday dinner and perfect for winding down after a crazy week at work.

Must-shops?
I don’t really shop but I like browsing and buying books at Littered with Books.
Must-dos?
My favourite place to chill is the central branch of the library. It has an amazing collection of cookbooks and I love just browsing there.

My time for bars is over having done so much pubbing and drinking when I was younger. But I do like to hang out at Buyan. They have a really wide range of beers, rums, vodkas, and champagnes.

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BTW, Wok & Barrel is launching their first supper club on March 18. There are limited spots; email the restaurant if you’re interested.

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Need directions? Check out notabilia’s My Singapore guide!

Know a creative person who wants to share his or her must-stop spots with my readers? Please email all suggestions to me with the subject line ‘My Singapore.’

(Additional credits: Photographs provided Wok & Barrel.)

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