Psst… these are secrets only locals know!
Get a glimpse of the Lion City from people whose job is to be on the pulse of things! As featured in The Finder‘s Directory 2019, our colleagues at SPH Magazines divulge their best insider tips.
Editor-in-Chief, The Singapore Women’s Weekly
Cooking Made Simple
“There are lots of pastes and sauces to use for cooking local cuisine – and that allow you to skip the tedious chopping and pounding of spices,” says Barbara, a passionate home cook. For quick-and-delish meals, she stocks up on Prima Taste for its laksa (rice noodles in a curry sauce) paste, and brands like A1 and Dancing Chef for curry pastes.
Barbara says one of the secrets to using prime ingredients in SG is to familiarise yourself with the wet market closest to home. “Get to know the vendors to obtain the best cuts of meat and freshest vegetables!” she says. Block 16 Bedok South Market and Food Centre is her favourite for meats. (16 Bedok S Rd, 460016)
Having the right cooking gear and gadgets is important for Barbara. “I love roaming the basements of Takashimaya, Robinsons The Heeren and TANGS at Tang Plaza for the coolest, latest pots, pans and kitchen gizmos.” (391A Orchard Rd, 238873; 260 Orchard Rd, 238855; 310 Orchard Rd, 238864)
Her Must-Have App
“I don’t use apps, but I log on to www.womensweekly.com.sg for recipe ideas.” Tip: You can read all of SPH Magazines’ digital editions via Magzter.
Editor-in-Chief, Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore
Layer to look chic in SG’s humidity and under chilly air-conditioning, says Kenneth. Fill your wardrobe with “well-fitted jeans and a supply of white shirts and tees” to wear under jackets. For basics, try UNIQLO; for “contemporary finds”, he recos COS.
The SG fashion scene is “thriving”, Kenneth contends, “with lots of interesting, street-style collaborations.” He shops for under-the-radar brands at Surrender and Dover Street Market. (268 Orchard Rd, #01-03, 238856; 18 Dempsey Rd, 249677)
Kenneth loves scouring through the shops on the second floor of Tekka Centre and narrow lanes in Little India to “find cool trinkets and interesting prints.” (665 Buffalo Rd, 210665)
His Must-Have App
Instagram. “It’s the fastest and best way to curate what is trending based off the key influencers’ feeds.”
Editor, Home & Decor Singapore
Young says he doesn’t get his decor ideas from museums or design galleries, but from wandering around conservation estates in Singapore. “Joo Chiat, Tiong Bahru and Little India are full of design inspirations! I enjoy looking at the various styles of architecture.”
Most Unusual Find
“A 100-year-old wooden sculpture carved by one of Singapore’s earliest settlers from China. I chanced upon it in Say Tian Hng Buddha Shop, managed by the carver’s fourth generation heir.” (35 Neil Rd, 088821)
Where does Young go for home finds? Space Furniture, a purpose-built space within a colonial bungalow; Tan Boon Liat Building, strewn with furnishing stores; and Hock Siong & Co. for its “diverse range of pre-loved but high quality designer furniture, sold at low prices.” (77 Bencoolen St, 189653; 315 Outram Rd, 169074; 153 Kampong Ampat, 368326)
His Must-Have App
Pinterest. For storing all your design inspo in one convenient location. Tip: Check out Home & Decor’s Pinterest account at @homeanddecorsg.
Writer, Shape Singapore
Best Calorie Burners
Yi Wen likes to start or end her day with a group workout at TripleFit. “I can always expect a satisfying sweat sesh whenever I drop by for a class,” she says. Or, she heads to one of her fave boutique studios: boOm Singapore, Barre2Barre Singapore or Freedom Yoga. (9 Raffles Blvd, Millenia Walk, #02-63 , 039596; 62 Cecil St, B1-00, TPI Building, 049710; 42a Hongkong Street, 059681; 137 Cecil St, Heng Da Building, #12-01, 069537)
Yi Wen’s go-tos after exercising are The Daily Cut and Wheat Baumkuchen. “You can customise your bowls. My rule is to include as many colours as possible. #eattherainbow!” (1 Raffles Pl, One Raffles Place, #B1-31 and #B1-32, 048616)
“There’s so much you can do with a TRX band and your bodyweight – from upper body exercises to core moves and balance work,” says Yi Wen. “You can even buy your own TRX suspension training kit for home use or to tote along for a vacation.”
Her Must-Have App
Sworkit. “It’s like having a playlist of your fave kinds of exercises to work out on the go.”
Account Director, Business Solutions
Responsible for advertising sales from banks, finance and insurance clients in SG, Ajit strongly believes that everybody needs medical coverage – in case of unexpected health emergencies. There are options for Singapore residents and other insurance schemes. But, he says, “Very few of us actually read and understand the total coverage of what we have purchased.” It’s why he gives financial consultant agencies such as PIAS a big thumbs up.
Opening a local bank account makes a lot of financial sense, aside from the convenience factor. And, Ajit points out, most of the banks like DBS, UOB and OCBC offer multi-currency account options, which can save you money on remittance costs, plus you get preferential exchange rates.
Get a local credit card, as it will save money in the form of cashback, restaurant deals and discounts at some premium retailers. “Do your homework and set your expectations right,” says Indian-born Ajit, who was once an SG newcomer but has since become a citizen.
His Must-Have App
Paylah. “You can pay anyone, as long as they have a bank account in Singapore. So, having to carry cash is slowly being eradicated.”
Associate Editor, Digital Trending Desk
“Singaporeans know the best hawker dishes are found in the heartlands,” says Joy, who goes to Chong Pang Market and Food Centre, Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market and Food Centre and Old Airport Road Food Centre. “Try the fried carrot cake, Hainanese chicken rice, prawn mee (noodles) and other adventurous options.” (Blks 104 and 105, Yishun Ring Rd, 760104; 210, Lor 8, Toa Payoh, 310210; 51 Old Airport Rd, 390051)
“For a rich dose of culture, visit heritage gems like Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, or take a bumboat to Pulau Ubin and spend the day cycling or kayaking around the island. Just remember to bring mosquito repellent!” (178 Waterloo St, 187964)
Joy travels to SG’s countryside to source the freshest foods around: Hay Dairies for preservative-free goat’s milk and ice cream, Farmart Centre for a family day-out or delicious dinner, as well as the quarterly Kranji Countryside Farmers’ Market. (3 Lim Chu Kang, Ln 4, 718859; 67 Sungei Tengah Rd, 699008)
Her Must-Have App
Fave. For the best deals in town, on massages, hair treatments, buffets, attractions, etc. “I also use its Favepay – and get cashback for every purchase.”
Text: Sandhya Mahadevan, From The Finder Annual Directory 2019
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