While Singapore certainly boasts flavours from all over the globe, it’s also home to its own distinctive local food culture—A tantalising tapestry of multicultural culinary traditions.
Both of these elements come together in Mod-Sin cuisine. A term originally coined in 2005, Mod-Sin—which stands for “modern Singaporean cuisine”—transforms classic hawker staples and beloved Singaporean dishes through bold innovation and modern cooking techniques.
Whether you’re craving a new spin on a local favourite or love culinary creativity, the world of Mod-Sin cuisine will surely tantalise your taste buds. Here are five restaurants where the classic and the unconventional merge.
If you’re hoping to discover a bold combination of Western staples and local Peranakan delights, you’ll be able to taste the best of both worlds at Baba Chews. This all-day eatery fuses Western fare with nonya classics.
Peranakan* food is famous for its rich, complex flavours—drawing from a mix of Chinese, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine—and the menu at Baba Chews adds Western influences to this heady mix.
To sate your comfort food cravings, take a bite out of their ayam buah keluak burger, which combines a grilled chicken patty, buah keluak (black nut indigenous to Southeast Asia) and achar (Asian pickles). Alternatively, you could opt for their signature Beef Short Ribs Rendang, made with melt-in-your mouth beef in a rich gravy of coconut cream, spices, gula melaka (palm sugar) and turmeric leaves.
*The term is an Indonesian/Malay word that means “local born”, which generally refers to people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.
Katong Square. 86 East Coast Road, Singapore 428788. +65 6723 2025.
Mon-Thu & Sun 6.30am-11pm; Fri & Sat 6.30am-12am.
Founded by chef-owner Han Li Guang, the establishment is famous for recreating beloved local dishes with whimsical new twists.
Rojak (sweet and savoury salad of vegetables, fruits and dough fritters) is just one of the many beloved hawker dishes that Labyrinth elevates, with the dish’s traditional ingredients being replaced with edible garden herbs, bee honey, soya bean curd and bird’s nest.
Other notable dishes include the “Ang Moh” chicken rice—a dumpling-shaped delight that riffs on Singapore’s most beloved national dish—and Cristal De Chine Caviar, which plays with the breakfast flavours of kaya toast.
Esplanade Mall. 8 Raffles Avenue #02-23, Singapore 039802. +65 6223 4098.
Tue-Fri noon-2.30pm, 6.30-11pm; Sat & Sun 6-11pm.
A Noodle Story
To discover a dish that merges both Japanese and Singaporean influences, look no further than A Noodle Story.
Located in the ever-popular Amoy Street Food Centre, this hawker stall was founded by hawkerpreneur duo Gwern Khoo and Ben Tham, who cut their teeth at renowned restaurants like Waku Ghin and St. Pierre.
The Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded dish served here combines the springy strands of Japanese ramen with ingredients that evoke the taste of wanton mee. A bowl of this hearty dish comes with an assortment of savoury goodies, including tender roast meat, crispy potato-wrapped prawns and wanton dumplings.
Amoy Street Food Centre. 7 Maxwell Road #01-39, Singapore 069111. +65 9027 6289.
Mon-Fri 11.15am-2.30pm, 5.30-7.30pm; Sat 10.30am-1.30pm.
Singapore’s nightlife scene is a trove of buzzing rooftop bars, live music venues and watering holes that serve great bar food with a Mod-Sin twist. To experience a party in your mouth, step your game up at Loof.
First founded in 2005, this granddaddy of local rooftop bars gets its whimsical name from the way locals pronounce the word ‘roof’. This sense of playfulness extends to their eclectic bar menu, with dishes created in collaboration with creative local chef, Bjorn Shen.
Signature dishes on this menu (which has been humorously dubbed ‘dude-sin’ for its American influence) include the B.C.M. Grilled Cheese and the Local Original Ramly burger.
The former comprises a cheese sandwich stuffed with bak chor (minced pork), while the latter is a beef burger drenched in sauce inspired by the locally-beloved Ramly burgers found at Singapore’s traditional pasar malams (street bazaars).
Odeon Towers. 331 North Bridge Road #03-07, Singapore 188720. +65 6337 9416.
Mon-Thu 5pm-1am; Fri & Sat 5pm-2am.
Talk about guilty pleasures—With delectable pastries inspired by local flavours, this establishment certainly puts the ‘sin’ in ‘Mod-Sin’. Sinpopo Brand prides itself on serving up local dishes and nostalgia in equal servings, with a menu that reinterprets local comfort food.
The establishment’s savoury dishes —which include wagyu hor fun (rice noodles) and har cheong gai (deep-fried chicken marinated in prawn paste) burgers—are certainly scrumptious, but we suggest saving room in your belly for their signature cakes. Acquaint yourself with beloved local flavours and fascinating textures by sampling kueh sarlat (pastry made with glutinous rice and coconut custard) and pulut hitam (black glutinous rice porridge).
Sinpopo Brand. 458 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427671. +65 6345 5034.