Yesterday, I went to the first ever Creatory Singapore held in Tasty Plaza. All eight stories of this repurposed industrial building had been converted just for this festival! A weekend long festival, the sole aim was to celebrate Singapore talents in the lifestyle industry. Namely in the fields of the food and beverage, music, art, design, architecture, entertainment and retail. The really impressive bit was the jaw-dropping list of more than 60 brands participating in the festival. Most, if not all, were the trendiest and most famous restaurants and bars in Singapore setting up pop-ups stalls. Literally the who’s who of the Singapore dining scene all ALL UNDER ONE ROOF. As my friend remarked, so it’s basically an eat-and-walk, eat-and-walk event? Yep! She could not have put it more succinctly.
Although an arts festival, in my eyes it was a foodies’ festival. I was most interesting in the array of dishes offered. And after seeing that jaw-dropping list, it did not take much convincing for me to get a weekend pass. As luck would have it, I found a discount code that took 25% off the ticket price. Well done me, saving wherever I can. I was really glad I got a weekend pass because there were so much stuff to do and eat.
My day began started with a 9.24km run in East Coast Park with my newly-joined running club. One needs to spent as much calories as possible for the afternoon feast. It was exhausting and I was famished i.e. all ready to FEAST. Armed with an equally food-obsessed best pal, at 11am, we made our way to Tai Seng MRT Station where a complimentary shuttle bus took us to the hilariously-named Tasty Plaza. The organizers could not have been sweeter with the free transportation from the train station.
When we arrived, we were handed these RFID tags upon showing them our e-tickets. These tags contained all our “money”. No cash or card were allowed to be used inside except to top up the RFID tags.
When we purchased anything, a mini tablet would be placed on our tags and deducted accordingly.
I was dead impressed with this payment concept! It was simple, efficient and hygienic. One did not have to worry about rummaging through their bags for cash or face the food vendors handle money with the same glove used for handling food. For patrons, one could still pay even when both hands were busy holding plates of food or drinks. So often in the afternoon, my hands were so busy with shopping or holding food.
The festival was held in a re-purposed industrial building over eight stories(!) Every level was a different concept with each and every element thoughtfully put together for a reason. It was a little overwhelming and I was hoping for a brochure or leaflet detailing the brands on each level. But nothing was provided so I checked out this board for the pop-ups I really wanted to try and committed them to memory.
When we arrived, the festival had just begun for less than an hour so it is quiet. Perfect! There were no queues at any of the food stalls and in some cases, the food preparation had not been set up yet. The exhibition rooms were also literally empty. We ran up and down Tasty Plaza like we owned it!
We begun on Level 1, Street Food where three food vendors and two drinks vendors held court. Only one interest me though. Right by the entrance was Singapore’s first, and
quite possibly the only food truck, Kerbside Gourmet .
The menu filled with Asian-Mexican dishes looked interesting but were not novel (LA’s Kogi Truck). Having said that, they all sounded delicious!
I was gunning for their signature Bjorn’s Bak Chor Mee (Singapore Fried Minced Pork Noodle) Tacos. They explained it as a “deconstructed version” of the much-loved local dish. The usual BCM ingredients were presented in a wholly different way. Served on a large lettuce leaf and two soft tacos, juicy minced pork and cubed Shitake mushrooms were drizzled with an appetizing creamy thousand island-like sauce. The mee/ noodles were deep-fried garnished atop providing ample crunch to the dish. This “starter” was excellent but one very messy dish.
We took a lift straight to the fourth floor to scour for more food. The lifts were slow so it became the only time we experienced them. The rest of the afternoon, we climbed the stairs instead.
But the lifts surprised me. There were boards all around listing the events and stalls on the respective floors throughout the building.
When we alighted on Level 4, a banner informing us of the theme, “Local is Hidden” greeted us.
We made a beeline for South East Sliders. They were still setting up. Evidently we were too eager-beavers for them. This new stall currently only does pop-ups before they find a permanent space. Specializing in shredded meat encased in crispy puff pastry shells for $7 each, I was excited to try this new concept.
Ready or not, that did not stop us from ordering two of their signatures: Big D Slider – pastry pocket stuffed with shredded Chicken Debal (or Devil Curry), relish, and smoked cheese.
This was essentially a Chicken Curry Puff on steroids and it was a damn good one! Omgosh my friends, this blew us away!!! That puff pastry shell was so flaky, crisp, and fragile, and the tender chicken filling so full of flavour. Mighty delicious and one of the festival’s must-have.
… and the other signature, Lim Peh Slider a pastry pocket with shredded beef rendang, caramelised onions, with Swiss cheese and greens.
Slightly sweet, it was less mind blowing than the Big-D. We may have preferred the chicken version but towards the end, the saucy beef filling was quite a palate pleaser.
Getting on my hands on South East Sliders was one of the afternoon’s highlight. My pictures don’t even do these yummers justice.
After that, we raced up to the fifth level for more grub. The theme on this level was “Our Local Best” and the most energetic of all. With the most retail shops on this level, there were also short 15-20 min talks held throughout and even EATING CONTESTS. Given our love for buffets, these contests would only have been inevitable.
But I was there for one thing: food. Three vendors held anchor on this level.
Artichoke, served up two wacky but totally original dishes: The “Everything Chips” Salad and Coconut Ice-cream with Chicken Skin Crackling and Corn. Yes, you read it right! Coconut ice-cream with fried chicken skin. This out-of-this-world combination only made me even more resolute to get one.
And boy was it good! A novel combination that doesn’t let down one’s taste buds.
Park Bench Deli, a collaboration between chefs from Lolla and The Cajun Kings, was serving up “next-level sandwiches”; Double Play and Pork Bench Belly (Kong Ba Bao).
HELLO!!! With Lolla involved, no one was expecting anything “ordinary.” Give me one each now!
The Double Play consisted of uber tender shredded Beef Pastrami and Corned Beef Brisket within a fluffy white sandwich roll made by Bakery Artisan Original (BAO). This sandwich sent my friend and I into heaven. The beef fillings were packed with so much flavour and sauce with the white bread impressively soft. We were literally floating from the joy of this deliciousness. Our second festival must-have!
The Park Bench Belly (Kong Ba Pao) consisted of a succulent stewed pork belly and pickled vegetables. It was less impressive than its beef sister though. But still tasty with the refreshing pickled vegetables. I was quite taken with the succulent pork although more of that sticky sweet sauce would have benefited the whole sandwich.
As I was eating, I was thinking of how familiar it tasted… then it struck me, Nam Nam’s Banh Mi!!! Just with a softer banh mi roll though.
CIA was there too and served up two small plates. A Wanton Nanchos in a Beer Cheese Soup and a more safe-sounding Pulled Duck Wontons.
The Wanton Nanchos in the strong beery thick cheese soup was a little weird and quite frankly, did not work. The respective strong flavours were competing with each other too aggressively.
On the other hand, the Pulled Duck Wontons were GOOD. The wonton contained shredded duck was wonderfully tender and full of saucy goodness without any gaminess. Topped with a refreshing pickled cucumber, it was delicious albeit small given the $7 price tag. It reminded me Ding Dong’s Duck Wontons and good times.
The Library was on hand to provide drinks.
I got this banana-flavoured Donkey Keong with a Ford Gin base, in a tasting portion for $8. Garnished with a mini Banana, I simply could not resist ordering this for the sake of it.
And the drink was strong! My Asian flush came raging out after that small little cup.
On this level, tons of retail shopping.
And I scored this for my nut-butter-loving family. :)
We would have stayed on the fifth floor longer but there was the sixth floor too. A hippy free sprit-themed “Local is Neverland”. Things got a little more adventurous here.
Follow the yellow brick road into the Neverland and revisit the classic stories we are all familiar with once upon a time. Venture deep into the garden of Queen of Hearts or wander into the secret chamber of Beauty. Take a little trip on the magic carpet ride in our projection room and scout for all the delicacies the land has to offer if you are feeling a little greedy. Or simply lounge in the Sherwood Forest if you are huffed-and-puffed out. Wherever you are and whichever corner you turn, we promise many whimsical touches of art installations in an nostalgic world of imagination. Local is a Neverland.
Essentially there was a 6-room “train” journey presenting a multi-sensory experience with each room subtly resonating with featured brands and labels like, MAGPIE, TRICERATOPS, SUPERMAMA, KITH, and NAIISE.
It is also on this level one would find caterer-turned-restaurantaur, Preparazzi serving up a scrumptious Bazuka Yakibuta. A signature roast crackling pork with caramelised char siew on short-grain rice, splashed with a lard-soya secret sauce served with an onsen egg, pickles and crispy shallot chilli. Just kill me now. As if I was going to say no to that.
Just check out the char siew displayed right in front enticing EVERYONE.
Stuffed to the brim at that point, nothing stopped me from getting a bowl for $10. And I was so glad we did. To eat, one broke the sensual egg and tossed the whole lot together.
It was a sick dish! The Roasted Pork Belly had this heavenly crispy crust accompanied by the tender to the fork char siew. The crispy shallot chilli was the bomb. Spicy and subtly sweet, it elevated this dish to a whole new level.
L’Aiglon was present and we could not resist a tasting portion of a Popcorn Extravaganza consisting of a Popcorn flavoured Boyd & Blair Vodka, Cocchi Americano, with a Citrus Peel.
These people were friendly!
It was such a fun afternoon but we did not stay for long. We had to find some place to walk off our stuffed bellies. A lot of money was spent on my first afternoon but it was so much fun and an eye-opener. Singapore has a lot of amazing brands and our lifestyle industry is filled with tons of creative people. It felt good to be part of this festival. Go Singapore!