Marco Pierre White has been in Singapore for the last two weeks to helm the Masterchef Dining and Bar pop-up event held at Ash and Elm, InterContinenal Singapore (9 December is the last session). When he’s able to take time off, the top chef prefers to dine at family-style local eateries. Gourmet & Travel trails him in between lunch and dinner sessions to discover his favourite spots in town.
Eat First: Local tze char dishes (891 East Coast Road, Tel: 6443 8434)
Marco Pierre White has been waxing lyrical about this small family eatery since his first meal there recently. “I don’t eat in Western restaurants. I go to local restaurants and sit with the locals and support the local economy. I’m very supportive of Steve Chia (owner of Eat First). To me, the family’s story is more important than a plate of food. It’s not trying to be the best food. It’s not expensive. It’s family style. And they look after their customers well.
“What makes this industry work are such small restaurants… they form a beautiful jigsaw puzzle (alongside other restaurants),” says the chef, whose favourite dish at Eat First is the stir-fried beef with kailan.
Tai Cheong Bakery: Egg tarts (31 Lorong Liput, Holland Village)
The chef loves Tai Cheong Bakery’s egg tarts. “I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I’m always vulnerable in the company of an egg custard tart. That moment of surrender is the most exciting. The first bite of the egg custard tart is truly delicious. After two to three bites, I start to dislike and resent myself for being weak for surrendering for more than a mouthful. It has to be served warm – that’s the only way to eat them.”
Mr Han Jin Juan, Tai Cheong Bakery’s Singapore partner and director of Food People Pte Ltd, had the chance to meet Marco at his new bakery at Holland Village.
He shares: “Marco told me that he has been getting his staff to buy him a box of Tai Cheong egg tarts every day since he arrived in Singapore. He also said that the egg tarts were the best he’d ever eaten. Marco really liked the coconut and cream bun as well, he said it really reminded him of his childhood!”
YY Kafei Dian: Chicken rice (37 Beach Road #01-01)
One of the chef’s favourite dishes is chicken rice, and he’s been frequenting places like YY Kafei Dian at Beach Road and Yet Con at Purvis Street. “I’ve been eating dim sum daily since I got here. However on some days I just want a plate of steamed chicken with ginger, chilli, sweet soy sauce and chicken offals. At YY, the chicken is cooked to perfection. The rice is delicious. Sandra the owner feeds you well. They are not there to impress you. I know where to spend my money. I choose to give to individual families and not to conglomerates,” says the chef.