2021 In (Food) Review: The Trends Burpplers Loved

The year is almost over, but before we ring in the arrival of 2022, pat your belly in satisfaction and let’s reminisce on the biggest food memories of the year!

It's been a tough year for many, but there's doubt that the F&B industry has been one of the hardest-hit out there. Still, the show must go on, which is why we're thankful to all of you for your incredible support of the industry in 2021. We take a recap on what the #ForeverHungry community has been eating!

What the Burpple community went crazy for

1. Cafes & Coffee

Turns out that you guys really love your cafes and coffee huh? Classic cafes are still going strong in Singapore (think spots like Sarnies), and we've even seen some pretty cool concepts popping up this year, from the highly Instagramable red-and-white digs of Coexist Coffee Co. to the cute hole-in-the-wall Clap Cafe with solid brews.

2. Desserts

We all need a little sweetness in our lives, even if they sometimes come in the form of sugar-laden Speculoos Cookie Butter Donuts, like the one from the newly-opened Sin & Savage Bakehouse in Queenstown. Plenty of other fun concepts have opened up as well, including celebrity pastry chef Janice Wong's ice cream joint Softhaus and Funan's Cafe Kuriko, best known for their tad-messy Mont Blanc cakes.

3. Breakfast & Brunch

Kaya Toast and eggs are incredible, but sometimes you just want to brunch it out with the Western *cough*hipster*cough* stuff. Which is where places like The Assembly Ground and One Man Coffee come in. We've also seen interesting places like the alfresco pet-friendly The Brewing Ground and rebranded Chin Mee Chin Confectionary gaining popularity since they opened earlier this year. Now, where my avo toast at?

4. Japanese 

We're not judging - we can't get enough of Japanese food either! From izakayas and omakase restaurants to casual dining spots, there's no shortage of places old and new to enjoy this exquisite cuisine. This year alone saw hot openings like Tempura Makino, sake dining spot Sake Labo and innovative izakaya Apollon.

5. Pasta

Ah, pasta, the perfect comfort food when we're feeling down or simply craving for carbs. With places like the community-favourite LINO Pizza & Pasta Bar and Eleven Strands (try their incredible fresh pesto tagliatelle!) around, who could resist? Let's not forget the new places specialising in pasta at affordable prices, such as La Mensa and Pasta & Co.

Other hot trends we saw this year

The rise of casual fine diningEclipse - Photo by Burppler serene goh

Let's face it, the pandemic hasn't been the best thing for everyone's wallets. As much as we love fine dining, we don't always want to pay top-dollar to have a good time, which is why the concept of casual fine dining is so hot. We're talking places like Sen Ryo in ION, which offers premium but pocket-friendly Japanese creations and Eclipse, which just opened this month, serving up fine European and Asian cooking in a less formal dining experience. Will we be seeing more of these places in 2022? We have no doubt.

Live-fire cooking is getting hotterFirePit

Open-fire cooking is a simple, traditional way of cooking that allows the natural taste of your ingredients to shine, with extra smokiness and depth from charcoal. Just this year alone there are three notable new openings: FirePit by the team behind BURN which has incredible Mediterranean dishes and also happens to be on Burpple Beyond; Griglia for fresh seasonal produce cooked over hot coals; and Thirty Six Brewlab & Smokehouse, focusing on dishes grilled on their custom brick hearth.

Local-inspired dessertsLUNA - Photo by Burppler Tiara Lim

Singapore flavours are all the rage especially in desserts, from Burbur Cha Cha Croissants at the newly-opened La Levain to the Pulut Hitam doughnuts at City Donut. But the two flavours that stood out the most? Ondeh Ondeh and Orh Nee - which was done in everything from LUNA's orh nee cream cakes to Haengbok Cakeyo's fatcarons. You can read more about locally-inspired desserts here.

Novel cuisines are here to stayCanchita - Photo by Burppler Joe Yang

With the cultural melting pot that is Singapore, it's not exactly difficult to dishes from other cultures that aren't Japanese, Italian or French. Even then, some cuisines are more novel than others. We've had The Nomads (showcasing food from along the Silk Road) and Bacha Coffee (Moroccan coffee) for a while now, but newer spots have popped up. We love North Miznon for its convivial modern Israeli concept (you must try their tomato pasta) as well as Canchita for South American, particularly Peruvian, cooking.

Increased adoption of plant-based everything

The plant-based movement isn't exactly new, but we're stoked to see more restaurants in Singapore offering plant-based and alternative meat dishes. Speaking of which, have you heard of Veganuary? Over 50 restaurants and coffeeshop outlets are offering delish plant-based food promos in partnership with Green Common. See the list here!