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Lifestyle

Hit Up These Artisanal Food Brands For A Dose Of Local Flavour

Nope, these goodies aren't imported but proudly made in Singapore.

Hail to the millennials, thanks to them and their love for discovering something new and (arguably) unique, they’ve single-handedly brought about the rise of handcrafted food lovingly created in small batches. From salted egg (of course) cereal chocolate bars to homemade kombu butter, we’ve rounded up nine that you’d want to purchase, and not just because they look pretty.

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1. Bean-To-Bar Chocolate by Fossa Chocolate
Fossa Chocolate is Singapore’s first award-winning bean-to-bar chocolate company. Their small team of passionate chocolate makers produce fine chocolate from sustainably sourced cacao beans and they do it from scratch instead of melting store bought couvertures. They shine at showcasing the unique flavours that different cacao origins have to offer, roasting the beans, grinding and tempering in small batches and finishing them in hand packaged chocolate bars. The process is time-consuming but they declare that they love it. In addition to quirky flavours such as Shrimp and Bonito chocolate and Salted Egg Cereal, they have also presented Nanyang Kaya, Ethiopia Worka Wuri Coffee Chocolate and limited edition bars such as Strawberry Bliss. About: Prices start from $8 for 35g. Available at Glasshouse at CHIJMES, Old Hen Coffee at Rangoon Road, Plain Vanilla Bakery at Yong Siak Street and more. Visit: here for more info. Photo: Fossa Chocolate 2. Addict Kombu Butter by Sam Chablani
This dangerously addictive butter is mainly made with butter, kombu and sea salt and the results are intense, umami and savoury. Chef Sam Chablani, who came up with the butter back in 2017 while he was still helming the kitchen of Fat Lulu’s (now defunct), tells us that while this Kombu Butter is great as a spread, it is also awesome to cook with – it’s excellent with roasted fish, mussels and prawns to be specific The butter takes 10 days to prepare and each batch yields 50-70 jars. This puts waiting time to about two weeks before you can collect your order, so do be patient. About: Priced at $15 per jar. Call 9062 1146 for orders or order via Instagram @freshaf_sg. Photo: Addict Kombu Butter, Freshaf 3. Homemade Tempeh by Tempeh Culture
A wonderful source of plant-based protein, Tempeh Culture was founded and run by a Singaporean household that has eaten homemade tempeh (fermented cooked soybeans formed into a dense cake) as a staple all their lives. Unable to find anything in the market that matched the quality they were  used to at home, it sparked an idea to bring the goodness of homemade tempeh to consumers. Made according to a heritage family recipe using organic non-GMO soybeans grown in Australia, each batch takes three days to produce – from soaking to cooking and fermenting the beans – and each piece of tempeh is carefully hand-wrapped. The easiest way to enjoy the fresh tempeh? Simply toast it in the oven and add it to one’s salad bowl. Quick, healthy and nutritious. About: Prices start from $3.50 per block for Soy. Soy and Roasted Sesame Seeds tempeh ($3.70) and Soy and Flax Seeds ($3.70) are also available. They are too small to have deliveries so pickups up are held at Newton MRT on weekends. Available through chat with the founders on Instagram (@tempehculture) or through an order form. Visit here. Photo: Tempeh Culture 4. Vegan Cheese by Nut Culture
What’s that you say? Vegan cheese? Indeed, in addition to their organic nut butters and vegan yoghurts, the good folks at Nut Culture, a local plant-based food company, also makes vegan cheese. This milk-free cashew-based offering contains zero animal products, and has no preservatives or additives. It does, however, go through a similar process (fermentation, drying and aging) as real cheese making. Each wheel of creamy vegan cheese can take about two months to make. Choose from the slightly spicy Smoked Paprika Cheese, savoury Garlic and Herb Cheese and Vegan Blue Cheese, and yes, they taste pretty good. About: Prices at $17.50 for a 130g wheel. They are in the midst of moving into their new kitchen at Tuas, so do look out for more updates. They will also be at Singapore’s largest farmer market Sprout from May 11 to 12 at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hall 403. Available at Shake Farm, 126 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068595, tel: 9027 0177. Visit here. Photo: Nut Culture 5. Kefir and Kombucha at Craft & Culture
With over 15 years of brewing know-how, microbiology and medical research experience between them, the ladies at Craft & Culture know a thing or two about probiotics and fermented drinks. Kombucha, a naturally fermented tea drink, is believed to help increase antimicrobial activity, reduce cholesterol levels, reduce inflammatory problems and aid digestion. Milk Kefir is a cultured probiotic dairy drink, with a similar consistency to a yoghurt beverage and contains a large amount of probiotics that contribute to health benefits such as boosting immunity, calming inflammation, and aiding in digestion. In addition to contributing to your body’s wellness, Craft & Culture’s light bubbly home-brewed Kombucha and creamy Milk Kefir also taste delicious. Expect Kombucha flavours such as Peach Black Tea, Rose-Chia Black Tea and Lychee Black Tea, and Milk Kefir flavours such as Mango Whole Milk Kefir, Rose Bandung Whole Milk Kefir and Blueberry Whole Milk Kefir. Seasonal flavours available too. Definitely on our list of must-tries. About: Prices start from $6.50 per 250ml bottle. Available at 183 Jalan Pelikat, B1-113, Singapore 537643, tel: +65 98779675 or +65 90177837 (By appointment only, contact to arrange). Visit here. Photo: Craft & Culture 6. Tropical and Asian Marmalades by Straits Preserves
Marmalades, a fruit preserve usually made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits boiled with sugar and water, are marvellous with scones and warm, fluffy toast. At Straits Preserves, each award-winning flavour has a unique story to tell. It all started when founder Sharon Lee An created her first marmalade with calamansi limes. After many refinements, this marmalade, named Tropical Calamansi, went on to win The World’s Best International Marmalade Award 2012 in The World’s Original Marmalade Awards in the UK. And that inspired her to continue creating more delightful (and award-winning) marmalades with a local touch, such as Ginger Garden and Pineapple Tart. Singapore Sling, inspired by the famous cocktail created in 1951 at The Raffles Hotel Singapore, is also a popular choice. Think: orange, pineapple, lime, lemon and natural cherry flavours. So refreshing. About: Priced at $15 per jar. Available at Gardens by the Bay, National Gallery, Naiise, Tangs at Tang Plaza, Redmart, KrisShop and more. Visit here. Photo: Straits Preserves 7. Jewels Rock Sugar Sticks by Cheng Yew Heng Candy Factory
You may have seen these colourful rock sugar sticks around. But did you know these sticks of rock sugar are handmade and “grown” individually – similar to makings of traditional rock sugar albeit on a smaller scale? Cheng Yew Heng Candy Factory, Singapore’s oldest and only sugar manufacturer, has been manufacturing its rock sugar, the purest form of sugar, since 1947. Traditionally, rock sugar is made by melting down cane sugar into a thick sugary liquid (it takes skilled masters a lot of effort to stir the giant vats while watching the temperature) which is then transferred into giant stainless steel pails and allowed to sit in storage for more than two weeks to allow natural crystallisation to happen. The Jewels Rock Sugar Sticks were launched in 2016 and comes in a variety of flavours and gift sets – great for pairing with coffee, tea or simply to be enjoyed as candy. About: Flavours can range from French vanilla and rose lychee, to hazelnut and coconut (from $5.35 per box of two sticks). Available at Naiise Stores, Design Orchard, Jewel Changi (Taste Singapore, Fairprice Finest), Changi Airport T1 o T4 (WH Smith, Taste Singapore), Shopee online, Lazada online, Red Mart online. Visit here Photo: Instagram (@jewelsrocksugar) 8. Vegan Hummus by Holymoleydips
For founder of Holymoleydips, Liwen, the love of hummus prompted her to start her hummus-making business in November 2017 and it has been going strong ever since. She now has five flavours available. The original Classic Hummus is always a good one to start with; the rich Valrhona Chocolate Hummus is popular with children (no refined sugar added) and chocolate lovers; the Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus has a good balance of spiciness and tanginess; the savoury Marmite & Caramelized Onion Hummus is a genius creation; and for those who like things hot, do try the Harissa & Habanero Hummus. All hummus dips are vegan, dairy-free, low in sugar, all natural, and free of preservatives and artificial flavouring. Besides enjoying them with the usual pita bread and crackers, Liwen also suggests enjoying hummus with roasted vegetables, in toasties (toast with ham and cheese), and with tortilla corn chips. About: Prices from $10 for classic hummus. They will also be at Singapore’s largest farmer market Sprout from May 11 to 12 at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hall 403, with a special limited edition Mint Chocolate Hummus that they first presented for Christmas 2018. Visit here to make orders. Photo: Holymoleydips 9. Cold brew coffee and tea by DGC
D’Good Cafe is known for its themed outlets and European cuisine with a local twist, but it also pays a lot of attention to the beverages it serves. It has been sourcing and roasting its own coffee beans since 2012, and has more than 120 types of tea listed in its menu. Its coffee and teas are produced under its own brand DGC, and for its teas, typical flavours include the Alishan High Mountain Oolong and White Chai tea, while adventurous flavours include pineapple green tea and rum and raisin, a special blend. But if you prefer coffee and specifically something cold, DGC also has its own range of brewed and bottled tea and coffee too. For cold brew coffee, there’s D’White ($7.5)) which features fresh Hokkaido milk and is lightly sweetened, or the D’Infused ($8) which has an interesting earl lavender tea extract. Love a surprise? The D’Unknown ($7.50) features a secret ingredient that is changed seasonally. Cold brew teas include the Pink Blossoms ($7) which has a floral, sweet and aromatic profile, and the Golden Sunrise ($7) which is fruity, citrusy, and refreshing. Available at D’Good Cafe’s three outlets — Holland Village, Takashimaya and Jewel Changi Airport. Visit here for more info.