The food culture is nothing short of fantastic in Singapore, where 24-hour eateries are quite common. Coupled with the dramatic changes of new buildings, new places to shop and explore – and I say this with absolutely delight – there are new places to eat! Singapore’s west in keeping pace with the city center’s developments, has also grown.
If you’re visiting Singapore free and easy and headed towards the Jurong Bird Park, you could make a stop over at the Jurong Point shopping complex that sits right beside the bus terminal, and explore one of Singapore’s heartland hangouts with general good food and a 24-hour grocery store called NTUC.
The extended wing at Jurong Point is not exactly new, but it’s the first time I’ve visited the place in almost a decade. I’d like here, to extend a warm Thank You to Professor C. Guan, who took the time to show us around the place and introduce the cafés Ji De Chi and Bakerzin .
Ji De Chi
The Ji De Chi café at Jurong Point has a vibrant culture where students and pensioners alike find their way there to have their favourite dessert. Translated from Mandarin, the words ji de chi means remember to eat, which I personally found ironic in my situation because it seems that I’ve been doing little else other than eat since my arrival.
Photo © JE Nilsson and Cheryl M. Cordeiro-Nilsson for CMC 2010
I thought I was familiar with Singapore desserts having grown up here, but I was astounded at the array of mid-day snacks presented in the menu so much so that I had trouble picking out what exactly to have. It didn’t help that I pretty much liked all that I saw on the menu and the cookie monster in me wanted a little bit of everything.
Perhaps uncontestable is their puréed durian dessert, served cold with a touch of pomelo fruit and sago seeds.
The ambience of Ji De Chi is distinctly Chinese, where the theme and branding extends from the uniforms of the waitresses to the hard and squared wooden stools to the matching dark wood tables and decorations on the walls. It calls to mind an old school coffee shop, which these days in Singapore is a rather popular manner to style an eatery. The four-legged stools wouldn’t rank as some of the most comfortable to sit on, but they are nonetheless nostalgic in a sense and contributes to the tone and texture of the place.
Pictures of favourites or best sellers adorn the wall facing at Ji De Chi, helping customers navigate their choices.
Desserts are served hot or cold and you’ll be presented with a comprehensive menu that tells what you can expect from your order. Prices of desserts here range from low to mid-range, so you’re not likely to blow your budget on any mid-day snack here. If all else fails with reading the menu, a look at pictures on the facing wall will help navigate your choices.
Vanilla ice-cream with a hint of peach, arrived in a lovely presentation.
An innovative combination of a ripened slice of mango wrapped in glutinous rice and rolled in coconut flakes.
Overall, it’s a place that I wouldn’t mind visiting again, though in the Singapore context, it’s more likely that you spend your days discovering a new restaurant, a new eatery, a new hawker etc. and will hardly find the time to even go back to your favourites.
In contrast to Ji De Chi that is more oriental, Bakerzin at Jurong Point leans towards the occidental, in fact, French, with bright contrasting colours and neat interior decor.
The main counter of Bakerzin at Jurong Point.
The Bakerzin chain was established just over a decade ago and has its roots in French bread and pastries. So it was not surprising that what we spotted at this outlet and what we were drawn to, were the delectable looking macarons (petit gâteau rond moelleux) on display at the counter.
The macarons here are infused with a touch of Asia, so you’ll find variations of matcha or green tea maracons. You’ll also find variations of chocolate maracons and fruit flavoured macaros such as lemon, strawberry and banana – all equally sweet and scrumptious!
Iced-lemon tea, an all time favourite beverage when in Singapore.
Quieter in ambience than Ji De Chi at the time of our visit, which is something I perhaps appreciated after a day of walking around the busy shopping mall, it’s a place where you can relax and have more than just dessert. On the menu are soups, salads and even pizza.
When here, a recommended try for dessert, other than their macarons is their warm chocolate cake!