Retro is the new in, and I think if you were born in my era (the 1980s), that was about the period that Singapore started changing rapidly from a slower-paced and more laid-back era into a super-developed and high-tech nation that has hardly looked back into its olden days since…
I came upon this article called “100 Things We Love About The 80s“, and this article brought back plentiful of memories from my childhood! If you’re an 80s kid, you might enjoy the article too! It’s such a blast from the past!
I used to work in Joo Chiat/Katong area, and YZ and I frequently visit the new Katong i12 (that wasn’t there back in my days) to catch a movie and have a meal together. So we stumbled upon this relatively new eatery just around the corner of Joo Chiat, where Everything With Fries used to be.
“Sinpopo Brand (新泡泡甜品小吃)”
I love the logo, it was tastefully and thoughtfully designed to reminisce the old and yet looked so refreshingly new and different!
More out of a curiosity and a certain fondness for the old-school rather than really being interested in the food, YZ and I stepped into Sinpopo Brand and decided to sit down for some food and drinks 🙂
The menu was just as delightfully familiar and new at the same time. Look at the modern but retro graphics for Sinpopo Brand on the left: what a wonderful job done to emulate the 2D illustrated advertisements and graphics of the 80s!
The name card looks like what my library card from primary school might have looked like, with typewriter text and stamped motifs.
“Vintage” floor tiles that I knew were actually newly installed because the previous occupants (Everything With Fries) had a very modern cement flooring. But these floor tiles definitely looked authentically vintage all the same!
The order chit, you can still see this at dim sum restaurants! Self-service, order and pay at the counter and the food will be served to you.
The menu of Sinpopo Brand intrigued me, because it served a pretty diverse variety of popular local fare: ranging from Curry Noodles, Scissor Cut Rice, Chwee Kueh, Ngoh Hiang to desserts like Pulot Hitam with Coconut Ice Cream, Red Bean Soup, Cheng Tng and Gula Melaka Soft Jelly.
Very very interesting, but how authentic would the taste be? My expectations were’t very high because after all, I know exactly where to find many of my favourite local fares and it just didn’t feel like such a new-fangled hipster place like Sinpopo Brand would be able to do it right.
Nonetheless, we decided to order a couple of desserts which looked interesting!
To be honest, Ais Bor isn’t from my era because when I was growing up, Ais Bor’s more up-to-date cousin, Ice Kacang was already the norm! I know that Ais Bor used to be sold on the streets and cost only 20 or 30 cents per piece.
Our “modern” version of the Ais Bor came like Ice Kacang with colourful syrup drizzled over, and filled with red bean, jelly and attap chee, which YZ gleefully gobbled up. The taste isn’t anything spectacular, but just like a good ole’ Ice Kacang with icy cold goodness, but I loved the accompaniment of peanut crumbs on top which gave it an extra dimension.
We also had the sweet potato soup, which I ordered because I love sweet potato! It tasted quite authentically traditional as well, though you could probably find it at regular hawker centre dessert stalls for cheaper.
While you’re there, the Sng Muay Pop is a great drink to order! One of the friendly staff recommended this calamansi drink, and it was really refreshing! Served in the familiar vintage enamel mug, it tasted like a fizzy lime soda with little frozen balls of sng muay (dried plum) and YZ loved it too.
Because we were suitably impressed with the desserts and drink, YZ decided to try ordering one of the hot foods as well, and he settled on his favourite foods: Scissors Cut Rice, and a chicken wing.
Our scissor cut rice arrived looking as authentic as could be, with that familiar “rooster” motif on the plate.. No fancy schmancy plating, but it looked really appetising and yummy!
I can’t say that I was spectacularly blown away with the Scissor Cut Rice, but it honestly surpassed both YZ and my own expectations!
The curry was tasty, the chicken was tender, and the chap chye was as all yummy chap chye should be, moist and flavourful. It tasted like homely comfort food and filled up our tummies! I suppose the only thing that was lacking was that thick dark sauce gravy you’d find in a typical scissor cut rice like the famous Beach Road (at Jalam Besar) version.
The deep fried chicken wing was pretty palatable too, seasoned with five spices powder in its batter (according to YZ) who really enjoyed it!
We spent a good hour or more at Sinpopo Brand, enjoying the familiarity of the traditional local food, but mostly just soaking up the nostalgic ambience and reminiscing about yesteryears!
There’s just something very charming about Sinpopo Brand, and all the 1980 babies (or older) would probably find as much nostalgic and old-school charm at Sinpopo as we did.
I would definitely pop by again on a quiet weekday afternoon, not so much for the quality of the food, but more for the blast to the past experience and the peaceful tranquility of Sinpopo Brand. It felt like being transported back in time to a different era! A truly memorable feeling. Price-wise, it isn’t extremely expensive but don’t expect hawker centre prices here!
458 Joo Chiat Road
Opens 12pm to 10pm (Sun to Thu), 12pm to 12am (Fri, Sat, PH Eve), closed Mon
Tel: +65 63455034
I tried to convince YZ that taking an outfit shot in front of a construction site was cool but he doubted my judgement… Hey, it’s nice what!
Dress: TheVelvetDolls (website is currently under maintenance though)
Anyhow, I just touched down in Singapore today after a short three day trip to Kota Kinabalu! It was quite the experience and I can’t wait to share more very very soon! Meanwhile, there are snippets of the trip up on my Dayre and Instagram! 😀
Thanks to AirAsia for the opportunity to go on this trip!
Stay tuned for many more posts coming your way soon, I promise there will be lotsa updates on this space! 😀 Meanwhile, happy midweek to all, another two days to the glorious weekend!