Bjorn Shen's favourite dining spots

Bjorn Shen's favourite dining spots

Because F&B insiders know best

Text: Bjorn Shen

Editor: Janice Sim

Image: @bjornshen/@bodegasydney

The rebellious chef-owner of Artichoke and this year's MasterChef Singapore's judge shares his guilty pleasures, most-visited KFC outlet and what his detox meal looks like

These days I'm busy with a new Middle Eastern pizza menu for Artichoke.

A hawker stall I would queue for is Kacang Pool Mustafa at Geylang Serai Market.

I'm a regular at KFC Toa Payoh Lorong 1.

When I need to eat clean, I cook spaghetti in a plain tomato sauce, finished with good, grassy olive oil and fresh basil. That's my detox meal. Or I order "The Earth Bowl" from Salad Stop on Deliveroo. 

My favourite bar in Singapore changes from time to time, but right now it's RVLT, a wine bar specializing in sick natural wines and kickass food. 

My guilty pleasure is a 2am home-cooked cacio e pepe with loads of pecorino.

My go-to supper spot is Sakunthala on Syed Alwi Road for their vegetarian thali, an assortment platter of at least eight tasty dishes and rice. 

For weekend brunch with friends... I don't eat weekend brunch. I work at Artichoke during weekend brunch.

Bjorn Shen favourite dining spots

The best place to get a meal with seafood is Ayam Penyet Ria. I know it's not even a seafood restaurant, but have you ever tried their most amazing fried pomfret and catfish?  

For special occasions, my wife and I love Ola Cocina del Mar. We might have different favourite restaurants, but Ola is where our preferences overlap. We also love Burnt Ends, Cheek by Jowl and Pizzeria Mozza. 

My all-time favourite restaurant is Bodega Tapas bar in Sydney. I've been going there since 2008 but my little mind still gets blown every time. Coming in a close second would be Ms.G's, also in Sydney. Both places have food that's f****** tasty and fun at the same time. I've eaten in many gastronomic cities around the world, but somehow my two favourites happen to be in the same city. 

Bjorn Shen favourite dining spots

My favourite farm in Singapore is Kin Yan Agrotech. We've been using their killer abalone mushrooms since we opened Artichoke in 2010. They also do nice wheat grass and aloe vera. 

I grew up eating a $1 A&W coney dog every Tuesday. 

For dining with family, I really like Jade Palace in the basement of Forum Orchard. Their claypot pork belly and dried oyster dish is from another planet.

The food scene in Singapore is saturated with so much repetition of the same generic thing. I would like to see more diversity; and that begins with diners keeping their minds more open to new cuisines or paying more attention to the regional cooking of cuisines that they are already familiar with (e.g. Isaan cooking from Northeast Thailand, Basque cuisine from the North of Spain). If chefs and restaurateurs are to gamble on putting out new, exciting concepts, diners have to show some willingness to try something new, and not demand for nachos at a Spanish restaurant (not kidding, I've seen this happen; they didn't know the difference between a Spanish and Mexican restaurant). 

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