My favourite dining spots: Norman Hartono

My favourite dining spots: Norman Hartono

Because F&B insiders know best

Text: Denise Kok

Photo: Vanessa Caitlin

Norman Hartono, a third-generation restaurateur of the TungLok Group, lets us in on his favourite cafe and guilty pleasures

Norman Hartono

These days, I'm busy with creating and developing restaurant concepts, restaurant operations, menu design and development, as well as developing and franchising our brands internationally.

Weekend brunch with friends hasn't happened recently. I can't remember the last time I went out for brunch. I'm either too busy, tired, or hungover. 

A hawker stall I would queue for is Zhong Yu Yuan Wei Wanton Noodle at Tiong Bahru Market.

A heritage eatery I hope will never disappear is Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice, but that's sadly gone now. A reincarnation of it was recently opened by a relative of his, but it's just not the same. 

I don't have too much time to eat out, but the last place I was a regular at was Hodori in downtown Los Angeles.

For special occasions, I head to Tong Le Private Dining on OUE Bayfront.

Tong Le Private Dining

My favourite bar is Auld Alliance. As an avid whisky collector and drinker, this place is pure sensory overload.

The best place to get a meal with seafood is Dancing Crab, of course!

When I need to eat clean, I head to Salad Stop or any salad wrap place.

My guilty pleasure is the Chicken McSpicy burger. My bowels would be paying for it during the following 48 hours — but sometimes you just can't resist.

My go-to supper spot is Mr. Prata on Evans Road.

My all-time favourite restaurant is Commander's Palace in New Orleans.

For dining with family, we usually eat at home and my dad would cook up something special when the whole family's together. 

For coffee, I head to whichever outlet I'm working at and make myself a triple espresso. Otherwise, I'd head to Chye Seng Huat Hardware.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware

A restaurant to watch is Luke's Oyster Bar & Chop House 

My favourite dish at Lokkee is the poke salad. It's a tasty and healthy dish with tuna and salmon sashimi cubes, stirred in a spicy sesame sauce and served with tortilla chips.

The country that has the best food scene is the US. Given its broad spectrum of ethnicities and its growing receptiveness to foreign tastes, the food scene there in both casual and fine dining has come leaps and bounds during the past decade. 

To learn more about the restaurants from the TungLok Group, click here
To view more recommendations from F&B insiders, click here.