Category Archives: Discussions

Brick-and-Mortar Businesses Versus Home Cooks: If You Can’t Beat Them, Take Them Under Your Wing Instead

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Some small/independent owners of brick-and-mortar food and beverage (F&B) establishments are crying foul over the lack of enforcement, licensing, and presumably less-financially-straining rise to success gained by home cooks. One distinctly upset business owner recently aired her grievances in the local papers, and a number of responses soon followed.

Of Finger-Pointing and Demands For Enforcement

During one of our many food-centred discussions during dinner (such gluttons we are), I recall mentioning to my mother: All it takes is for one letter or a status update on social media calling for tighter sanctions and/or enforcing stricter regulations on home-operated businesses, and an unnecessary spotlight will be cast on seemingly innocent individuals who simply wish to pursue their passion and/or earn a little extra side income by means of selling their food-based products.

Lo and behold; that very letter was penned not too long ago, and a number of responses soon followed (here and here). Not long after, a dedicated newspaper article aired business owners’ grievances and gripes about the aforementioned issue. Seeing how small and connected Singapore is, it will only be a matter of time before more back-and-forth debates arise.

While I do agree that a certain amount of enforcement and regulations should exist, almost none should be meted out with potential levels of tyranny which may affect – among various other collaterals – the livelihood of an individual and/or the existence of a business. With the exception of a few errant individuals/households (black sheep do exist in every possibly-imagined segment of activity), I believe that most home cooks are not breaching any rules as stated in the HDB’s current Home Based Small Scale Business Scheme; albeit (the aforementioned guidelines) being somewhat vague and/or ambiguous.

As someone who has worked in and around a number of food and beverage businesses, it goes without saying that hurdles are aplenty when it comes to setting up a business; with the most common ones in Singapore being that of manpower, not to mention the ever-present exorbitant overhead and operational costs. However; the disease that is finger-pointing, and calling for stronger enforcement and/or penalties only successfully portrays one’s bitter and entitled mentality, in addition to an autocratic-like demeanour. Additionally, even if your “rivals” were to be wiped off the grid, it would not guarantee your business a surge in patrons and/or profits – be it in the short or long term.

Learning To Work Together, Not Against Each Other

Instead of dedicating your time and already-strapped resources to put down others whom you conveniently label as your “rivals”, why not find out ways in which you can co-exist by engaging their services and tapping on their adequate experience and already-present skill sets? Why not offer them a part-time or temporary position at your premises (think the likes of festive season and special menus) instead of attempting to wipe them off altogether? Providing home cooks with a proper platform to showcase their products; and, for the brick-and-mortar business, the possibility of gaining a new group of patrons – that spells nothing less than a win-win in my book.

With the independently-owned branch of the local food and beverage industry (and the country as a whole) being already that small, petulant bickering and the aforementioned finger-pointing epidemic will do very little to solve and/or alleviate any existing issues or problems. Setting up – and subsequently running – a business isn’t a walk in the park; but instead of worrying about things beyond your control, why not look at and think about the things you can change and potentially take advantage of?

There’s some food for thought for you – pun absolutely intended.

Interview Feature on Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow

Not too long ago, I was fortunate enough and humbled to be contacted by fellow food blogger and food lover Nat – the face behind the renowned Singapore food blog Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow – regarding a new monthly interview feature on his aforementioned blog.

The following text (quoted from Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow) precedes the main post in his series of interviews and is pretty self-explanatory;

Every month, we feature a Singapore food blog or instagram: (1) to cultivate goodwill and camaraderie among the online community; (2) to encourage more people to blog and instagram about food; and (3) to empower bloggers and instagrammers through an insight and understanding to their lives.

Needless to say, I accepted his request and after a few e-mail exchanges later, it came to fruition.

You can read the interview in its entirety here. While you’re there, feel free to read through his posts on the multitude of food options available in Singapore – complete with well-composed photographs to make your mouth water.

Many thanks once again for the feature, Nat! Really appreciate it!


It has been about seven months since my last post, and I think that I do owe an apology to my followers and readers.

I humbly apologise for the lack of updates on this beloved page of mine. I am doing pretty well, and am still pretty much involved in food – mostly eating it. Without using it as an excuse, I find myself posting photos and thoughts on food more regularly on Instagram (shameless plug – @eatfoodlivefood) via my smartphone.

Rest assured, there will be more posts and conversations about food in the very near future, with some of it involving fellow food lovers.

Till the next post… Eat well, and live well!

Follow @eatfoodlivefood on Instagram!

After years of “going against the grain”; I finally rewarded myself with a smartphone – and it wasn’t a big surprise that one of the apps I first downloaded was Instagram. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of photos and various hashtags in relation to food!

I consider myself to be a greenhorn in the world of Instagram (and navigating a smartphone in general); but I appreciate the wonders and ease it brings about into one’s daily life – especially when it comes to drooling over photos of food! Additionally, it pleases me to see so many people and institutions dedicating their Instagram pages to the ever-changing and amazing world of food.

So, follow me on Instagram: @eatfoodlivefood! Do include the hashtag #eatfoodlivefood and tag @eatfoodlivefood on your photos to share them with me and like-minded food lovers. I’ve also included a widget on the side menu bar – on the right – that links to the Instagram page.

Here’s to many more years of great food and food photos! I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish fellow Muslims a very blessed and fruitful Ramadan!

Americans Taste Test Singaporean Food

In a follow-up to their previous video which featured “Singaporean snacks/food”, Buzzfeed has come up with another video that showcases a number of dishes easily and readily available in Singapore’s ubiquitous (but often under-appreciated and overlooked) hawker centres.

The generally positive comments by the men and women in the video instilled a sense of pride in my food-crazed self; comparable to that of hearing one’s national anthem at an Olympic Games medal ceremony.

While we’re on the topic of pride; the comments section of the video is littered with people attempting to be gastronomically patriotic – as expected. Sadly, these individuals have only managed to come off as being silly, petulant, and ignorant: rambling endlessly about the “authenticity” and “originality” of the dishes showcase in the aforementioned video, while making statements about neighbouring nations having better tasting food – all of which reek of emotionally-charged bravado and appear to be nothing more than a vehement expression of what can be considered to be a case of culinary chauvinism.

The burning question on my mind is: Why we can’t just discard the false and misleading label of “authentic” food (what is “authentic” food anyway?) and appreciate food – along with its countless nation/culture-crossing renditions – simply for its multi-sensory satisfying properties?