All ground-breaking food trends will definitely have the whole world trying to out-do each other with renditions to call their own. And in Singapore in particular, we have a multitude of cuisines and foods to satisfy all sorts of cravings – a lot of these are derived from inspirations overseas, of course. Local restaurants and cafes often look to establishments overseas – mostly in the region – for trends to emulate and to pioneer in Singapore.
However, some cafes and restaurants in Singapore choose to blatantly copy an entire recipe or idea and brand them as their own. This can be quite questionable because it is almost like plagiarism. Getting inspirations is one; wholesale copying and calling ideas their own is another.
While we are all for bringing the best ideas to Singapore, it is important to remember the importance of being on the forefront of trends. Recreating a dish is not sustainable in the long run and F&B operators shouldn’t always be in a rat race to catch up and “copy” the next trend to bring in crowd; innovating is the way to go, and only that will instil faith in consumers in the long run.
Here are 10 Food Copycats in Singapore and Where They Were Originally From. While some are well-executed, some are just a far cry from the originals.
#1 7KICKSTART’S LIU SHA TOAST > CHAU KEE
We will start off light with 7Kickstart’s Liu Sha French Toast (pictured) which came right smack at the time when Salted Egg Yolk was trending high on the charts. However, one of the first establishments to ever do a salted egg yolk-filled toast was actually Chau Kee Cha Chaan Teng in Hong Kong.
This is arguably not a blatant rip-off and the toast was actually pretty good with generous molten custard filling. Not too bad, 7Kickstart!
71 Bras Basah Road
Tel: +65 8389 7877
Mon & Tue: 8am – 8pm
Wed to Fri: 8am – 10pm
Sat: 10am – 8pm
Sun: 10am – 6pm
Nearest Station: Bras Basah
#2 ANTOINETTE’S LIU SHA CROISSANT > URBAN BAKERY
Urban Bakery’s famous Liu Sha Croissant (pictured) is heavenly and this Hong Kong establishment has been made famous ever since they introduced the croissant. Because of this, many cafes and restaurants in Singapore (and in South East Asia) have started serving their own, and Antoinette is one of them.
While Singapore is going crazy over it, we do not get the hype about how they can charge so much for something that is not even close to the original. With the renown patisserie priding themselves as the trend-setters of Singapore’s pastry scene, we definitely expected better from them and not constant replicas of already-popular pastries/ desserts.
333A Orchard Road
Mandarin Gallery #02-33/34
Tel: +65 6836 9527
Daily: 11am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Somerset
#3 THE BAKERY CHEF’S LAVA THICK TOAST > CODE DESSERT CAFE
The Bakery Chef has been getting popular with its Lava Thick Toast which was originally created by CODE (Cafe of Dessert Enthusiasts) in Bangkok.
Lava Thick Toast aside, it has also recycled other ideas from elsewhere – such as the Sea Salt Flavoured Soft Serve - the idea came right from Australian dessert chain – Aqua S (pictured).
Not too sure if we should be happy that they are housing numerous trends under one roof, or if we should feel unjust for all the original creators for having their ideas ripped off just like that.
161 Bukit Merah Central
Tel: +65 6273 9211
Daily: 10pm – 9pm
Nearest Station: Redhill
#4 EPICURIOUS CAFE’S RAINBOW CHEESE TOASTIES > KALA TOAST
For those who have not heard of the Rainbow Cheese Toasties (also known as unicorn toasties), KALA Toast – a sandwich shop in Tsuen Wan, New Territories in Hong Kong - first created it and they have been appearing on everyone’s Instagram since.
Epicurious Cafe at Robertson Quay has introduced its Rainbow Cheese Toasties (S$9). And what comforts us is knowing that Epicurious’s Unicorn Toasties are coloured with REAL FOOD and just a tiny amount of food colouring.
60 Robertson Quay, #01-02 The Quayside
Tel: +65 6734 7720
Tue to Fri: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm
Sat & Sun: 8.30am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Clarke Quay
#5 BREADTALK’S CHEESE TARTS > BAKE CHEESE TART
BreadTalk is one who decided to copy the baked cheese tarts (similar to BAKE’s) wholesale, AND Liu Sha Croissant (similar to Urban Bakery).
(BreadTalk has multiple outlets islandwide, and BAKE is also available in Singapore.)
#6 CAKE SPADE’S CRAZY CAKE SHAKES > PÂTISSEZ
Pâtissez was the first one to introduce these crazy shakes (interestingly known as Freak Shakes) to the world. After it dominated Australians’ social media feeds, everyone decided to make their own rehashes, including Singapore cake cafe, Cake Spade (pictured) and The Benjamins.
Cake Spade’s version is not too bad, though! While it may be sweetness overload, they actually did a good job in beautifying theirs with cotton candy and rainbow sprinkles.
1 Trans Link, #01-06
Tel: +65 6444 3868
Mon to Thu: 12pm – 9pm
Fri to Sun: 12pm – 10:30pm
Nearest Station: Tanjong Pagar
#7 CURIOUS PALETTE’S HOT CAKES > TOP PADDOCK
Top Paddock’s to-die-for hot cakes (pictured) is an ultra popular brunch dish in the Aussie cafe, and it is now world famous.
However, local cafe Curious Palette has decided to remake the exact same dish with no credits, plating it the exact same way and ensuring theirs look exactly like Top Paddock’s. We are pretty sure the original creators at Top Paddock are pissed off, and while imitation is the greatest flattery, we can only say we expected better from the local cafe – who is after all among the pioneers in Singapore’s cafe scene.
64 Prinsep St
Tel: +65 6238 1068
Mon to Thu: 9am – 10pm
Fri to Sat: 9am – 12am
Sun: 9am – 10am
Nearest Station: Dhoby Gaut
#8 SCOOP THERAPY’S S’MORES > DOMINQUE ANSEL BAKERY
We all know New York-based Dominique Ansel Bakery is the original creator of the Frozen S’mores (pictured), and it is a huge hit with people from all around the world flocking to the bakery just to have a taste of this amazing dessert.
Local dessert cafe, Scoop Therapy decided to create their own with a dark chocolate center. It didn’t quite impress though.
11 East Coast Road
The Odeon Katong
Tel: +65 6247 9335
Tue to Thu: 2pm – 10pm
Fri & Sat: 12pm – 12am
Sun: 12pm – 10pm
Nearest Station: Dakota
#9 WORD.’S RAINBOW BAGEL > THE BAGEL STORE
Remember the Rainbow Bagels from NYC’s The Bagel Store that blew up everywhere online and queues snaked for hours and hours?
Local establishment WORD. first debuted their own rendition at this year’s Ramadan Bazaar for S$8 a pop. Most argue that it tastes nothing more than just food colouring. And yes, it is exorbitantly-priced.
906 Upper Thomson Rd
Tel: +65 9742 9224
Tue to Thu: 11am – 10pm
Fri & Sat: 11am – 10.30pm
Sun: 11am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Khatib
#10 CREAM & CUSTARD’S WATERMELON CAKE > BLACK STAR PASTRY
The famous Watermelon Cake from Black Star Pastry in Sydney is a blend of fruity freshness from the watermelon and sweetness from the strawberries. The square cake is often seen on social media feeds and it has made Black Star Pastry world famous.
Cream And Custard, a neighbourhood cafe in Jalan Bukit Ho Swee, does a decent version of it. We only wished they altered the looks of it so as to earn the rights to call it their own.
Blk #01-894, 46 Jln Bukit Ho Swee
Tel: +65 9111 8696
Mon to Sat: 11am – 7pm
Nearest Station: Tiong Bahru