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Singapore food trends – Which ones have lasted?

With a big portion of Singapore’s culture revolving around food, it is no surprise that Singapore has experiences food trends or crazes in which a certain type of food is in huge demand in Singapore and is extremely popular, and up to to day, Singapore has gone through quite a number of these trends and crazes.

Despite the dying out of the trend or craze, do you know which of these foods and the more popular shops that sold them can still be found today, or which of these trends/crazes that once died out are returning? The following are some of the more recent food trends/crazes that Singapore has bypassed:

Bubble Tea


I am not referring to Gong Cha or Koi Cafe. About a decade ago, bubble tea was extremely popular, and they came in 3 forms, it was either a tea with or without milk with syrup, an ice blended drink with flavour powders or syrups such as honeydew, orange etc, or a snow shake, which was syrup/powdered flavoured milk, each coming with a topping of choice which was usually pearls or jelly.

At a point of time, bubble tea shops appeared everywhere, from shopping centres to neighbourhoods, and bubble tea chains such as Sweet Talk and Each A Cup rose. However, the facts of the pearls being indigestible and being processed chemically and thus potentially health hazardous put people off the drink, and furthermore people were getting tired of the beverage, which ensued the gradual fading of the trend. Many bubble tea shops closed down, and the bubble tea chains grew smaller, but Sweet Talk and Each A Cup survived and are still selling bubble tea.

More recently, the entrance of Taiwan and Hong Kong bubble tea revived the bubble tea market with chains such as Gong Cha, Share Tea and Koi Cafe, but now many bubble tea chains are making a switch from pure flavoured drinks to quality tea, coffee, juice and a large variety of toppings such as white pearl, coconut jelly and pudding. The bubble tea trend is once again on the rise, and the popular old bubble tea chains such as Sweet Talk can still be found in many places today.



A couple of years back, people went crazy for this type of donuts, not the traditional sugar coated types, but innovative breeds such as jam doughnuts, chocolate topped donuts, glazed donuts and many others. Donut chains such as Donut Factory and Donut Empire opened in many places, from malls to train stations, and people queued up just to buy a box of donuts of their favourite flavours.

Eventually, people got sick and tired of eating so many donuts and the trend died out, which in turn pulled donut chains to a poor business performance and many of these chains were forced to shut down many outlets or even go out of business. While Donut Empire folded up totally, Donut Factory and Dunkin’ Donuts can still be found today and their delicious donuts are still available for purchase.

Coffee Bun <Roti Boy>

b2ap3_thumbnail_FC-cbun.jpgRemember these fragrant buns? When this trend was still on, shops selling the coffee buns, including the biggest chain of all, Rotiboy, could be found everywhere especially in shopping centres, and when one walks near one of these shops, the fragrant aroma of the coffee buns would fill the place and the smell itself was salivating and tempted people to buy the buns. The buns were basically a bun that had a crisp outer coffee flavoured layer and a strong butter filling in the middle which made the bun perfect.

However, all of the chains, including the most successful Rotiboy, were too fixated on the coffee buns and did not really come out  with any new sensational item, and when people got tired of coffee buns, their end was near, Rotiboy folded up and other smaller chains such as Roti Papa followed suit, hence, you can no longer find the original Rotiboy coffee buns anymore, and can only relieve some of the taste through the coffee buns sold by bakeries such as Breadtalk or any surviving shops still seliing the coffee bun.

Ritz Apple Strudel 

b2ap3_thumbnail_FC-AST.jpgThis delicious treat of sweet layers of pastry with cream and special apple fillings in between drew much attention, and people all over Singapore enjoyed it. From the cafe it had in Bugis, the business expanded all over Singapore making the apple strudel easily available.

The business tried to keep in a rein on the popularity of its strudel by introducing other flavours such as durian strudel, but they never did quite catch on and the trend of the Ritz strudel died down and the business was humbled once again to the cafe at Bugis.

However, Ritz Apple Strudel has opened some new outlets such as at NEX and AMK Hub, and you can still enjoy this wonderful food that Singaporeans were once so crazy about. The Apple Strudel still is delicious, but just not as popular anymore.

Saint Cinnamon 


These Cinnamon rolls used to be a favourite for many, and the brilliant aroma of the cinnamon spice in the fluffy breads accompanied with cinnamon sugar or frosting made the rolls a treat to savour. However, the buns while becoming very popular meaning that many Saint Cinnamon outlets opened, the strong cinnamon taste did not appeal to everyone, and their alternative flavours were nowhere near the cinnamon rolls.

As people lost interest in the cinnamon roles, Saint Cinnamon was set on a declining path, and finally the outlets in Junction 8 and Wisma Atria closed down more than 5 years ago, signifying the end of Saint Cinnamon’s presence in Singapore.

Hence we are unable to taste these aromatic cinnamon rolls anymore in Singapore.