Happy Jubilee Weekend! If you’re not already blissfully sequestered and all spa-ed up somewhere in Bali, there is a plethora of activities happening right here. Performances at the Esplanade, carnivals and picnics at the Botanic Gardens (hello, UNESCO World Heritage Site!) , 50-per-cent off at Gardens By The Bay and the zoo… Exciting, yes. But there will be crowd. Big crowds. So if you’d rather enjoy a quieter time — have a nice meal with your gal pals or boyfriend, get that long overdue haircut and head massage or just explore Singapore on foot while you snap a few OOTDs, et cetera — it’s your lucky weekend. I asked the legilicious Jade Seah, true-blue Singapore girl, to tell me where all her favourite (and some secret — like good parking spots — which will remain a secret, sorry!) places in Singapore are. Where does she like to wine and dine these days? Where does she work out? Where does she shop? Read on to find out. Oh, and if you’re in need of a crash course or refresher on Singlish, of course Ms Seah has got you covered, too, lah.
First, let’s talk about food. Which is your favourite restaurant these days?
Jade Seah: I’m glad you said “these days” because it keeps changing. I recently checked out PerBacco at Craig Road. It’s not too crowded, they are generous with the portions (good for big eaters!) and the prices are reasonable. But it was the amazing cheese selection that won me over. The antipasti menu is pretty extensive, too, with some awesome prosciutto.
What about the best place for coffee?
JS: I don’t drink coffee at all, so I have no idea. I like Chinese tea, Milo and hot chocolate. Spize makes a mean Milo Dino and Angelina, which just opened at Capitol Piazza has one of the best hot chocolates. I find that too many places are over-enthusiastic with milk. I also like TWG for its massive tea selection.
Where are the cool shops in Singapore?
JS: There are so many awesome local labels to choose from these days. Soon Lee at Haji Lane is one of my favourites. On top of their own very affordable in-house label, they also carry some local brands like Stolen and Aijek, which I love. The same can be said of Kapok and Keepers.
Velda Tan’s Collate The Label at Tangs has well-made pieces that are so easy for mixing and matching. I recently discovered a new store, Arete Goods, which I like for their well-made ballet flats and shirt dresses. For accessories, I’m partial to Curated Editions — it’s a delightfully intimate shopping experience at their showroom on Amoy Street.
I recently checked out PerBacco… (Its) amazing cheese selection won me over.
Any staycaytion favourites?
JS: My girlfriends booked rooms at the Parkroyal On Pickering for one of my hen’s nights. I love the place. It’s very charming. It’s a breath of fresh air amid an otherwise serious CBD area. I also like the St Regis for its luxuriousness, and the Fullerton Bay Hotel is also one of my favourites. They’ve done such a wonderful job with the space; it feels wonderfully intimate; and it’s a great starting point for a morning run around the bay.
How is it possible that your hair always looks so photogenic in this humidity? Who is your hairdresser?
JS: Thank you! I can’t claim credit for it, though. I’ve never been great at managing my fine and straight hair. I’ve been going to Shunji Matsuo at Ngee Ann City for years. My hairdresser, Fannie, is great — she gives me ideas about new styles and colours, and I get regular perms for volume.
You’re quite the sporty girl and adventurer. Where do you go for a good workout?
JS: I think we are very lucky to have so many gorgeous options. The East Coast area will always be my favourite because I grew up picnicking, playing ball and catching there. I started my long-distance runs there.
And I used to go on dates there in my school days. With the Gardens by the Bay and the park connectors connecting East Coast to the GBTB, the direct route all the way from Changi to Kim Seng is awesome. I also like Bukit Timah for hikes amid nature, and the Punngol area for long-distance runs by the water’s edge.
What must a girl have in her bag when in Singapore? What do you always have in yours?
JS: I cannot bear lugging around a heavy bag, so I generally keep my purses small. I always have my phone, a small wallet, my keys and a lip balm or lipstick. I try to remember to pack some tissue paper (it can get really hot!), some candies so I don’t get hangry. It’s Singapore — you can buy anything you need.
Where are your top spots for an awesome selfie or #OOTD shot is…
JS: I’m inclined to taking selfies in my car because I’m a little embarrassed to do it in public. Plus the lighting is usually perfect there in the day. For street-style shots, I personally love old shophouses, especially the colourful ones, for a nice backdrop. You can find them in the Outram/Chinatown area, the CBD area and, of course, in my beloved Katong neighbourhood, where most of my shots are taken.
When in Singapore, five essential words or phrases to know are…
JS: Just five? Ok, here are some of my personal favourites that I use frequently:
- Shiok. Because local food is exactly that. “Delicious” just doesn’t cut it sometimes.
- Wah lao eh. I say this often. It’s an expression of disbelief and frustration — especially when you’re saying it at bad drivers.
- Cepat or chop chop. They mean to “hurry up” — very useful for hyperactive, impatient people like me.
- Lah. As far as Singlish goes, this has to be the most infamous word. I punctuate my sentences with lahs aplenty, and my friends from overseas tease me about it. But I really appreciate just how much adding “lah” could change the whole tone of what you’re saying. Can lah. No lah. Don’t like that lah. See?
- Macam. It means “just like”. I tend to say it to tease someone. For example, I’d say “macam glamourous only” when I see a friend all dressed up. Alternatively, use it on its own in a drawn-out fashion — macaaaaaaaaam…! — to take a dig at someone who’s being pretentious. It’s like rolling your eyes with a word.
LOOK #1: Denim playsuit and blazer, Aijek. Shoes, Charlene Lee. “Wonder” necklace, Carrie K. “Kan Cheong Spider” watch, Naiise. Stack rings and cuff, Joanne L. “Oui” ring & bracelets: Terra Fine Jewels. // LOOK #2: Crepe blouse & midi skirt, Collate The Label. Shoes, Charlene Lee. // LOOK #3: Dress, In Good Company.