Eat & Meet

Singapore is a small place and if running into celebreties is your kind of thing, then there’s no better place to do it than here.

To double or even treble your already good odds is to go to some of our so-called exclusive clubs. I’m told that SICC (Singapore Island and Country Club) is a sure bet.

I won’t know as I’m not a member and only get to go there by invitation — and that’s very rare. Don’t move with the moneyed classes, boo-hoo.

However I can vouch for the Tanglin Club and the Singapore Cricket Club. You see Members of Parliament, judges, corporate big wigs, Cabinet Ministers and many heiresses who can have as much as $1billion each to their account, wandering quite unassumingly in and out of these clubs. They patronise the dining facilities, even tho one would imagine they can afford far better than the small-change (to this coterie of members) that club restaurants charge with their somewhat hoi-polloi ambience and service.

Yet even beyond clubs, one gets to run into many “celebs”, as has been the case for me — in mid-range restaurants.

I was at Putien Restaurant in Kitchener Road with mum, sis and maid just the day be4 mum went for her big “op” on July 2. It was a place she asked to be taken to, not because it served great food (it was the venue for one of the extended family’s Chinese New Year dinners) but because she just loves to point out how unauthentic food served at the recent proliferation of “Putein” restaurants is.

Not that she’s a native of Putien herself but because my father was from there, as were his parents and mum’s idea of genuine Putien food is based on recollections of what her MIL (my grandmother) used to cook.

I’m no judge either but Putien R’s menu doesn’t seem outstandingly Putien (or Hinghua as the place used to be known): lichi pork? (yes, Putien is famous for its lichi but we ate it as fruit rather than accompaniment in a savoury dish!) And asparagus in garlic sauce? It cld have been any nationality’s dish.

Still, this post isn’t to quibble about the authencity or otherwise of Putien’s menu but to share who one gets to see there.

On the day of our lunch, I thought I heard a familiar voice behind me n lo and behold no less than the famous chiclit columnist Sumiko Tan was sitting at a table with people who appeared to be colleagues, as I recognised one of them by his thick black-rim glasses that appears as a byline pix. Can’t remember his name tho.

At two nearby tables, it looked like some PR girl (for the restaurant?) was hosting some types of journalists, perhaps a mixture of MSM and web? Didn’t recognise any of them, so more likely to be bloggers than MSM like Sumiko.

Digi cams were hard at work, taking pix of the food as well as the guests (ie one another): dead give-aways that they were rank amateurs. I can’t imagine any card-carrying MSM wld be so SPL (san pa lo) as to want to photograph one another!

Another good place to celeb-spot is Japanese restaurant Ichiban Boshi with its Kuriya fish market, both at Great World City. I’ve seen ex-Minister of Manpower and current Education Minister Ng Eng Hen there no fewer than three times!


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