TEXT: TERESE TAY
PHOTOS: ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL, SELFIE COFFEE, SPH
From robot waiters to cocktails dreamt up in a laboratory, technology has made dining in Singapore a whole lot more interesting.
Ruyi By Tunglok
Fried rice a la robot? That’s what you can order at Tung Lok’s fast-food-style restaurant. Its automated rice and noodle fryer stir-fries the dishes in a consistent manner and uses specific temperatures during the cooking process, taking the guesswork out of food preparation. In 2013, Tung Lok also invested in three Artificial Intelligence Cooking Machines, which were pre-programmed to cook dishes such as Kung Pao Chicken in its centralised kitchens.
Where: 26 Sentosa Gateway, #B1-222/223, Resorts World Sentosa
Located at shopping malls and MRT stations, VendCafe allows diners to have hot meals at any time of the day. While the cafes are basically clusters of vending machines that dispense ready-made halal bento boxes, the meals are anything but ordinary. Created by in-house chefs, they contain no added preservatives or artificial flavourings, according to operator JR Group. Best sellers include the Seafood Horfun and Stir-Fried Basil Chicken with Green Curry Fried Rice.
Where: Various locations
Rong Heng Seafood
This restaurant has fully embraced robotic technology – its main dining hall has five machines that not only help clean tables and serve meals, but also provide entertainment. These mechanical wait staff can groove to dance hits such as Gangnam Style by South Korean star Psy, as well as communicate with diners using pre-set phrases. Local seafood favourites, such as Chilli Crab and Cereal Prawn, are popular at this eatery by the beach.
Where: Blk 1202 East Coast Seafood Centre, #01-03
Arguably one of the most innovative and quirky restaurants in Singapore, the multiple award-winning Tippling Club uses scientific techniques – chef-owner Ryan Clift has a laboratory where he experiments with various recipes – paired with avant-garde presentation. You’re sure to have fun with their tasting menu, which includes beef tendon that looks like a cracker and cheese cakes resembling pills served in prescription bottles. The tipples are equally creative; don’t miss their cocktails in the form of gummy bears.
Where: 38 Tanjong Pagar Road
Take selfies – or wefies – to the next level by sipping on them. At this hip cafe, a special machine uses vegetable oil to print images onto your drink of choice. Fun props, such as oversized sunglasses and flowers are available as props if you want to take a photo on the spot. While the majority of people visit the cafe for its namesake offering, there’s a decent selection of pies and cakes to complement your beverage.
Where: 11 Haji Lane
Book a spot at Bionic Bar, located onboard Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. There, two robotic bartenders mix, muddle and stir up your cocktail of choice; orders can be made through an app. The smart ship will be homeporting in Singapore from Nov 2019 to April 2020, for cruises to and from the island.