‘Singapore Eats’ is my way of documenting my experience with food in Singapore. I am dedicating this first post to a local hawker in my hood, 80’s (八零后) Roasted Delights in Tiong Bahru.
I’m always on the lookout for a good plate of roasted meat rice, may it be roasted pork (siu yoke), Chinese BBQ pork (char siu), roasted chicken or even roasted duck. Roasted meat rice is a staple hawker food that I grew up eating, so it’s comfort food to me.
It has proven to be difficult to find a plate suited to my tastebuds, as I have high expectations for roasted meat rice. Taking into account the rice and chili sauce served alongside it as well, the overall experience is only complete if it is served with oily rice and spicy chili sauce.
Roasted Duck Rice
Recently I have came across a decent plate of roasted duck rice at 80’s (八零后) Roasted Delights in Tiong Bahru. They have oily rice but it sells out by noon so what you see below is a sad plate of white rice instead. I’ve been to this place twice, once during daytime and once at night, so this picture was taken during dinner time.
What makes this roasted duck special is that it is herb infused! You’ll get a whiff and mild herbal taste if you take the time to enjoy this plate of duck-y goodness. I was surprised by this as the typical roasted duck rice is not like this unless you go for the braised version. The chili sauce is not the best, not spicy and watery but it has a nice tangy taste to it.
This plate of rice cost $4.00, which is decent and hard to come by in today’s economy + inflation. It’s $4.50 if paired with noodles.
Location of 80’s (八零后) Roasted Delights in Tiong Bahru
You can’t find this place on Google which is surprising, for Singapore. So here is their address and some direction on the location..
Address: Block 26 Jalan Membina, #01-10, Singapore 161026
Same area as Common Grill by COLLINS and Shi Zhi Wei 食之味 (Jalan Membina).
Have you recently heard about Vesak Day and wonder what is it about and what is happening on this day? Vesak Day is a celebration observed by Buddhists to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and passing of Gautama Buddha. Buddhism in Singapore is widely practiced, so it is a public holiday gazetted by the government.
Did you know that Vesak Day in Singapore is not on the same day or date as Vesak Day in Malaysia and some other Buddhist-practicing countries? Neither did I until I moved to Singapore in 2023. You can read about it here. This article by Mothership explains it quite well.
Often, you will find Vesak Day spelled differently, such as Wesak Day. It is the same celebration, so don’t worry about the spelling. At the same time, it is also commonly known as Buddha Day since it commemorates Gautama Buddha.
What is there to do on Vesak Day in Singapore?
Vesak Day 2023 was my first time celebrating Vesak Day in Singapore. Being my first experience, I was determined to go out and participate in the celebrations. There are several activities commonly associated with the Vesak Day celebration in Singapore, and the day is generally centered around performing good deeds.
Offerings of flowers, joss sticks, candles
‘Bathing’ of the Buddha
3 steps, 1 bow
Lighting lamps and receiving blessings
During Vesak Day, the Buddhist flag is hoisted, and hymns are sung in praise of the Buddha, the Dharma (his teachings), and the Sangha (his disciples). Flag hoisting usually takes place early in the morning, so if you want to witness this event, you need to be an early bird.
Offerings of flowers, candles and joss sticks
Offerings of flowers, candles, and joss sticks are brought to the temples during Vesak Day. The act of burning candles and joss sticks and the wilting of flowers serves as a reminder to all worshippers that life is fleeting, and all things eventually decay and come to an end. Joss sticks are usually provided free of charge at most temples, but if you have some spare change, it is worth considering making a donation on Vesak Day. Devotees firmly believe that performing good deeds on this auspicious day will multiply their merit many times over.
‘Bathing’ of the Buddha
Bathing of the Buddha is a ritual long practiced by many Buddhist on Vesak Day. It is an act of pouring fragrance water over the statue of an infant Buddha three times. So what is the meaning of ‘Bathing’ of the Buddha?
It symbolizes the cleansing of our body, speech and thoughts to eradicate negativity in order to purify our minds to cultivate merits and wisdom. Believers and non-believers alike are welcome to partake in this ritual which involves presenting yourself front of the statue of infant Buddha with sincerity and pouring water over the statue’s shoulder three times.
The ritual of taking three steps and one bow is an arduous but fulfilling practice. Devotees will usually perform the ritual usually in a large congregation with a single scripture stanza or mantra being chanted repeatedly. This practice is repeated and usually lasts for 2 hours, depending on the intention of the practice for the day.
Vesak Day is about doing good deeds and what better way to do this than volunteering your time to help out at temples or a charity of your choice?
Some temples serve vegetarian food on Vesak Day. Vegetarian food is free and the whole process of serving vegetarian food on Vesak Day is completely run by volunteers. This is a great way to volunteer on this special day.
Places to visit for Vesak Day in Singapore
If you happen to be in town for Vesak Day next year, here is a list of places you could consider visiting. It’s important to note that many places of worship have dress codes in place, so it is crucial to respect and adhere to them. Before heading to these locations, it’s advisable to check the dress code requirements. While some temples may provide loose clothing or cloth for covering up, these items can run out quickly.
Visiting the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple on Vesak Day in Singapore
I personally visited the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple during Vesak Day in Singapore in 2023. This temple is easily accessible, conveniently located right outside Maxwell MRT (TE18) on the TEL line. There are plenty of eateries nearby, including the famous Maxwell food court, just a stone’s throw away.
Before entering the temple, there is a queue outside for those who wish to ‘Bathe’ the Buddha. However, it is optional, and you can skip this step and proceed directly into the temple. It’s important to dress appropriately before entering the sacred grounds. Inside the temple, you can also choose to light a lamp and receive blessings from a monk. Please note that the lamp incurs an additional cost, so feel free to ask for assistance regarding this matter.
Visiting the Buddhist Library on Vesak Day in Singapore
What is special at the Buddhist Library is the display of Buddha relics. In the past and even this year itself, they have held Buddha relics exhibitions. This will be on my list to visit for next year’s Vesak Day in Singapore.