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Buah Keluak Pasta - Shen Tan's Pop-Up At Joan Bowen CafeBuah keluak pasta from Chef Shen Tan’s pop-up at Joan Bowen Cafe – buah keluak cooked with turmeric, blue ginger, garlic and shallots, minced pork and prawns, twice cooked pork belly. Every inch of well-lubricated pasta is positively slathered with the glorious black paste, which is simultaneously nuanced and forthcoming in its running quite the gamut of mouthly sensations – bitter, umami, salty, padi spicy. The pork belly is toe-curlingly marvellous, but even as my teeth were giving one slice a pleasurable grind, I was already planning my next forkful of ebony treasure. Ridiculously memorable and addictive. 4.4/5

This was a hosted meal courtesy of Joan Bowen Cafe, a social enterprise situated in MacPherson that is run almost entirely by staff with special needs. Shen Tan’s pop-up launches 15 April 2016 and runs for three months, and you can expect delectable local flavours-inspired creations such as Grilled Laksa Salad, Bak Chor Mee Pasta, Nasi Lemak with Crispy Chicken and Chef’s Shen Tan’s signature Shendol – no prizes for guessing what that is. You can call 62813629 or email [email protected] for reservations.

Joan Bowen Cafe
9 Jalan Wangi
Singapore 349354


Shawn began documenting his food experiences since he started reading Law at the National University of Singapore. Initially he turned to food for solace from the rigours of university life, and food eventually became his safe haven away from the horrors of legal practice. However, it dawned on him one day that he has become sufficiently enlightened about the magic of discovering new and good food, and that it was time to share his findings with others. Instead of aligning himself with the vast sea of vanilla foodie influencer-style of writing, which would admittedly open more doors in terms of free meals and public relations love, Shawn decided to approach food writing by way of satirical humour, turning the don't-ya-wanna-eat-what-I'm-eating-cuz-I'm-a-public-figure self-importance/self-indulgent gravitas of Instagram foodie-ism in Singapore on its head and conveying his thoughts about food in a manner which is decidedly obscure at times and on others, frankly nonsensical. The rigours of legal practice and desire for a form of indulgent escape led to Shawn's second passion - experiencing and writing about new and luxury hotel properties. Secret Life of Fatbacks is an extension of Shawn's Instagram account (@Larvitar). For intellectual property reasons, he is unable to name the website anything related to the titular Pokémon character. Feel free to ask him in person what "Fatbacks" refers to. Shawn is not a professional critic, blogger or photographer. He is simply a guy who loves food and luxury hotels very much and (likes to think that he has) a quirky sense of humor. Shawn is presently a full-time lawyer, and when he is not premature ageing due to stress and vicious deadlines, he is somewhere spending an exorbitant amount of money trying out new dining places and hotels.

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