Known as the father of mod-Sin cuisine, Singaporean chef Willin Low continues to surprise and impress with new spins on our culinary heritage.
Wild Rocket’s Willin Low has a finger in every (kueh) pie (tee). Besides Wild Rocket, ranked No.38 among Asia’s 50 best restaurants in 2016 and the restaurant where the mod-Sin movement all began, he owns Relish, a casual gourmet burger joint. Lately, Willin has also become co-owner of Roxy Laksa at Timbre+ and chef-partner of the new Restaurant Pó at The Warehouse Hotel, a new boutique heritage hotel on Robertson Quay.
THE ONE NEW DISH I CAN’T WAIT TO SHARE AT RESTAURANT PÓ IS popiah with hand-picked blue swimmer crab.
IN THE NEW YEAR, I want to bring our pasta dishes to the next level by hand-making our own fresh pasta. I love pasta and our guests love our pastas! There will be har jee (dried shrimp roe) pasta and maybe a giam her (salted fish) pasta.
WHEN WE STARTED MOD-SIN CUISINE, we never dreamt that it would inspire a whole wave. Today, one can find mod-Sin in everything, from cocktails to sandwiches. I believe taking it to the next level would be for people to cook it at home. It is already happening, be it a pasta with Singaporean flavours or a Singaporean dish using non-traditional ingredients. Mod Sin will become mainstream.
I HAD A THREE-MONTH-LONG APPRENTICESHIP WITH THIRD-GENERATION OWNER MICHAEL LIM OF KATONG’S FAMOUS ROXY LAKSA. I know never to compromise on the quality of ingredients, but Mike brings it to a new level and is completely OCD right down to the quality of the turmeric roots he buys! I love how he is OCD. I hope Roxy will show that there is still a place for traditional artisanal hawkers to do their craft.
&WILL, MY NEW RANGE OF CONVENIENCE FOODS, IS MY ATTEMPT TO PRESERVE LOCAL FLAVOURS. With manpower shortages in Singapore and a lack of young people wanting to take over from their hawker parents, I fear we may lose our hawker heritage. I hope to work with hawkers (like Roxy) and use modern technology to make the dish in a ‘scalable’ fashion without compromising on its flavours or nutritional value.
The Warehouse Hotel. 320 Havelock Road, Robertson Quay. Tel: 6828 0000
Cover: Chef Willin Low
This was first published in Wine & Dine’s January 2017 issue, ‘Chef Du Jour’