Remembering Rediffusion since 1949

Rediffusion And Its Glorious 63 Years

Rediffusion has officially walked into the history books as the midnight struck on the 30th of April 2012, bringing down the curtains of its glorious 63 years of operation. It was 1949 when the first office of Rediffusion was set up here at Clemenceau Avenue. Rediffusion first started in London in 1928, before expanding to Asia after the Second World War, establishing in then-British colonies such as Hong Kong, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang) and Barbados.

During that era, the radio broadcasting technology remained largely at AM (Amplitude Modulation), which was often disrupted by noises and interferences. In contrast, the crystal clear sounds provided by the Rediffusion cable radios proved to be a big hit in Singapore. Thousands subscribed to its monthly rate of $5, a considerably large amount by the standards of that era, to enjoy radio programs in English, Malay, Indian and several Chinese dialects. Legendary storytellers such as Lee Dai Soh 李大傻 (Cantonese), Ng Chia Kheng 黄正经 (Teochew), Ong Toh 王道 (Hokkien) and Chong Soon Fat 张顺发 (Hakka) helped Rediffusion cement its leading position in radio broadcasting from the fifties to seventies. Lee Dai Soh (1913 – 1989), in particular, mesmerised countless listeners with his charming narration of classics such as Monkey God and Return of the Condor Heroes. The programs in dialects were so popular that by the seventies, Rediffusion’s subscription rate hit almost 100,000.

In 1967, the Radio Television Singapore (RTS) launched four FM (Frequency Modulation) radio stations with high quality sounds that posed a threat to Rediffusion’s advantage. Fierce competition in the radio broadcasting arena also caused Rediffusion to lose some of its brilliant talents. In 1982, Rediffusion suffered another blow as its dialect programs were ordered to cease in conjunction of the Speak Mandarin Campaign launched in 1979. The pace in the society and technology might be too great even for an old established brand to keep up. For Rediffusion Singapore, the final moment came in 2012 when the former broadcasting giant decided to cease its 63-year-old operation after failing to find new investors. It is truly a sad day for many of its supporters, especially the older dialect-speaking generations who have depended on Rediffusion as their main source of entertainment.

Rediffusion’s Golden Years
A Rediffusion set from the 1950s

For a generation of Singaporeans, the name Rediffusion brings back warm memories of a little nondescript brown, rectangular box blaring music and entertainment in homes and coffeeshops across Singapore in the 1960s and 1970s. This iconic radio station – known as 丽的呼声 in Mandarin (Li Di Hu Sheng) – provided countless hours of enjoyment to its listeners with the latest American pop music, dramatic stories told in Chinese dialects like Hokkien and Cantonese, and the friendly chatter of DJs at a time when home entertainment options were in short supply.

Before the production of Channel 8 dramas, people were hooked on traditional tales narrated by the likes of Lee Dai Soh (李大傻) in Cantonese, Ng Chia Kheng (黄正经) in Teochew, Ong Toh (王道) in Hokkien and Chong Soon Fat (张顺发) in Hakka. Their work on Rediffusion was in the tradition of the storytellers of old who went around Chinatown, Telok Ayer and Boat Quay to entertain the crowds in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Storytellers like Lee Dai Soh and Ong Toh helped make Rediffusion popular.2 Their efforts left a mark on people like James Seah who, on the Singapore Memory Project,3 recalled how these stories affected the daily rhythms of life at home. Seah had become a Rediffusion fan in 1960 when he was still in Primary 5 and was living in a kampong in Bukit Ho Swee. He wrote: “My mother would stop whatever housework, and I had to complete school homework before 9 pm to sit attentively on a stool beside the wooden partition of my next door neighbour. The Rediffusion was subscribed by my neighbour and he kindly shared it with us… The radio was located nearest to our side of the wooden partition and the volume… turned on to its maximum.”

Apart from stories, Rediffusion also broadcast recordings of outdoor stage shows such as concerts and music programmes, which were mainly in Chinese. Recordings of Chinese wayang (street opera) performances, in particular, were well received until the 1970s when boxing match commentaries took over. Rediffusion became popular at a time when the majority of Singaporeans lived in rural areas and not many households could afford a television set. Besides, Rediffusion triumphed over the state-owned broadcaster because it had a clear advantage over conventional radio services operated by the state. Unlike AM or FM radios, Rediffusion boxes did not have receivers; they were largely loudspeakers with a built-in amplifier. As Rediffusion’s service was transmitted via cable, the audio quality was much better compared with over-the-air radio services of the time. In addition, Rediffusion sets did not depend on electricity, as power was supplied via the same cable that delivered the radio signal. This was a boon especially in rural areas that were not connected to the electrical grid. At its peak, Rediffusion, which was dubbed “the people’s network”, had more than 100,000 subscribers.8 It provided a novel way of delivering entertainment programmes, the majority of which were in Chinese dialects. On the other hand, government-owned radio stations like Radio Malaya and its successors broadcast mainly news and educational programmes from England that were deemed as lacking “life and originality”. People also found Rediffusion to be more “intimate” and “homely” as listeners could call in to chat with their favourite DJs. However, due to changing market conditions, new government policies and competition from television and free-to-air radio, Rediffusion began to wane in popularity in the 1980s and its audience numbers declined. The radio station ceased operations in 2012, and although it was revived a year later, Rediffusion no longer functioned as a radio station.

Rediffusion returns to Singapore

Singapore cable radio broadcaster Rediffusion, which went off-air for about a year, was officially relaunched as a digital service on Thursday. The digital version of Rediffusion will deliver both conventional and new content to audiences via its website and mobile app. Listeners can also stream it live on its website.

Former radio deejay Eva Chang had acquired the rights to Singapore's Rediffusion along with some other assets last year. She now helms the company with veteran Singaporean singer Dick Lee as her creative director. According to a report in Omy.sg news portal, Rediffusion plans to venture into the television industry at a later date, elaborating that a Chinese-language learning channel will be provided for primary school students.

Earlier this month, Channel News Asia reported that Rediffusion would still provide content in Chinese dialects under the banner of Rediffussion Classic. As of December last year, the radio station's premises had been relocated to Burn Road.

Rediffusion changing tack to stay alive a year after relaunch
Ms Chang giving a demonstration of a live online podcast to potential business partners at the Rediffusion office. The station's own podcast, The Eeva Show, features Ms Chang interviewing interesting personalities. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

When former DJ Eeva Chang Mei Hsiang bought Rediffusion, she had big plans to turn around the flagging radio station by raising its appeal to the young and going online. More than a year and some $4 million later, Ms Chang and company are back to the drawing board. The mobile app that it launched last year to allow users to tune in to old Rediffusion programmes for a monthly subscription fee of US$1.99 (S$2.55) has been pulled.

Ms Chang told The Sunday Times that the app targeted Rediffusion's older fans, but not all of them used smartphones. Rediffusion also had to pay 20 cents to a server for each hour of programming a user listened to. "It worked out to a lot of money and we were not able to support that." The app had about 20,000 downloads in the one year it was on the market.

In its heyday, Rediffusion had more than 100,000 subscribers, but the number dwindled to no more than 4,000, which led to the company closing in 2012. Ms Chang originally wanted to recruit DJs to produce content for Rediffusion, but that has been scrapped too. "When I first bought Rediffusion, no one thought I would make it but I was fearless. But when I started working, I found out it was really tough," said Ms Chang. The former Rediffusion DJ had bought the brand, its materials and broadcasting facilities for an undisclosed sum after the company ceased operations. Despite the problems, Ms Chang has not given up on the brand. She will aggressively cut costs and reorganise the business in another bid to keep the station alive.


Rediffusion was Singapore's first cable-transmitted, commercial radio station. It started broadcasting in Singapore in 1949. In the 1960s and ’70s, the station's Chinese dialect programmes enjoyed a strong following, and many coffee shops and households were fitted with Rediffusion sets. The Rediffusion company in Singapore was a subsidiary of Broadcast Relay Services (Overseas) Ltd, a London-based company pioneering the use of cables to broadcast radio services. As part of the company's expansion into Asia, it entered Singapore in 1948, setting up broadcasting studios at the site of the former railway station at Tank Road (now Clemenceau Avenue).

On 1 August 1949, Rediffusion (Singapore) Ltd was officially opened by then Governor Franklin Charles Gimson. It was Singapore's first commercial radio station, and also the first and only cable-transmitted radio station. This form of transmitting is known as radio diffusion, hence the name “Rediffusion” (re-diffusion). In August 1950, the Singapore Rediffusion Employees Union went on strike for 67 days, while in May 1962, Rediffusion employers went on strike due to disputes over wages and working conditions. Rediffusion became a great hit and garnered 9,600 subscribers within a few months of its launch. Radio sets in those days were too expensive for many households and Rediffusion was an affordable alternative at a subscription rate of $5 per month. Initially, the station broadcasted programmes from the United Kingdom, but Chinese dialect programmes were subsequently added to meet local demand. Each day, two Rediffusion channels provided a combined 34 hours of radio programmes to subscribers. The station's entertainment-based programmes, which were a stark contrast to those produced by the government-run Radio Malaya, became very popular.4

During its heyday, Rediffusion radio sets were a common sight in coffee shops and many people gathered there to listen to American rock 'n' roll music and stories narrated in Chinese dialects by storytellers such as Lee Dai Sor (Cantonese), Ng Chia Kheng (Teochew), Ong Toh (Hokkien). and Chong Soon Fat (Hakka). It was estimated that up to 100,000 listeners followed the programmes hosted by these master storytellers. By the 1960s, the number of Rediffusion subscribers had increased to about 50,000. Rediffusion continued to experience subscription growth in the 1970s, and by 1977, it had 90,428 subscribers.6 The size of the company also increased during this period of expansion. By 1979, it had 800 staff, including permanent employees and part-time broadcasters.

A Look-Back at the Station and Service in 1950's / 1960's

Rediffusion Singapore was established in the late 1940's bringing a Cable Radio Service thousands of subscribers in Singapore at a time when radio sets were very expensive and reception of such stations very poor. The service comprised two audio channels and was based on the system of distribution which had proved successful in the UK since the early 1930's. Subscriber take-up grew at a rapid rate with Rediffusion loudspeakers being installed in domestic and commercial premises throughout the island. The Rediffusion sevice remained primary radio service in Singapore for over thirty years. Headquarters and studios were built on Tank Road, later to become Clemenceau Avenue after road improvements. Singapore's Governor, Sir Franklin Gimson opened the station in August 1949. It was an immediate success with the listening public with a monthly subscription of $5.

The Rediffusion System - Singapore Rediffusion was centred on a large, three-storied building especially erected for its purpose and situated on the outskirts of the commercial centre.
The building accommodated the offices, programme origination, central control, stores, and workshop.
Programmes were fed, by means of rented lines to amplifying stations in the heart of the shopping and housing areas as these were the most densely populated quarters of Chinatown and yielded the highest subscriber density. Subsequently development extended to the less thickly peopled but more easily accessible districts in the outskirts. For feeding the distribution kiosks, star-quad H.L.L. cables were erected on trolley poles wherever it was possible as the buildings were usually too insecure to support them. Feeders were block cabled and, except on modern brick and concrete buildings, all wires were attached to the front of premises as the backs of most were so dilapidated that it was generally impossible to find anything to which cable could be fixed. Even in the front, wiring was made difficult by the large amount of decorative work and display.

There was also competition from other wiring. The Chinese are very fond of electrical appliances and, where landlords had neglected repairs, their homes had a maze of wiring tied up with string. "Extensions," of the flex and tape variety, branched out from this in all directions, and it was not uncommon to see lighting flex running outside for perhaps two hundred yards or so hooked up to shop signs, window shutters. and drain pipes, to feed some member of the family down the street with light and power, because the existing electrical system was beyond repair. The power stations were badly overloaded and blackouts were frequent.  At the main Redillusion building a standby generating plant was run every evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to relieve the municipal supply of the 16-kw load.

Rediffusion Singapore
Rediffusion went off-air on 30 April 2012

Rediffusion Singapore (Chinese: 丽的呼声), started in 1949, was the first cable-transmitted radio station in Singapore. It was a Singapore subsidiary of the Broadcast Relay Services (Overseas) Ltd. It was also Singapore's only subscription radio service. Rediffusion Singapore was once considered the "prime entertainment organisation". It was also known as "The Box", as its so-called devices were found in over 100,000 homes. Due to decreasing subscription, it closed in 2012. On closure, a former Rediffusion Singapore deejay, Eva Chang Mei Hsiang, bought the radio station and in 2013 re-opened the radio station as an online radio station.

Rediffusion Singapore was founded in 1949 as a result of the success encountered in radio broadcasting in Singapore, particularly in the post-World War II era. The cable radio service was seen as a remedy against poor reception which affected certain housing estates until then. Rediffusion Singapore was operated by Overseas Rediffusion, a subsidiary of the Rediffusion broadcasting business based in the United Kingdom, from the former's foundation until the late 1980s, when the British-owned Rediffusion conglomerate was broken up. In October 1979, as part of the Speak Mandarin Campaign, Rediffusion began airing Mandarin lessons in Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew, in collaboration with Nanyang Siang Pau and Sin Chew Jit Poh. Rediffusion had more than 500,000 listeners, most of them speak in Chinese dialects. Rediffusion would begin to gradually reduce programming in the Chinese dialects which were at 40% at the time the lessons were aired, previously at 80%. In 1989, Rediffusion was sold from the local subsidiary of British Electric Traction to the British company Yorkshire Radio Network for the sum of $9 million. The new owner would help revitalise the station. On the same year, Rediffusion applied for a licence for "wireless broadcasting", but was rejected due to the lack of usable FM frequencies.

As an attempt to get rid of the old "matriarch" image of Rediffusion, its Mandarin programmes were refreshed in 1989 and began to cater to young Mandarin-speaking listeners. As of 1990, Rediffusion Singapore had 60,000 subscribers and 209,000 listeners. Responding to the increase of radio stations and competition, Rediffiusion's Silver channel became all-English channel in December 1990, targeting the non-working population, specifically the retirees and the handicapped. It took two years to plan for the change. Since 2000, Rediffusion Singapore provided digital radio services in Singapore. On 15 April 2005, the Media Development Authority issued a five-year licence to Rediffusion Singapore for a subscriber-only Digital Audio Broadcasting service, making it the world's first. In September 2008, Rediffusion Singapore launched Redistar, a radio station playing local music. Rediffusion went off-air on 30 April 2012 but it resumed broadcasting on 11 November 2013 using the internet to transmit their programs.

Rediffusion And Lor Arh

Rediffusion has officially walked into the history books as the midnight struck on the 30th of April 2012, bringing down the curtains of its glorious 63 years of operation.

It was 1949 when the first office of Rediffusion was set up here at Clemenceau Avenue. Rediffusion first started in London in 1928, before expanding to Asia after the Second World War, establishing in then-British colonies such as Hong Kong, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang) and Barbados. During that era, the radio broadcasting technology remained largely at AM (Amplitude Modulation), which was often disrupted by noises and interferences. In contrast, the crystal clear sounds provided by the Rediffusion cable radios proved to be a big hit in Singapore. Thousands subscribed to its monthly rate of $5, a considerably large amount by the standards of that era, to enjoy radio programs in English, Malay, Indian and several Chinese dialects.

Legendary storytellers such as Lee Dai Soh 李大傻 (Cantonese), Ng Chia Kheng 黄正经 (Teochew), Ong Toh 王道 (Hokkien) and Chong Soon Fat 张顺发 (Hakka) helped Rediffusion cement its leading position in radio broadcasting from the fifties to seventies. Lee Dai Soh (1913 – 1989), in particular, mesmerised countless listeners with his charming narration of classics such as Monkey God and Return of the Condor Heroes. The programs in dialects were so popular that by the seventies, Rediffusion’s subscription rate hit almost 100,000.

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Hot & Cold Cheng Tng since 1939

Ye Lai Xiang Hot & Cold Cheng Tng (1939)
Bedok Food Centre, 1 Bedok Road Stall 31, Singapore 469572

Cheng Tng, Tau Suan, Orh Nee: the old-person dessert trio that I refused to eat as a kid. But now I regret every bowl I’ve swapped out for ice cream and cake.

Ye Lai Xiang Hot & Cold Cheng Tng has been around nearly 80 years, drawing customers in droves with their SINGLE menu item served hot or cold, small or large. Their winning concoction has the basics down pat: lotus seeds check, honey dates check, dried longan, Chinese barley, white fungus, red dates check.

You’ll also find dried winter melon strips, sweet potato, dried persimmons, and tau suan floating around in this amber-coloured dessert. Perfect to stay cool – like the coolies in the olden days – in our mad weather.

Ye Lai Xiang Cheng Tng: 84-year-old heritage cheng tng stall with 11 ingredients in Bedok
Bedok Food Centre, 1 Bedok Road Stall 31, Singapore 469572

Cheng tng is a classic local dessert adored by many sweet tooths. It definitely helps that it is known to be healthy, containing ingredients that fight common ailments like sore throat. Some folks regard historical Ye Lai Xiang Cheng Tng in Bedok as their personal favourite above all the rest. 

Started in 1939, this cheng tng stall has to be one of the oldest in Singapore. It is said that Ye Lai Xiang Cheng Tng started out by the seaside and shifted here, settling down in Bedok Corner Food Centre. Interesting fun fact: the empty space next door was an affiliated stall selling cuttlefish kang kong, which has unfortunately closed. Ye Lai Xiang Cheng Tng’s quaint stall greets its customers with a rather traditional signboard, showcasing their heritage in more ways than one. There are few decisions to be made at this stall, with just a simple choice of either Cold Cheng Tng (S$3) or Warm Cheng Tng (S$3). Truly the best for indecisive people like myself.

Uncle was extra friendly, joking with us whilst taking orders. Lucky for the non-Chinese folks, he is skilled in the English language, so ordering will not be a problem. For frequent patrons of this stall, you will be elated to know that it’s not going anywhere, as Uncle is already training the next generation to continue this local dessert legacy. Despite it being a weekday, the crowd was massive. Don’t be too surprised when people start hovering around your table, silently signalling you to hurry up. My personal observation was that folks from all walks of life are here to eat, from office workers to the elderly.

Ye Lai Xiang Cheng Tng in Bedok has cheng tng with An 83-Year-Old Recipe

When I saw that I’d been assigned to visit Ye Lai Xiang Cheng Tng, I have to admit I wasn’t stoked. I have never liked 清汤 (qīng tāng)—I shun it when it appears at catered buffets and wedding banquets, having tried and found it too sweet, with little by way of ingredients worth my interest.

Ye Lai Xiang Cheng Tng has been around the sun almost thrice as many times as I have since the current stall owner’s grandmother first started making the dessert in 1939. Surely they’ve got something right, I thought to myself, if they’ve survived this long selling just one item—and they most definitely changed my mind about the dessert.

The only decision you’ll have to make when you visit Ye Lai Xiang Cheng Tng is whether you’d like your bowl of dessert hot or cold. Each bowl is priced at $3, with the cold version being the more popular option. For what looks like a simple bowl of dessert, there’s a whole lot of preparation that goes into its making. There are a whopping 11 ingredients in Ye Lai Xiang’s version, which you’ll see in the display fronting the stall.

Ye Lai Xiang Hot and Cold Cheng Tng (1939)
Bedok Food Centre, 1 Bedok Road Stall 31, Singapore 469572

Established in 1939, this stall serves only two things: hot and cold cheng tng. But the folks here do it faultlessly. The cold version has just the right amount of ice to keep it refreshing without diluting the taste – though at a slightly pricey $3 a bowl, it’s speckled with plenty of ingredients. Besides the usual suspects of dried longan and white fungus, you’ll bite into the occasional strip of candied melon and even sweet potato.

10 Best CHENG TNG 清汤 In Singapore For Cooling-Off Day

One of Singapore’s most popular local desserts is Cheng Tng 清汤 (sometimes spelt “Ching Teng”), a bowl of sweet and refreshing treat to beat the summer heat.

Cheng Tng which literally means “clear soup”, is included with many nutritious ingredients such as pang da hai (胖⼤海), gingko, pearl barley, dried longans, red dates, white fungus and dried lotus seed.

However, there are some versions that don’t include certain ingredients (due to cost and effort needed to prepare), and add jelly or agar agar instead.

They key ingredient to many is pang dai hai, a type of dried malva nut which has a cooling effect and disperses qi to bring down body heat (not advisable for pregnant woman to have though). However, I noticed that some places left out this ingredient already.

Here are 10 places for refreshing Cheng Tng 清汤 in Singapore, because you know, people are quite heated-up these days:
  • Ye Lai Xiang Hot and Cold Cheng Tng 夜来香清汤 Stall #31, 1 Bedok Rd, Bedok Food Centre, Singapore 469572
  • No Name Dessert 69 #01-490 Bedok South Ave 3, Block 69, Singapore 460069
  • Yatkayan Dessert 一家人 Fortune Centre #02-08 190 Middle Road Singapore 188979
  • Xi Le Ting 31 Commonwealth Crescent, #02-70 Market & Food Centre, Singapore 149644
  • Four Seasons Ching Tng #01-34, 448 Clementi Ave 3, Singapore 120448
  • Dove Desserts 22 Lor 7 Toa Payoh, #01-21, Singapore 310022
  • Ice Dessert 51 Old Airport Rd, #01-31, Singapore 390051
  • Teck Kee Hot & Cold Dessert 2 Adam Rd, #01-31 Adam Road Food Centre, Singapore 289876
  • Ayman Alam Desserts (Traditional Cheng Tng) Stall #13, 20 Kensington Park Rd, Singapore 557269
  • Mohamed Sultan Road Hot & Cold Cheng Tng #01-32 Zion Road Food Centre, 70 Zion Rd, Singapore 247792

6 Places for Awesome Cheng Tng to Beat the Heat in Singapore

In view of SG51, let’s take a walk down memory lane with a bowl of Cheng Tng, which literally means clear soup. It is a dessert that is light and refreshing, sold in the olden days to the coolies who worked at the quay. Nonetheless, most stalls that serve Cheng Tng these days cut corners in their ingredients. With that, we came up with a list of 6 places that you could visit to get a good bowl of Cheng Tng:
  • Four Seasons Ching Teng Blk 210, Toa Payoh Lorong 8, #01-34
  • Xi Le Ting Blk 119 Commonwealth Crescent, #02-70, Singapore 140119
  • Teck Kee Hot & Cold Dessert Adam Road Food Centre, Stall 31, 2 Adam Road Singapore 289876
  • Ye Lai Xiang Hot & Cold Dessert Stall #31, Bedok Corner Food Centre, 1 Bedok Road, Singapore 469572
  • No Name Cheng Tng Blk 69 Bedok South Avenue 3 Singapore 460069
  • 88 San Ren Hot & Cold dessert Newton Food Centre, Newton Circus, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, #01-05, Singapore 229495

Cheng tng

Cheng tng, meaning clear soup, is a traditional Singaporean sweet treat that is commonly enjoyed as a dessert. Although the ingredients may vary, the dish is typically made by combining dried longan, white fungus, gingko nuts, red dates, pearl barley, large sago pearls, lotus seeds, and candied winter melon.

The ingredients are simmered in water with sugar and pandan leaves until they become soft. Once cooked, the soup is usually enhanced with dried persimmon and pang da hai (Sterculia lychnophora), and it can be consumed either warm or chilled.

In the past, people who worked at the quay used to quench their thirst by having a bowl of this sweet and refreshing dessert. Cheng tng is available at numerous local dessert stalls in the country.

Cheng Tng 清汤

Don't you agree with us that the weather has been erratic lately? Look after your friends, family and yourself in this warm and humid weather by making a bowl of cheng tng! This weekend, you know what you can do to ease the heat and keep everyone in good health!

This recipe is one of Mdm Cheng’s signature desserts that her family and relatives loves! Not only is this cheng tng delicious, it also has rich nutritional value that is beneficial to one's health:
  • Pang da hai 胖大海 a.k.a Sterculia Lychnophora: cooling effect to bring down the body heat. It is not advisable for pregnant women to consume it.
  • Red dates: labelled as “the king of nuts” (百果之王), stimulates the production of white blood cells, which improves immunity, and decrease cholesterol level in your bloodstream, which also helps protect the liver.
  • Longan: calming effect on the nervous system
  • Gingko nuts: lowering cholesterol level and protection against cancer.

12 Must-Try Chendol in Singapore To Keep You Cool
CNN named “Cendol from Singapore” as one of the 50 world’s best desserts, there was an uproar on social media about the dessert’s origin

Cendol (or “Chendol”) is a sweet iced dessert known for its mixture of ingredients from the signature green rice flour jelly, to coconut milk and palm sugar (Gula Melaka). Some add in other ingredients such as red bean, sweet corn and attap chee.

Most stalls in Singapore serve Chendol as part of their huge dessert repertoire; and some may choose to add in ingredients that lang-ga (clash) from glass jelly to agar agar cubes. One word – No.

With the increasingly HOT weather, this makes such a refreshing treat in the staggering heat. After recommendations from readers, I went around to try some of the most fragrant and delicious Cendol in Singapore:
  • Jin Jin Hot / Cold Dessert 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, #01-21 ABC Brickworks Market Food Centre, Singapore 150006
  • Four Seasons Chendol 四季煎蕊 210 #01-07 Lor 8 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310210
  • Dove Desserts 22 Lor 7 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310022
  • Old Amoy Chendol 335 Smith St, Chinatown Point Food Centre #02-008, Singapore 050335
  • The Coconut Club 6 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069787
  • Nyonya Chendol 51 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, #02-147, Singapore 588215
  • Malaysia Boleh (Jurong Point) 1 Jurong West Central 2, 03-28, Singapore 648886
  • Qing Tian Desserts 青天冷热甜品 #01-60 Redhill Food Centre, Blk 85 Redhill Lane, Singapore 150085
  • Makan Melaka 1901 Changi Village Rd, #01-2046, Singapore 507721
  • Cendol Geylang Serai 1 Geylang Serai, #02-107, Singapore 402001
  • Chendol Melaka 15 Upper East Coast Road, Singapore 455207
  • 99 Dessert in Cup 208B New Upper Changi Rd, Bedok Interchange Food Centre #01-60, Singapore 462208

Singapore Traditional Desserts

The craziest reinvented traditional dessert I’ve had is probably the Mr Bean cocktail from local bar Jekyll & Hyde. While I was impressed by how the cocktail made with Lao Ban beancurd, vodka, kaya, and Frangelico tasted, it’s not something I’d crave for all the time, unlike a good old bowl of red bean soup or cheng tng. For these old-school treats, here are the stalls where you can get the best traditional desserts in Singapore:


5 Reasons You Should Eat Eggs In Your Breakfast

There aren’t many superfoods, but if you go, the most common one that is readily available wherever and whenever you need, it’s eggs. When it comes to a healthy body, certain minerals and vitamins are required. Our tight schedules end up forcing us to resort to packaged food that is heavily processed with harmful chemicals to increase the shelf life.

Among various negative impacts of these food options, the one that’s quite prominent is that processed food options will significantly increase the chances of obesity. The primary reason behind this is that though the number of calories will be much higher, most of them will be empty ones that will add fat. If you are trying to follow a healthy routine, the very first change that needs to be registered is regarding your diet. We highly recommend switching to whole foods and eliminating all the fast food that you are habitual of.

As we all know, the day’s most important meal is breakfast, and it should also be the one with the most nutrients. This blog will discuss the key reasons behind our recommendation of adding eggs to your first meal of the day. Without any further adieu, let’s dive right into it:
  • Nutrition
  • Maintains Choline
  • Lower Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Helps In Weight Loss
  • Provides Amino Acids


When is the best time to drink your morning coffee?

Should you drink your coffee before or with your breakfast?

A lot of people start their day with a fresh cup of coffee. Some people can’t even function without it. But because coffee is also pretty acidic, drinking coffee before breakfast might not be the best option for everyone. Find out when you should drink your coffee in the morning. According to the Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, there is nothing wrong with drinking coffee on an empty stomach. As long as you’re stomach isn’t overly sensitive. They told Well + Good: “For many people, drinking coffee on an empty stomach is fine, but for others who are sensitive, it can trigger nausea as well as gastroesophageal reflux.” That means that for some people, it would be better to drink their coffee after they have eaten something.

But some people might be affected by caffeine in different ways. There are people who get anxious or twitchy from drinking coffee. Especially if they drink it on an empty stomach. That is why these people could benefit from drinking their coffee with their breakfast. Just to slow down the effects that caffeine might have on you. According to the Nutrition Twins, this is because some bodies process caffeine faster than others. This means that the time of day you should drink coffee, is completely dependent on how you feel when you drink it. Stephanie Nelson, lead nutrition scientist at MyFitnessPal, told Well + Good: “If you drink coffee on an empty stomach and the effects bother you, then you’re better off eating something with your coffee. However, if you don’t experience stomach issues after drinking coffee on an empty stomach, there’s nothing harmful about drinking coffee before breakfast.”

But there might be a perfect time to get your daily dose of caffeine. And that is not right when you wake up. According to the Nutrition Twins, your body produces a lot of cortisol after you wake up. That means that you will already get a natural energy boost right after you get out of bed. If you wait a couple of hours after you wake up and then drink your first cup of coffee, you will get more of the benefits of caffeine. According to Well + Good they said: “The caffeine from the coffee will benefit you more if you wait a couple of hours for cortisol levels to drop before drinking it.” So form now on, you will never wake up tired and groggy because you know exactly when to have to first cup of joe!

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World's Highest Paid Government Leaders 2024

Highest Paid Government Leaders in the World 2024

Singapore is the country with the highest-paid government leader in the world, Lee Hsien Loong. The Prime Minister of Singapore is the highest-paid government servant in the world. He receives a salary of approximately US$1.6 million.

The US$1.6 million remuneration for the prime minister was arrived at by the Salary Review Committee of 2011. Lee Hsien Loong selected the committee to assess and adjust the salaries of the political appointment holders, members of parliament, the president, and the prime minister after every five years. He aimed at achieving a salary that would encourage the government leaders to be more productive while avoiding corruption.

Before the review, the salaries for the ministers were based on their grades (MR4, MR3, MR2 or MR1), in the government, with MR4 being the lowest grade. The annual remuneration for each minister comprised the fixed and variable components.

Countries with the Highest Paid Government Leader:

Singapore $1.61 Mn           Prime Minister
Hong Kong $568,400 Chief Executive
Switzerland      $495,000 Federal Council
United States    $400,000 President
Australia $392,811 Prime Minister
Germany $369,727 Chancellor
Austria $338,094 Chancellor
New Zealand    $325,546  Prime Minister
Japan $316,521     Prime Minister
Canada $297,000           Prime Minister
South Africa          $223,500 President
France $220,500 Prime Minister
South Korea $211,320      President
Turkey $197,400 President
Chile   $196,000           President
Italy $131,608 Prime Minister
Taiwan $121,500           Premier



Herbal Turtle Soup since 1940s

Tan Ser Seng Herbs Restaurant since 1946 in Geylang

Located in Geylang, Tan Ser Seng Herbs Restaurant is one of the remaining turtle soup restaurants in Singapore, and the first to cook turtle soup in a claypot. The rich turtle soup is made daily with quality ingredients and fresh turtle meat. Simmered for more than 12 hours every day, it’s hearty, full of collagen, healthy and absolutely delicious. The authentic recipe dates back to 1946! The family-run restaurant also cooks nourishing herbal soups, such as cordyceps chicken soup, ginseng black chicken soup and more.

Tan Ser Seng Herbs Restaurant was founded in 1946 by Tan Ah Sai. He’s a humble cook and entrepreneur from China who migrated to Singapore. Tan Ah Sai brought the unique trade of turtle soup to Singapore and began by peddling his herbal broth along Orchard Road. His first shop was at Cuppage Centre, then he moved Lorong Tai Seng, then MacPherson and Joo Chiat. Finally, the restaurant settled at Geylang in 1992.

Though Tan Ah Sai has since passed away, his recipes and quality herbal soups live on. His son, Tan Khar Seng, took over the business and quickly roped in his son, daughter and son-in-law. They cook the soups from scratch and serve customers all day long. Now, the Tan family wake up at 3am every day to prepare the soups. Five hours are spent preparing the herbs and fresh turtle meat, and the restaurant opens for business at 11am sharp, just in time for the lunch crowd. The lunch crowd comes in fast and furious. Tables were filled with both young and old alike, with tables and chairs even strewn along the walkways!

9 Herbal Turtle Soups in Singapore That Are a Dying Tradition

Often viewed as a delicacy, turtle soup is said to help lower blood pressure, improve kidney function and boost virility. In fact, it is a dish often served to Chinese emperors to boost their libido! If you’re cringing at the thought of eating turtle meat, rest assured that endangered or wild turtles are not used at all. The meat comes from farms and they are prepared exclusively for consumption. While not commonly found, the dish has been around for several decades. Today, it is a dying tradition, with just a handful of stalls left serving the dish:
  • Ser Seng Herb (Turtle) Restaurant - 39 Tai Thong Crescent, Singapore 347863
  • Tan Ser Seng Herbs Restaurant - 29 Lor Bachok, Singapore 387791
  • Very Lucky Turtle Soup - 166 Jln Berseh, Singapore 208877
  • Kok Kee Turtle Soup - 22 Lor 7 Toa Payoh, #01-39, Singapore 310022
  • Tai Seng Herbal Turtle Soup - 118 Hougang Ave 1, #01-186, Singapore 530118
  • Fu Hee Herbal Turtle & Delights - 166 Jln Besar, #02-40/47, Singapore 208877
  • Havelok Turtle Soup - 22A Havelock Road, #01-04, Singapore 161022
  • Keng Thong Turtle Soup - 335 Smith St, #02-188, Singapore 050335
  • Kin Turtle Soup - 659 Geylang Rd, Singapore 389589


What is turtle soup? This is the soup that strengthens you from the inside, to energise you for the next challenge as well as to vitalise you on the outside.

Fresh (soft-shell) turtle meat is the key ingredient in the traditional turtle soup.  Turtle meat is brewed in a mixture of Chinese herbs till the essence of the herbs is immersed in the turtle meat for the ultimate taste.  The choice of herbs is up to the individual.

Besides the benefits found in the turtle meat itself, the dish can be prepared in many other ways to suit the palate of the young and the old, just as in the preparation of any meat dish.  It can be made in soup, fried, steamed, braised, etc.  Traditionally, turtle meat is used in soup dishes to preserve the goodness of the turtle meat within the soup so that our bodies can absorb the essence easily.

Ser Seng Turtle Soup @ Geylang Lor 21 Singapore 生成山瑞補

I first indulged in traditional herbal turtle soup with my mates at MacPherson in the 1980s as our office was nearby in Paya Lebar. It became a life long love and my usual turtle soup haunt is at Berseh Food Centre. Meanwhile, while I heard a lot about the turtle soup at Ser Seng Herbal at Geylang Lor 21 & Lor Bachok intersection, it was only today (2017) that I finally got to try it. But, it was great and never too late!

Ser Seng Herbal was full house as usual this afternoon with customers spilling onto the fully occupied walkway outside. Looking at the boss Ah Seng, I can't believe that he is 10 years my senior Must be the herbal turtle soup which Ah Seng still drinks every day. Ah Seng's father started selling herbal turtle soup over seventy years ago with the large pot of soup and charcoal stove slung on a bamboo pole across his shoulders. Ah Seng, then 12 years old, joined his father when they set up a turtle soup push cart stall at the Orchard Road carpark of Singapore food lore (where 313@Somerset stands today). They then moved to Bukit Timah 7-Mile, followed by Tai Thong Crescent before settling here at Lor Bachok, off Geylang Lor 21.

The Tan family now runs 3 herbal turtle soup shops in Singapore - here at Lor Bachok / Geylang Lor 21, Tai Thong Crescent (by Ah Seng's brother) and in Bedok (by Ah Seng's sister). Ah Seng's son, Allan is running the shop in Geylang with his dad and also brother-in-law. So, we are going to enjoy traditional turtle soup for another generation.

Tan Ser Seng Herbs Restaurant

Tan Ser Seng Herbs Restaurant specialises in herbal turtle soup, located at Geylang Lor 21. Besides turtle soup, there are also impressive herbal chicken soup. It is visited by many famous Hong Kong and Mainland China Stars such as Sammo Hung, Patrick Tse, Zhao Wei. Tan Ser Seng Herbs Restaurant, currently into the 3rd generation of his family to run the business of turtle soup. It’s good to see that the Gen Y holds onto traditional food for the future generation. Thumbs up Allan:) Quality and consistency assurance of the broth as the family wakes up as early as 3am to prepare and cook themselves. There are over 20 herbs used in the broth, no wonder it is very flavourful and tasty.

Being a turtle virgin, I was having mixed feeling of this tasting. Firstly, probably culture, that we shouldn’t eat turtle. Next, the taste of turtle soup might not be suitable for me. Anyway I’ve decided to make a visit as they also offer herbal chicken soup. They are not turtle soup based, the herbs used in chicken soup is also entirely different from the turtle soup.

Brought along my foodie brother for the turtle soup tasting. He is enjoying himself with the turtle soup. So I’ve decided to YOLO for once for the collagen. Turtle jelly was smooth, bouncy with gelatinous mouthfeel. Surprisely, it doesn’t have any weird smell or taste. Most probably due to the rice wine. Rice wine is added to the turtle soup to increase the aroma of the soup.

Where to Eat Turtle Soup in Singapore?

Turtle soup is a traditional dish in Singapore made from the meat of green sea turtles. The turtle meat is slow-cooked with various herbs and spices, including ginger, garlic, and curry leaves, to create a rich, flavorful broth. Some restaurants also add ingredients such as Chinese mushrooms and vermicelli noodles to the soup. The soup is usually served hot and garnished with cilantro or spring onions. It is considered as a delicacy in Singapore and is traditionally served during special occasions or as a luxury item in seafood restaurants.

There is a widespread belief in China that eating turtle soup would let one live a long and prosperous life. The Chinese word for turtle, “guī,” is a homophone for “guǐ,” which means “return to antiquity” or “return to old ways.” It’s possible that the soup’s symbolic significance stems partly from this connection to antiquity and custom. Because of their lengthy lifespans and robust reputation, turtles are also seen as symbols of longevity and health in Chinese culture. Due to its association with good fortune and wealth, turtle soup is often served during celebrations like weddings and banquets. One of the reasons why turtle soup is so revered in China is that it was formerly reserved for the emperor and other high-ranking officials. Therefore, it is typically seen as a mark of social rank.

However, with the rising call for sustainability, turtle soup is no longer a cuisine that everyone can enjoy. Hence, you might be thinking, “where to buy turtle soup”? Not to worry! Here we will discuss where to eat turtle soup in Singapore:
  • It is subjective to say which place serves the “best” turtle soup in Singapore as it depends on personal taste and preferences. However, some of the most highly recommended places to try turtle soup in Singapore include Jumbo Seafood Restaurant and TungLok Signatures, which are known for their traditional Singaporean seafood dishes and use live green turtles in their turtle soup. Long Beach Seafood Restaurant is also a popular spot for turtle soup.
  • Another option is the Tiong Bahru market, where you can find a variety of traditional Chinese food stalls selling turtle soup. This is a great place to try turtle soup in a more casual setting, and the prices are often more affordable than those at a restaurant.
  • According to TripAdvisor, the best place where to buy turtle soup is Ser Seng Herbs Restaurant. Located at 39 Tai Thong Crescent Sennett Estate, this restaurant has a positive reputation nationwide for providing excellent turtle soup. If you take a peek at their menu, they have a variety of turtle dishes which you can choose from, including the different parts of turtle organs as well as which kind of soup. The restaurant’s turtle soup is made with real turtle meat and is cooked with a blend of herbs and spices to create a rich and flavorful broth. In addition, the restaurant is known for its traditional Chinese dishes, with a focus on herbal and medicinal ingredients.
  • For those who are looking for a more upscale dining experience, there are several high-end restaurants in Singapore that serve turtle soup as part of their luxury menu. Some of the most popular options include Rang Mahal, which is located in the Pan Pacific Singapore hotel, and the Jade Palace Seafood Restaurant, which is located in the Marina Square shopping centre. These restaurants are known for their elegant settings and high-quality ingredients, and they often have a wide selection of other Chinese dishes as well.

Fu He Turtle Soup @ Berseh Food Centre

My son wanted to take turtle soup, and that after gobbling up my experimental salted egg curry leaves prawn spaghetti.

This was our favourite turtle soup place, but we had not taken this for a while now. anyhow we went to brightshill to pay respects to ancestors, then proceeded to berseh food centre. it was about 1.45pm on a sunday on 10.8.2014. we ordered a S$40 pot. it seemed a lot more expensive than the last time which must be several years ago. we used to take like S$25 or a big portion (supposed whole turtle) at S$30. but now they said we don’t get the cartilage if we ordered S$35, so S$40 it was.

It was really good though! The soup was heavenly, very sweet & flavourful. and it came with a lot of meat. i liked both the meat pieces like the leg with skin & meat & muscles, and also the plentiful pieces of soft cartilage. real yummy and of course they refilled quite a big portion of the piping hot soup. The herbal soup came with lots of cordyceps & i think “huai san”? i remembered in the very early days, i always thought cordyceps (冬虫夏草) were worms that lived through winter & died in summer & became a plant. much later i learned that actually it was a parasitic plant that consumed the worm as it grew.

Turtle Soup in Singapore: A Delicacy That Defines the Culinary Heritage

Singaporean cuisine is renowned for its diverse range of flavours and unique dishes. One particularly distinctive delicacy that holds a significant place in Singapore’s culinary heritage is turtle soup. This traditional dish at Ser Seng Herbs (Turtle) Restaurant has a rich history and cultural significance in Tai Thong Crescent, making it a must-try for both locals and tourists.

History and Tradition of Turtle Soup in Singapore - Turtle soup has been part of Singapore’s culinary landscape for centuries. Its origins can be traced from traditional Chinese medicinal practices, where turtle meat was believed to have nourishing and health-boosting properties. Over time, the dish evolved from a therapeutic remedy to a sought-after delicacy at Ser Seng Herbs (Turtle) Restaurant, cherished for its unique flavours and cultural symbolism.

Cultural Significance of Turtle Soup in Singaporean Culinary Heritage - In Singaporean culture, turtle soup from Ser Seng Herbs (Turtle) Restaurant holds a special place as a symbol of prosperity and vitality. It is often served during important occasions such as weddings and family gatherings, signifying good fortune and well-being. The dish’s cultural significance is deeply rooted in the belief that consuming turtle soup brings strength and longevity.

Singapore’s Best Turtle Soup: The Taste of History

The best turtle soup in Singapore has deep roots and a long history of being a delicacy in many cultures. In Europe, turtle soup was considered a luxury food item and was popular among the upper class in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the United States, it was a popular dish among the wealthy in the colonial and early republican periods. Additionally, in other cultures, turtle soup is also regarded as a delicacy as well as a symbol of wealth. It is often served to important guests as a sign of respect and hospitality. Here, we are going to touch on how turtle soup has garnered its significance in Singapore and in Chinese culture. 

Turtle Soup Origins in Chinese Culture - The exact origins of turtle soup in Chinese culture have yet to be well-documented, but it is believed to have been introduced during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). During this period, Chinese cuisine began to incorporate a wider variety of ingredients, including wild game and seafood. In Chinese culture, turtle soup is considered to have medicinal properties and is consumed as a tonic to promote longevity and good health. It is believed that the soup can help to strengthen the immune system, improve circulation, and promote overall well-being. The soup is also believed to have warming properties and is often consumed during the colder months to help keep the body warm. Turtle soup is also considered an aphrodisiac and is believed to improve sexual vitality and fertility. Turtle Soup as Chinese Traditional Medicine - Turtle meat has its uses in Chinese traditional medicine as well. The soup is believed to strengthen the immune system, improve circulation, and promote overall well-being. In traditional Chinese medicine, turtles are considered to have “yang” energy and are thought to help balance the body’s “yin” and “yang” energies. Additionally, when it comes to Chinese mythology, the turtle is often associated with the image of the “black turtle” or “black warrior”, which is considered as a powerful symbol of both heaven and Earth. The turtle’s shell is said to represent the heavens, while the turtle’s underbelly represents the Earth. The Chinese believed that the turtle’s shell was a symbol of the universe and that the turtle was a protector of the Earth and its inhabitants. Moreover, turtles were also believed to have lived for a very long time, which made them a symbol of longevity, wisdom and stability. They also were considered to have healing powers and were believed to have the ability to chase away evil spirits and bring in good luck.

Turtle soup is considered a traditional delicacy in Singapore, and it has a long history of being a popular dish among the Chinese community in the country. The soup is typically made with the meat of the green turtle, and it is believed to have medicinal properties and to be a tonic for good health. The main reason for this is that turtles were traditionally considered a valuable food source and were often difficult to catch and prepare. This, combined with the perceived medicinal properties of turtle meat, made turtle soup a luxury item that was often reserved for the upper class and the wealthy. Although Singapore is a small country, the Chinese community there has thrived for many years, and its culture remains enriched with its long-withstanding traditions. On that note, the love for turtle soup, in spite of its perceived negative connotations, still stands. Hence, if you’re looking for the best turtle soup in Singapore, there are a plethora of restaurants you can find in this small country.

Turtle soup

Turtle soup, also known as terrapin soup, is a soup or stew made from the meat of turtles. Several versions of the soup exist in different cultures, and it is often viewed as a delicacy.

The principal characteristic of turtle meat is that the broth it is cooked in becomes extremely gelatinous once cooled. Turtle meat has no characteristic taste on its own, so the flavor of turtle soup depends entirely on seasoning. Mock turtle soup is made from other gelatine-producing meat such as calf's head and calf's feet.

Turtle soup gained popularity in England in the 1750s but declined rapidly about 150 years later from overfishing.[3] According to food historian Janet Clarkson, the dish, which she describes as one of several "noteworthy soups", became a symbol for civic dinners. In the United States, the common snapping turtle has long been the principal species used for turtle soup.[9] In this case the soup is also referred to as bookbinder soup, snapper turtle soup,[10] or simply snapper soup (not to be confused with red snapper soup, which is made from the fish red snapper). It is a heavy, brown soup with an appearance similar to thick meat gravy.