A morning filled with learning, chopping, grinding, mixing, and eating, Food Playground offered us an immersive opportunity to touch upon Singapore’s integrating culture through food. It’s much more than just a hands-on cooking class in Singapore. Food Playground is an experience. And it’s the kind of opportunity we love, as it lets us absorb a piece of the culture, something we too often miss if just visiting the sites.
Equally important, Food Playground is as fun as the name suggests. There is a healthy, relaxed, and friendly vibe to Food Playground that encourages participants to feel comfortable. It all starts with founder Daniel Tan and the social mission he strives for with Food Playground.
Food Playground’s social mission
A community supporter, Food Playground employs stay-at-home mothers and active seniors rather than professional chefs. By offering flexible hours, they provide an opportunity for people who often find returning to work difficult. As a bonus to us, the participants, these women bring a repertoire of tried and true family recipes that have been passed down through the generations.
Impressively, Food Playground even goes a step further in their empowerment of these women by offering structured training both as instructors and public speakers. As a result, our instructor was confident, capable, happy, and made learning and cooking fun.
Our cooking class in Singapore
After relaxing with a welcome tea, meeting our classmates, donning our apron and hat, and learning a bit about Singapore culture as well as the Peranakan lifestyle, we were ready to cook with our new friends.
What’s on the menu?
We opted for a Thursday class, mostly because that was the day we disembarked our cruise ship in Singapore. Plus, the menu included dessert, and it was adaptable to my gluten, dairy, onion, and garlic-free diet. The three dishes on our menu included:
- Chicken satay (grilled chicken on skewers) with a home-made peanut sauce
- Char Kway Teow (stir-fried flat rice noodles)
- Gula Melaka Sago Pudding (sago with coconut sugar)
Not only did we learn how to prepare each of those scrumptious dishes, but we also ate them and walked away with recipes that we could understand and reproduce.
Heading to Singapore? Reserve your Food Playground cooking class here.
Our meal in more detail
If we hadn’t already understood why Food Playground consistently rates number one on Trip Advisor (Cooking Class/Workshop in Singapore), one taste of our creations would have convinced us. The local flavours are delicate and delicious, and even without the onions or garlic (my food allergies), my food was wonderful. I had special ingredient trays, so Jeff prepared the full recipes.
Chicken satay with peanut sauce
I’ll admit, having a familiar dish first was reassuring. However, any apprehension about the other food quickly melted away with the first bites. I love that we brought home a fabulous recipe for both the satay and peanut sauce, which we will put to good use.
Char Kway Teow
For me, three things made the Char Kway Teow so special. First, it was a new dish for me and I am pretty brave around new foods. Secondly, it’s a noodle dish that’s not too spicy, and third, but probably most important, it’s a family recipe handed down from our instructor Teresa’s grandma.
This is the magic of Food Playground. It’s not just a cooking class in Singapore but rather a cultural experience. If you are wondering what else is in our Char Kway Teow, it includes rice noodles, egg, garlic (not for me), fish cake slices, prawns, chives, bean sprouts, fish sauce, and a special sweet sauce. The flavours blend together, creating a treat for the senses.
Char Kway Teow is the clear favourite of travel blogger Vanessa Workman, who recommended Food Playground to us and wrote about her Thursday experience at The Island Drum.
Gula Melaka sago pudding
Then, there was the dessert. If you haven’t tried Gula Melaka sago pudding, take my recommendation and order some next time you are in a Singaporean (or South East Asian) restaurant. Or, better still, make your own.
If I can do it, you know it’s not too difficult. In its simplest form, it is: shave, boil, drain, scoop, cool, and enjoy. Sweet and irresistible, it perfectly complemented the meal.
Optional Food Playground menus
Food Playground cooking classes in Singapore are offered every day of the week, with the current menu as follows:
- Mondays: Nasi lemak (Malay coconut rice with condiments), prawn or chicken sambal, and kueh dadar (coconut crepes)
- Tuesdays: Chicken curry, roti jala (Malay net pancakes), and kueh ubi kayu (tapioca cake)
- Wednesdays: Nyona laksa, fried spring rolls, and Peranakan hoon kueh
- Thursdays: Egg fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, and green bean soup
- Fridays: Char kway teow, Nyonya popiah, and gula melaka sago pudding
- Saturdays: Chicken curry, roti jala (Malay net pancakes), and kueh ubi kayu (tapioca cake)
- Sundays: Nyona laksa, fried spring rolls, and Peranakan hoon kueh
Our menu was chicken satay with peanut sauce, Char Kway Teow, and Gula Melaka sago pudding
The grand finale of our cooking class in Singapore
More on Food Playground Singapore
- Food Playground’s cultural cooking classes in Singapore are offered every day starting at 9.30 am.
- Each cultural cooking class is three hours and includes the meal.
- In the afternoons, Food Playground offers corporate team-building activities.
- Food Playground is one of many amazing opportunities in Singapore.
Where is Food Playground?
Food Playground is at 24A Sago Street in Singapore’s Chinatown. I am embarrassed to admit that we struggled far more than necessary to find it. Perhaps we should have listened a bit closer to the directions.
It’s located behind the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in the pedestrian-only portion of Sago Street, on the second and third floors of a pre-war heritage shophouse. There is an orange Food Playground sign.
Love the idea of this class but can’t get to Singapore – check out their online option
My second class with Food Playground offered all the same cultural learning and fabulous blends of Singaporean flavours but took place in my New Zealand kitchen. This time we made kaya, a sweet, buttery coconut jam that makes me wish I was actually back in Singapore.
In only 90 minutes, I converted items from my pantry into something wonderful. It’s a cool concept that works great. After signing up, a shopping list is provided, but for me, I already had everything I needed. The instructor and fellow participants are virtually together on Zoom. Real-time cooking allows for assistance as needed and all the cultural benefits we found in our live Food Playground class. Check it out here.
Food and travel go hand in hand. Yet, Food Playground is more than just another cooking class in Singapore. It’s a window into the culture, an opportunity to learn more than just a few recipes, with the bonus of a good meal. Jeff and I both loved our morning with Food Playground, and we recommend it for visitors to Singapore.
➜ Reserve your Food Playground cooking class.
Save on your trip with these resources
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- Hotels: we use Booking.com as they consistently return the best rates and their reviews are from actual guests. However, for self-contained lodging, use VRBO
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- Private guides: we often hire private guides from Tours by Locals
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Before you book the rest of your trip: Check out our travel resources page for more companies that we use when you travel.
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Will you take a Food Playground cooking class in Singapore?
Disclaimer: We were guests of Food Playground to aid in the writing of Albom Adventures. However, the opinions expressed here are strictly our own.
I love doing either a food tour or a cooking class while traveling. I just did one in Israel and it was amazing! And then you can bring home your new skills and share with friends and family- it’s the best. This looks amazing, and Chicken satay is one of my favs! Will have to keep this place in midn if I ever get to Singapore!
Trying the local food is such an important part of travel for us. We did a wonderful cooking class in Hoi An in Vietnam. Like you say here, it’s a fabulous way of learning more about the culture and having fun at the same time.
That looks so delicious as well as being so much fun! I’ve taken food tours on holiday but never a cooking class its something I’d really like to do. It would be good to be able to cook the food again when you get home, a great reminder of the trip!
Such a fantastic experience. I would love to combine cooking and travel someday. Loved reading about your cooking holiday and Food playground s ethos sounds so lovely.
That looks like a fun experience to have! I know it will come in handy when you get home and can recreate the experience in your own kitchen! 🙂
I think this is so awesome! I’ve always wanted to include a cooking class into our travels, and Asian cuisine is definitely fascinating! Will keep this in mind as we joke often about visiting Singapore, so I’m sure it will happen one day!
Thanks for sharing this – I live in Singapore so will definitely be checking it out!
I’m really hungry having read this and it’s not lunchtime yet! I love the idea of empowering women and using family recipes as well as mums working there who know what to cook to appeal to kids.
What a wonderful experience which you can keep living over and over again when you try the recipes at home! I don;t eat meat but love the look of what you made. How wonderful that your teacher shared a family recipe with you.
This looks like so much fun! I’d love to take a cooking class while traveling!
This looks like such fun! I’ve always wanted to do a cooking class. Thanks for sharing!
This is so cool – I’m from Singapore and I never knew we had this! 😂🤣 Definitely gonna check this one out!
This cooking class sounds like it would be amazing. I know the food has to have been delicious. I will have to try this cooking class out one day. I need to plan a trip to Singapore.
I loveee Char Kway Teow – it’s my favorite Southeast Asian dish! Glad that you guys had this opportunity to make it! It all looks super delicious.
The two of you look so cute dressed up as cooks, Rhonda! It seems you really love cooking, because you often attend these cooking classes when you travel. I’m sure it’s a very interesting experience and you also learn a lot when you learn to cook some of these recipes from the locals. However, attending a cooking class is not my cup of tea. I never liked spending time in the kitchen! I would have liked however to taste what you cooked at the Food Playground. I’m sure it was delicious!
Yes. Food and travel are most definitely hand in hand. And it’s so fun experiencing the land and it’s culture.
This looks like so much fun!! My family and I would love to do something like this for sure. Looks like you guys did a great job too. Cooking classes from locals is such a great way to get to know even more about a country. Thanks so much for sharing this!
Food Playground! What an amazing idea. Great way to engage seniors and stay at home moms.
Aint I lucky to see this just a week before my singapore trip. Will try to swizz it in my current itinery.
Food is always my favorite part of any trip I go on!! Would love to check out the food in Singapore one day
The chicken satay looks absolutely delish! Looks like a unique fun day 🙂
Would love to try a cooking class there! So much fun
L. Diane Wolfe
That would be so much fun. And if they could accommodate your food quirks, I bet they could handle mine.
Joy Della Vita
How funny, Char Kway Teow looks exactly like the Pad Thai my local place serves 😀
This cultural cooking class definitely sounds like an adventure!
I love these local cooking classes! I did one when I went to Thailand, it was great! I can’t wait to go to Singapore.
I love Singaporean food. Its definitely a mix of a lot of cultures so getting a crash course in learning how to cook Singaporean meals would really be awesome.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Like you said, you get to experience the culture and from real people. Some dishes – you can have the recipe but it still doesn’t turn out quite right. With that class, you learn to do it right!
I love cooking classes and if ever I will have the time in Singapore soon, I’ll try one, thanks for the idea!
Hi Rhonda – what a wonderful thing to have been able to have enjoyed … looks to be so much fun. Great – thanks for the contents in the post … lovely to see you both enjoying yourselves – cheers HIlary
Rose Ann Sales
That sounds like a very fun way to learn cooking. The foods looks so nice and delicious. Thanks for sharing pics.
Great blog. Do you have any plant-based cooking classes in the USA?
How fun. I would have enjoyed this so much. The food looks amazing and I’m sure it was delicious.
Have a fabulous day and rest of the week. Big hug. ♥