My Plate & Place with… Ellen Chew

My Plate & Place with… Ellen Chew

Ellen Chew is a leading restaurateur in London making her first mark on the capital in 2008, when she founded Chinatown’s Malaysian and Singaporean restaurant Rasa Sayang. Since then, Ellen has formed the ever-expanding Chew On This brand and portfolio of restaurants. Ellen is passionate to showcase all the wonders of dynamic, exciting and nuanced East and Southeast Asian cooking.

Ellen’s love and deep knowledge of food began whilst she was growing up in Singapore, a country widely celebrated for its melting pot of cultures and diverse ‘hawker’ scene. From a young age, Ellen absorbed the mix of Malay, Chinese, Indonesian and Indian cultures surrounding her, as well as the Chinese cuisine her mother and grandmother would make at home.

Through this, Ellen gained a unique insight into different flavours and cooking methods, whilst developing a deep understanding of how food brings different cultures and people together. After making the move from Singapore to London in 2007, Ellen is now a leading restaurateur in the UK. In Singapore, food is a national pastime and a devotion for 99% of the population – people live to eat and life revolves around what is good to eat and where the best places are to dine.

Ellen was kind enough to share her thoughts on the best things to do (and eat!) in London.

Singapulah Food

Describe your perfect day in London?

The perfect day in London for me is very weather-dependent! Ideally, it’ll be 20°C in spring, spending the day cooking up a storm on an outdoor grill or just being in the park with my partner and our dog.

Favourite restaurant?

There are quite a few that I really like. Koya is one of my favourites: it’s a Japanese udon bar in Soho that I can go to for any meal of the day, including breakfast. The flavours are very refined, and the team is amazing.

During colder months, you can often find me having a quick lunch at a restaurant in Chinatown called Pot Pot Malatang – it’s a restaurant that serves up personalised, individual bowls of spicy and numbing Sichuan-style hotpot. As you can tell, I really like my Asian food!

Best place for brunch?

I love going to Hawksmoor for a good Sunday Roast, if that can be considered Brunch?! I love everything about their concept: great meats, superb interior décor, awesome service, and their virgin Bloody Mary is my favourite of all time.

What was the last museum or gallery you visited?

The last museum I visited was the Natural History Museum. Whenever anyone asks me what free activities are worth exploring in London, one of my top tips is to visit the Natural History Museum – it’s completely free to access and it’s a gigantic showcase of specimens.


Where are the best places to shop?

If you are looking for a bargain for big fashion labels, Bicester Village is just a short train ride away from London city. It is a premium designer outlet centre in a town in Oxfordshire and I can confidently say that it’s the best outlet centre I’ve ever been to in my life, and it’s not because I’m biased since we have a Chinese restaurant called Shan Shui in Bicester Village haha!!

Preferred bar or pub for a great night out?

When I was living in South East London, we used to frequent The Mayflower, which is the oldest pub on the River Thames. The food is awesome, and you’re sat right by a piece of history.

Most relaxing place to unwind?

At home! As a business owner, spending time at home with my partner and our dog and cats is something that I really treasure. Whether we are lazing about or cooking up a storm, it’s my place of sanctuary.

If you had only one day in London, where would you visit?

I always love to visit the London Bridge area. You can take a walk along the Thames and experience famous locations such as Tower Bridge and London Bridge and take in the hustle and bustle – sights, sounds, smells and flavours of Borough Market.

What is your top London tip?

There are still very old and long-standing establishments in London Chinatown that stood the test of time and don’t conform to any trends. My favourite place to visit off the beaten path in Chinatown is a noodle shop called Lo’s Noodle tucked away in a small corner in Dansey Street. He makes the freshest and best Hor Fun or Kway Teow in the UK, in my opinion.

As a tourist, London is filled with activities that you can do without breaking the bank. Pub crawls are amazing – find a route in Soho or along the Thames and just pub hop and enjoy pints. I’m not a big fan of tours but a quick historic tour of the city can be fun too: London is extremely rich in history and the city is littered with little gems you wouldn’t know about until you take a tour either with a local or a professional tour guide. Again, Soho does pretty good tours.

Visit museums! They are free and aplenty.

Tell us what you are currently up to?

Right now, we are celebrating and taking in Singapulah’s latest accolade, which is the Best Newcomer at the Golden Chopsticks Award 2024! It is with such pride and honour to be able to represent our culture and cuisine and for us to be recognised for it.

Still, there is more work to be done as we enter the second phase of Singapulah where we feature our next wave of food manufacturers. We have been, and will be talking to, a new batch of Singaporean food manufacturers to work out what ingredients are going to feature for our next wave. This process is intense as there are multiple moving parts to the project.


A visit to Ellen’s latest restaurant, Singapulah, is an absolute must.

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