It seems the way to a voter’s heart is through his stomach – or so it seemed while having a chat with Dr Chee at his new Orange & Teal express outlet at Marina Square. With his wife May in the background, Chee brought out his line-up of Panitas, a cross between Panini and Pita bread.
Chee went on to explain that Panita means your little friend in Spanish, an apt name for his dish, especially when he is at a full display of charm at his new outlet. He describes his dishes as comfort food and said that one should try out his Smoke Salmon Avacado on Pita Bread.
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When asked if Chee had a favourite, he said the Roast Pork Belly is his thing. There are too many yummy stuff to mention in this piece, but it is definitely a treat on an otherwise busy Thursday afternoon from one of the most enduring and iconic opposition political figures here.
Port of call for opposition politics
Chee’s first outlet at Rochester Mall is a port-of-call for all who are actively involved in politics in Singapore. It is a place for meeting of minds for liked minded political figures to discuss politics, have a conversation and push the boundaries of political thought in Singapore.
An expansion of his franchise at Marina Square means Singapore has another place where we can meet and discuss all things politics without fear that we are listened to by our big brothers from ISD.
For a moment I was consumed by the thought of Orange & Teal becoming the next Takagi Ramen with franchises all over Singapore and available on food delivery apps as well. When asked whether he would go down the path, Chee said that it’ll take time to develop his brand and his focus, for now, is on the two outlets.
I have known Chee for some time now and in 2012, I helped him with the book review of Democratically Speaking – a definite must-read for anyone to understand post-LKY politics in Singapore. So, I am completely awe-struck by his ability to wear different hats and multi-task all at the same time.
As I recall, in an email exchange with Chee in 2006, he said that he can meet at some place private away from the public eye to discuss politics. This was a period when opposition figures were shunned, and meetings were held in secrecy.
What I find very interesting is the normalisation of opposition politics in Singapore. Chee’s showing in the last general election has been commendable, and he has become a household name in politics.
If there was a chilling effect because of the way opposition figures were treated in the past, that fear is no longer there. The fact that Chee can start a restaurant and expand it to the very heart of the city has shown that people’s attitudes towards opposition figures have changed.
A Smooth Operator
By this time, Chee started bringing out the deserts and at my age, I was afraid of consuming the sugary smoothies that he was serving the three young journos from Mothership. They discussed how mango with prawn is a great combination. Perhaps, we’ll see that on his menu at some point, but what I found most fascinating was his ability to switch topics with ease.
I was really getting quite curious by now and asked Chee whether he would ever consider contesting in Iron Chef or Master Chef. Interestingly, Chee said that he didn’t mind appearing as a guest judge on the show…
Chee offered me a latte with a chocolate marshmallow stick on the side and dipping it in the coffee made a really rich mocha, leaving me with a sweet aftertaste as I made my way to my next appointment of the day.
Orange & Teal offers fine food at affordable prices and if you’re lucky you’ll get the 1000-watt Chee smile with it. What are you guys waiting for? Grab a Panita with Bobochacha smoothie today at Marina Square #02-230A
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