Authentic is "boring͟," according to twenty-something hotshot chef Malcolm Lee of Candlenut.
"It dates everything and leaves no space for imagination," he says.
So, after a short whirlwind eating spree in Indonesia exploring the cuisines of his Peranakan and Nonya roots, he's changing the game.
He now cooks whatever he likes -- within the realms of his heritage.
The usual ayam buah keluak (black nut chicken stew), rendang (caramelized beef curry), babi pongteh (stewed pork in fermented soy beans) remain for the die-hards at lunch, but come dinner, it's payback time.
Lee offers 14 whatever-I-please-to-cook omakase renditions of his repertoire each evening.
It includes teasers like a smashed prawn with sambal hae bi (spicy dried shrimps) over starfruit with dill, and a rare Nonya style lamb curry.
You can almost hear the chorus of some communist anthem ringing out through the background the moment you step inside Red Star.
Each and every ceiling tile is a collector's token, while the founding chefs even have their page in Singapore's food history.
They were accorded the Four Heavenly Kings by a century-old gastronomy association in China in the 1960s.
No one else has that title.
This is the place where the famous Prosperity Raw Fish Salad was popularized.
Come at 6:30 a.m. for their old school pushcart dim sum and you'll have to get in line.
All the classics -- smooth egg seafood hor fun, roast meat, crab tofu and even a rare and tedious-to-make double boiled snakehead fish soup -- are crowd pleasers.
The founders are also behind the creation of Singapore's famed chili crab and the mashed yam ring pot.
Red Star Restaurant Pte Ltd, Blk 54 Chin Swee Road #07-23, Singapore 160054 Singapore;
The menu states things simply.
Chicken rice. Dim sum. Satay.
This is where chef owner LG Han creates the conversation by taking diners through the restaurant's fascinating "labyrinth" of interpretations.
The chili crab comes in ice cream form, complete with a tempura soft-shelled crustacean all ready to be dipped in the cold, spicy, tangy blob.
Han is careful to stick to what's promised, a clever rendition and reinterpretations of local fare delivering just what is important -- a delicate composition of the basic flavors: sweet, sour, salty, umami and even bitter.
His wicked take on Hainanese curry rice is executed with curry quinoa, chicken mousseline with coriander sponge.
KF Seetoh is a celebrated Singapore street food expert. The founder of Makansutra, Seetoh is also the creator and curator of the city's biennial World Street Food Congress, a festival that draws top hawkers from around the world.