SINGAPORE - Food - the way to any Singaporean's heart.
As 2016 comes to a close, The Straits Times looks at the food headlines that grabbed our eyeballs and - more often than not - our stomachs.
1. Smashingly popular wanton mee
In October, a drunk diner at North Bridge Road Food Centre was made to wait half an hour for his food at the Koka Wanton Noodles stall. Furious, he began to smash the stall front with a beer bottle - and then beat up a soya bean drink seller who tried to intervene.
He reportedly shouted: "Do you want to give me my wonton mee? If not I will show you! (sic)"
Their grouse? A plate of fried rice that Ferdinand posted on Twitter with the caption: "Nasi goreng lunch.. Keeping it local in #Singapore."
Indonesia foodies were quick to take umbrage at the insinuation that the dish - found in various forms throughout South-east Asia - originated from Singapore, spawning the now-famous retort of "nasi goreng can claim but haze cannot".
Ferdinand wisely did not reply to the social media chatter.
3. Salted egg yolk on everything
Salted egg yolk proved to be THE flavour of the year, with restaurants and cafes rolling out salted egg variations on everything from mooncakes to Thai mookata.
The culprit who got the fad rolling? Hougang cafe Flavour Flings, which took the cue from its counterparts across the Causeway to come up with Singapore's first salted egg yolk croissant.
Hokkaido-based bakery Bake opened an outlet at Ion Orchard in April, selling up to 6,000 of its baked cheese tarts each day. So popular was the cream cheese pastry that Bake opened a second outlet at Westgate mall in October.
Some foodies eager to find out more about the baked cheese tart craze, however, found themselves confused by the similar business name of Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart, an eatery at nearby Jurong Point owned by Malaysian food and beverage company Secret Recipe.
The cheese tart craze was so melting hot that home-grown stores like BreadTalk and PrimaDeli also came up with their own version of the pastry.
5. Milk tea madness
As soon as it arrived from Taiwan in July, the Chun Cui He brand of bottled tea and coffee drinks was flying off shelves at 7-Eleven stores. Produced by Taiwanese food company Bifido, two of its 10 flavours - milk tea and latte - were available here for $2.80 a pop.
But fans' joy quickly turned to dismay when, in August, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority recalled the milk tea version as it was found to contain an unpermitted food additive, L-theanine, which occurs naturally in tea leaves.
Their roller-coaster ride of emotions was complete when Chun Cui He announced in November that it was introducing its green milk tea flavour.
6. Michelin pride
Hawkers Tang Chay Seng, 70, and Chan Hon Meng, 51, put Singapore on the world map when their stalls went toe to toe with celebrity chef-helmed restaurants to clinch French tyre company Michelin's coveted Michelin stars.
Mr Tang, who runs Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle in Crawford Lane, and Mr Chan, who owns Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle in Chinatown Complex, each received one Michelin star.
The couple were found to have under-declared more than $325,000 in sales and dodged almost $55,000 in taxes in 2010 and 2011. Both Ha and Kong were sentenced to four weeks' jail and had to pay a penalty of $164,751.45 each.
The stall's owners - cousins Quek Bee Gek, 65, and Teo Kwee Lang, 68 - said that they were proud to have been serving up the US-based swim king's favourite food since he was a little boy.
And how he likes his chye tow kueh? The darker, the better.
10. Iced Milo for all
It started with a throwaway comment by Singapore songbird Nathan Hartono, who was competing in the finals of Sing! China. "If I win, I will rent a fleet of Milo vans and treat everybody to Milo peng (iced Milo)," he said in a Straits Times interview.
Nestle Singapore, which manufactures and distributes the chocolate malt drink, shot back on Facebook: "Nathan, win or lose, MILO will support you all the way! No need to rent, also can. Just tell us where, we bring the van."
The company made good on its word, giving away free drinks at five locations across the island - and bringing a touch of nostalgia to Singaporeans who grew up seeing the green van at school and community sports events.
Hartono eventually finished second in the singing contest.
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