Bonding over food in Singapore

A group of four enjoying a picnic at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on July 16, 2021.
A group of four enjoying a picnic at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on July 16, 2021.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
Groups of more than two having a meal at a restaurant in Century Square on July 12, 2021.
Groups of more than two having a meal at a restaurant in Century Square on July 12, 2021.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
An elderly woman having a light-hearted moment while out for a meal with her family at a food court in Clementi Mall on July 15, 2021.
An elderly woman having a light-hearted moment while out for a meal with her family at a food court in Clementi Mall on July 15, 2021.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
A group of five friends having breakfast at Hong Lim Food Centre after their morning walk, on July 12, 2021.
A group of five friends having breakfast at Hong Lim Food Centre after their morning walk, on July 12, 2021.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Two tables of patrons engaged in their own animated discussions during the lunch hour at the Toast Box outlet in Tampines 1 mall on July 16, 2021.
Two tables of patrons engaged in their own animated discussions during the lunch hour at the Toast Box outlet in Tampines 1 mall on July 16, 2021.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Two friends greet each other with a hug during a birthday surprise planned for another friend at the Toast Box outlet in Northpoint City on July 17, 2021.
Two friends greet each other with a hug during a birthday surprise planned for another friend at the Toast Box outlet in Northpoint City on July 17, 2021.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
A girl enjoying her drink at a Starbucks cafe in Clementi Mall on July 15, 2021.
A girl enjoying her drink at a Starbucks cafe in Clementi Mall on July 15, 2021.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Diners tucking in during dinner at restaurant 555 Halal Thai at Gallop Kranji Farm Resort on July 15, 2021.
Diners tucking in during dinner at restaurant 555 Halal Thai at Gallop Kranji Farm Resort on July 15, 2021.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA
Construction workers having their lunch at a sheltered walkway in Balestier amid a heavy downpour on July 14, 2021.
Construction workers having their lunch at a sheltered walkway in Balestier amid a heavy downpour on July 14, 2021.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
People in not more than groups of five having breakfast at People’s Park Food Centre on July 12, 2021.
People in not more than groups of five having breakfast at People’s Park Food Centre on July 12, 2021.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
A group of former schoolmates catching up with one another over food and drinks at Kampong Glam Cafe on July 17, 2021.
A group of former schoolmates catching up with one another over food and drinks at Kampong Glam Cafe on July 17, 2021.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
A group of five taking a wefie before entering cocktail bar and restaurant Jekyll & Hyde, located along Neil Road, on July 17, 2021.
A group of five taking a wefie before entering cocktail bar and restaurant Jekyll & Hyde, located along Neil Road, on July 17, 2021.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

It has been said that food is the most primitive form of comfort. And then the pandemic turned the tables on what now seems like a treat - getting together over a meal or drinks.

Curbs were rolled back last Monday to allow dining in at eateries for groups of up to five people - from just two - following an improvement in the Covid-19 situation here and as more residents get vaccinated.

But the emergence of a big cluster linked to KTV outlets has led to Singapore tightening its rules again on social gatherings, starting from today until Aug 8.

This includes limiting dine-in at food and beverage outlets to two people. But those fully vaccinated will continue to be able to dine in groups of up to five at eateries with systems to verify customers' inoculation status.

Unvaccinated people with a valid negative pre-event test result or those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past 270 days may also join such groups of up to five.

The Straits Times Picture Desk looks at gatherings satisfying the hunger for food - and the good company of family and friends.