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Appetite for apps
WOULDN'T it be nice if we could just whip our phones out during lunch, and have them guide us to the best offers at the coolest eateries nearby?
But reality is complicated. Food apps come and go, and some are in dire need of instruction manuals. What's more, many deals are fillers or caveated with fine print.
Even so, from the slew of latest offerings, here are some that caught our eye.
For a staple app, check out the Entertainer Singapore 2016, with straightforward one-for-one offers on mains at the likes of Arteastiq and Punjab Grill. It comes with a hefty S$85 per annum price tag, so be sure your favourites are on their list of over 300 merchants. Make a couple of redemptions and it would have paid for itself.
If you hate jostling with the in-crowd at the usual hot spots, Sugar is the one for you. It is best for discovering hidden gems, especially in your neighbourhood. While they feature heavy discounts on select food items, there's only one such deal per item per day, so popular eats like ice cream and Eggs Benedict may get snapped up quickly.
For discounts on more hipster options, look to Grabz. Get bites from L'ECLAIR, or claim your deals at Artistry and Prince of Wales while settling down to a night of spoken word poetry or live indie music. The premium membership (S$15.98 per month) grants better deals, some with no strings attached.
Lovers of Japanese cuisine should check out J Passport by Reginaa. The app started out as a simple coupon dispenser, but is now shifting upmarket. You won't be seeing the likes of Shinji or Aoki on this app (at least not yet - fingers crossed), but it's good for office workers who crave teppanyaki or ramen for lunch. Get the S$5 per month membership for S$10 nett set meals at popular casual eateries such as Maki San or Ramen Champion. And watch this space: Reginaa will be introducing two projects by April this year - first, a Japan Points project which not only rewards diners, but also shoppers buying Japanese produce at Isetan Scotts or Jurong East. You can trade the points in for more wagyu or sake, or even a trip to say, Hokkaido.
Also, look out for their version of Japanese Restaurant Week - CEO and founder Yuki Ohata promises inexpensive omakase menus.
For those who'd rather rely on their arsenal of credit cards for deals, there's Before You Pay, which organises deals by cards, categories, or location - so you don't miss offers already available to you.
And finally, if you can't bear to squint at your screens, we've got just the book. EatSingapore 2016 is the first Asian edition of Swedish book series EAT, and the little red book gives offers for their pick of 12 restaurants per year.
Priced at S$65 (with a limited print of 5,000 copies), it grants one-for-one mains or set menu discounts with a total of 12 deals - one per restaurant.
Founders of EatSingapore Peter Ulrich and Karin van Vliet launched the concept here after tiring of the focus on mobile platforms - instead, they hope to bring back the visceral thrill of discovering a new haunt. It makes a good gift for novice foodies - with offerings like Sorrel, Long Chim, and The Black Swan, this year's Singapore edition highlights a mix of new restaurants alongside those buzzing just under the mainstream radar.
The Entertainer Singapore 2016
Price: S$85 per annum
Features: One-for-one offers with over 300 merchants.
Features: Daily deals.
Price: Free; premium subscription at S$15.98 per month
Features: Coupon deals; premium members enjoy freebies.
Price: Free; premium subscription at S$5 per month
Features: Coupon deals and loyalty cards; premium coupons offer set meals at S$10 nett with up to 23 per cent discount.
Before You Pay
Features: Organises credit card deals by location, category, or cards.
Price: S$65 per book
Features: One-for-one mains, or discount on second set menu with 12 restaurants - limited to one deal per venue.