Now You Can Have Your Food And Do Good Too

Challenge takes you to three places where the cooks throw in a dash of altruism to get you thinking beyond your plate.

Wow Wow West - He gives up all to help others


Everyday, customers flock to Wow Wow West, a Western food stall, for its signature dishes. But for Mr Eric Ng, 46, his stall exists for a greater purpose than making money from selling good food.

Mr Ng set up Wow Wow West in 2008 at ABC Brickworks Food Centre to support the Yellow Ribbon Project. He employs ex-offenders who were once drug addicts or gang members.


“When my daughter ran away from home, I prayed and told God that if He brought her back, I would serve Him my whole life. Now I’m fulfilling my promise,” said Mr Ng.

Besides teaching ex-offenders how to cook, he also counsels those who struggle to adapt to life outside prison and helps their family members.


So great was Mr Ng’s desire to help ex-convicts that he even gave up his previous Western food stall to a former inmate – an incredible act of generosity since Mr Ng, a father of three, was then left with just $700. He needed about $28,000 to start this new stall at ABC Brickworks Food Centre, which he eventually managed to pay off in instalments.

Yet he sees his own sacrifice as a worthwhile move.

Last time he (the ex-inmate) took drugs. Now he has a family, goes to church and has re-integrated into society.

Wow Wow West
6 Jalan Bukit Merah #01-1 33 ABC BrickworkFood Centre Singapore 150006
Open: Daily (10.30am to 9 pm), closed on Sundays
Must try: Chicken chop ($5), Fish and chips ($5)
Prices: From $5 for a main dish

Food #03 - They Are Earth Crusaders


Food #03 is truly a green cafe. The vegetarian eatery in Little India uses recycled paper to decorate ceiling lights, collects used cooking oil to make biodiesel, and composts food waste into enzyme cleaners that are used for washing dishes.

Started by artist Woon Tien Wei and his friends in 2007, Food #03 also donates 30% of its profits to Post-Museum, an independent cultural space.

“In the United Kingdom, I did an art project called Food #02, where I cooked for the lecturer and students in a studio while we talked about art. I got the idea from an artist in the late ’60s who created a restaurant named Food. So I wanted to do another art project called Food #03 and this time it will be a real restaurant,” explained Mr Woon, 35, who studied visual arts in UK.
Food #03 also opens its kitchen on Mondays to volunteers who cook for the elderly living in nearby rental flats. And it supports the fair-trade movement that advocates higher wages for coffee and tea producers in developing countries, by serving up only fairly traded brews. Mr Woon said:
I’m really happy that I can run a sustainable business and contribute to society. Also, it is possible to make ethical business decisions and still earn money.

Food #03
Post-Museum 109, Rowell Road
t: 6396 7980
Open: Tue – Thu (5pm to 10.30pm), Fri (5pm to 12am), Sat (1pm to 12am), Sun (1pm to 10pm), closed on Mondays
Must try: Dugu Burger ($11), Petai pizza ($6)
Prices: From $8.50 for a main dish

Food for Thought - They Want to Open Our Minds


Ms Kuik, 33, said: “We want to help people understand what is going on around the world. The restaurant is the easiest way to help people gain access to what we do.”

She hopes to bring customers, especially adults and teachers, on learning journeys to developing countries such as Cambodia.

This, after observing that many students who go on such overseas trips organised by schools fail to see the “ingenuity of people in those countries – how they survive and thrive (despite the harsh conditions they live in)”.

Ms Kuik said:

Don’t just come back with this message that we are lucky and they’re not. It’s a bit superior and it doesn’t give the poor dignity.
Food for Thought
8 Queen Street
t: 6338 9887
Open: 9am to 10.30pm
Must try: House Works – scrambled eggs, bacon, toasted brioche, hash brown with roasted tomato salad ($12), Mixed berries pancakes ($10), Crispy curry chicken and spicy chilli fries ($18)
Prices: From $12 for a main dish
    Sep 8, 2010
    Chen Jingting
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