You can order in English – or sign language if you prefer – at Puzzles.
If you order in sign language, you’ll get an additional 10% discount.
Don’t know how to speak sign? Don’t worry, as there is an instruction board at the counter to guide you. The servers will be super appreciative that you tried to converse in their language, so take your time.
A Cafe With A Cause
Puzzles, a cafe that serves up pizza bombs and other snacks, was started by two Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduates, Suzana Slemat and Shazlina Sulaiman, who wanted to shed some light on the struggles that deaf people face when interacting with service staff.
Suzuna and Shazlina first came up with the idea after interacting with a group of hearing impaired children, and realized that the children were afraid of using sign language in public. After coming in first runner up in a start-up competition, the two girls were offered a space in Ngee Ann Poly’s Ourspace and a $5,000 grant to help kickstart the initiative.
Puzzles mostly employs hearing impaired students, who are able to gain some working experience and earn some pocket money. The sign language guide and discount helps encourage interaction between the hearing impaired the regular customers.
While majority of customers are students and school staff, there are also regulars from the deaf community who enjoy visiting the cafe because of the servers who speak the same language. It seems like word has gotten out!
Ordering in sign is a pretty interesting initiative in itself, but the food is reason enough to keep returning.
Food From The Heart
Puzzles is known for their pizza bombs, which is pretty much a pizza served in balls instead of the typical flat circular slices. Super convenient to eat on the go, especially when you’re rushing to your next class!
Pizza bomb toppings (or fillings in this case) are constantly on rotation, which means you’ll never get bored by the selection. You can expect flavors like salted egg, Hawaiian, chilli crab, beef satay, black pepper chicken, and cheesy spinach.
Other than pizza bombs, there are all sorts of snacks and desserts to sate your appetite in a long lecture. Think glazed chicken bites, brownies, meatball puffs, and mac and cheese.
Sometimes, they will have an all-day breakfast menu going on, with offerings like breakfast buns, roti johns and the super popular hashbrowns.
For now, Puzzles only operates in Ngee Ann Polytechnic during term time as that’s when they get most business. Puzzles takes a break during school holidays, but is still open for catering orders.
Suzana and Shazlina has plans to continue operating Puzzles for two more years, and hopefully expand to other tertiary institutions. Soon, you might even be able to see Puzzles at other universities and polytechnics!
Till then, you’ll have to make do going to Ngee Ann Poly for your pizza bomb fix while learning some sign language on the side!
(Header Image Source: Images from Puzzles Instagram)