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IT'S Singapore's 50th birthday and eateries are elbowing each other to come up with their own edible tribute.
Even non-Singaporean chefs are getting in on the act. Eran Mayer, Bakery Artisan Boulangerie Co's (ABC) executive chef, says: "Singapore has been my home for the past two years. What better way to honour it than by partnering with local residents to help me and ABC create the perfect, locally inspired treat." ABC outlets will be selling four specially created pastries.
Daniel Ballis, co-founder of Moosehead Kitchen Bar is partnering with two local hawkers to create a menu that celebrates Gotong Royong, or the community spirit. "We love to feed off the passions and energies of each other; new insights often emerge," he says. Given the flood of creativity on display, it looks like foodies won't be celebrating National Day with just SG50 fishcakes. They're in for a real treat.
Corner House Celebratory Discovery Menu
EJH Corner House, Singapore Botanic Gardens
Priced at S$248++ per person, available from now till Aug 16.
For reservations, call 6469-1000
THIS special menu created by Chef Jason Tan not only celebrates Singapore's 50th birthday, but also marks the first anniversary of Corner House.
Each dish in the eight-course menu is inspired by an important chapter in Singapore's national food history. But more than that, the dishes also record chef Tan's own journey from childhood to stewardship of the unique heritage restaurant. It starts off with chef Tan's interpretation of the oyster omelette - to represent street food. The advent of fast food in Singapore is marked by chef Tan's "pizza" using burrata and basil and topped with olive oil spheres. And no menu tribute to Singapore would be complete without durian, which chef Tan turns into an unusual dessert.
Singapore's Culinary Grande Dames' Menu
The Clifford Pier, The Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay
Dishes priced from S$13, available till Aug 31.
For reservations, call 6597-5266
Rediscover traditional dishes that are not so easily found these days. Food consultant Shermay Lee is curating a selection of dishes from three grande dames of Singaporean and Peranakan cooking - Mrs Lee Chin Koon, Mrs Leong Yee Soo and Mrs Ellice Handy.
Mrs Lee was the late Lee Kuan Yew's mother and Ms Shermay Lee's grandmother. Mrs Leong is Mrs Lee's younger sister, while Mrs Handy was the former principal of Methodist Girl's School. On the menu are seven savoury dishes including Mrs Handy's Fish Kedgeree served with house-made tomato chutney, Nonya achar and Ms Lee's famed Cilicuka. Flaked flesh of threadfin is mixed with rice and hard-boiled eggs to create this dish - the culinary origins of which can be traced back to colonial India. Another good dish to sample is Mrs Lee's Babi Chin with white rice and Nonya achar, which has tender pork shoulder braised in dark soya sauce and with thick wedges of bamboo shoots. Round off the meal with a collection of Singapore heritage desserts, such as the Marie Biscuit Cake, coconut fruit and nut bar, kaya roll and rose bandung macaron.
Moosehead's 'Gotong Royong 50'
Moosehead Kitchen Bar, 110 Telok Ayer Street
Priced at S$25 ++ per person. Only on Aug 3, 6.30pm.
For reservations, call 6636-8055
THE Gotong Royong or "community" spirit comes alive for one night at Moosehead Kitchen Bar. Moosehead's owners, father and son duo, Glen and Daniel Ballis, together with head chef Drew Wilson will be collaborating with two hawkers for a night. They will be working together with Warong Nasi Pariaman, and Ah Hwee BBQ Chicken Wings. On the menu is Moosehead's Inka charcoal-grilled cauliflower and oven-baked breads served together with Ayam Bakar and sauce from Warong Nasi Pariaman. Up next is Moosehead's charcoal-grilled sweet corn served with the wings from Ah Hwee's BBQ Chicken Wings. For this dish, Moosehead will create a Sriracha Mayo for the corn with grated parmesan to complement the chicken wings.
SG50 Tasting Menu
Fordham & Grand, 43 Craig Road
Priced at S$50++, available till Aug 15.
For reservations, call 6221-3088
POPULAR restaurant Fordham & Grand gives its take on three local dishes in its SG50 tasting menu. Start the meal off with Chilli Crab, which is mud crab with tomato, on top of a slice of toasted foccacia. The sweetness of the crab comes through, and there is a subtle hint of spiciness. The main dish, Hokkien Mee, is a generous serving of linguine tossed with tiger prawns and calamari. The seafood has a good char to them, and for a touch of authenticity, there is lard too, in the form of chopped up bits of fried Japanese pork.
For dessert, there is Goreng Pisang, a hot-and-cold dessert, which has a piece of banana and banana cake deep-fried together and served with vanilla ice cream.
The Queen's Kaya Toast
Antoinette's, 30 Penhas Road and Mandarin Gallery, #02-33/34
Platter for three for dine-in, priced at S$10++, while a takeaway set is at S$15+.
Available till Aug 31, for reservations, call 6293-3121 or 6836-9527 respectively
THE Singapore favourite kaya toast gets the atas (lofty) touch here. Antoinette's Chef Pang Kok Keong applies his classical French culinary expertise to kaya on toast.
The toast is a house-made baguette that uses liquid levain, a natural leavener. The baguette has bite and a full, rounded flavour.
The kaya here is based on classic French creme patissiere, with coconut cream and pure pandan juice. The end-result is a spread that is light and delicate with an almost cream-like texture. The kaya toast is eaten with Echire artisanal French butter, and sprinkled with fleur de sel.
Chick in Rice Burger
Potato Head Folk, 36 Keong Saik Road
Priced at S$25++, available till Aug 31.
For reservations, call 6327-1939
THERE'S a running joke that if you go up to a chicken rice hawker and tell him you want chicken rice but without the rice, he may give you a dirty look.
But if you tell the servers at Potato Head Folk that, what you get is the Chick in Rice burger. There is no rice, instead you get chicken in a burger.
In place of a chicken patty, you get a tender ginger-and-garlic poached chicken breast and a slow-roasted spiced leg, layered with a tangy ginger jam, topped with sliced cucumber, homemade chilli sauce and fresh spring onions, all sandwiched between a fluffy rice bun.
On the side comes a pot of delicious chicken soup with crispy shallots and a portion of seven spice fries with anise mayonnaise, black sesame and pickled chillies. The burger tastes authentic, but the soup strangely tastes like a herbal bak kut teh broth.
"We're blending old and new for the occasion, taking the traditional flavours of chicken rice and reinventing them into a burger - an up-and-coming favourite dish in Singapore," says its creator, chef Adam Penney.
Chilli Crab and Hainanese Chicken Rice Xiao Long Bao
Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao & Crystal Jade Jiang Nan
Priced at S$7.80 for four pieces. Available till Aug 31.
For information on outlet locations, see www.crystaljade.com
IT is no secret that Singaporeans love their xiaolongbaos. In place of the usual pork filled ones, the chefs at Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao and Crystal Jade Jiang Nan have come up with two special dumplings.
The Chilli Crab which comes with a pink-coloured skin, has chunks of crab meat in a spicy chilli-infused broth. The Hainanese chicken rice xiaolongbao tastes better though. It is filled with minced chicken thigh in a flavourful stock, and topped with minced ginger.
Ramen Dining Keisuke Tokyo, Suntec City, #02-391/392
Priced at S$15, limited to 50 bowls daily till Aug 31.
For reservations, call 6337-7919
CAN a Japanese ramen chef who is better known for making rich pork and chicken broths do justice to a local favourite?
Chef-owner Keisuke Takeda of Ramen Keisuke does a laksa ramen that's available only for this month. His laksa tastes nothing like what we are used to. Instead it tastes more like curry noodles. Regardless, it is a tasty dish, and comes topped with a minced chicken patty and fried beancurd.
SG50 Orchid Menu
Halia, Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden
Desserts from S$12++, available till Aug 31.
For reservations, call 8444-1148
CELEBRATE National Day at Singapore's first Unesco Heritage Site, then end the day with some dessert at Halia.
The restaurant has a special menu inspired by the orchid. The tribute menu features two desserts. The Ginger & Gold Orchid dessert combines refreshing yuzu gel, lychee fruit and jelly, infused with gold orchid tea.
The second dessert is the White Orchid & Lapis, which has a piece of kueh lapis, topped with multi-grain crumble, caramelised and crunchy banana, served with a White Orchid Tea ice-cream.
Stylo Milo cocktail
Ding Dong, 23 Ann Siang Road
Priced at S$20. For enquiries, call 6557-0189
REMEMBER the Milo trucks that you usually find parked at the stadium entrance during a sporting event, dispensing free chilled Milo in small green paper cups?
Now you can find a "grown-up" version of it called the Stylo Milo cocktail at restaurant and bar Ding Dong on Ann Siang Road, created by its head barman Silas Lee, and Tippling Club's head bartender Kamil Foltan. The dessert-style cocktail comes with Hakushu distillers reserve, green chartreuse and Milo concentrate, served in a crumpled green cup.
Perfect SG50 Treat at Artisan Boulangerie Co's outlets
Pastries from S$2, available till Aug 31
IN May, bakery Artisan Boulangerie Co (ABC) asked Singaporeans to help create the perfect treat by recommending a creative fusion of local ingredients, foods and even family recipes. Over 300 ideas were submitted and four winners were selected to partner with with ABC's executive chef Eran Mayer to bring their concepts to life. The winning pastries are now for sale. There's the Gula Melaka and Coconut Swirl, Chili Crab Pie, Eclair Teh Tarik and La Madeleine Durian.
Chendol Cheesecake, Orh Nee Cake & Pulut Hitam Tart
Bloomsbury Bakers, Blk 30 Bendemeer Road, #01-889
Priced from S$6 to S$6.50 per slice/piece. Available till end-August.
For enquiries, call 6299-3450
SATISFY your sweet tooth with a series of new cakes and tarts, created by bakers Ann Chong and Ng Hui Yi of Bloomsbury Bakers.
Inspired by local desserts, there's Chendol Cheesecake that incorporates chendol, red bean, grass jelly, corn, and attap chee in a non-baked cheesecake and topped with a gula melaka glaze, and Orh Nee Cake with homemade yam cream between three layers of vanilla sponge cake and coated with coconut fresh cream. They also have a Pulut Hitam Tart, which is filled with a layer of slow-cooked pulut hitam, topped with coconut panna cotta, and garnished with coconut nougatine.
'SG50 + 50' Dishes
The Line at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
Dinner buffet priced from S$76++ to S$98++ per adult. Available until Aug 16.
For reservations, call 6213-4398 or 6213-4275
TEN local dishes get a makeover at the popular international dinner buffet The Line at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore. Dubbed "SG50 + 50", they are the result of executive sous chef Ryan Dadulfaza looking 50 years into the future to produce modern versions of these local favourites.
One highlight is the Braised Pork Cheek and Bak Kut Teh Spice Tube, where the broth is condensed into a paste that diners can apply onto the pork on their own. Says Chef Dadulfaza: "The experience is engaging and interactive, and completely reforms any traditional idea of what bak kut teh is. Despite the unconventional appearance, the flavour is as good as traditional bak kut teh."
Other highlights include a Durian Nitro Ice Cream made up of fresh durian flesh frozen with nitrogen gas, Spherification of Ondeh Ondeh where a capsule of gula melaka is coated with pandan essence and coconut crunch, as well as a Singapore Chilli Crab To-Go which features chilli crab served in a sponge cake and topped with egg yolk and spring onion.