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Have an Asian Christmas

Whether it's your first Christmas in the tropics or your 50th, Debbie Yong rounds up Asian-inspired takeaway dishes to give a fresh twist to your Yuletide feast


Spicy kalbi beef short ribs

FIRE up your Christmas spread with Skyve Elementary Bistro's spicy kalbi beef short ribs. The ribs are first sous vide to fall-off-the-bone tenderness and then glazed with savoury-sweet Korean kalbi sauce that's got just enough spicy kick to get your tastebuds going. The dish gets its Korean American leanings from head chef Jachin Tan's time spent in California at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Although a relatively new dish on the la carte menu, it's already rivalling the duck confit as one of its bestsellers. Available for takeaway only for the festive season.

$54 per kg with a minimum order of 2.5kg, from Skyve Elementary Bistro, 10 Winstedt Road Block E #01-17. Orders to be placed five working days in advance, and available for pick-up between now and 1 Jan 2014, 11am-6pm. Call 6225 6690 or to order.


Baked mentaiko lobster with cheese cream

ASIAN restaurants are often overlooked when it comes to the traditionally Western Yuletide season, but that's something chef Tan Yong Hua of Restaurant Home hopes to change. His baked mentaiko lobster is an East-West marriage of milky sweet lobster halves topped with a voluptuous blanket of cheesy homemade mayonnaise and spicy cod roe, and should be a refreshing seafood alternative to those tired of the annual glut of red meats and turkey on the dinner table.

Market rate, available as dine-in or takeaway from Restaurant Home, 392 Upper Bukit Timah Road, The Rail Mall, from now till Jan 1. For orders, call 6465 1698 preferably three days in advance.

Sushi and sashimi platter

BUSINESS lunch hot spot Mikuni's ultra-luxe Japanese sushi creations can now be enjoyed in the comfort of your home in the form of their sushi and sashimi festive takeaway platter. Besides plump slices of tuna, kampachi and caviar-topped salmon sashimi, the platter also consists of and gold leaf-flaked ikura and nigiri rolls filled with soft shell crab, kimchi and the United Nations Maki packed with nine diverse ingredients - the latter two creations a nod to chef Moon Kyung Soo's Korean heritage. Smaller platters of nigiri, maki or sashimi are also available.

$360 for a platter for six or $600 for a platter for 12 from Mikuni at the Fairmont Hotel Singapore. For enquiries and orders through the hotel's festive takeaway counter, Cafe Noel, call 6338 8785 (9am to 5:30pm, Mon to Sat), e-mail or visit


Buah keluak turkey

ORCHARD Hotel's executive chef Paul Then gives traditional Christmas turkey a Peranakan spin this year by marinating his version with a blend of buah keluak curry spices before slow-roasting them in the oven, along with a colourful salad of tomatoes, potatoes and brussel sprouts. Best eaten doused with additional buah keluak-tinged gravy and a tasty stuffing that rolls together buah keluak, minced pork and local spices. Besides the turkey, the hotel's festive treats will feature a life-sized Gingerbread Baba house, along with a Christmas Wishing Tree and Adopt a Wishing Star campaign to fulfil the wishes of special needs children and the less fortunate.

$168, available for takeaway or as part of Orchard Café's buffet dinners from now to Dec 25, 11am to 9pm, at the Baba Gingerbread house at the Orchard Hotel Singapore, 442 Orchard Road. Call 67396577 for orders and reservations.

Sambal roasted pigeon

THE size of modern families may be shrinking but that doesn't mean you should be deprived of tucking into a whole bird at Christmas. European sharing plates restaurant Spathe Public House has come up with The Traveller, an unusual Singaporean take on traditional French roasted pigeon. A gamey whole pigeon is marinated in sambal paste for 24 hours before it is roasted in the oven, resulting in a fragrant, fiery winning dish. The dish also comes with garlic fries and a homemade sambal mayonnaise so addictive, it is a Christmas wish come true when head chef Claudio Sandri lets on that he'll also be bottling it for retail ($8 for 150ml).

$28 for the sambal roasted pigeon, available as takeaway or dine-in at Spathe, 8 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-01 from Dec 16 to 25 (dinner only on Dec 24 and 25). Call 67351 035 to order, advance reservations recommended and subject to availability.

Curry Debal

FOR local Eurasian families, nothing says Christmas more than a bowl of Curry Debal, or Devil's Curry, a dish commonly prepared the day after Christmas with leftovers from the holiday feast. But fret not if you don't have an Eurasian grandmother who can whip this up for you.

Damian D'Silva of heritage gastrobar, Immigrants, has made the dish accessible to all in his takeaway version available this Christmas. His recipe works in pork and bacon bones, roast pork and potatoes in a spicy yet tart curry gravy flavoured with vinegar and mustard.

$30 for a portion that feeds four, from Immigrants Gastrobar, 467 Joo Chiat Road. Order by Dec 17, collect daily from Dec 22 to 25. Call 85117322 or e-mail for more information.


Crackling roast pork

RESISTANCE is futile goes the slogan at local roast pork specialist, Keith and Kin, and since it is the festive season, why, we'll gladly submit. Former IT professional turned food entrepreneur Keith Lee individually blowtorches each slab of his signature roast pork - think of it as a drier, more crisp version of sio bak - until it crackles on each bite. The meats come in two versions, original or herb-marinated, and mustard and apple sauce are complimentary, while a special Christmas roast sauce is an additional order. Round off the whole package with handmade mince pies ($2 each) served with luscious lashings of brandy butter. With this much goodness going on, it's too bad Christmas only comes around once a year.

The crackling roast pork is available in three sizes, large ($120) extra large ($150) and supersize ($180). Place orders by calling or sending an SMS to 91195994 or email at least a week in advance. Pre-orders available for pick-up from their retail outlet in PasarBella (The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road) or central kitchen in Geylang (9 Geylang Lorong 21A) until 7pm on Christmas Eve and 3pm on Christmas Day.

Honey-glazed ham with Oriental pineapple chutney

TIRED of the usual pineapple-plastered leg of ham? Pan Pacific Hotel serves theirs up with subtle Asian inflections this year. Unlike most hams, their version is not overly salty, and the accompanying pineapple chutney seasoned with chilli, coriander and white vinegar. The hotel's executive chef Vincent Aw says the acidity of the pineapple neutralises the sweetness of the honey glaze and saltiness of the ham. Sounds and tastes good to us.

S$120 for 2kg, available for order and takeaway at the Pacific Marketplace, Level 1 of Pan Pacific Singapore. For enquiries or to order, email or call 6826 8240, or head to their online store,


Tom yum turkey

IF you're the kind of person who likes to add a bit of spice to everything, then you'd probably get a real kick out of The Glass House's Thai-inspired tom yum turkey, specially created this year. A whole turkey is first marinated in a melange of Thai condiments such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and fish sauce before being roasted and served with a tom yum tinged gravy on the side. The modern Asian-fusion restaurant has also come up with a laksa variation that is first bathed in fragrant coconut curry broth, baked until tender and then served with yet another round of laksa gravy. A generous helping of baby carrots, new potatoes and brussels sprouts help to keep any pangs of guilt at bay.

$140 per turkey, available from today till Dec 24 from The Glass House at Hotel Fort Canning, 11 Canning Walk. Order must be made three working days in advance, call 6559 6760 or e-mail


Turkey Raan and turkey pankhi

ORDERING a whole turkey for a cosy gathering can sometimes mean having to eat leftovers for the rest of the week, but smaller parties can now be spared with Tandoor restaurant's turkey raan and turkey pankhi creations. Suitable for health-conscious eaters, the turkey pankhi is a turkey breast stuffed with lightly spiced cream cheese and mushrooms and grilled in the tandoori oven.

The turkey raan is a whole turkey leg prepared in the traditional Raan style - the Indian equivalent of an English Sunday roast, that is marinated and cooked slowly over a whole day - resulting in a juicy, aromatic leg that debunks all notion of turkey as dry, tasteless meat. Both portions are equivalent to about a quarter of a whole turkey and will feed two just nicely as a main course.

The turkey pankhi and turkey raan, both $32, and a whole tandoori turkey, $88, are available as both dine-in dishes or for takeaway at Tandoor at the Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre. Takeaway orders must be made three days in advance. For reservations and orders, call 6733 8333.

Tandoori turkey

IT'S not quite new but it's been so well received, the tandoori turkey phenomenon looks like it's here to stay. And who better to get your feast from than Indian fine dining stalwart, the Song of India? Just for the festive season, the restaurant's executive chef Munjanath Mural has created a stuffed tandoori turkey, first marinated in a special homemade tandoori paste and slowly cooked to perfection in a clay tandoori oven. Or go the whole hog and opt for its more lavish varient, a whole turkey stuffed with a flavourful morel mushroom biryani for that extra oomph.

$109 for a whole tandoori turkey or $129 for a whole turkey stuffed with morel biryani, available from Dec 20 to 26 from the Song of India, 33 Scotts Road. Two days advance booking required. Place orders by calling 6836 0055 or 6235 9604.


Turkey Bumbu Rojak

FOR this Christmas only, Indonesia-born Eugenia Ong, one-half of the veteran chef duo behind Indo-European restaurant Table at 7, is offering a turkey alternative to the traditional Indonasian dish of ayam bumbu rojak, or chicken with spicy sauce. Her version comprises young turkey breast first stuffed with a free range chicken egg, claypot-roasted next and then braised in a smokey bumbu rojak sauce, a lighter version of rendang - the latter move to prevent the meet from drying out, she says. The turkey breasts come vacuum packed for fuss-free reheating, and can keep for up to a week refrigerated. The approximately 1kg portions are designed for people with small families of two or three in mind, says Ms Ong.

$58 from Table at 7, 7 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-01. Call 6836 6362 or e-mail to place orders. Two to three days advance notice needed, last order on Dec 23.


Javanese chocolate Christmas tree

YES, even Christmas treats can go green too. Marina Bay Sands' executive pastry chef Ryan Witcher has given dessert shop SweetSpot's well-loved 100 per cent chocolate Christmas Tree a "green" twist this year by using only sustainable Javanese chocolates to create the 20cm tall edible tree. The handcrafted chocolate tree is further embellished with candied almonds, chocolate stars and chocolate snowflakes - perfect as an ornamental gift or an after-dinner treat for the whole table.

$58, available from SweetSpot, Marina Bay Sands, Hotel Tower 3 Lobby from Dec 1, 2013 to Jan 1, 2014, 7am to 10pm daily. For enquiries and orders, call 6688 8588.

Matcha and red bean log cake

WORRIED that heavy mince pies and chocolate cream-covered log cakes will further bog down your already happily filled belly? Prive Cafe's matcha and red bean log cake brings together a classic combination of super moist matcha sponge dotted with sweet red beans that even revellers wary of over-indulgence can gladly tuck into. A thin layer of ultra fluffy creme diplomat blankets the cake's surface with a Santa and reindeer-studded White Christmas snowscape bound to induce all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings.

$62 for a 1.2kg cake available only on request from Prive Cafe from now till Dec 31. Two to three days advanced notice required. Call 6776 0777 for enquiries and orders.

Caulaincourt logcake

ALWAYS one to raise a toast to local heritage, Tiong Bahru Bakery's Parisien head baker Gontran Cherrier takes on board familiar Asian ingredients such as mango jelly and Jasmine tea in his limited edition logcakes for the season.

Named after an idyllic tree-lined street in Paris' Montmartre neighbourhood, the Caulaincourt logcake works in hazelnut dacquoise, chocolate ganache, mango jelly and a subtle perfume of Jasmine tea mousse and should please dinner guests Asian and Caucasian alike.

$45 for a cake that feed 5 to 6 people, available from Tiong Bahru Bakery outlets in 51 Eng Hoon Street and Basement One Raffles City Shopping Centre from Dec 15 to 31. Call 6220 3430 or e-mail for enquiries.