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Sats, chefs association unveil menu with lesser-known Singapore dishes for airline passengers

[SINGAPORE] Airline passengers can expect lesser-known Singapore dishes from a new menu prepared by local ground-handling firms Sats and the national culinary team from the Singapore Chefs' Association (SCA).

The menu of Singaporean dishes, unveiled at a launch event on Tuesday, was developed by seven chefs from various establishments that make up the SCA's national culinary team and Sats' team of chefs.

They worked from February on the menu and drew inspiration from the Cantonese, Hainanese, Hakka and Teochew dialect groups and Peranakan culture, to create dishes that aim to give travellers a feeling of nostalgia.

Dishes include Cantonese braised beef short rib and tendon with radish, Hainanese duck with pineapple and bamboo shoots, Hakka red mushroom with pork rib soup, Peranakan spicy prawn with sataw beans and Teochew-style twice cooked garoupa.

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Sats' director of kitchens Rick Stephen said they wanted to promote lesser-known dishes that constitute a big part of the Singapore food culture.

"Travellers are familiar with typical Singaporean dishes like laksa and chicken rice, but there are more home-grown Singaporean dishes that are less well known," he said. "We want to create greater awareness for such traditional family food to add more variety to the local culinary experience."

The airlines that will have the menu on their flights have not yet been confirmed. Sats counts more than 50 carriers - including Singapore Airlines, ANA and British Airways - as its customers.

SCA chef Eric Low, who worked alongside the team and created the Teochew dish, said he used yellow fermented beans from Pu Ning in Chao Shan, China, to enhance the dish's seasoning.

He said: "The water in Chao Shan is pristine, and the area is famous for its fermented beans. My forefathers came from that region in China, and it had been a family tradition to use only fermented beans from Chao Shan."

SCA pastry chef Ben Goh, who also worked with the team to create the warm pisang mas banana crumble with gula melaka ice cream, added that he got the idea from growing up in Malaysia.

"I grew up in Malaysia where gula melaka is regularly used to sweeten a dessert," he said.

The SCA national culinary team includes team manager Kong Kok Kiang, executive chef at Sentosa Golf Club; team captain Nixon Low, executive chef at Tung Lok Group;  Sherine Lim, sous chef at Purple Sage; Sebastian Wong, chef de partie at Odette; Hoo Zhi Hao, sous chef at Lavish Catering; Jason Goh, pastry chef at Grand Copthorne Waterfront; and Koh Han Jie, sous chef at Collin's.

THE STRAITS TIMES