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Proud to be Singaporean
Traditional dim sum with a local twist
Cantonese restaurant Yan at the National Gallery Singapore is a popular spot for dim sum but this month, traditional and familiar dim sum options get the Singapore touch.
Think Pan-fried Chilli Crab Meat Buns, Steamed Xiao Long Bao with Bak Kut Teh soup (above), Nanyang Prawn Soup Dumplings, and Steamed Hainanese Chicken Sticky Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf.
It sounds like a cliche, but with its location in the National Gallery, one of Singapore's most important heritage sites - Yan offers the perfect backdrop for a Singaporean bite.
- Yan's August Dim Dum Special is available till Aug 31 at Yan, National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew's Road, #05-02. Dim sum prices from S$4++. For reservations, call 6384 5585.
Nostalgic Western flavours
Back in the day, our first experiences with steak and pork chops would have been shaped at our favourite western stall in a neighbourhood hawker centre or kopitiam. Hotplates of sizzling meat with crinkle cut fries have since given way to grownup meals at a proper steakhouse but that doesn't mean the memories of youth have to disappear.
In steps Restaurant Ember's chef Alex Phan, who draws inspiration from his school day dining experiences when creating his special National Day menu.
The two or three-course set lunch has all the classic flavours and nostalgic presentation of the western hawker stall, but with quality produce and an updated twist.
On the menu is Cheesy Corn on Cob - roasted local corn with a generous heap of bonito flakes. For mains, choose between the pan-seared market pork chop drizzled with red wine sauce with classic sides of coleslaw and baked beans, or the pan-seared sirloin with truffle fries and garden salad (above right). For dessert, there's either ice cream, creme brulee or apple crumble.
- Nostalgic Western Flavours menu is available from Aug 8 to 12, for lunch only, at Restaurant Ember, 50 Keong Saik Road. Priced from S$18++. For reservations, call 6347 1928.
Nostalgic culinary journey down memory lane
Chilli crab. Lor mee. Satay bee hoon. They all belong in our culinary lexicon but it doesn't mean that they all automatically appeared on our food scene at the same time. It took time to build up our street food repertoire and each of these dishes only became popular in different decades.
Find out when your favourite dish came into being at the Westin Singapore's Seasonal Tastes restaurant, which takes diners down memory lane for National Day. On Aug 8, dishes from the 1960s will be on the menu, including yong tau fu and chilli crab with mantou. On Aug 9, dishes from the 1970s take centrestage, including Sri Lankan crab with black pepper sauce and prawn noodle soup with pork ribs. Dishes that were popular during the 1980s, such as lor mee, and Sri Lankan crabs with butter will be on the menu for Aug 10. The culinary journey ends on Aug 11, with 1990s favourites such as blue crabs with dried shrimps and sambal curry sauce, and satay bee hoon.
- The National Day dinner buffet is available from Aug 8 to 11, from 6pm to 10pm, at Seasonal Tastes, level 32, The Westin Singapore. Priced at S$51++ per person. Those born on Aug 9 can dine for free. For reservations, call 6922 6968.
Red and white desserts
Casual dining outlet Spathe Public House is celebrating National Day on a sweet note, with two limited edition desserts.
Dig into National Day Waffles - served with a drizzle of blackcurrant sauce, dusted with icing sugar, garnished with blackberries and strawberries, served with vanilla ice cream, and topped with red velvet cake crumbs and pistachio nuts. The waffles are served on a Singapore flag made of red-coloured cream cheese sauce, with the stars dusted with icing sugar (above left).
A second dessert option is the Red Velvet Shakes, made of red velvet and vanilla ice cream, topped with iced gem biscuits, dark chocolate sauce and rainbow sprinkles, cubes of red velvet cake, strawberries, and honeycomb.
- The National Day Waffles and Red Velvet Shake is from Aug 6 to 9, at Spathe Public House, 8 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-01. Desserts priced from S$5.88++. For reservations, call 6735 1035.
Japanese-Inspired National Day Cocktails
Teh-peng, kopi-o may be Singapore's unofficial national drinks, but for National Day, why not try something different?
Japanese bar manager Shinya Koba and bartender Gento Torigata from Cache cocktail bar are showing their love for their adoptive home with three cocktails concocted from familiar local ingredients.
Starting with For Pandan's Sake, Mr Koba concocts a sweet gula melaka-like mixture made by reducing sake and kokutou, which is Japanese brown sugar. The cocktail is made using coconut rum, sake-kokutou reduction, pandan paste, pineapple juice and coconut cream. Think of it as an alcohol-spiked chendol.
The second cocktail is the Tofully Annin, inspired by Japan's annin tofu, a traditional almond dessert. Tofully Annin is made using vodka, amaretto, apricot brandy, milk and citrus. Imagine our local bean curd but presented in liquid form.
Those who like tea may want to try the Cha Cha Cha, which uses tea from Sri Lanka and Japan. After infusing rum into Ceylon tea, roasted Hojicha, lemon grass and chrysanthemum are added to the balance with a piece of lychee at the side. Mr Koba says: "I thought it would be a good opportunity to attract more Singaporeans to a Japanese cocktail bar, with flavours they recognise and like. There are good ingredients in Singapore, so I made each cocktail a fusion of both Japanese and local flavours."
- Japanese inspired National Day cocktails are available till Aug 31, from Cache, 27 Club Street. Cocktails are priced at S$22++ each. For reservations, call 9678 0027.
The Little Red Dot Burger
Chicken rice may be Singapore's unofficial national dish, but who can say no to some smoky satay ayam?
The Butchers Club Burger is paying homage to humble satay with its limited edition The Little Red Dot Burger: 140g of a grilled juicy chicken patty, with crunchy cucumber strips, freshly shaved red onions, caramelised pineapple lathered in rich ginger peanut sauce, and served between two sesame buns.
Accompanying the burger are fries seasoned with curry powder and the SG Fling - a Singapore Sling-inspired vodka-based cocktail.
Head chef Helmi Pathalee says: "We've always been known for our dry-aged beef burgers, so National Day was a good opportunity for us to explore Singapore's blend of multiracial flavours."
- The National Day Set Menu is available till Aug 10, at The Butchers Club Singapore, 3A River Valley Road, #01-01 Clarke Quay. The set meal is priced at S$35++.
On regular days, Mo'mor Izakaya is Japanese-European-inspired, and serves tapas and grilled plates.
But that's not stopping veteran chef Martin Woo from cashing in on National Day with two colonial-style dishes: Hainanese Pork Chop and Hainanese Oxtail Stew.
The Pork Chop is perfectly deep-fried to a golden brown, with a sweet and sour glaze drizzled over it. For a healthy balance, the pork is served with thinly sliced onions and snap peas.
Meanwhile, the Hainanese Oxtail Stew is cooked for eight hours, and all the goodness of the ingredients are retained. A medley of broccolini and carrots also add crunch to the dish. The vegetables and the extremely tender, flavourful oxtail sit on a layer of potato puree that enlivens with its sweetness.
- Colonial style dishes are available from Aug 5 to 9 at Mo'mor Izakaya, 56 Tanglin Rd, #B1-01, Tanglin Post Office. Dishes priced from S$12++. For reservations, call 6463 8080.
Jamie's Italian Chili Crab
Which overseas restaurant dares to take on Singapore's famed seafood restaurants for the best chili crab? Step up, Jamie's Italian.
Jamie's rendition features wok-fried Sri Lankan crab paired with a homemade chili sauce made from red chilies, white wine vinegar, brown sugar, tomato puree, lemongrass and coriander.
A spokesman for the restaurant says that their chili crab is less sweet, and much spicier than the usual ones. Instead of mantou, housemade chili focaccia will be served.
- Jamie's Italian Chili Crab is available till Aug 14 at Jamie's Italian VivoCity and Forum. Priced at S$58++. For reservations, visit http://www.jamiesitalian.sg/
The Singapore Architecture Collection
Edwin Low, designer and founder of Supermama, is worried about the rate at which Singapore is rebuilding itself and tearing buildings down. He wants to be able to "lock in images of iconic buildings in Singapore forever", he says. To do this, Supermama is launching The Singapore Architecture Collection of plates. Mr Low hopes to create a whole series of different neighbourhoods in Singapore, but is starting with five spots for now - Singapore River, Marina Bay, Bras Basah, Kampong Glam and Katong. On each plate are illustrations of iconic buildings of the area, such as the Marina Bay Sands, and quirky icons, such as the junks that used to ply the Singapore River.
- The Singapore Architecture Collection is priced at S$24 each, and is available from Aug 9 at Supermama, 265 Beach Road and Esplanade Mall, #02-04.
Breakstool and Breakchair
The Breakstool looks like it broke in the middle, but is meant to be like that. Designer Nathan Yong, co-founder of Grafunkt, first released the Breakstool 10 years ago. "As we approach National Day, I feel it is only fitting to revisit the one piece that led my career into the international market as a Singaporean designer and I am very grateful to be able to do my country proud through my work," says Mr Yong.
Besides relaunching the Breakstool, Mr Yong has also created a new modified version of the stool. Called the Breakchair, this piece is much like the plywood stool but with a back.
- Breakstool, S$480 and the Breakchair, S$650 are available from Gallery & Co. at National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew's Road, #01-05.
WE Are A Nation
Here’s a chance to support a range of local designers and brands under one roof. W.E. (Workshop Element) is a retail popup store, and is once again holding a special National Day edition at Wisma Atria. Besides fashion designer Alfie Leong’s signature house label, BSYM, other local brands that are taking part include furniture company Commune; Craft Assembly, which makes quirky lifestyle products and Curious Creatures, which sells handmade wooden accessories.
- WE Are A Nation is on till Aug 21, at Isetan Orchard, Wisma Level 1.
Tea for a Garden City
The 1872 Clipper Tea Co prides itself on being a homegrown tea expert - in 1872, Barage Poloris de Silva, founder of its parent company BP de Silva, started serving rich Ceylon black tea to customers in his humble jewellery shop on High Street. This year, the tea brand celebrates its heritage with a range of three teas infused with orchid petals.
The light-tasting blossoms lend a floral finish to the blends, balancing the bold flavours of Ceylon black teas. The Dragon Eye Bouquet is a fragrant and fruity blend of Ceylon black and green teas with longan and rambutan; while the Halia Blossom is inspired by teh halia (ginger tea), and blends Ceylon black tea with ginger and cream. For fans of floral brews, go for Orchid Bloom, an invigorating blend of Ceylon black tea, perfectly balanced with cranberry and lush hints of cream. Perfect for pairing with your favourite kueh or even to cut through the oiliness of roti prata.
- Singapore Orchid Collection, S$38 for a set of three teas, from The 1872 Clipper Tea Co., ION Orchard, B4-07.
The Artist Project series
In conjunction with Singapore's 51st birthday, Gallery & Co launches The Artist Project - a new series of merchandise that celebrates and tells the Singapore story through usable and wearable forms of art.
For this first series, which was inspired by the "Siapa Nama Kamu" or "What is Your Name" exhibition housed within the Gallery, a selected group of artists and designers came up with a range of products that show what Singapore means to them.
For example, Singaporean graphic designer Vanessa Ban says that Singapore is best represented by progress. For The Artist Project Series, she has created a range of postcards and T-shirts, that depict progress in a rather unexpected way.
- The Artist Project Series is available at Gallery and Co, 1 St. Andrew's Road, #01-05.
As much as anything with an orchid screams "tourist souvenir", there's no better way to hint at your patriotism than with subtle jewellery featuring the national flower. RISIS, those same folks who made that gold-plated orchid brooch that Mum treasures, has reinvented these floral baubles for its 40th anniversary. While there are classic blooms aplenty, its anniversary collection includes more delicate rose gold pieces like an organic-looking Orchid Bough cuff bangle. The almost minimalist rhodium and rose gold-plated design is adorned with teensy orchid buds, making it an everyday piece that would look great way beyond National Day.
Prefer something more nostalgic? Then how about the two-tone Kagawara Firebird Orchid slider, plated in rose gold and palladium?. The brand has always been known for its versatile slider design that can be worn as a choker or long lariat, or even as a belt. Who knows, mum might even borrow it sometimes.
- RISIS Kagawara Firebird Orchid slider, plated in rose gold and palladium, S$118; Orchid Bough Bangle, plated in rose gold and rhodium, S$240, from RISIS stores.