Gourmet Traveller: Singapore Sling and Marlborough Grape
Singapore today is nothing like the exotic province described in Paul Theroux’s novels. It is a maniacally orderly and fairly generic modern city. But underneath this immaculate façade, Singapore’s street food explodes with excitement.
Singapore is perhaps best known for its hawkers’ markets or food stalls. There are several of them around the city – large covered areas with outdoor tables where food is served. Each hawker rents a stall from the government-owned market and cooks his specialty. Some hawkers are third generation, continuing to cook a family recipe over the years. Each stall specialises in only one particular dish. They make that over and over again, year after year, perfecting their craft.
Here are some of Singapore’s musteats and where you can get them:
1. Chili crab is one of the most requested dishes for anyone who comes to Singapore. The spicy chili-tomato gravy tends to splatter, but crab enthusiasts love it so much, they’ll mop everything up with mini mantou buns.
INFO: Roland Restaurant, Block 89, Marine Parade Central 06-750.
2. Oyster omelette known locally as or luak or hao jian is a Southern Chinese dish that mixes potato starch into the egg batter to give it a thicker and semi-gooey consistency. Plump oysters are added just a few seconds before serving.
INFO: Ah Chuan Fried Oyster Omelette, Block 22 01-25, Toa Payoh Lorong 7.
3. Nasi lemak is the Malay breakfast staple dish and includes rice cooked in coconut milk served with a spicy sambal, fried anchovies, fried peanuts, an egg and cucumber slices.
INFO: Selera Rasa Adam Road No 1 Stall 2, Adam Road Food Centre.
4. Ice kachang is unlike any dessert you’ve ever had. Shaved ice topped with creamed corn, condensed milk, coloured syrups, red beans, palm seeds and cubed jellies.
INFO: Annie Peanut Ice Kachang, Block 6, Tanjong Pagar Road.
Foodie destination of the month: Marlborough Vino Festival
The lush valleys of Marlborough, New Zealand can lay claim to starting New Zealand’s modern vino industry. It was discovered here, in the late Seventies, that the strong contrast between hot sunny days and cool nights helped vintners extend the ripening period of their vines producing unique characteristics in Sauvignon Blanc. This gave viticulturists confidence that New Zealand could produce some very interesting grape.
At the festival, one can sample a unique selection of Marlborough vinos along with local produce and gourmet cuisine. The festival has something for everyone including grape tutorials, a food and vino matching competition and live entertainment.
Humans have been hunting for honey for over 10,000 years. Over centuries it has been used in many cultures for a variety of medicinal and culinary purposes. The Yemen Pavilion at Global Village in Dubai is perhaps the best place to get honey directly from the farmers. Each stand has over 20 varieties of honey, some of which even claim to treat certain cold and flu afflictions. There’s also the ‘only for married’ formula for those who might be feeling a bit amorous, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
INFO: Nausheen Noor contributes to several food publications and is the author of the foodie website www.dubai-bites.com