Sunday, 17 August 2014

A Tour of Local Flavours

Get a taste of Singapore’s iconic dishes all in one place
Chilli Crab

 Chicken Rice

Hokkien Mee

The iconic shopping mall, ION Orchard has launched the ION Orchard Local Food Trail in conjunction with theSingapore Food Festival starting from 11 July onwards. Taking place Mondays to Fridays at 11am (except eve of public holidays and public holidays), this 45-minute guided tour offers participants a series of food demonstrations and a chance to sample signature local delights like roti prata, bak kwa, chilli crab, kaya toast, bak kut teh, Hainanese chicken rice and Chinese tea.

Treat yourself to some hearty breakfast favourites, although they’re just as good at any other time of the day too! There’s the classic Indian combination of roti prata and teh tarik, which can be found at Punggol Nasi Padang. Whether you like it plain or with lots of cheese and mushrooms, the best way to enjoy the flat, doughy treat is to use your hands, so don’t forget those wet wipes.

Another hands-only-please breakfast item to tuck into is kaya toast. The pros over at Killiney Café make a mean rendition of this perennial Hainanese favourite, and it’s clear that nothing beats biting into a pair of lightly-toasted golden bread slices slathered with thick layers of kaya and generous dollops of butter.

Now it’s time for a proper main meal - or several main meals in this case. You’ll find a dizzying slew of local delights all in one place: Food Opera. Featuring plenty of noteworthy stalls side-by-side, this mega food court located at Basement 4 of ION Orchard is the place to go. Here you’ll find the iconic chilli crab and chicken rice, both of which have been touted as national culinary treasures of Singapore. The two dishes have come from very humble beginnings, making their way up from mere street food status to being recognised as local signature creations.

Another popular dish Singaporeans love is bak kut teh. If you want to savour this peppery soup dish (which translates to “meat-bone-tea') the traditional way, be sure to wash your meal down with oolong tea, which some believe helps cut through the thickness of the pork-heavy creation. For a more complete experience, get a few strips of you tiao (Chinese fried dough sticks) from neighbouring stall Xi De Li Fried Dough Fritters and dip the golden rolls into the soup before biting into it.

Hankering for something a lot more sinful? Try the Hokkien mee and barbecued chicken wings, which typically go hand-in-hand and give you the best of both worlds. Drizzle loads of lime over both for that irresistibly zesty kick. To end your Food Opera experience on a sweet note, get your hands on a bowl of ice kachang. The icy treat has been around since the 1950s and makes a great addition to your meal, especially in Singapore’s hot and humid weather.

You’ll be spoilt for choice with an extensive range of Nyonya kueh at Bengawan Solo. These treats, such as kueh lapis, ondeh ondeh and pandan chiffon cake, are often steamed rather than baked, giving them their fluffy, airy textures which make them so addictive.

Lim Chee Guan has been aroundsince 1938, take the opportunity to indulge in savoury-sweet slices of everyone’s favourite Chinese New Year goodie, bak kwa, a Hokkien delicacy that originated from China's Fujian province.

Good things taste even better when shared, so how about picking up some healthy food products for home or bringing back unique souvenirs if you hail from overseas? The ever-luxurious bird’s nest has been around for over 400 years and makes a good evening dessert—get your supply at Eu Yan Sang. If you fancy some Chinese tea,Wang San Yang offers a wide variety of blends—most of which are believed to have major health benefits, such as promoting weight loss (green tea) and treating skin conditions like acne (red tea).