A Slice of Singapore
The signals from my sensory organs had sent me on a high, I had not felt this feeling for a long time. It was hard for me to decide whether I liked it, loved it, or was it just wonderful. Right in front of me sat one of the most beautiful creations I had ever seen. What tenderness, what fragrance. I couldn’t move my eyes away and kept gazing. I reached out and brought myself closer. As my lips touched and I sucked on it, the succinct flavours burst in my mouth, sending my taste buds in a state of frenzy. It was subtle not overpowering, but enough to give you the feel. The different flavours mixing together, but still distinct. I sat there in a state of bliss.
It all began, last Friday when I got a call, inviting me to a Press Luncheon hosted by the Singapore Tourism. I was told that they had sent me a mail too, with an invitation attached. I mumbled something, told them that I would have to check my schedule for tomorrow and went back to retrieve the mail from the trash folder, where I had sent it without even bothering to look at the contents. Blame my lack of curiosity on the number of Game invites and Dating Site spam I get daily.
But there it was, an Invite to the Singapore Open Kitchen, a travelling Kitchen that is visiting various cities around the Globe to promote Singapore Cuisine. It was there in Delhi and I remembered glancing over an article in the Mail Today, where they had mentioned something about Singapore and there was a photo of a chef. After reading the article in the paper, I had more than an idea about the Saturday afternoon event at the ITC Maurya.
My first reaction was; Why have they invited me? To be frank I am not a specialist food blogger. My only attempts at writing about food have been a post on Tea and one where I talked about making Scrambled Eggs and ended up with a burnt house and whole lot of slapstick mishaps. And neither, I am a specialist travel blogger. Though I could have spent an eternity brooding over this question, I reminded myself that I would be getting Free Lunch the next day at the ITC Maurya. And so, after confirming with them that I could bring another blogger and inviting Auntius Purbus, who dropped all her other plans when she heard the keywords “Singapore”, “Food” and “ITC Maurya”, I was ready for whatever the Singapore Board had to throw at me.
The event began with a small introduction by Mr. TAN, the Regional Director. He gave a short description of
Singaporean cuisine and the three chefs who would be cooking for us. They were Chef Benjamin Seck, a star chef from Singapore who is the owner of True Blue Cuisine, one of the top rated restaurants there. Accompanying him were Chef Manisha Bhasin from ITC Maurya and Chef Rajkamal Chopra of Welcome Hotel Shereton. Both of them culinary celebrities in their own right. We were told that each of them would be preparing one distinct dish.
My excitement was due to the fact that I had never tasted Singaporean Cuisine before. To be fair I have never been to the Island country and just know through Discovery and Nat Geo, that it has a large population of Chinese, Tamil and Malays. And being a centre point for trade routes via sea, it is a melting pot of many different cultures. And Singapore cuisine truly defines it. The various cultures that have mixed in there, had also brought their unique style of cooking. On the Island nation, these different methods merged together to create a distinct style and a unique taste that you won’t find anywhere else.
After the event had been declared open, and the Chefs had been introduced, the main part of the event started.
Chef Benjamin began by preparing Roti Jalal, a Lacy Pancake. As he prepared the dish in front of us, the rumbling in our stomach increased and our mouth began to salivate. But we had to wait, as that was to be served later accompanied by a Nyonya Prawn Curry.
Our journey into Singaporean cuisine began with the Popiah Goreng. A crisp fried roll, that had a filling of noodles and veggies. It was accompanied by a sauce with a sweet-tangy flavour. It complimented the Popiah perfectly and increased our hunger pangs. The next item was Laksa Pulao, which was made by Chef Raj Kamal. He had mixed the Singaporean flavour of Laksa, with the Indian Pulao. Even though I am not much of a rice eater, I must admit, that was awesome.
It was followed by the Nyonya Curry and Roti Jalal. A preparation by Chef Benjamin, the curry mingled seamlessly with the pancake. The King Prawns were tender and one of the best I have ever eaten. The softness of the Jalal and the flavours of the curry mixed together to take our taste buds on an experience unmatched.
Next it was Chef Mansiha’s turn, who had prepared a Duet of Antipasti. She too had used her
creativity to mix the tastes of Singapore and India. It was a canapé made of methi papdi, with a filling of lemongrass ceviche & scampi. Accompanying it was a chicken tikka marinated with Laksa paste. This creation by Chef Manisha was finger licking good. Finally we were served the Hun Kwee Jagong- a coconut corn jelly, wrapped in in a banana leaf. A sweet dish par excellent.
All in all the event was a Culinary delight. The interactive session with the Chefs and the other delegates, enhanced my knowledge about Singapore and it’s cuisine. Now, I must make plans for a trip there to witness what other marvels it has in store.
Some of them I had met before and some I met for the first time, but they made the afternoon even more enjoyable.