Crab curry pasta with fishballs, or kaya croissant, anyone?
These food creations with a Singapore twist took centre stage at the launch of the Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) new brand campaign in Seoul yesterday. STB first launched its Passion Made Possible campaign in Singapore in August.
Singapore celebrity pastry chef Janice Wong presented a dessert art wall inspired, she said, by the city state's flora and fauna. The wall features orchid-shaped sugar flowers and chocolate balls infused with bak kwa, chilli and gula melaka flavours.
STB regional director for North Asia Markus Tan said the board has boosted marketing efforts and trade engagement in South Korea in recent years to raise awareness of Singapore as a travel destination.
South Korea ranks third, after China and Japan, in North-east Asia for visitors to Singapore. Over 434,000 Koreans visited Singapore from January to August, a 3.6 per cent hike year on year. South Koreans are increasingly exploring South-east Asia in the wake of soured ties with China over the installation of an American missile shield system in South Korea. The region is the second-most popular holiday destination for them, after China.
Mr Tan said: "Singapore offers an all-in-one experience to the Koreans, who like beach resorts and interesting city experiences like shopping and dining."
Singapore's gastronomic melting pot is also a big draw for younger Koreans, who are more adventurous about trying new food. Food blogger Kim Hye Joon, 37, who had 30 meals in the five days she was in Singapore in March, counts Violet Oon's Satay and Grill as her most memorable dining experience. She also raved about pastry chef Cheryl Koh's "awesome" tarts. "Singapore food is definitely the main draw for me. There are so many different types of food and cultures mixed together, creating so many different flavours."
Guesthouse owner Jung Ji Won, 43, who had her honeymoon in Singapore and Bintan in 1998, plans to revisit the city state next year. "I'm very curious about the new Marina Bay Sands, but the biggest reason to go is still food. I want to try all the different types of street food."