Feast and be merry

Christmas is coming, and if you haven't figured out what gifts to get for family and friends, just head to the nearest FairPrice Finest supermarket for ideas.

FAIRPRICE FINEST LE QUEST

This supermarket opened on Nov 19 and its snack game is strong.

Bags of Oreo and Butterfinger popcorn tempt me, and you can pick up munchies from Amazin' Graze and The Golden Duck Co packaged for Christmas.

Good presents include Kind Bags, made from recycled plastic bottles, and eco-friendly cleaning products from Soapnut Republic.

Customers can pick their vegetables and have them cut, or the trays of pre-cut vegetables to make cooking fuss-free. They can also order groceries online and pick up at the store.

Where: 4 Bukit Batok Street 41, 01-91/92, open: 8am to 11pm daily

1. Lilo Premium fish and mushroom powders

ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

I am very delighted to find these flavour boosters from Lilo, a Singapore company. They are not cheap, but these powders are made with just the ingredient stated on the pouch and nothing else - no preservatives, no MSG.

They make good substitutes for salt. Use them to add pizzazz to congee, soup, stir-fries, stews and pretty much everything else.

The Shiitake Mushroom Powder ($25 for a 55g pouch) deepens the flavour of meatballs when you add it to minced pork. Both the Ikan Bilis ($15 for a 55g pouch) and White Bait ($18 for a 55g pouch) ones would be excellent added to congee, or to flavour popiah filling.

The best one is the Scallop Powder ($35 for a 55g pouch), which tastes so luxurious, I want to sprinkle it like fairy dust on everything I eat.

2. Nanyang Sauce chilli sauces ($9.90 for a 225ml jar)

ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

I use Nanyang's light and dark soya sauces for cooking, and like the quality of this Singapore company's products. And now, it has added great chilli sauces to its range.

The Sambal Prawn Chilli Sauce is not head-explodingly spicy but has a good bite, and is filled with dried shrimp.

Even better is the Nonya Chilli Sauce, fragrant with lemongrass. Both are versatile. You can have them alongside fried fish, use them as a dip for dimsum or fried chicken, or simply eat them with hot rice.

3. Deliciously Ella Crunchy Buckwheat Granola ($17.95 for a 425g box)

ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

This British brand of cereal seems terribly earnest, ticking all the politically correct boxes - being plant-based and all.

I pick up a box of Crunchy Buckwheat Granola mainly because I have never had buckwheat cereal. And now, I'm a convert. The product delivers on the promise on the box - it is very crunchy.

More importantly, it is not too sweet. You know how granola can sometimes be quite shockingly so? Here, oats are baked with date syrup and orange juice, then mixed with roasted buckwheat, puffed brown rice, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, raisins and coconut chips.

Have it with milk. But if you're lactose-intolerant, the supermarket has lots of plant-based alternatives.

4. Protein Bakeshop truffles ($7.95 for a 60g box)

ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

If you're looking for luxury chocolate truffles, the decadent kind, this is not for you.

Protein Bakeshop, a company headquartered in Dubai, makes truffles for people looking for a protein boost. I would stash these individually wrapped balls in my bag for when I need that.

There's a slew of flavours available, but the one that tastes the best is the Cashew Caramel. None of them are very sweet.

The Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter ones have rather dry, powdery centres. But the cashew tastes almost decadent. And it's just 83 calories for each ball.

POSH NOSH X FAIRPRICE FINEST CHRISTMAS GIFT BOX

ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

If you are still stumped for presents, here's something your friends and family might enjoy - a box of little treats I put together with FairPrice Finest. Inside, you'll find:

The Kettle Gourmet Nasi Lemak Popcorn: Tastes remarkably like the dish; love the coconut and chilli vibes.

Ooh Mala Cassava Chips: Usually I'm a chilli coward, but I find myself reaching into the bag again and again.

Kind Dark Chocolate Bark: What's Christmas without chocolate? I love the crunch of these not-too-sweet treats.

Hook Coffee Sweet Bundchen Drip Bags: In a food coma? Perk up with this coffee, with nutty, milk chocolate notes.

Jealous Sweets Sugar Free Happy Bears: Guilt-free! When you have overindulged but still need a treat.

Dal Colle Panettone: A baby panettone for French toast or to go with cheese and pate.

•Buy the box in any FairPrice Finest supermarket for $45 each while stocks last. The usual price is $49.15 and there are 500 boxes available.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 06, 2020, with the headline Feast and be merry. Subscribe