STREET FOOD FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD
You don't have to board a plane to taste flavours from as far away as Bolivia and the Philippines. Just hop on the MRT and make your way to Bugis. This year's World Street Food Congress Jamboree, located at the field at the corner of North Bridge and Rochor roads, is way more inviting than the last one, which was held two years ago at the F1 Pit Building.
For one thing, admission is free. Sure, the prices of the global street food on offer may be a little steeper than in their countries of origin - while prices start from $4.50, most dishes cost $8 to $9 - but it beats having to travel to Lombok in Indonesia or Austin, Texas, in the United States to taste them.
Try Soto Ayam Ambengan Pak Sadi. The MSG-free Indonesian-style chicken soup served with vermicelli and slices of chicken is light yet flavourful and is a true taste of Surabaya home-cooking. I love the stall's "koya" powder, a blend of shrimp crackers and fried shallots, which adds body to the broth. Add a dash of chilli, a squeeze of lime and a drizzle of kecap manis for extra flavour.
Other stalls to check out include Pepita's Kitchen from the Philippines. It is offering a Truffle Lechon, a whole suckling pig stuffed with truffle rice then spit-roasted over a charcoal fire. Tomorrow, the stall's owner Dedet Santos will be stuffing the piglet with glutinous rice, lupcheong (Chinese sausage), chestnuts and mushrooms - her take on a Singapore-style stuffed lechon or suckling pig.
Pop by American food truck East Side King for a delicious and spicy Chicken Inasal Taco, then end the meal with paper-thin apom from Pulau Tikus in Penang.
Where: Jamboree at World Street Food Congress 2015, field opposite Parco Bugis, Tan Quee Lan Street MRT: Bugis Open: Today, 4 - 11pm, tomorrow & Sun, 1 - 11pm Admission: Free. Diners pay for food Price: From $4.50, payment via Nets, Nets FlashPay or credit card Info: Go to wsfcongress.com
SPRING AT KEYAKI
For a taste of spring in Japan, indulge in the seasonal kaiseki menu at Keyaki ($180 for nine courses). The new menu showcases the rebirth and warmth of spring through ingredients such as lily bulbs and sakura flowers and leaves. Sakura adds a soft, floral fragrance and texture to dishes. Items may vary, but can include bonito tataki (below), ohmi wagyu and an elegant deep-fried tofu with prawn, bamboo shoots, canola flower and yuzu.
Where: Keyaki Japanese Restaurant, Level 4, 7 Raffles Boulevard MRT: Promenade When: Till May 31 Open: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 6.30 - 10.30pm, daily Tel: 6826-8240 Info: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
DRINKS AT DSTLLRY
The food and beverage scene in Singapore has never been this vibrant, with hip new restaurants and bars opening every week. DSTLLRY, a bar and omakase restaurant, opened in February in Media Circle near Portsdown Road. It is located on the ground floor of a lone office tower visible from the AYE expressway. It may not be the trendiest part of town for a bar or restaurant, but you can be assured of ample parking and not having to jostle with the crowds.
When I dined there last week, I had a multi-course omakase menu ($120), but what left a deeper impression was the vibe and energy of the counter-seat bar- restaurant and its drinks.
Even sipping a glass of Hibiki 17 Year Old poured over a large hand-carved sphere of ice was exceedingly pleasant.
The restaurant's owner, Mr Andrew Lum, says he will be hosting a series of bartenders. Behind the bar currently is Red Chuang from Taipei.
There is no cocktail menu - just tell the barmen what flavours you like and they will whip something up for you. I had a well-balanced cocktail of jasmine green tea-infused vodka, elderflower liqueur and Indian pale ale, among other ingredients. Cocktail prices range from $26 to $28 nett.
Where: DSTLLRY, 01-01, Infinite Studios, 21 Media Circle MRT: Kent Ridge Open: Noon - 3pm, 6pm - midnight (Mon - Sat, closed on Sun). The bar opens from 6pm - midnight Tel: 6334-4816 Info: www.facebook.com/dstllryco
BERRY GOOD FOR YOU
There is no shame in trying to be healthy, what with Singaporeans' love of hawker food and all things fried. The acai (say ah-sigh-ee) berry is one of those superfoods known to be high in antioxidants. The berry comes from the acai palm and looks like a cross between a grape and a large blueberry.
Project Acai in Holland Village offers acai berry smoothies and acai bowls - acai puree topped with fresh fruit, granola, goji berries, chia seeds, coconut and bee pollen. I love that nothing here is artificial. Sweetness comes from the fruit and bee pollen, which is said to be a superfood too.
The offerings are great for the lactose-intolerant - no yogurt or milk in the smoothies. Instead, the shop uses apple juice, coconut water and chocolate oat milk. Prices start from $6.80 for a small acai bowl and $8.50 for a smoothie.