It is less than a month to National Day on Aug 9 and food and beverage companies are getting into a patriotic mood to celebrate Singapore's 53rd birthday.
For chefs and business owners, the occasion offers the opportunity to get creative with local flavours and draw inspiration from iconic local dishes.
Chef Jeremmy Chiam of Le Binchotan in Amoy Street is doing a Supper Special as late-night dining has become a habit with Singaporeans, he says.
"Hokkien mee and satay are always on the menu when friends come to town and going for supper has become part of our culinary culture. Creating these dishes is not simply for the sake of generating business, but also because I am proud to be Singaporean."
Others jumping on the bandwagon for the first time include Saybons, with its French take on the local Singapore breakfast of kopi, eggs and toast; and one-Michelin-starred steakhouse Cut by Wolfgang Puck whipping up a four-course set lunch of local dishes.
Italian restaurant Zafferano at the Ocean Financial Centre is celebrating its sixth National Day and its manager Paolo Colzani, 45, expects the restaurant to be fully booked by early August, the same as in previous years.
He says the restaurant also gets busy on the weekends prior to National Day because diners can watch the fireworks at the National Day Parade rehearsals in Marina Bay.
For Mr Dickson Woo, business development manager of Kwong Woh Hing Sauce Factory, it is the chance to rally home-grown brands for collaborations. He has roped in the likes of chef Willin Low of Wild Rocket, artisan gelato shop Butterknife Folk, ice-cream parlour Tom's Palette and chocolate-maker Fossa Chocolate to use his products in creative ways.
Similarly, zi char restaurant New Ubin Seafood and The Fullerton Bay Hotel's The Clifford Pier are working together to offer a selection of dishes to be served at The Clifford Pier.
Here are savoury and sweet offerings to get you in a patriotic mood.
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FLOWER BREAD WITH CHILLI SOFT SHELL CRAB
What: It is chilli crab galore across the Old Chang Kee brand, as its different outlets roll out items inspired by the iconic Singapore dish. The Old Chang Kee Coffee House @ Rex offers Flower Bread with Chilli Soft Shell Crab ($14.90), where the tangy chilli crab sauce with crispy soft shell crab doubles as a dip for the fragrant bread. Curry Times outlets feature Soft Shell Crab Noodles with Chilli Crab Sauce ($14.90), served with thick beehoon. And for those on the go, grab a Chilli Crab 'O ($2.20) that is filled with crab meat and chilli crab sauce.
Where: Old Chang Kee Coffee House @ Rex, 19/21/23 Mackenzie Road; Curry Times outlets including Westgate and Northpoint City; and Old Chang Kee outlets
What: Fast-food chain McDonald's puts its spin on local favourite prawn paste chicken with its Ha Ha Cheong Gai Chicken Burger (from $6.05). The patty is marinated in prawn paste, coated in breadcrumbs and spread with prawn paste-flavoured mayonnaise. Complete the meal with D24 Durian McFlurry (from $4).
Where: All McDonald's outlets, McDelivery and Grab Food
What: Night owls can head to Le Binchotan for chef Jeremmy Chiam's Supper Special, in line with National Day. The Iberico pork collar satay ($17) is marinated with gula melaka, garlic, lime, nutmeg and turmeric, then grilled and basted with French butter. The other item is French-inspired Hokkien mee ($18), which uses a rich stock similar to seafood bisque. It is served with grilled tiger prawns and topped with fiery housemade sambal belacan.
Where: Le Binchotan, 01-04, 115 Amoy Street
When: July 27 to Aug 31, from 9.30pm, closed on Sundays
What: After rolling out a Trump-Kim Summit-themed nasi lemak last month, Harmony Nasi Lemak - part of OSG Bar + Kitchen at Suntec City - now offers a BitterSweet SG Love Nasi Lemak ($8.90 nett). The name, says Mr Zach Wen, co-founder of Harmony Nasi Lemak, is based on the ups and downs of his life in Singapore. The basmati coconut rice is topped with pickled cucumber and pineapple, cheesy sambal, stir-fried chicken in sweet soya sauce and yong tau foo-style bittergourd.
Where: 01-510/511 Suntec City Tower 1, 3 Temasek Boulevard
When: From tomorrow, 11am onwards (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays
What: Home-grown brand Saybons, which specialises in French-style soups, has a take on the local breakfast of kopi, kaya toast and eggs. Instead of coffee and tea, diners get clear tomato soup as well as toasted garlic bread. The usual dark soya sauce and pepper for the soft-boiled eggs are replaced with truffle salt with minced mushrooms or basil pesto with sunflower seeds. The set is priced at $5.90.
Where:Saybons outlets, including Junction 8, and OUE Downtown
What: The Fullerton Bay Hotel's executive sous chef Zacharie Ong collaborates with New Ubin Seafood co-founder Pang Seng Meng to elevate zi char favourites from the Bib Gourmand-rated eatery. The Pier Hokkien Mee, a creation by Mr Pang, is inspired by his memory of dining at The Clifford Pier when he was a child. The noodles are topped with liver and crispy lard. Other dishes include Egg Foie Gras and Sea Bass Cincalok. Prices start from $26.
Where: The Clifford Pier, The Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay
When: Aug 1 to 31, noon to 2.30pm (weekdays), 11am to 2pm (weekends), 6.30 to 10pm (weekdays)
Info: Call 6877-8911/8912
USDA PRIME BEEF CHAR KWAY TEOW
What: For the first time, one-Michelin-starred Cut by Wolfgang Puck is presenting a four-course lunch ($45++) of local delights for National Day. These include white carrot cake and gado gado, followed by an entree of either USDA Prime beef char kway teow or Prime Pork Spare Rib Bak Kut Teh with steamed rice. Complete the meal with ice kacang or durian chiffon cake.
Where: Cut by Wolfgang Puck, B1-71 Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue
What: For a local twist on the lava cookie, Creamery Boutique Ice Creams has launched an ondeh ondeh cookie paired with Milo Dinosaur ice cream ($8.90). The crumbly pandan cookie has a rich gula melaka centre and goes best with Milo Dinosaur ice cream.
If you feel adventurous, try the chilli crab cookie with bread toast ice cream ($10.90). The chewy brownie-like cookie has spicy chilli crab gravy in the centre.
When: Until Aug 9 (ondeh ondeh cookie); Aug 9 to 31 (chilli crab cookie), 12.30 to 10pm (Mondays to Wednesdays), 12.30 to 10.30pm (Fridays), noon to 10.30pm (Saturdays), noon to 10pm (Sundays), closed on Thursdays
What: Toast to the nation's birthday with Kopiko, an espresso-based, spice-infused dark beer cocktail served with housemade kaya toast. The beer is infused with star anise, cloves and cinnamon and topped with honeyed foam. Other options include the bandung-inspired Gulamerah Sling, which include gin, Cherry Heering liqueur and Cointreau; and Mr Bean, grass jelly and soya milk spiked with Famous Grouse whisky and pandan.
Where: The Spot, 01-26/27 Marina One The Heart, 5 Straits View
When: Aug 6 to 11, 11.30am to 11pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays
What: The Paradise Group's stable of restaurants is rolling out a selection of red-and-white dishes at 53 per cent off. Dessert highlights include Canton Paradise's Coconut and Rose Pudding ($6.80), Paradise Teochew's Teochew-style Sweet Yam Pastry ($8.80 for three pieces) and Paradise Classic's Coconut and Rose Jelly ($6.80). The prices are before the discount.
Where: Canton Paradise outlets at I12 Katong, Bedok Mall, Compass One, Northpoint City, The Star Vista (weekdays only), Alexandra Retail Centre (weekday dinner and weekends); Paradise Teochew (weekdays, eves of public holidays and public holidays); Paradise Classic outlets at Marina Bay Link Mall (weekday dinner and weekends), Suntec City and Thomson Plaza (weekdays, eves of public holidays and public holidays)
What: For those who enjoy jiggly castella cakes, check out Ah Mah Homemade Cake's ondeh ondeh cake ($11). Itsflavour comes from freshly squeezed pandan juice and it has a sweet gula melaka and coconut centre. It is topped with fragrant coconut.
Where: All Ah Mah Homemade Cake outlets including VivoCity, Bukit Panjang Plaza and Plaza Singapura
What: The soya sauce gelato - made with light and dark soya sauces - includes a lightly spiced sambal crumble for a subtle hint of heat. The Yuan Yang option is a light soya sauce gelato with a dark soya sauce fudge. Both cost $5 for a single scoop and $20 for a pint. The two flavours will rotate daily.
Where: Butterknife Folk, 238 River Valley Road
When: Noon to 9pm (Sundays, Tuesdays to Thursdays), noon to 10.30pm (Fridays and Saturdays), 2 to 9pm (Sundays), closed on Mondays
What: No stranger to making unusual ice-cream flavours such as mango sticky rice, Tom's Palette co-owner Chronos Chan has perfected the chee cheong fun ice cream by cooking rice milk with glutinous rice, and adding Kwong Woh Hing's sesame sauce.
What: Local chocolate-maker Fossa Chocolate uses Kwong Woh Hing's traditional plum sauce with dark chocolate ganache encased in an elegant red shell. Another creation is the dark soya sauce bon bon, with 70 per cent dark chocolate ganache and a layer of dark soya sauce. The chocolate is topped with caramelised cacao nibs. Pre-orders are open from now until Aug 12 for the bon bons ($25 for a box of six) on the e-shop. Orders will be delivered on the week of Aug 13.
What: Instead of using olive brine to make the martini, a dashi is made instead and shaken with kombu (kelp), soya sauce, gin and vermouth. It is garnished with kombu marinated in soya sauce and the glass is rimmed with soya sauce salt. The cocktail, available on request, is priced at $25++.
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