SINGAPORE - Last December, The Straits Times launched a new food website called ST Food - straitstimesfood.com - and oh, what a busy and memorable year it has been.
ST Food's has held events and giveaways that have included everything from complimentary meals and hotel stays, to free bingsu and packets of salted egg yolk chips. Its Facebook page now has more than 36,500 likes too.
The food website, which features a search tool and a social media section, also includes stories from The Business Times and The New Paper, as well as international publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post and from regional papers such as The Jakarta Post and The Korea Herald, which are part of the Asia News Network.
#ICYMI, Internet-speak for in case you missed it, here are seven of ST Food's most popular videos and stories this year.
1. Self-heating mala hotpots, July 30
ST Food's video about how Sichuan mala Ba Shu Lan Ren's self-heating hotpot works, has been viewed almost 490,000 times.
The instant meal, which is sold online, requires only room-temperature water to activate a heat pack with an exothermic reaction strong enough to steam ingredients for about 15 minutes.
In October, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) seized self-heating instant hotpots, including ones under the Ba Shu Lan Ren brand, and fined importers here, as the products had contained meat from sources not approved by the AVA.
Ba Shu Lan Ren's instant vegetarian hotpot was not affected, and continued to be available online. Last month, it was also sold at FairPrice supermarkets.
However, the AVA says it recently found that these instant hotpots do not meet their standards and requirements, and has since instructed importers and sellers to withdraw them. The instant hotpots contain additives called sodium dehydroacetate and aluminium ammonium sulphate, which have not been approved for use in such products.
2. How to make coffee shop-style soft-boiled eggs, April 9
At the beginning of this year, ST Food produced a video series of cooking tips aimed at first-time cooks. The 10-part series included a video on how to cook perfect coffee shop-style soft-boiled eggs, which has been viewed 420,000 times.
3. Indian-Chinese Teochew mee hawker, May 21
Mr Prem Singh is known to customers as the "ang moh" noodle seller because he looks Caucasian. The hawker, who has been selling noodles since he was a boy, helping out at his mother and stepfather's stall, is of Indian and Chinese parentage.
He even speaks Teochew.
The video about his family's noodle shop Bee Kee, has been viewed 205,000 times.
4. How to make Earl Grey castella cake, July 9
Castella cakes, or fluffy, airy cakes known for their jiggle, were all the rage in July.
There were long, snaking queues for the cake from various brands in the market.
ST Food asked award-winning pastry chef Pang Kok Keong of Antoinette, a patisserie-restaurant with outlets in Penhas Road and Mandarin Gallery, to create a recipe for so that home cooks could bake the cake themselves.
His video demonstration on how to make an Earl Grey castella cake, has been viewed 194,000 times on Facebook. For the video and full recipe, go to http://str.sg/4R3E
5. How to eat Japanese unagi, June 25
Home-grown Japanese eel restaurant Man Man Japanese Ungai in Keong Saik Road was listed in this year's Michelin Guide Singapore's Bib Gourmand section.
The restaurant, run by chef Teppei Yamashita of omakase restaurant Teppei at The Orchid Hotel in Tras Street, specialises in live eel that is prepared and barbecued on site.
Chef Yamashita shows ST Food four ways to eat unagi: Eat the eel and rice as it is, the way it is served; top it with freshly grated wasabi; as a porridge with dashi; and as a porridge with wasabi, chopped spring onions and shredded roasted seaweed.
The video has been viewed 127,000 times.
6. The world's most expensive rice, Oct 5
ST Food's story about the launch of Kinmemai Premium, a Japanese rice blend which touts itself as the world's most expensive rice, was the second most read story on straitstimes.com on Oct 5.
The rice was listed in last year's Guinness World Records as the world's most expensive rice, with a price tag of US$109 (S$148) for a kilogram. It launched in Singapore on Nov 1 and retails on the rice brand's website at $155 for a box of six 140g sachets.
7. Artisan breads at The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough
Bakeries here have upped the ante for customers hankering after artisan European-style breads that are baked daily using quality flour, grains and organic ingredients.
The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough at Serene Centre in Bukit Timah, run by husband-and-wife duo Chalith Kariyawasam and Nurhasnah Johari, is one of a new handful of such artisan bakeries in Singapore.
The bakery, which uses organic flour from the US and Turkey, bakes about 75 loaves of sourdough a day.
ST Food's video about this bakery has been viewed more than 150,000 times.