SINGAPORE: “Savour the Past, Taste the Future”- that’s what organisers of the annual Singapore Food Festival (SFF) would like all eager gastronomes to do when attending this year’s culinary event, which will take place from Jul 15 to 31.
Featuring a record line-up of 18 gastronomic experiences, the 2016 SFF is all about taking a trip down nostalgia lane while celebrating the nation’s rich and unique food heritage.
(Photo: Genevieve Loh)
“The Singapore Food Festival has been carrying the torch for Singapore’s vibrant food legacy since 1994,” said Ranita Sundra, director of Attractions, Retail and Dining at Singapore Tourism Board (STB). “After 23 years, it is still the only food festival in Singapore to feature local flavours and showcase the inventive spirit of our ever-evolving food scene.”
This year's festival will also be bringing back anchor event STREAT, which features a pop-up restaurant and a curated medley of Singaporean food establishments.
The curator-chef at the helm this year is Masterchef Asia judge and acclaimed Canadian chef Susur Lee, who will be collaborating with Tunglok Heen’s senior executive chef Ken Ling and Restaurant Labyrinth’s chef-owner Han Liguang. The restaurant will pop up at Clifford Square from Jul 15 to 16 as the three chefs deliver an exclusive six-hands five course dinner menu that promises to re-interpret and elevate Singapore’s iconic street food. Hawkers and chefs ranging from Casuarina Curry restaurant and The Disgruntled Chef to Candlenut and Char will also helm stalls alongside the pop-up.
Susur Lee's Laksa Cheong Fun (Photo: Genevieve Loh)
SINGAPORE FAVOURITE FOOD VILLAGE, 50 CENT FEST! AND MORE
Other noteworthy SFF events and activities include Singapore Favourite Food Village (held at Rocher Event Space from Jul 22 to 31) where eaters can explore three culinary zones - from a heritage food street to contemporary Singaporean cuisine and food truck park - and try delights like “Chili Crab in a Prata Bag” from Big Street Singapore and rainbow churros from Churros Factory. There is also The 50 Cent Fest! (held at Smith Street from Jul 30 to 31) where Chinatown Food Street will be transformed with street hawkers, buskers and costumed entertainers. Festival-goers will also have the chance to relive the good ole days by tucking into dishes of yore like Kok Kok Mee, Ice Ball and Trishaw Noodles, which will cost no more than S$2 each and be sold in denominations of 50 cents.
The public is also invited to revisit the old Farrer Park district as One Farrer’s Food Street aims to recreate the food stalls that once lined the roads. Popular foodie haunt and landmark hawker centre East Coast Lagoon Food Village will also be under the spotlight as SFF 2016 shares its history and of course, its famed satay, popiah and chilli crab.
Prata Tacos with BBQ Pork Collar (Photo: Genevieve Loh)
For those who prefer a peek into a chef’s world behind kitchen walls, complete with live music by local bands, neon beer pong, live cooking demos and a BBQ outdoor kitchen, there is Open Stoves (held at Timbre+ from 23 to 24 July). It’ll be a chance to sample new and innovative dishes like Prata Tacos with Stewed Tripe and Prata Taco with BBQ Pork Collar which is the fruit of the collaborative labour between Timbre+’s resident chef Jeremy Cheok (Dusk By Slake) and guest chef Tan Huang Ming (Park Bench Deli).
SINGAPORE RESTAURANT MONTH 2016
Also held in conjuction with SFF is Singapore Restaurant Month (SRM) which will run for the entire month of July. In collaboration with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and STB, SRM will see local restaurants creating healthy Singapore-inspired dishes; ten of which are heritage establishments like Islamic Restaurant, Red Star Restaurant, Beng Thin Hoon Kee Restaurant and Fatty Weng Restaurant.
In the hopes of encouraging both industry partners and the public to appreciate the joys of healthier dining and in full alignment with HPB’s campaign to “Eat Healthy. Get More From Life”, the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) which organises SRM, got 46 restaurant brands to dream up 95 wholesome locally-inspired dishes.
500 CALORIES OR LESS
Shin Yeh’s Eight Treasures Box filled with eight dumplings made up of steamed chives with pork, crystal-mixed vegetables, steamed shrimps and steamed chicken with egg-plant, turnip and dried shrimp for a total of only 107.3 calories! (Photo: Genevieve Loh)
In order to qualify as an SRM dish, each creation must contain 500 calories or less and/or has to be made up of at least 8 per cent wholegrains such as oatmeal, brown rice and wholemeal bread. All creations are approved by certified HPB nutritionists and tagged with striking-red “Healthier Choice” identifiers in menus.
Debunking myths that the “healthy” option is “less tasty” are Zaffron Kitchen’s biryani rice with chana masala and jaipuri (a total of 420.7 calories), Putien’s signature stir-fried yam paired with fruit (447 calories), Nara Thai’s steamed sea bass with spicy chilli and lime sauce (492.8 calories) and Shin Yeh’s Eight Treasures Box filled with eight dumplings made up of steamed chives with pork, crystal-mixed vegetables, steamed shrimps and steamed chicken with egg-plant, turnip and dried shrimp (only 107.3 calories).
Putien’s signature stir-fried yam paired with fruits for a total of 447 calories. (Photo: Genevieve Loh)
Explains Andrew Tjioe, president of RAS and executive chairman of Tung Lok Group: “In our second year organising Singapore Restaurant Month, we would like to encourage more consumers to explore the option of healthier dining. We hope for more Food & Beverage operators to consider offering a wider selection of nutritious meals, making it more accessible for those looking to implement a positive change in their eating habits.”
“We applaud this move by the industry to make the healthy food scene a vibrant one,” said Mr Zee Yoong Kang, Chief Executive Officer of the Health Promotion Board. “Singaporeans will be able to savour healthier, tasty options during the Singapore Restaurant Month and have a wider variety of healthier food choices when dining out. This complements our ongoing Healthier Dining Programme where 1,600 food stalls island-wide are offering healthier meals. We encourage more F&B establishments to come on-board to offer healthy and tasty options."
Singapore Restaurant Month 2016 runs from Jul 1 to 31 and Singapore Food Festival 2016 runs from Jul 15 to 31.