Sunday, March 29, 2015

Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew Memorial Event - Mourning the Loss of the Great One @ Yishun [Singapore] #rememberinglky

I am not going to pepper this post with tributes of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who is the first Prime Minister of independent Singapore and some said, the founder of modern Singapore. Much has been said and my writing ability would pale in comparison to those you can find on social media. 

It is indeed a sad time for Singapore and even though i might not have the opportunity to know the man who did so much for the little red dot that many assumed would not survive, his demise was greatly felt. 

The nation is currently still in national mourning and aside Parliament House, where his body lied until it was moved to NUS University Cultural Centre a few hours, Singaporeans can also pay their respects at the tribute sites all over Singapore. 

In Yishun, it is conveniently located outside Yishun MRT station and i paid it a visit last Friday after work. Knowing how apathetic locals can be, it was heartening to see that i wasn't the minority few.

Four tents were built to house the following; a wall where you can pen your thoughts, an open area with chairs and a projector screen showing his legacy, another area similar to the second but come with a stage and the last one where you can place the flowers, the condolences cards etc. 

Each tent is also surrounded by vibrantly coloured funeral banners commonly seen in Chinese funerals. 

As there was a memorial event that day, many citizens were seated patiently and waiting for the event to commence. Attendees include the Ministers of Parliament for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency.

At that moment, the tent that allows the placement of flowers, condolence cards etc was the most crowded and you shall see in the following few pictures. 

The pictures.

Many could not endure the wait at Parliament House and choose instead to pay their respects at this community tribute. In Chinese custom, it would be a bow; a bow that is simple yet esteemed for the departed.

His presence in Nee Soon was portrayed in the photo boards and you can see parents pointing at the pictures and telling their children of Mr Lee's legacy. 

Queue waiting in line to pay their respects. 

The writing wall was much more personal for the community; it allows you to write down your feelings and appreciation for the founding father. 

Just in case you are wondering what if the walls filled up; well, they would be replaced with new canvas sheets. I am unsure what would happen to them after the funeral. 

For your reading pleasure.

The crowd was getting unbearably large; a scale i have to yet to see in Singapore that was non-commercial in nature and doesn't involve an opposition party rally.

Photographs taken from one of the housing blocks; a unique phenomenon in Singapore where many locals live and actually own this public housing. Possible because of the foresight of LKY and his fellow cabinet ministers. 

Rest in peace, Mr Lee, and farewell. 
#rememberinglky

Savour 2015 - Singapore's Premier Gourmet Festival: Tons of Good Food @ F1 Pit Building #savour2015

I was once again looking at Singapore Flyer yesterday evening; after the ridiculous charges i paid for parking my car in the carpark next to it for River Hongbao, i made the right decision to park my car at Suntec City Mall this time (cost me only S$1.10 an hour)! 

Whatever the case, my purpose for being in the vicinity was to check out Savour 2015. A gourmet festival said to be running in its 4th year and not to be confused with those food expos festivals; it serves food not necessarily easy on the wallet.

I went without knowing what it was all about (shame me as i am supposed to be a foodie) and would not have attended if not for the Great Kon, who had in his hands an extra complimentary pass! Eternally grateful to this friend of mine who is the "instigator" for many food entries in this blog! 

The fact i am a miser was well documented in this blog and there's a reason why i may not know much about Savour. The admission price (yes, you do need to pay to get in) was S$79 per person for the dinner session! 

A card with S$30 value known as Savour Dollars, would be given to you for free. You can only use the card for cashless payments at this festival and no refund would be given if you couldn't use them up. For complimentary ticket holders, it would be an empty card with no value.

Confused? Check out the "how to" guide. 

You can choose to top up using cash / credit cards and i would strongly recommend you bring along your DBS credit cards; there were simply too many perks! 


Now going into the event ground; food booths, patio tables with umbrellas etc. Was a bit loss on what to do since i didn't even know what to expect.


Setup was festive (duh) with a cheerful atmosphere and i especially love the design concept of the Badoit tentage and its fake grassy surrounding. I thought Badoit was another alcoholic beverage but turned out it was mineral water! 

Kon knew where to go; straight to the Savour Dome!

Purpose - to attend the celebrity chef session by Mr Daniel Clifford, chef of Midsummer House, a 2 Michelin stars outfit in United Kingdom! 

Three dishes were whipped out; veloute of pea, sauteed tiger prawns and lemon jelly, braised ox cheek, pomme puree, crispy shallot and red wine sauce and, lemon posset. 

Unrefined Cavin has no bloody idea what they are; can't they make the food title a bit more succinct and straightforward? Anyway, you may sample the food after the chef is done. 

The ox cheek was delicious and the braising in the red wine over a period of time gave it an extremely tender texture that would not take much effort for the elderly.

Within the dome were numerous booths selling sauces, chocolates, wines, desserts etc. There was even a KitchenAid Cooking Studio where you may queue up for a hands-on cooking session. No payment is required although seats are limited. 

We almost wanted to pay for a whoaffle from Hatter Street Cafe but the wait was 30 thirty minutes! Guess i would have to pay its permanent outlet soon to try out their unique sounding offering. 

Chilli crab pasta, salted egg fries; Singapore inspired cuisine i would love to try! Guess we must arrange for a date / time, Gang fo Four. 

Stepping out again - gosh, so many people! In Singapore, so long there is good food, you would see an immense outpouring of people! The big disadvantage would be the lack of seating.

Food booth by Midsummer House. Whatever was presented in the session by Chef Daniel Clifford can be purchased here. As you can see, the braised ox cheek was already sold out at about 6pm.

Our official first purchase; S$29 for molecular cuisine. Part of food science, it is a "modern style of cooking, and takes advantage of many technical innovations from the scientific disciplines" according to wikipedia.

Offered by Bo Innovation that hails from Hong Kong, it was awarded three michelin stars in 2014! Guess i must be really blessed to be able to try out two michelin starred establishments on the same day!

Queue, as expected, was super long and it didn't help that ordering was a major confusion; three lanes of which first was to make payment, second was to make your orders and third to collect your food. It would have made better sense to have the first lane for taking orders, second for payment and third for food. 

Our order comprising of the molecular buns (S$15), bo shrimp toast with salted egg puree and truffles (S$8) and cuttle fish balls with kaffir lime mayo (S$6). 

Cuttlefish balls were cold and disappointing; the drops of lime mayo failed to improve and i thought i would be better off buying cuttlefish balls from Old Chang Kee and dipping them in chilli sauce.

Shrimp toast was thankfully way better; the initial taste was quite plain and as you chewed further, be prepared to be overwhelmed by the burst of flavours that gelled perfectly!

Nothing prepared me for these buns. You have to try it to know what i mean; it tastes nothing like the buns we know off and keep your mouth close when you bite through. 

Given that there were so many people, table sharing was a must and the above were the food by our neighbours. The second one was interesting; peanut and butter sandwich in a really sinful form. Our neighbour didn't offer us a bite so please leave the taste to your imagination. Haha.

Charcoal cooked paella from UNA@Rochester was too hard to resist.

Slowly savour it as the flavour would slowly intensify. The price wasn't cheap at S$18 i think but it was choked full of ingredients like clams, prawns, chicken etc,

The crowd everywhere. 

Time for us to proceed to the Jasons Gourmet Market and Food Hall on level two of the pit building. I was thinking it must be like a huge supermarket, similar to Pasarbella at Turf City. 

View from second level. 

Ample seats on level two and best of all, it was air conditioned! The food hall has loads of choices and we shall be back later as the tummies were still quite full.

Let's drop by the Gourmet Market first! 

Almost like a farmer's market, friends like Karen Au would totally go crazy here with its range of fresh, good quality raw food materials. 

You can find fruits specially imported from Japan and even organic ones that didn't appear to be as expensive as i thought they should be.

Not sure what to buy? Sample first! Luckily mom wasn't with me; i would have spent hundreds of dollars if she loves what she tries! 

Would you pay S$10.90 for an apple from Sekaiichi? I wouldn't even though i eventually forked out S$6.90 for two citrus hyuganatsu; a mutated yuzu.

Love cheese? Entering the enclosure would literally blow you away so please be prepared for the following pictures.

I am no cheese connoisseur yet i could not help trying a few! The two types of blue cheese i had were good although nothing could be compared to the truffle cheese which was creamy, light and tasty! 

We were drawn to the aroma of grilled beef at the raw meat section; Kagoshima wagyu that were specially imported from Japan! I am no expert on wagyu beef but so far, i could not quite understand the fascination people have for them. 

Sampling was allowed and i took a bite; my god, the taste was so buttery and its tenderness was unmatched in all the low quality steaks i have had so far! 

Ranked eighth among the many Wagyu brands, i was so tempted to buy a slab of Kogoshima Wagyu back home! Cooking was easy; no oil is required and you just need to get the pan to the right temperature, put on the steak for 90 seconds, turn it over and leave it for another 90 seconds and your wagyu is ready to be served! 

Aside from meat, you could also find an assortment of sausages, salamis, hams etc for sale. There were just too much to see and try and i am so glad i am more of an Oriental diner. 

Good time to inhale more food at the food hall. 

Kon's eyes could not stop roving over to the oysters bar and i was eventually persuaded to try them despite the fact that i have never really liked them; for one, whenever i order the local oyster omelette, i would leave the oysters out since i find them to be too fishy for my liking.

No idea what oyster shooters are and i doubt i would even try them! 

At S$24 for six oysters, he made the selection of two oysters each from Canada Fanny Bay, French Britanny and French Tsarskaya. 

Put them on the tray and i wouldn't know how to differentiate them! 

With lemon and a few drops of Tabasco sauce, we said cheers and bottoms up! Honestly, they were surprisingly delectable and i think i could have a few more if not for the price! 

Other types of seafood for sale and the prices for your easy reference.

Back at Savour Dome to try queuing for entry to KitchenAid Cooking Studio for the session on Peranakan food; no more slots and we decided to pop by the Celebrity Chef Auditorium for Masterclass with Chef Frederic Faucheaux from Ku De Ta.

I shall let the above photographs tempt your taste buds. 

Food tasting at the end of the session was the most chaotic! I think people were just going for that since most of the times, i doubt they have the ability to quickly jot down the ingredients and the steps necessary to make the dishes. 

The night was still early and we went in seek of food again! In all frankness, i was full and i am mindful that i am embarking on another snorkeling trip; the stomach mustn't get too big!!! 

Trying out the Kurobuta Pork Belly Confit, Sweet Potato in Black Truffle Dressing and Homemade Paccheri in Butter and Sage, Cod Fish Mousse and Caviar combo (S$22) from II Cielo! 

Kurobuta Pork Belly - with just a thin layer of meat surrounded by a thick fatty encasement, both of us felt it was a tad too overbearing for us. The orangey sauerkraut-alike thingy was nice though.

The paccheri looked nothing like the picture (maybe because it was a combo); it was a pasta dish actually and the pasta was too tough for my liking! Sauce was okay even though not particularly memorable.

You wouldn't believe it; we went back to Jason's on level two again! Map as appended above for your easy reference if you decide to make your way there today! 

Having had some delicious sampling of Kagoshima Wagyu beef, we could not resist spending the last of our Savour dollars on a slab of it although it wasn't from Kagoshima. Oh well, once the craving starts, anything would go so long there is a word that says "wagyu".

This ribeye (at S$42) was better than most steaks i had although it wasn't on the same heavenly level as the sample i had for Kagoshima wagyu! Maybe it was my fault as well; i indicated medium and Kon said for wagyu, it's always good to go with medium rare. 

Time to go home! God, how did i manage to spend almost five hours in a food festival?! Would i be back? For the variety of good food all in one place, i guess i would be back for its 5th edition! 

=====

Location
F1 Pit Building
[Next to Singapore Flyer]

Website 

Last Day of the Event
Today; 29 March 2015.
From 5.30pm till 10.30

Pricing
Only dinner session is available on 29 March 2015
S$79 (includes S$30 Savour Dollars)

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