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.
Here are some we know of:
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
When: Until Aug 31 or while stocks last
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
When: For a limited period, while stocks last
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
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
When: July 30 to Aug 31, various opening hours
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
When: Aug 9, noon to 2.30pm
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)
When: Until Aug 17, various opening hours
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
When: Aug 1 to 31, various opening hours
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.
Where: #01-25 Shaw Leisure Gallery, 100 Beach Road
When: Tomorrow to July 22, Aug 6 to 12, noon to 9.30pm (Mondays to Thursdays), noon to 10pm (Fridays and Saturdays), 1 to 7pm (Sundays), closed on the last Sunday of every month, or while stocks last
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++.
Where: Wild Rocket, Hangout @ Mount Emily, 10A Upper Wilkie Road
When: Noon to 3pm (Tuesdays to Saturdays), 6.30 to 10.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays
On National Day, Resorts World Sentosa will bring back its popular food event RWS Street Eats, with renowned hawkers and eateries from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore under one roof. This will go on till Aug 19.
There will be 29 stalls, with 21 new ones, so it will be a new experience even for those who have attended this before.
Singapore highlights include ang ku kueh from Kueh Ho Jiak (above), pineapple tarts from Kele and melon bowls from The Wicked Cream.
Singaporeans love crab, so it is no surprise that it takes centre stage in two promotions.
AquaMarine (Marina Mandarin Singapore, Tel: 6845-1111) is running the Singapore Heritage Buffet promotion in August. The highlights are the Deep-fried Asian Crab Fritter with Salted Egg Mayonnaise and Singapore Chilli Crab (above). This halal spread is at $60 for lunch and $72 for dinner.
Also in August, hotpot restaurant JPOT (Tampines 1, Tel: 6532-3536) brings back the Chilli Crab Soup Base along with the Chilli Crab Hotpot Platter ($64, above), consisting of goodies such as a live crab, sliced toman fish, sliced squid and handmade fish balls.
From Aug 1 to 12, Se7enth (Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore, Tel: 6812-6050) is offering a two-course set dinner for $53 (for two).
It consists of a curried pumpkin soup with sous vide egg, and the main is Chilli Crab Pasta with homemade chilli crab sauce and fried soft-shell crab (above).
For Singaporeans who eat late, Le Binchotan (115 Amoy Street #01-04, Tel: 6224-1045) celebrates National Day with two limited-edition Singapore-inspired dishes that will be sold from 9.30pm.
The hokkien mee with grilled tiger prawns ($18, below) and the Iberico pork collar satay ($17) will be available only till the end of August.
Singaporeans love a good deal, and on National Day, head to Imperial Feast Restaurant (#03-06 The Chevrons, Tel: 6794-4528) for dishes that are selling for $5.30.
They include Crispy Prawns with Passion Fruit (usual price $13), Double-boiled Seafood supreme (usual price $9), Honey-glazed Chicken Garlic Ribs (usual price $12) and the Imperial Feast Signature Fried Rice (usual price $9, above).
At Lower East Side, you will get kaya toast churros ($5.30, below) filled with kaya and topped with cinnamon and sugar. You will find this at the East Coast Road and Novena Regency outlets.
Singaporean heritage tea brand The 1872 Clipper Tea Company celebrates Singapore’s 53rd birthday with three teas – Butterfly Pea Flower, Nyonya Kaya and Gula Melaka ($15 each, above).
The standouts are the Butterfly Pea Flower, which has notes of lemongrass and pandan, and the Nyonya Kaya, which is Ceylon black tea and Japanese sencha infused with pandan, coconut and cream.
They are available at the stores at Ion Orchard, Tangs Plaza and Tangs VivoCity.
Recently, ondeh ondeh has become the snack of choice. And for National Day, it has been turned into a cake (above) by Ah Mah Homemade Cake.
It will have the familiar combination of pandan, coconut and gula melaka, and will be available in August at all outlets. It retails at $11.
Singaporeans love buffets and a good deal, and when combined, it is the best way to spend National Day. At Tiffany Cafe & Restaurant, you will get a spread of hawker goodies such as oyster omelette and Indian rojak (above), as well as a 53 per cent discount off the price in August. So instead of paying $53.80 for lunch, it is now $25.20. Dinner is usually $65.80, but it will be $30.90.
Text: Eunice Quek/Straits Times and Yeoh Wee Teck/The New Paper