March 24, 2017

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by Azimin Saini (Michelin Guide Singapore)
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ON RUE de La Roquette in the outskirts of Paris, Alain Ducasse, the illustrious chef behind the many Michelin-starred restaurants from Paris to London is hunched over a mound of cocoa beans spread on a metal counter. “I had the dream of making my own chocolate, making it the traditional way from bean to bar,” he says in French. The counter is in a factory that specialises in bean-to-bar chocolates supplied to his restaurants and sold online. Many of them are single origin products made with beans sourced from the likes of Peru, Java and Vietnam.

Half a world away in the Malaysian state of Pahang, a member of the Temuan community – an orang asli (indigenous) ethnic group harvests a cocoa pod, to be sold to a local chocolatier. These are foraged from the wild and grow as solo trees rather than in organised plantations. Their way of life has been unchanged for generations and many depend on rubber tapping and forest foraging for an income.

From Paris to Pahang: the two locations are distinct but connected threads that make up the auburn fabric of the chocolate world. For centuries, the relationship between cocoa production and chocolate consumption has been a portrait depicting the haves and the have-nots.

One sees it as an affordable but luxurious indulgence, the other to merely eke out a living.

Countries home to cocoa bean farms are often developing or middle-income countries which supply raw materials to Western production centres thousands of kilometres away. Most chocolates produced by these origin growing countries are often seen as inferior, made by constituting low-quality cocoa powder with vegetable fat – not cocoa butter as is the case of quality chocolates.

“It’s ironic,” says Toby Garritt, CEO and founder of Pod Chocolate. “When you ask people about their favourite chocolate, they’re invariably going to mention chocolates from France, Switzerland or Belgium. None of these countries are cocoa-growing countries.”

“I’m from Australia and my family had a vineyard in South Australia,” Garritt continues. “And where you have the vineyard, you have the winery. No one would imagine taking Australian grapes to France and calling that a French wine. And yet, it’s perfectly normal for cocoa to travel thousands of kilometres and somehow it becomes French or Swiss. Why is that?”

 

The Big Change
But a tectonic shift is happening. Garritt is part of a growing crop of Southeast Asia-based fine chocolate makers who operate a short distance away from cocoa tree farms. The CEO lives in Bali and uses Balinese cocoa beans for his range of chocolate bars.
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It’s a niche playing field and these makers are scattered across the South East Asian region. In Malaysia, there’s Chocolate Concierge whose products includes bars made from cocoa pods foraged by the Temuan community. Over in Vietnam, there’s Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat created by Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou. Further east in The Philippines, there’s Hiraya Chocolates – the brainchild of Arvin Peralta who sources his cocoa beans from Davao. Indonesia, the world’s third largest exporter of cocoa, is emerging as the biggest player in the bean-to-bar scene as it’s home to a handful of makers ranging from Pipiltin Cocoa to Pod Chocolate.

These makers are only a few years old, and the scene is at its infancy. But already, domestic and international coverage is picking up, along with export offers promising to take these bars to the global stage. What unites them is a sense of irony – that cocoa producing countries are not also home to premium chocolate makers.

 

Cocoa’s History in South East Asia
In part, it’s because of the global development of the chocolate economy. For all its sweetness and associations with luxury and romance today, chocolate has a dark history. That French, Swiss and Belgian chocolates are seen as the pinnacle of quality is a direct result of history – one that has seen the dawn of colonisation and heard the rallying cries for national independence.
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Here’s a brief but vital history: cocoa itself is native to Central America and grows in a narrow girdle stretching 20 degrees north and south of the equator. The Spanish conquest of the region introduced this exotic tropical product to Europe where it was first enjoyed as a drink, and then in confectionery. It wasn’t long before colonial powers sought to increase its production, and began planting the trees in other colonies – including Southeast Asia.
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The first cocoa beans to reach the region was in 1660s on the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade – a route that connected the Spanish colonies of The Philippines and Mexico across the Pacific Ocean.

Not to be outdone, other European powers began experimenting in their South East Asian colonies. The trees flourished but they found better commercial success with other cash crops. Spices are of greater value in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia), rubber easily outweighed cocoa beans in Malaya while the French similarly found greater commercial imperative with growing coffee in Vietnam.

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Despite its introduction as a crop in this region, Arvin Peralta of Hiraya notes that Asians were not exposed to the chocolate making traditions of Europe. “The Spanish just used chocolate for chocolate drinks. That’s the product that developed here in The Philippines,” he says referring to tableya – a Filipino chocolate drink introduced during the Spanish colonial era.

Instead, it is the fledgling chocolate companies in the European metropoles that would emerge as leviathans in today’s chocolate world. Van Houten was one such – the Dutch firm invented the cocoa press in 1828 – the hydraulic machine that separates cocoa solids from cocoa powder that made mass chocolate manufacturing a reality. British maker Fry’s was another, for inventing the chocolate bar in 1847 by mixing sugar with cocoa powder and cocoa butter.

Over the course of a hundred years, many of the original chocolate makers have merged into massive multinationals. Fry’s was gobbled up by rival British chocolate company Cadbury in 1919 which was in turn acquired by Kraft Foods in 2010. Belgian chocolate maker Callebaut and French Firm Cacao Barry merged in 1996 to form Barry Callebaut which today produces 1.7 million tonnes of cocoa per year.

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By the 2010s, change was in the air. Consumers started growing conscious of the source of their food and support for small producers took off. Craft beers boomed, as did the third wave coffee joints that swept much of the world’s cities. With it rose the bean-to-bar chocolatier that was the antithesis of everything a multinational offers: terroir sensitivity, fair trade and to some, exclusivity.

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The fleshy white insides of a cocoa pod.
The fleshy white insides of a cocoa pod.
The Importance of Staying Local

This new wave of chocolate makers do everything from purchasing their own cocoa beans, grinding them down on site, moulding, packaging and marketing them.There was just one problem: few are based in the origin growing countries. This distance and lack of direct access to farmers have led to criticism of bean-to-bar makers for using inferior beans even if the products are single origin.

One such critic is Frederic Loraschi, a pastry chef and consultant for juggernauts like Hershey who believes that bigger buyers get better beans. “These guys get the best beans because they buy big volumes and can afford it,” he tells trade website Confectionerynews.com. “The others buy leftovers that nobody wants.”

Small chocolatiers are not able to afford travelling regularly to form strong relationships or control the fermentation process, he says.

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“You need to be on the field selecting beans yourself but they [the plantation or seller] have probably already sold their best beans to Barry Callebaut,” he adds.
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And that’s exactly where Southeast Asia’s chocolate makers have an edge. Living a short day trip away from the farms means they are, “[not only] able to be on site to inspect the beans,” says Ning of Chocolate Concierge, “but are able to take it one step further, which is to start from the tree itself.”

Agreeing, Garritt (pictured left) says: “How do you know if you’ve got a high quality raw material? The first thing you have to do is go into the farm and ask yourself, is this a healthy and happy looking farm? If it isn’t why is that?”

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Empowering the Powerless
Part of the appeal of these bean-to-bar chocolate makers is their social mission which has an impact on communities as much as on the quality of the cocoa beans that they get. They are closer economically and emotionally to these farms: their multiple sojourns into the cocoa growing depths of their countries often come with the intention of helping farmers to maximise yields, better cocoa quality and hence increase their earnings.
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The week before we spoke to Arvin Peralta of Hiraya, he was visiting cocoa farmers east of Manila in an old port city where the Spanish first introduced cocoa to the region. Unlike in the south where there are established plantations and where he primarily already sources his beans, the cocoa trees here are much older and the farmers are not clued in on post processing techniques.

“The production is small and they don’t know how to ferment the beans which is required in making fine chocolates,” he says referring to the crucial step in which microorganisms work to develop chocolate’s flavour and colour.

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Arvin Peralta (in blue) inspects the cocoa beans with a farmer.
Arvin Peralta (in blue) inspects the cocoa beans with a farmer.

“Doing so can double or triple the selling price. When I spoke to them, they’re interested to learn how and we’ll connect them with the Cocoa Foundation of The Philippines to teach them about post processing. So by the time it’s the May harvest season, they can apply what they’ve learnt.”

The root of the issue is because the farmers themselves have never seen the end product.

“Being at the bottom of the global food chain, farmers typically sell their beans to a middle man and then lose sight of them,” wrote Tissa Aunilla, co-founder of Pipiltin Cocoa on her alma mater’s website. “As a result, some of our suppliers in Tabanan, Bali had never tasted chocolate in their life, even though they had been cocoa bean farmers for 30 years.”
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This makes a massive difference. Garritt says: “Coffee farmers drink their own coffee, so they will know whether his coffee this year was good. He can ask himself, ‘hey this is good, what happened this year?’ With cocoa, the farmers have absolutely no idea. They don’t know the difference between fermented and non-fermented beans, or if it works well.”

One way his company gets around this is to receive beans from co-operatives and turn it into chocolate for them to sample. “So we provide feedback and input on their process even though we’re not the ones ultimately buying the beans,” he says.

Their efforts to help farmers don’t end there. Instead, they also typically pay the farmers higher prices. Pipiltin Cocoa, for instance, pays its suppliers 40-50% more than market price – the same figure that Pod Chocolate reports.

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Vincent Mourou and Samuel Maruta. Photo credit: marouchocolate.com
Vincent Mourou and Samuel Maruta. Photo credit: marouchocolate.com
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“In Vietnam we are fortunately working in good conditions, meaning that the normal market price farmers will get for fermented cacao beans is very close to the price of cacao delivered in London or New York, that’s already more than double what a West African farmer would typically earn,” wrote the duo behind Marou Chocolates on their website.

“At Marou we pay a significant premium over this local market price […] we pay more than the other buyers to have access to higher quality cacao before the other buyers.”

The Rise of The Affluent Class?
Naturally, this means fine chocolates costs more, rendering it almost an accidental luxury product. In The Philippines, a low-quality chocolate bar could is priced as little as 20 to 40 Pesos while a bar of Hiraya chocolates rings up 180 pesos at the cash tills.
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Even so, all the chocolatiers we spoke to report that their sales are on an upward swing. To support this boom, Pod Chocolate just opened a new factory to quadruple production capacity with ample space to expand in future. This is also the factory from which they would start looking for export partners. Pipiltin Cocoa has just made its bars available in Tokyo along with an expanded digital Japanese footprint to serve that market.
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Hiraya Chocolates is looking to double their production this year and Chocolate Concierge purchased an entire farm to have complete control over its products from tree to bar.

The clincher? The bulk of their customer base is local. It’s a sure sign that the taste buds of at least a certain affluent segment of the South East Asian population are becoming not just more discerning but are developing a sensitivity to terroir and ethical consumption.

“There’s an emerging market for this similar to the third wave coffee trend,” says Peralta whose bars are often sold out at retail locations. “It’s mostly millennials and hipsters or the older generation who are looking for healthier options.”

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A staff member from Pod Chocolate in Bali.
A staff member from Pod Chocolate in Bali.

Still, Ning of Chocolate Concierge strikes a cautious note and believes that Asia still has some way to go at least when it comes to terroir and origin. “Japan has the longest history of regional awareness but this sensitivity is not as developed elsewhere in Asia. Yes, we can tell the difference between durians like a D24 from a Musang King but that has not extended to other types of food.”

“We are still in the infancy, but the trend is only moving one way and people are becoming more aware and asking the right questions. For me, the person who picks up the bar and doesn’t know the Malaysian bean-to-bar chocolate story goes, “wow, I want to know how the bar is made,” then that to me, is success.”

But beyond Asia, the common goal of these indie makers is for the world to pivot to these cocoa-growing regions as fine chocolate producing countries too, and for farmers to have a fair shot at a better life.

These are valiant efforts, even if it’s at its nascence. It may not quite narrow the gap between Paris and Pahang or the haves and have-nots just yet, but it does at least take it that much closer.

 

This article first appeared on Michelin Guide Singapore. Visit Michelin Guide Singapore on Facebook.

Featured image by Pixabay user AlexanderStein. (CC0 1.0)

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by Melissa Tsang

I’M A 23-year-old Chinese Singaporean woman. After graduating culinary school in 2016, I started as a commis (also known as 马王, or minion) in a Chinese restaurant kitchen along Orchard Road. This is a description of my everyday work, in English, written for friends and family who are curious.

The structure of a Chinese restaurant kitchen

I drew a diagram of what our kitchen looks like, from where I stand (I only know how to hand draw and then upload a picture, please forgive incompetence):

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Dim Sum, 点心: They make the har gow, siew mai, XLB (little soup dumplings), carrot cake, cheong fun, and many other forms of dim sum and desserts. Because nearly everything there is made by hand, from scratch, they start work at 7am to finish their prep before service starts at 11am. Since we only serve dim sum in the afternoon, they get off work at 5pm, or whenever they finish their scheduled prep for the day. They are usually considered a separate kingdom from The Main Kitchen and the roasting department.

Roasting/BBQ, 烧腊:This is where the Peking duck, braised duck, roasted suckling pig, soy sauce chicken, char siew, roasted pork belly, braised pig’s intestines, etc. are made. They have two work areas — the back, and the front. The back is where all the heavy prep work is done. Every day they have to wash, marinate, dress, and hang carcasses; as well as roast them in their huge apollo oven (it looks like a tandoor). The front (a tiny work space beside the main kitchen) is where they carve and plate their finished products. They don’t just prepare their own items, like an a la carte order of a Peking duck; they also make products for the main kitchen. For example, they have to produce char siew for the rest of the kitchen — dim sum uses a lot of char siew for their pastries; the main kitchen uses char siew in a Yangzhou fried rice.

The Main Kitchen, 厨房: When industry people say “kitchen” they often refer to any of these sub-sections, and not dim sum or BBQ:

Steaming, 上什/蒸锅/蛋扣: They are located right beside dim sum, and are responsible for anything from the main kitchen that requires steaming — for example, Teochew steamed pomfret, Cantonese steamed marble goby, steamed bamboo clams with fried garlic and tung hoon. They make the daily double-boiled soups, and are also in charge of preparing the sharks’ fin and sea cucumber (very labour intensive, time-consuming products to prepare). Unlike the rest of the main kitchen sub-sections, they coexist very peacefully with dim sum.

Wok, 炉头/炒锅: Most people are more able to understand this sub-section of the kitchen. It’s basically where all the things are stir-fried or deep-fried. Within the wok line (our wok line can accommodate six, but most of the time we work with four) there is a hierarchy.

Wok 1 is head chef, 老大/大佬. He makes the big and final decisions for the main kitchen. He doesn’t do much prep work. If there are orders for abalone, sea cucumber, Alaskan crab, the expensive stuff, they go to him. But he is really more important as a political figure, not as a cook. Like a gang leader, or any head chef, he is supposed to enforce discipline and consistency in his kitchen. He is also supposed to protect the interests of the main kitchen, especially against Front-of-House and higher management, especially in disputes with HR. For this reason, people expect him to exhibit a lot of machismo and dominance, or else they consider him ineffective and weak.

Wok 2 is the sous chef. He is not as politically significant as the Laoda, but he is acting chief in Laoda’s absence. He schedules our duty roster. He may also cook the Very Expensive Things. Some corporations/restaurants that do Cantonese cuisine have a policy of hiring only Hong Kong nationals to occupy head chef and sous chef positions. Ours is one such company.

Wok 3 is expected to cook anything short of the Very Expensive Things. Although he is lower in rank than Wok 2, he is not necessarily less experienced.

Wok 4 is also known as the deep-frying wok, or the “tail wok”. It is usually occupied by a more junior person. If a whole fish needs to be deep fried, it goes to him. He also handles a lot of fried rice, ee fu noodles, fried bee hoon, stir-fried carrot cake. Since the larger and heavier woks are all kept at his end of the line, he cooks off most of our sauces (XO sauce, black pepper sauce, chilli crab sauce, sweet and sour sauce etc. ), deep fries peanuts, cashews, walnuts, whole chickens multiple times a week. He has an enormous role in prep. This person must work very quickly, and must multitask well. When service gets very busy, he should be able to deep fry two different items while stir frying ee fu noodles, without losing his shit.

Woks 5 and/or 6 are opened when we’re descending into chaos and desperately need another wok guy to help out. That’s when a qualified person, who otherwise performs another role, goes on the line for the night.

Butchery, 水台: The person working in butchery has one of the most strenuous jobs ever. Our butcher happens to be the largest dude in the kitchen. When deliveries come, they go straight to his room. He is the one who has to wash cartons and cartons of vegetables alone, break down entire carcasses of cod, hack entire legs of Jinhua ham, chop crates of ribs into smaller chunks, etc. He has to lug boxes and boxes of stuff to and from the walk in freezer. These are on top of the fish and seafood he has to kill and clean. He mostly works with the heaviest cleaver.

Knife work, 砧板: This station is a line of three cutting blocks (literal blocks, they are very thick and heavy, for stability). People doing knife work slice and chop almost everything the kitchen uses. They also have to marinate all the meat, sliced fish, diced chicken, etc. They have a never-ending list of things to do. They are also the first line to read and process order tickets. For example, an order comes for “Seafood fried rice, medium, +salted fish, on hold, no MSG, not too oily, VIP, split into 6 portions”. The relevant information to the dude at the cutting block is “seafood fried rice medium + salted fish” has to pass the ticket over with the correct amount of diced seafood, julienned lettuce, and a small handful of chopped salted fish. Then his job is done and he has nothing else to do with this order ticket.

The Center Line/Traffic control/Communications, 打荷: This is where I work, between the knives and the fire. This is the section most difficult to explain to outsiders. This is where the youngest, most junior people work. This is the section that is the least technically demanding (i.e. you can train a monkey to do this job), but it is the most physically mobile, and the most cognitively demanding position during peak hours.

I’ll first explain what happens when we get a single order, using the above example – “Seafood fried rice, medium, +salted fish, on hold, no MSG, not too oily, VIP, split into 6 portions”. The dude at the chopping board has already pushed the lettuce, diced seafood, and salted fish from his side to our side of the table. We take a quick glance at the order sheet. First, we grab a medium-sized portion of rice. Then we transfer everything from our side of the table to the table directly accessible to the wok guys. We tell him, “no MSG, not too oily”. We then fetch a serving tray, six small plates, a small rice bowl, and a metal dish. The wok guy makes the fried rice, dumps it in the metal dish, then we portion the fried rice using the small rice bowl (so that every portion is in a neat little mound). This fried rice example is a very simple example involving a bit of communication between our section and the wok line.

Here is another example, involving more inter-department teamwork: an appetiser plate named 特式三拼

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Let’s say there’s an order for this item for five people. The knife work dude will toss over five butterflied prawns and five mantou rings (the dim sum department makes these weekly, in huge quantities). I will have to dust the prawns in potato starch, garnish and decorate five plates on a serving tray, sear five pieces of foie gras, and have wasabi sauce and foie gras-mushroom sauce on standby. At the same time I have to talk to Wok 4 – “特式5位”. Sometimes he forgets what he has to do, so I will say “炸锅巴5件,wasabi 虾球5粒,打鹅肝汁”. He will do all that while I sear the foie gras. When the foie gras is almost ready, I will call BBQ. They will bring five individual portions of braised duck and tofu, and I will plate up and send the dishes out.

These are only individual examples. On their own, they are very easy to execute. But on a busy night, between 6:30 – 9pm, the ticket printer doesn’t stop running. It will feel like the orders are coming in faster than we can send out dishes. This is when our roles within the section become specialised, and the concept of “queue” and “time” becomes especially relevant:

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Incoming orders:

Highlighted in pink is the table where we process incoming orders. The shaded black box is the ticket machine, facing Knifework. Any order printed is first visible to them, although we have trained ourselves to read from the other side.

(As far as possible), according to the order in which they were printed, Knifework pushes ingredients with their order sheets over to our side, and they will all be received by the Korkor, who is the most senior person in the section. The first thing he will do is separate dishes “on hold” from “fire”. “On hold” means the order has been processed, but the customer doesn’t want it now. For dishes on hold, he groups them by table number. For dishes ready to fire, he sorts them according to

1. Time of order. But it’s not rigid, it’s no big deal if an order printed at 7:35pm goes out before an order printed at 7:32pm.

2. Whether it is a soup, appetiser plate, non-starch item, or starch item. Within the same time frame, items should be sorted to prioritise soups and starters first, and starch dishes last.

3. Front-of-House mistakes – sometimes FOH barges in saying “I FORGOT TO KEY THIS ORDER IN PLEASE SAVE ME AND MAKE IT NOW”. We could say “no, dis your problem”, or we could allow that item to jump the queue.

4. How angry the customer is. Some customers are able to wait, others are not. If it’s been 15 minutes and a table hasn’t gotten their fried rice and are upset, we understand and will help that item move up the queue. But if the order has literally just been printed and a server comes in saying “HE’S PISSED OFF”, we do not entertain this request. Because we honour the concept of the queue.

Outgoing dishes:

When we’re busy, I stand facing the table highlighted in green. On this table we cram at most three to four items in a wok guy’s immediate cue. Meaning he simply has to concern himself with clearing these few items as quickly as possible. The rest of the space is reserved for plating and garnishing. In a five minute time frame, I might have fish pan frying on the stove, tofu in the deep fryer, while plating lobster ee fu noodles for 10 people, while listening to wok sounds. We look down when we plate so we can’t see much else, but we are able to hear when a wok guy is done with a dish. If he’s done, we have to drop what we are doing and send out the dish. As soon as the immediate queue begins to clear, any one of us will fetch items from Korkor’s Organised Queue of Incoming Orders.

Stacking and efficiency:

Sometimes there’s a Yangzhou fried rice in Wok 4’s immediate queue, but he’s been busy and the fried rice hasn’t been started. Then Korkor receives another Yangzhou fried rice order, but if we go strictly by time, that Yangzhou fried rice would be quite further down the queue. Nevermind, we let it stack. The Korkor will call out “扬州炒饭有塔!” then he tosses it over to me. Stacking is inevitable because if we went item by item, according to time, we would literally die.

Prep work and miscellaneous duties:

There are many other small, routine, menial tasks that I do every day, that I don’t need to talk about here. Oil does not pour itself, I need to fill metal drums of oil for each wok guy about twice a day. Eggs don’t crack and separate themselves. Seasoning containers don’t refill themselves. And so on.

The more interesting prep work is in sauces. A great example would be XO sauce. We make roughly 10 litres of XO sauce every two weeks. When we realise we’re running low, we need to start dicing (very small dice) Jinhua ham and salted fish. This is very difficult. They are very tough ingredients. I do not like this part. Then we need to soak dried shrimp, steam and shred dried scallops, and grind chillies, shallots, garlic, and the soaked shrimp. We will weigh the required MSG and sugar. Then the XO sauce is ready to be cooked off.

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The Difference Between Western and Asian-style breads
UNLESS they’re softer varieties like brioche, traditional European breads have a harder crust and a drier, saltier crumb while Asian style buns are soft, springy and sweet. Think multigrain sourdough loaves versus kaya buns or slices of rye bread versus hotdog rolls.The key difference lies in the dough’s chemistry: “Western-style bread has zero fat – its main [components] are flour, salt and water,” says Daniel Tay, founder of Old Seng Choon – the modern revival of his parents’ confectionery which operated from 1965 to 1996. “Asian-style bread is high in fat and sugar – about 15 per cent ft and 25 per cent sugar. These two work together to give the soft texture.”
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The successful pastry chef turned entrepreneur has seen the ebbs and flows of trends. He’s the man behind brands like Bakerzin to Cat & The Fiddle and counts reputable establishments like two-Michelin-starred Les Amis and French delicatessen Fauchon as former work places. He also runs Foodgnostic, a food solutions manufacturer. Tapping into his knowledge of bread baking was merely dipping one’s toes in the rich reservoir of his experience and technical savoir faire of the baking sciences.

“I know it’s been trendy to eat crusty bread recently,” he says. “But are most of us trained to eat that from young? Not to me.”

Indeed, it was only in recent years with the profusion of gourmet bakeries like Artisan Boulangerie Co and Baker & Cook that Western-style bread took centre stage. Otherwise, the bakeries that churn out soft buns still prevail and are found in just about every turn. This softer variant of bread has been the dominant preference for local tastes, so much so that even top end restaurants like two-Michelin-starred Odette take it into consideration when composing the bread basket.

Tangzhong Dough

But the difference doesn’t end at just fat and sugar content. Asian-style breads are also made by adding a Japanese-invented dough called tangzhong.“The Japanese realised that by cooking the flour, the dough absorbs all the water. This cooked dough is added into the rest of the bread mixture which gives a moister mouthfeel,” says Tay.

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In this method, equal parts flour and boiling water is mixed in a pan. Once it is cooled, the dough can be added into the actual bread mix to comprise 5-10 per cent of its total weight.

The precise roots of this method are unclear, but the Japanese preference for soft, sweet breads can likely be traced back to 1875 when a former samurai named Yasube Kimura invented the anpan – a soft bun stuffed with bean paste that’s otherwise used for wagashi. He found that the bread introduced to Japan was either salty or sour – flavours which were out of step with the Japanese palate.

How It Is Made
Tay has kindly provided his recipe for those who wish to make these soft buns at home. This forms the basic recipe sweet bun recipe from which modifications can be made. Bear in mind that sour dough can be omitted and to use strong bread flour of 12.5 per cent protein for both the main as well as tangzhong dough for better gluten development. 

Tangzhong Dough
100g strong bread flour (12.5 per cent protein)
100ml water

Sweet Bun Dough
1kg strong bread flour (12.5 per cent protein)
18g yeast
18g bread improver
240g sugar
30g milk powder
14g salt
2 eggs (50g each)
35ml condensed milk
450ml water
180g unsalted butter
100g tangzhong dough
100g sourdough (optional)

Illustration by: Siow Jun
Illustration by: Siow Jun

 

Step one: Make the tanzhong dough
Bring 100ml of water to a boil in a pan and add 100 grams of strong bread flour. Stir quickly and remove from fire to prevent the dough from over cooking.

Illustration by: Siow Jun
Illustration by: Siow Jun

 

Step two: Let it cool
Continue knead the dough with a spoon or by hand if cool enough until dough is formed. This step is crucial as adding a warm dough into the rest of the bread dough will alter the temperature.
Illustration by: Siow Jun
Illustration by: Siow Jun

 

Step three: Make the bread dough
Place flour, yeast, bread improver, sugar, milk powder and salt into a mixing bowl and stir until well-mixed. Then add in the eggs, condensed milk and water and start the mixer with a dough hook.
Illustration by: Siow Jun
Illustration by: Siow Jun

 

Step four
Add the tangzhong dough first and continue to knead. At this stage, the dough would’ve developed gluten. Next, add the unsalted butter and knead until dough starts to make slapping sounds against the mixing bowl.
Illustration by: Siow Jun
Illustration by: Siow Jun

 

Step five: Let it rise
Cover the bowl with clean wrap film or a cloth and allow the dough to ferment for approximately one hour. Place the bowl in a cupboard or space away from heat and moving air.
Illustration by: Siow Jun
Illustration by: Siow Jun

 

Step Six: Shape
Shape the dough into round balls and insert your choice of filling if any. Place the dough balls into small paper holders similar to the ones for cupcakes.
Illustration by: Siow Jun
Illustration by: Siow Jun

 

Step seven: Let it rise (again)
Proof the dough again in the cupboard away from heat and moving air and let it rise until it is 2 ½ times its normal size. To see if it’s ready, poke it gently with your finger and the dent made should only return half way up. As the dough proofs, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.
Illustration by: Siow Jun
Illustration by: Siow Jun

 

Step eight: Give it colour
Beat one egg and lightly brush over the top of the bun. This gives the bun a sheen when baked. Be sure to avoid the sides or drips.
Illustration by: Siow Jun
Illustration by: Siow Jun

 

Step nine: Bake!
Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool. Enjoy.

 

This article first appeared on Michelin Guide Singapore. Visit Michelin Guide Singapore on Facebook.

Featured image May22: Wonderland by Flickr user Daniel Ansel Tingcungco. (CC BY 2.0)

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by Michelin Guide Singapore

CHINESE New Year is always a welcome period for festive eating but the dedicated for whom fitness resolutions still loom large in January, the search for waist-friendly grub can be a challenge.

Here’s a thought: Whip up a healthier version of yusheng. Granted, the entire dish is meant to signify abundance but that doesn’t have to mean an abundance of calories. In fact, The Health Promotion Board notes that a serving of yusheng may contain as many calories as a main meal thanks to the use of oil as well as sweetened plum sauce.

“We do have some customers who request for ‘healthier’ options but as tossing yusheng is a once-a-year affair, most clients are happy with the yusheng options that we provide,” said Michelle Chan, Restaurant Manager of one-Michelin-starred Crystal Jade Golden Palace. “Typically, some customers would request for the service staff who is assisting with the tossing of the yusheng; to add less oil and/or less sauce to suit their palate.”

 

For those who prefer to have complete control over their food intake, the restaurant has also provided a healthier recipe so even the most stringent of weight watchers won’t worry for partaking in some festive cheer.

“The ingredients are mainly fresh fruits and salad leaves instead of the usual yusheng assortment,” said Michelle. “Green salad leaves provide crunch while fruits impart a natural sweetness. Rather than fried ‘pok chui’ biscuits, chef has used sweet potato strips instead.”

As with any recipe, more modifications can be made to further reduce the calories. The sweet potato strips that the restaurant recommends is deep fried but it can be baked or air-fried to a crisp for a similar texture. The fruit jam to be used for the sauce can also be substituted with low sugar options or homemade fruit compotes while plum sauce can be omitted entirely.

 

Healthful Yusheng
Serves 4-5

Ingredients
80g Japanese sweet potato, baked or air-fried
50g black fungus, soaked in water till soft and thinly sliced
50g strawberry, thinly sliced
50g honeydew, sliced
50g papaya, sliced
50g apple, sliced
50g watermelon, cubed
100g red carrot, cut into fine strips
100g white radish, cut into fine strips
10g fresh yuzu peel (orange can be used as well)
50g sesame seeds, toasted
50g pickled onions
20g olive kernals, finely diced (substitute with other nuts)
100g assorted salad leaves, washed and drained
10g Tobiko (flying fish roe)
50g yellow capsicum, cut into fine strips
2 lime leaves, cut into fine strips
2 stalks rosemaryFor yusheng sauce:
Fruit jam such as apple or orange marmalade
Lime juice
Plum sauce (can be omitted)
Rice vinegar
Pomegranate juice
Boiled water, to add to desired consistency
150g peanut oil

Method
1. To make the yusheng sauce, combine about 1 tablespoonful each of your choice of fruit jam such as green apple jam, lime juice, plum sauce, rice vinegar and pomegranate juice. Season to taste by adding more of all or some of the condiments and add as much water to reach desired consistency.
2. Arrange remaining yusheng ingredients onto plate and sprinkle Tobiko, lime leaves and rosemary leaves at the top.
3. To toss, add peanut oil and yusheng sauce.

 

This article first appeared on Michelin Guide Singapore. Visit Michelin Guide Singapore on Facebook.

Featured image CNY-52 by Flickr use Lynn Chan. (CC BY 2.0)

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by Najeer Yusof

INSTEAD of letting your excess food go to waste, why not place them in fridges that others can access?

Two community refrigerators were installed in the lift lobby of Block 441, Tampines Street 43, for residents in the area to donate food to needy neighbours. The two-week-old initiative by Tampines North Citizens’ Consultative Committee (TNCCC) was launched by Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng on Saturday (Jan 21).

One of the fridges was labelled with a “Halal” sticker, to cater to Muslim residents. Food donors were advised to be aware of the items they put in each fridge. Over the course of the first week, we noticed the “Halal” fridge being empty most of the time. According to the residents, the food in both fridges usually disappear within a couple of hours after replenishment. Eggs and meat were usually cleared the fastest. Although this initiative has been intended for the long term, the TNCCC is planning on monitoring the initiative for three to six months. Subsequently, it will decide on the next course of action: making improvements or stopping it entirely.

We decided to monitor the use of these fridges for a week, to see how the residents were using it and this is what we saw:

Residents of block 441 and Mr Baey Yam Keng fill both fridges with groceries on the day of launch.
DAY 1: Residents of Block 441 and Mr Baey filling both fridges with groceries on Saturday, Jan 21, the day the project was launched. The groceries, such as fresh meat, vegetables and fruits were donated by residents.

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Madam Poh Muei Giok, 73, a resident of block 441, taking an ice-cream from one of the fridge. "It is a good idea but some people are misusing it by taking a lot of the food," she said.
DAY 2: Madam Poh Muei Giok, 73, a resident of Block 441, taking an ice-cream from one of the fridges. “It is a good idea but some people are misusing it by taking a lot of the food,” she said.

 

Madam Evangeline Ang, 57, a member of the Residents' Committee, takes a photo of the contents of both fridges to update the other members on what needs restocking. "I come on alternative days to check on the stock and to see what needs restocking," she said.
DAY 3: Madam Evangeline Ang, 57, a member of the Residents’ Committee, taking a photo of the contents of both fridges to update the other members on what needs restocking. “I come on alternate days to check on the stock and to see what needs restocking,” she said.

 

Mr Michael Lim, 61, a retiree who resides in the neighbouring block checks the fridge to see which grocery requires a top up, before heading to the market to purchase them. "I heard about the initiative but I did not have time to come down to check it out till today. I bought fish cakes, meatballs, tofu, apples and oranges to fill into both fridges," he said.
DAY 4: Mr Michael Lim, 61, a retiree who resides in a neighbouring block checking the fridge to see which item requires a top up, before heading to the market to purchase them. “I heard about the initiative but I did not have time to come down to check it out till today. I bought fish cakes, meatballs, tofu, apples and oranges to fill both fridges,” he said.

 

Mr Tay, 52, a member of the Residents' Committee, stacks jars of Chinese New Year goodies on one of the fridges. The goodies were donated to the nearby Community Center by one of the residents. "Someone donated a few boxes of Chinese New Year goodies to the Community Center so I decided to bring them here for the residents to take them," he said.
DAY 5: Mr Tay, 52, a member of the Residents’ Committee, stacking jars of Chinese New Year goodies on one of the fridges. The goodies were donated to the nearby Community Centre by one of the residents. “Someone donated a few boxes of Chinese New Year goodies to the Community Centre so I decided to bring them here for the residents to take them,” he said.

 

Madam Salma Binte Ismail, 62, a resident of block 441, takes vegetables from one of the fridges. "The other day I was able to take some fish. This is a good initiative especially for residents like me who cannot afford to purchase a lot of groceries. My husband is the only one working and due to the recent heart bypass he had, he has not been working much lately. So we are not doing very well economically," she said.
DAY 6: Madam Salma Ismail, 62, a resident of Block 441, taking vegetables from one of the fridges. “The other day I was able to take some fish. This is a good initiative especially for residents like me who cannot afford to purchase a lot of groceries. My husband is the only one working and due to the recent heart bypass he had, he has not been working much lately. So we are not doing very well economically,” she said.

 

Madam Rei Tjoeng, 42, a resident from the neighbouring block, fills the fridge with mandarin oranges. "We may need to think of safeguarding the food inside such that there isn't a growth of bacteria. This can be done with proper storage and clearing any waste inside," she said.
DAY 7: Madam Rei Tjoeng, 42, a resident from a neighbouring block, filling the fridge with mandarin oranges. “We may need to think of safeguarding the food inside such that there isn’t a growth of bacteria. This can be done with proper storage and clearing of any waste inside,” she said.

 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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by Najeer Yusof

THE pineapple tart is an iconic pastry that is found in many Chinese homes during the Lunar New Year. The term for pineapple in several Chinese dialects, such as ong lai in Hokkien and wong lai in Cantonese, sounds similar to the arrival of prosperity. Making the buttery pastry, which comes with a dollop of pineapple jam on top, has been a part of Mr Wei Chan’s family business for 33 years.

The 45-year-old is the current owner of Pine Garden Bakery, a heartland bakery that specialises in handmade cakes and baked goods. He is from the second generation of a line of family members who ran the bakery before him. His mother, a former seamstress, decided to open the bakery with a few relatives after realising that her tailoring business was not doing well. The recipe of pineapple tarts was passed down from her mother, Mr Chan’s grandmother. Although Mr Chan has made minor alterations to the recipe to make the tarts softer, he has retained the gist of it and still has the tarts handmade.

The pineapple tarts are made only during the Chinese New Year period and the preparations begin about a month and a half in advance. Here’s how the tarts are made:

MAKING THE PASTE: Mr Chan sources the pineapples from dealers in Malaysia. He obtains samples from them and decides on the best one before placing his order. The pineapples used to make the tarts have to be half-ripped and must not be sweet. They are skinned, grated and made into paste. The homemade paste are then stored in a refrigerator until it is time to make the tarts.
MAKING THE PASTE: Mr Chan sources pineapples from dealers in Malaysia. He obtains samples from them and decides on the best one before placing his order. The pineapples used to make the tarts have to be half ripe and must not be too sweet. They are skinned, grated and made into a paste. The homemade jam is then stored in a refrigerator until it is time to make the tarts.

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ROLL AND CUT: The base of tart is made from a mixture of butter, plain flour and salt. The batter is rolled out using a roller, to ensure even thickness. Subsequently, the base of the tart is shaped out from the flattened batter, using a cutter.
ROLL AND CUT: The base of the tart is made from a mixture of butter, plain flour and salt. The dough is rolled out using a roller, to ensure even thickness. Subsequently, a cutter is used to cut out the tart base from the flattened dough.

 

IDEAL WEIGHT: The pineapple fillings are weighed on a scale to exactly eight grams. They are then hand moulded into round shapes and placed onto the tart. The portion of the filling has to be exact, to ensure the best taste.
IDEAL WEIGHT: The pineapple fillings are weighed on a scale to obtain a weight of 8g. They are then hand-moulded into balls and placed onto the tart. The portion of the filling has to be exact, to ensure the best taste.

 

NEAT AND TIDY: After the pineapple filling is placed onto the tart, the filling is pressed to ensure that the tarts have a smooth top. Since fresh pineapples are used, the fillings contain pineapple fibers. Pressing the fillings helps to prevent these fibers from sticking out.
NEAT AND TIDY: After the pineapple filling is placed onto the tart, the filling is pressed to ensure that the tarts have a smooth top. Since fresh pineapples are used, the fillings contain pineapple fibres. Pressing the fillings helps to prevent these fibres from sticking out.

 

SEE AND SWITCH: A worker inserts a tray of pineapple tarts into the oven for baking. This is a 40-year-old oven and it has four decks. Each can fit four trays. The trays in each deck are switched among one another during baking, to ensure even baking. The worker has to observe the colour of the tarts to know if they are baked proper.
SEE AND SWITCH: A worker inserts a tray of pineapple tarts into the oven for baking. The oven is 40 years old and has four decks. Each deck can fit four trays. The trays in each deck are switched around during baking, to ensure even baking. The worker has to observe the colour of the tarts to know if they are baked properly.

 

WORKING TEMPERATURE: The tarts are made in a enclosed room with a room temperature between 19 to 20 degrees celsius. Since the batter is made with butter, a cool temperature is needed to prevent the butter from melting and making the batter too soft.
WORKING TEMPERATURE: The tarts are made in an enclosed room with a room temperature that is between 19 and 20 deg C. Since the dough is made of butter, a cool temperature is needed to prevent the butter from melting and making the dough too soft.

 

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ASIA is home to thousands of cultures, yet the one ingredient that unites us all is having rice as part of our daily meals. From India in the west to Japan in the far east, down to furthest southern reaches of the Indonesian islands, rice has been a staple for billions of people for thousands of years.

Yet the humble grain, or at least the processed white version of it, has been at the crosshairs of health authorities in recent years for its role in diabetes.

Harvard researchers studying over 350,000 participants way back in 2012 for instance, noted that an additional serving of white rice raises the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 10 per cent. This is explained in part by its high glycemic index (GI) score which causes spikes in blood sugar.

But these same researchers note that modern sedentary lifestyles have a large part to play as rice has been in the Asian diet for millennia and health issues are cropping up only now. One solution: reduce the amount you eat, but do it without starving.

This is easily done by adding seeds, nuts and grains. While the purity of a simple bowl of white rice is certainly hard to beat, these small modifications not only add interest in flavour and texture but ramps up the amount of nutrition you’d get in one sitting. Here’s 7 you can add for a healthier bowl of rice.

01 Barley
Barley incorporated into short grained rice yields a nutty taste with the chewy texture of al-dente pasta while providing more manganese, phosphorus and proteins. The grain cooks at the same rate as rice so it can be mixed and cooked at the same time. To get this right, combine 1 cup barley with 1 cup rice with 2 ½ cups of water and cook as per normal in your rice cooker.

02 Quinoa
For those looking to increase the amount of protein in your diet, quinoa is your go-to grain. The cereal which is native to South America takes just 15 minutes to cook so add it into your rice towards the end if you prefer it still crunchy. While white rice and quinoa is an easier combination, consider cooking with brown rice to include more fibre.

Amaranth, the ancient Aztec grain.
Amaranth, the ancient Aztec grain.

03 Sesame Seeds
There’s more to sesame seeds than just having it as an oil or to sprinkle on top of burger buns. They’re packed with nutrients like proteins, fat and fibre, and tastes best when roasted and crunchy. To get the best out of this flavour and texture, dry roast the sesame seeds on a hot saucepan until slightly browned, and mix it in with cooked rice.

04 Amaranth
This ancient grain was a staple of the Aztecs and is as protein packed as quinoa. Unlike quinoa though, amaranth turns mushy when cooked, so go by your preference when cooking it with rice. Generally, more amaranth leads to a soft pudding-like texture. But a good way to start and gauge your preference would be to use 1/4 cup of amaranth to 3/4 cups of other grains.

05 Soy Beans
Soybeans have long been cooked with glutinous rice in Asia as part of leaf-wrapped dumplings and often come seasoned with savoury additions. The beans are also so protein-packed that it’s recommended as a replacement for those on meat-free diets. To cook it, soak the soy beans overnight so they soften up, dehull them and then add your desired amount into the rice to cook simultaneously.

A bowl of garbanzo beans
A bowl of garbanzo beans

06 Mung Beans
Healthy ingredients can be difficult to find but thankfully, mung beans or green beans as they’re commonly known are found everywhere. They’re packed with nutrients like magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, folate, zinc and vitamin B6. Like soy beans, soak the green beans overnight before cooking. Recipe-wise, the Iranians have a dish named Mash M’tubuq which calls for ½ cup of mung beans to 1 cup of rice. It also calls for other ingredients like yoghurt, onions, molasses and dill but there’s no reason why you can’t try it out plain.

07 Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans are often seen more as the main ingredient in hummus than with rice but it’s a combo that’s also seen in Mediterranean and Indian dishes. Save yourself some time and go for the canned version rather than the dried version as getting the buttery texture it’s so loved for requires more than just soaking, but also simmering for 1 ½ hours. As canned versions are already cooked, simply add your desired amount towards the end of the rice cooking cycle and give it a good stir.

 

This article first appeared on Michelin Guide Singapore. Visit Michelin Guide Singapore on Facebook.

Featured image mixed rice by Flickr user theilr. (CC BY 2.0)

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by Brenda Tan

SCHOOL lunch times have been in the news – why are our kids having their mid-day meal so late?

I’ve taken to preparing a packed lunch for my daughter. It takes me 10-15 minutes in the morning.

I invest in good thermal food containers that keep food hot or cold for a long period. I also plan a weekly menu so that I’m not usually stumped for what to cook for her. Moreover, this menu is a guide that gives me flexibility. If we have lots of leftover from dinner, I can simply reheat and pack it for her as lunch. I also take note of her favourite foods and what works well for her meal and what don’t, so that the meal can be refined.

Here are some tips and tricks, and recipes, for packing a lunchbox meal:

Tips for packing school lunch

Tip #1 – Prepare the food container

To ensure that the thermal food containers are at their optimal temperatures, put in boiling water and seal the container while cooking. Then, when the food is ready, pour away the water before putting the hot food into the container. Do likewise using ice cold water for cold foods.

Tip #2 – Calculate nutritional value over a whole day rather than in one meal

While I try to ensure that the lunch follows recommended food groups and servings, sometimes it’s difficult to do so with a packed meal. It’s easier to remember that if the kids do not get their serving of fruits and vegetables at lunch, they can do so in a snack when they get home.

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1. Japanese cold noodles with dipping sauce

Image from Brenda Tan's Facebook page.
Image from Brenda Tan’s Facebook page.

My children’s number one favourite and very easy to make.

Ingredients:

Soba noodles (or udon noodles)
Katsuo Atsukezuritsuyu (soba sauce)

  1. Cook the noodles in boiling water for about 5 minutes.
  2. Cool the noodles in ice water.
  3. Strain the cold noodles and put it into a cold food jar. Garnish with sesame seeds and cut seaweed.
  4. In a watertight container, dilute soba sauce with water.
  5. Kids can either dip the noodles in the sauce or pour the sauce over the noodles to eat.

I purchase the noodles and sauce from Daiso or from any Japanese supermarket.

 

2. Fried rice

Image from Brenda Tan's Facebook page.
Image from Brenda Tan’s Facebook page.

It’s easy to prepare the ingredients ahead and store it in the fridge. Cooking the fried rice takes only a few minutes and the rice keeps its heat very well for lunch as a balanced meal.

Ingredients:

Leftover rice
Leftover meat from dinner, diced (or marinated raw meat, diced)
Leftover vegetables from dinner, diced (or frozen vegetables)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 egg

  1. Heat up oil in a frying pan and fry the chopped onions. If using raw meat, cook the meat when the frying onions turn fragrant.
  2. Add the rice and stir-fry to break the rice up. Add the leftover ingredients or the frozen vegetable. Fry and mix the ingredients well.
  3. Move the rice mix aside and crack the egg into the frying pan. Stir-fry the mix again and incorporate the egg.
  4. Add pepper and salt to taste.
  5. Put into a warm food jar.

A variation to fried rice would be to make rice pancakes. Leftover rice and frozen vegetables are mixed with eggs into a batter, with a little salt and pepper. The batter is spooned into small round pancakes on a hot frying pan to cook. When the rice-and-egg batter firms up, the pancake is flipped and is done.

 

3. Noodle soup

Image from Brenda Tan's Facebook page.
Image from Brenda Tan’s Facebook page.

Noodle soup is easy to prepare ahead and delicious for lunch. The trick is to keep the soup hot in the thermal food jar and to add it to the noodles and vegetables when it is time to eat. My daughter found it easier to pour the hot soup into the noodles so I usually pack the noodles in a lunchbox that can accommodate the soup. This meal is good for older kids as it might be difficult for younger children to deal with hot soup.

Ingredients:

Cooked noodles
Leftover soup broth from dinner or use chicken stock for the base
Fishballs
Slices of fish cake
Leafy vegetable like chye sim, cut into one-inch pieces

  1. Boil noodles and vegetables until cooked. Drain and put these in a lunchbox.
  2. If using chicken stock, fry some chopped onions and garlic before adding the stock to give the soup more flavour. Add the fishballs and fish cake slices. When the soup boils, pour it into a thermal food jar.

 

4. Spaghetti aglio olio

Image from Brenda Tan's Facebook page.
Image from Brenda Tan’s Facebook page.

Another favourite of my kids, this only requires three basic ingredients:

Spaghetti
Olive oil (enough to coat cooked spaghetti, about 2 tablespoons)
Minced garlic (usually half a teaspoon for one portion)

  1. Cook the spaghetti in water, with some salt and olive oil added.
  2. While the spaghetti is almost done, in a separate large frying pan, fry the minced garlic in the olive oil on medium heat until fragrant.
  3. Drain the spaghetti, leaving about 1 or 2 tablespoons of its water with the noodles.
  4. Add the spaghetti and water to the frying pan. Stir to combine well with the garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Depending on the kid’s request or whether I have the ingredients on hand, I sometimes add chopped tomato or mushrooms, or even bacon to the spaghetti.

 

5. Easy macaroni and cheese

Image from Brenda Tan's Facebook page.
Image from Brenda Tan’s Facebook page.

Another family favourite, but for packed mac & cheese in the morning, I make a “cheater” version.

Ingredients:

Elbow macaroni (or fusilli pasta or any kinds of pasta)
Evaporated milk
Cheddar cheese, 1 slice

Method:

  1. Measure how much pasta could fit into the container. Then pour enough evaporated milk to cover all the pasta. If you don’t have evaporated milk, just use plain milk. The evaporated milk gives a creamier texture to the mac & cheese. Pour out the pasta and milk into a microwave safe dish and heat it up for about 2 to 3 minutes. (You don’t have to fully cook the pasta as it will continue to cook in the thermal jar for the next 4 hours.)
  2. If you don’t have a microwave, just estimate the amount of pasta and evaporated milk you’ll need. Boil the pasta (using water) until it is semi-cooked. Drain it and then continue cooking the pasta in the evaporated milk.
  3. Add a slice of cheddar cheese to the dish and stir to mix well. If the milk dried out too fast, just add milk or water to the dish. Add salt and pepper, dried herbs like oregano or basil, to taste.
  4. If using the microwave, put the dish back into the microwave for another minute to melt the cheese. If using the stove, just make sure to stir the cheese into the pasta until it’s melted.
  5. Put the mac & cheese into a thermal jar for it to continue cooking.

 

Easy and healthy snacks

These are easily packed into small lunch boxes for the kid’s breaks:

  • Nuts (eg. almond, peanuts, cashews). Buy in larger quantity. Pack the amount desired into the kid’s airtight lunch boxes to reduce waste.
  • Fruits (eg. grapes, apple slices, blueberries, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, kiwi fruit, melon, bananas). Fruits tastes better if cooled and kept in a cold thermal jar. For small fruit items like grapes or blueberries, it may be faster for the kid to eat them if they are skewered on a food pick.
  • Cooked chickpeas. I buy this in a can, drain the water and heat it up in a microwave with water and a stick of cinnamon. The chickpeas are then cooled before packing them into a lunch box.
  • Vegetables (eg. celery sticks, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, corn cup).
  • Cheese sticks or cheese cubes. To ensure cheese keeps well, I usually put them in cold thermal jars.
  • Hard-boiled eggs. To make it fun, I usually use an egg mould to shape the eggs.
  • Sandwiches and buns. These are great stand-by for a quick snack box.

 

Read our other stories on primary school late lunches:

Why do our primary school kids have such LATE lunches?

MOE responds to lunch break story

 

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by Michelin Guide Singapore

2016 has come and gone and with it, trends that delighted many, tantalised others and horrified some. What connects them all is the undeniable current of which these ideas flow: from city to city, from North America to Asia and vice versa.

After all, F&B head honchos often look across the world for inspiration. When a small gourmet butcher in Manhattan starts offering dry aging services for example, other businesses halfway across the globe are inspired to do the same. When a mixologist takes out spirits from his concoction as a challenge to create the same body without the alcohol, others too might be tempted to take up the task.

It’s almost like a butterfly effect that culminates into a trend. Here’s 10 to look out for this year.

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From left: Dominique Crenn, Alex Atala, Alain DucasseFrom left: Dominique Crenn, Alex Atala, Alain Ducasse

 

2017: A new breed of chefs
Chefs have long gotten rid of toques – the tall white hats that defined their occupation – but that has brought forth a thought leader who wears many hats. They are now entrepreneurs, sociologists, even designers and food scientists. It’s the direct result of two phenomena: chefs gaining prominence across the media with documentaries and Netflix series that highlight their philosophies, as well as more opportunities to collaborate. Think along the lines of communities like the Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle which sees big names like Alex Atala, Alain Ducasse and Dominique Crenn putting their heads together with a mission to impact not just how we eat, but how we think about eating.

 

Passage to India – via Tapas
Indian cuisine has always been about its bold and proud food that you enjoy digging into with your hands. Now, imagine tucking into crispy poppadoms and dipping them into delicate little cups of spiced potato and chickpea curry. This is Indian food done tapas-style, over at award-winning Irish chef Liam Tomlin’s Thali restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa. Over in London, new restaurant Bombay Brunch on Croyden Street follows the idea of turning traditional Indian fare into bite-sized portions. “Generally, people are used to having a curry, rice and naan. But here, we want people to take a bit of everything,” says restaurant manager JaiminShukula.

 

A dish from two-Michelin-starred Shisen Hanten
A dish from two-Michelin-starred Shisen Hanten

 

Sichuan uprising
Cantonese fare has defined Chinese food in many of the world’s cosmpolitan cities so far. But the hot and sour flavours of Sichuan cuisine are fast on the rise. In 2016, Café China in the heart of Midtown, Manhattan, was awarded one star by the Michelin Guide to New York City for standout dishes like a succulent Chungking chicken that comes with a generous amount of dried chillies. In Singapore, Shisen Hanten became the highest Michelin-awarded Chinese restaurant with two stars for its mastery of Sichuan’s complex flavour profile that comes through in the mapo tofu, a deceptively simple dish.

 

The rise of the “Grocerant”
Grocery stores are grocery stores and restaurants are restaurants – except when the two meet and gives rise to “The Grocerant”. It’s a space where restaurants sell fresh produce that they cook with or where grocery stores have chefs to whip up meals for shoppers.While some might find the portmanteau cringe-worthy, more and more of such concepts are popping up in cities around the globe. One such is Eataly which started in (surprise surprise) Italy as far back as 2004 but now has branches from New York City to Sao Paulo and even Seoul. Closer to Asia, Plentyfull – an all-day restaurant in Singapore which has a small section stocked with produce brought in by Little Farms has just set up a shop in a shopping mall no less.Perhaps the fusion of the two was inevitable. After all, the US last year alone saw consumer spending in restaurants outstrip grocery stores fuelled by millennials who are more willing to shell out money for food rather than produce.

 

 

Gourmet butchers that do more than just, well, butcher
Butchers these days do more than just chop and carve. Thanks to advanced technology, the hardware for preserving and ageing meat means sleeker outfits with fancy chiller cabinets that display rows of hunky loins ripe for picking. At Salt and Time in Austin, Texas, for instance, the butcher shop offers full services from curing, smoking and dry-ageing meats, as well as classes on sausage-making and meat-curing. Over at Provenance in Notting Hill, London, the cool grey-and-brick butcher’s shop run by a group of young Kiwis and English provides ready-to-go charcuterie platters and marinated meats.

 

Vegetables as comfort food
While vegetables continue to star in haute cuisine, expect more vegetarian options in the form of comfort fare this year. Think cauliflower steaks – you’ll find this on the menu at Park Avenue in New York City – or a heaping plate of pasta made from shredded courgettes and butternut squash. Then of course, there’s ABCV by Jean-Georges Vongerichten of three-starred Jean-Georges. Far from the daintily plated morsels on fancy plates, the casual eatery will be serving up comfort fare like dosas, crepes and even rice with lentils.Elsewhere, the rise of vegetable butchers – Yam Chops in Toronto and Suzy Spoon’s in Australia – who share tips on how to cook, carve and basically appreciate your vegetables, also makes it easier to find more ways to get creative and using new techniques to kick up the flavour quotient. Need a good alternative to bacon bits? Try lightly smoked coconut flesh sliced and diced that’s as delicious as it’s healthy.

 

A Bowl of Pho in Vietnam
A bowl of Pho in Vietnam
.
Vietnamese food finds new fans
Ramen has had a passionate cult following in the West for years now but hot on its heels is Pho, the humble Vietnamese streetside dish. The dining culture is the same: noodles in a broth topped with slivers of meat slurped on with chopsticks but with the addition of fresh herbs.This familiar mode of eating means it’s easily being taken up in the West while gaining a whole new breed of passionate fans across the world. How else can anyone explain the furore that ensued when a US magazine featured a non-Vietnamese chef educating the masses on how to eat pho earlier this year? And who could forget that viral image of outgoing US president Obama sitting on a blue stool with chef Anthony Bourdain in a Hanoi restaurant with a bowl of pho in front of him, right hand cradling a beer. Those of us looking for healthier options to ramen without sacrificing the familiar comforts can surely toast to that.

 

The bowl becomes the plate
Acai bowls, power bowls, grain bowls. All these ideas are coming to a head this year as more people are opting to use bowls over plates either in eateries or at home.It could be the way we eat that has become a little more relaxed – think TV dinners or at a party when a bowl is clearly superior to avoid spillage, but at least one academic claims that the tableware that holds our food influences how we perceive its taste.

“I certainly believe that the plateware we use to eat from plays a role in what things tastes like,” says Charles Spence, head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford in a BBC interview. “Everything from the texture, the temperature or the feel or the plateware or bowl can fit into this.”

A dish from Twenty Four Seasons
A dish from Twenty Four Seasons

 

More Korean traditional fine dining
For so long, going out for a Korean meal meant heading to a cosy mom-and-pop joint where the atmosphere is convivial, the service is almost family-like and the ban chan (side dishes) keeps coming until you’re too full to move. Yet a paradigm shift has occurred in the Korean dining scene since the Michelin Guide landed in Seoul late last year.The spotlight has shifted to Korean fine dining – an idea that even Koreans themselves don’t seem to take fondly to, at least at first. We’re not talking about modern interpretations of Korean dishes here, but of chefs digging into the historical roots of the cuisine and bringing forth philosophies for the modern diner.Chef Kim Byung-Jin of three-starred Gaon for instance, has spent his entire career studying the essence of Korean cuisine and believes it to lie in its natural simplicity. “Many Koreans still think that a full-on spread comprising as many dishes as possible is the way to serve guests,” says the chef. “Although the visual impact of it may wow the guests at first, in the end, not one dish stands out. When there is a story to be told and that story is narrated in a way that connects the chef with his guests, then that to me is fine dining.”

 

 

Mocktail Mixology: No longer mocked at
It’s no secret that cocktails – no matter how well done – pack on the calories. But a night out might just be easier on the body this year as more bartenders turn their attention to elevating mocktails and stirring up delicious and healthy non-alcoholic drinks. Think the use of cold-pressed juices, fresh citrus fruits and light sweeteners like birch syrup which comes with an earthy smokiness that (almost) makes you think you’re sipping on a negroni.If you think this is a cop out for establishments wanting to charge high prices for no booze, think again. Crafting a glass still takes real effort and solid savoir faire. “In some ways [mocktails] take more development than an alcoholic drink,” says Sylvie Gabriele, owner of Love & Salt restaurant in California to Eater.com. “Alcohol by nature has body and kick and we had to really develop those flavour profiles to produce a full experience.”

This article first appeared on Michelin Guide Singapore. Visit Michelin Guide Singapore on Facebook.

Featured image Gwanaksan_Mountain_09 by Flickr user Republic of Korea. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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by Iffah Nadhirah Osman, Jonathan Leong, Glenn Ong, Lim Qiu Ping and Vanessa Wu

THE salted egg has been used as a key ingredient in local dishes for a while now, but the humble yolk has certainly become a lot more popular over the past few months. With more eateries and restaurants coming up with innovative ways to feature the salted egg yolk, it’s hard not to notice the proliferation of such dishes in menus across the island.

Here are 50 of them and where you can find them in Singapore:

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Image from Hana restaurant’s Facebook page.

Flying salted egg yolk udon 

The gravity defying Japanese noodles at Hana Restaurant are combined with a salted egg yolk dipping sauce and then garnished with curry leaves and chilli padi.

Price: $18

Location:

583 Orchard Road
#01-17, Forum The Shopping Mall,
Singapore 238884

Tel: 6737 5525

Image from Full of Luck Club’s Facebook page

Golden sand corn with salted egg yolk

At Full of Luck Club, one can order a side dish of fried corn with salted egg yolk sauce and chilli, with the sauce forming a crisp layer around the corn.

Price: $4.80

Location:

243 Holland Ave,
Singapore 278977

Tel: 6208 6845

Image from The Refinery’s Facebook Page

Salted egg onion rings

At The Refinery, these onion rings are given a hearty topping of salted egg yolk custard sauce.

Price: $13

Location:

115 King George’s Ave
#01-02, Singapore 208561

Tel: 6293 1204

Image taken from Irvins’ Facebook page.

Salted egg yolk potato chips

These aren’t your standard potato chips. Rather, they are coated with a layer of salted egg yolk crumbs and spiced with curry leaves, besides other ingredients.

Price: $16 for a big pack or $8 for a small pack

Location:

VivoCity B2-K25 (Walk-ins only)
Raffles Xchange B1 (Weekdays)
Westgate Level 2 (Daily)

Tel: 62643076

Image taken from Flavour Flings’ Facebook page.

Salted egg yolk croissants

Flavour Flings’ salted egg yolk lava-filled pastry was such a hit, they would sell out within half an hour, when the cafe first served them. The cafe claims to be the first to offer this delicacy in Singapore.

Price: $7.50 per piece

Location:

Blk 121 Hougang Avenue 1,
#01-1348, 530121

Tel: 6286 0051

Image taken from Sinpopo’s Facebook page.

Salted egg yolk cookies

Get your cookie and salted egg yolk fix with the salted egg yolk cookies from Sinpopo. The cookies are made with curry leaves in them too.

Price: $15 per jar

Location:

458 Joo Chiat Road,         Singapore 427671

Tel: 6345 5034

Image taken from Tom’s Palette’s website.

Salted egg yolk ice cream

Now, your salted egg yolk comes in the form of an ice cream too. This flavour is interesting as it’s surprisingly sweet yet you can still get a taste of the salted egg yolk.

Price: $3.60

Location:

100 Beach Rd
#01-25, Shaw Tower,
Singapore 189702

Tel: 6296 5239

Image taken from The UrbanWire’s website.

Salted egg yolk cocktail 

Operation Dagger bar invented this cocktail, comprising salted egg yolk cured for 24 hours in dark Venezuelan rum, sugar and vanilla.

Price: $25

Location:

7 Ann Siang Hill,                 Singapore 069791

Tel: 6438 4057

Image from NOM – Bistro & Bakery’s Facebook page.

Salted egg yolk rainbow cake 

NOM – Bistro & Bakery has your salted egg yolk cravings covered with its rainbow cake that has a frosting of caramelised butter, curry leaves and salted egg yolk.

Price: $8.90 per slice

Location:

400 Paya Lebar Way,           Macpherson Community Club Level 1, Singapore 379131

Tel: 6747 3839

Image is a screenshot from Fatcat Ice Cream Bar’s website.

Charcoal waffles with salted egg sauce

Fatcat Ice Cream Bar serves up charcoal waffles with a choice of ice cream topping and of course, salted egg yolk sauce.

Price: $6

Location:

416 Bedok North Avenue 2, Singapore 460416

Tel: 6241 0830

Image is a screenshot from Sin Lee Foods’s website.

Sweet potato fries with salted egg yolk sauce

Sin Lee Foods cafe diverts from the usual french fries side dish, using sweet potatoes and topping it with salted egg yolk sauce.

Price: $12

Location:

4 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee,
Singapore 162004

Tel: 6377 3170

Image from Loco Loco’s Facebook page.

Salted egg yolk churros

Drop by one of Loco Loco’s pop up stores to try out the latest edition to its menu – salted egg yolk churros. Enjoy a cup of crispy and hot churros, drizzled with salted egg yolk sauce.

Price: $6 per serving

Location:

Jurong East MRT, Admiralty MRT, River Hangbao (pop up stores)

Tel: 8484 0087

Image from Tart Blanc’s Facebook page.

Peach and salted yolk tart

Tart Blanc specialises in pastries. This dessert contains slices of peaches sitting atop a sour cream cake, with molten lava egg yolk as the filling. Heat it up and it’s ready to be eaten.

Price: $7.50

Location:

Millenia Walk,
#01-102, 9 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039596

Tel: 6238 6893

Image from Lepark’s Facebook page.

Soft shell crab mantou with salted egg yolk sauce

Are you a fan of crabs and mantou? Try out Lepark’s SEY (short for salted egg yolk) signature dish that comprises crab cake balls and soft shell crabs placed in toasted mantou buns and topped with salted egg yolk sauce.

Price: $12 per serving

Location:

1 Park Road, People’s Park Complex Level 6, Singapore 059108

Tel: 6908 5809

 

Image from 7Kickstart’s Facebook page.

Liu Sha French Toast

In need of some good breakfast? 7Kickstart cafe has its French toast served with creamy and savoury salted egg yolk sauce.

Price: $13.90

Location:

71 Bras Basah Road,
Singapore 189555

Tel: 8389 7877

Image from Mitzo’s Facebook page.

Deep-fried prawns with salted egg yolk

Like prawns? Like salted egg yolk? Chinese restaurant, Mitzo, has you covered for that. As the name says, the deep-fried prawns are laundered in a rich “eggy” sauce.

Price: $32

Location:

270 Orchard Road,
Grand Park Orchard,
Singapore 238857

Tel: 6603 8855

Image from Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks (NEX, Singapore)’s Facebook page.

Salted egg yolk crispy chicken

Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks chain is known for its crispy chicken; a slab of breaded chicken deep fried and dusted with plum powder and pepper. Now, there’s an additional topping: salted egg yolk sauce.

Price: $4.90

Location:

At all branches

Image from The Golden Duck Co.’s Facebook page.

Salted egg yolk fish skin

If fried fish skin is your favourite snack, you need to give The Golden Duck’s salted egg version of it a try. Get a bite of the crunchy fish skin together with its signature creamy salted egg sauce.

Price: $7 per packet

Location:

At all branches

 

 

Image from Charlotte Grace Cakeshop’s Facebook page.

Salted egg yolk macaron

Charlotte Grace Cakeshop has the cutest designer macarons. This particular set is white, has salted egg yolk sauce for filling, and different Gudetama prints on it.

Price: $2.20

Location:

27 Kampong Bahru Road,
Singapore 169351

Tel: 9768 9827

Image from Three Cups Coffee Co.’s Facebook page.

Salted egg yolk and bacon spaghetti

Sick of your tomato and cream-based pasta? Three Cups Coffee Co. has added a new dish to its menu. It’s the salted egg yolk and bacon spaghetti, topped with cooked egg and a slice of lime.

Price: $9.80

Location:

1 Raffles Place #04-31,
Singapore 048616
Tel: 6438 4108

Image from Just Food!’s Facebook page.

Salted egg (fried) crab

This is the signature dish of Keng Eng Kee Seafood stall. The chef makes the sauce by blending salted egg yolks into milk over the fire. Curry leaves are added to enhance the taste. Then, the crab is stir-fried, with the salted egg yolk sauce mixed in last.

Price: seasonal pricing

Location:

Blk 124 Bukit Merah Lane 1
#01-136,
Singapore 150124

Tel: 6272 1038

Image from BaliThai-Singapore’s Facebook page.

Phad Prik Tour (long bean with chilli paste & salted egg yolk)

BaliThai’s savoury dish takes crunchy long beans and stir-fry it with chilli slices and salted egg yolk bits. According to the Thai food chain, it’s a “palette pleaser that goes well with anything”.

Price: $11

Location:

At all branches

Image from Fish & Chicks’ Facebook page.

Chilli crab (without crab) and salted egg fish & chips

Fish & Chick is famous for the quality of their fried fish with batter, especially the crispiness of the batter skin and thickness of the fish. The fish is served along with salted egg yolk sauce and/or chilli crab sauce, all home-made.

Price: $10.90

Location:
531 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10,
Happy Hawkers #01-2429,
Singapore 560531

Cathay Cineleisure
8 Grange Road #B1-01,
Koufu Food Court, 239695

Tel: 9828 3490

Image from Diamond Kitchen’s Facebook page.

Salted egg sotong

Diamond Kitchen restaurant’s salted egg sotong is known for being crispy without feeling oily. The deep fried sotong pieces are dusted with spicy powder before undergoing a second sprinkle, this time with the salted egg yolk mix.

Price: $16/ 24/ 32

Location:

5000F Marine Parade Road,
Laguna Park Condominium #01-22/23,
Singapore 449289

Tel: 6448 0629

87 Science Park Dr
#01-01,
Singapore 118260

Tel: 6464 0410

Image from imakan_uwatch’s Instagram.

Seafood salted egg pot

From the Tenderfresh Classic restaurants come this recent addition to its menu. The seafood salted egg pot combines salmon, prawns, mussels and clams in a creamy stew and its flavour is deepened using salted egg yolks.

Price: $16.90

Location:

At Tenderfresh Classic branches only

Image from Bao Makers’ Facebook page.

Salted egg shrimp bao

Bao Makers creates artisan Chinese buns, also known as the mantou. The eatery makes its own buns as well as the salted egg yolk sauce. Bao Makers’ salted egg yolk dish comes in two versions. One, with the sauce poured over shrimps (stuffed in a bun) and the other, over fried chicken.

Price: $5.80 each (buy two min.)

Location:

78 Horne Road,
Singapore 209078

Tel: 6291 2330

Image from Big Street’s Facebook page.

Salted egg prata bom

Considered by food bloggers to be the first salted egg yolk prata dish around. The Big Street restaurant created its salted egg prata bom by wrapping a generous serving of salted egg yolk lava in soft prata dough. It’s satisfying to see the lava oozing out of the prata when it’s cut.

Price: $6

Location:

104/106 Jalan Besar,
Singapore 208828

Tel: 6100 2661

Image from Drury Lane’s Facebook page.

Creamy salted egg yolk eggs benedict with grilled prawns

Drury Lane cafe is giving a twist to the usual eggs benedict by using salted egg yolk sauce instead of hollandaise. The eggs and sauce are piled on grilled prawns and these rest upon wilted kale and steamed bun. A hearty dish for brunch!

Price: $17

Location:

94 Tanjong Pagar Road,
Singapore 088515

Tel: 6222 6698

 

Image from Dragon Phoenix’s Facebook page.

Triple Happiness Pearl (San he ming zhu)

The Dragon Phoenix is one of the oldest restaurants in Singapore serving Cantonese cuisine. Its poetically named Triple Happiness Pearl dish is made by stuffing a whole salted egg yolk and chicken liver into a ball of shrimp paste, before deep-frying the entire thing. A special order has to be made to enjoy this off-menu item.

Price: $16

Location:

177A River Valley Road,
#06-00 Novotel Clarke Quay (Liang Court),
Singapore 179031

Tel: 6339 3368

Image from faerylytes’ Instagram

Mini charcoal salted egg yolk custard bun

This eye-catching bun can be found at Min Jiang restaurant. The soft black bun is elegantly brushed with gold paint and filled with a generous amount of salted egg yolk filling that oozes out when you break the bun apart.

Price: $4.20++ for three (available on the a la carte dim sum lunch menu)

Location:

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road,
Singapore 228221

Tel: 6737 7411

Min Jiang @ One North
5 Rochester,
Singapore 139216
Tel: 6774 0122

 

Image from dan_somar’s Instagram

Pumpkin with salted egg

This is a side dish from Honguo restaurant whose signature dish is Yunnan Mi Xian. The pumpkin is coated with thin crispy batter that has been mixed with salted egg yolk. Finally, the dish is garnished with spring onions. The sweetness of the pumpkin complements the salted egg yolk.

Price: $6.80

Location:

Bugis Junction,
230 Victoria Street
#B1-06,
Singapore 188024

Tel: 6884 4717

Image from lamesterc’s Instagram

Steamed salted egg yolk xiao long bao

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao restaurant came up with a salted egg yolk version of its well-loved Xiao Long Bao. It’s filled with minced pork (mixed with salted egg yolk) and savoury broth. The orange coloured skin mirrors the colour of a salted egg yolk.

Location:

At all Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao branches

Image from Prima Deli’s Facebook page

Salted egg cheese tart

Prima Deli kept up with the salted egg yolk trend with a salted egg yolk cheese tart. It’s 40 cents more expensive than its original cheese tart. But for salted egg yolk lovers, it would be worth the higher price!

Price: $2.80

Location:

At all branches

Image from The Pipe District’s website

Chicken wings freak out

Keeping with the theme of The Pipe District’s restaurant, the deep fried chicken wings are served in a mess tin. The wings are drizzled with salted egg yolk sauce that has been cooked with curry leaves.

Price: $10 for 6 pieces

Location:

45 Science Park Road
#01-09/10,
Singapore 117407

Tel: 6873 0143

Image from Little Drizzle’s website

Salted egg black sesame cake

The cake is Little Drizzle’s best seller. It’s a black sesame chiffon cake with black sesame frosting, topped with a homemade salted egg yolk custard and shortbread crumbs.

Price: $55 (6″ cake)

Location:

77 Aliwal Street,
Singapore 199948
Tel: 9664 1518,
8233 9810

 

Image from Burpple.

Banana salted egg yolk crumble

This dessert, by Milk & Honey Gelato, is made up of caramelised bananas, salted egg yolk crumble and a scoop of sea salt caramel gelato on top of a donut waffle.

Location:

Bukit Batok HomeTeam NS Clubhouse,
2 Bukit Batok West Ave 7
#01-01/02/03,
Singapore 659003

Tel: 9822 5043

Image from jacqsowhat’s Instagram.

Charcoal toast with salted egg yolk sauce

A signature of The Bakery Chef, you can mix and match the salted egg yolk lava filling and ice cream of various flavours to go with a charcoal brioche toast.

Price: $12.80

Location:

Blk 161 Bukit Merah Central,
#01-3711,
Singapore 150161

Tel: 6273 9211

 

Image from jacqsowhat’s Instagram.

Salted egg burger

Salted egg yolk sauce poured on a large fried chicken thigh with slaw on the side – what’s not to like?

Price: $12.00

Location:

Sin Lee Foods,
4 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee
#01-164,
Singapore 162004

Tel: 6377 3170

Image from ladyironchef’s website.

Salted egg chicken with rice

Located in Sim Lim Square, this familiar tze char dish of chicken cubes stir-fried in salted egg gravy, served with rice and an egg is sure to leave you wanting more. Get it at Taste Good.

Location:

Sim Lim Square
#02-04,
Singapore 188504

Tel: 6336 6298

Image from ladyironchef’s website.

Salted egg yolk pork ribs

Famous for its Teochew fish head steamboat, the Tian Wai Tian tze char chain is also known for its salted egg pork ribs.

Price: $12.00

Location:

1383 Serangoon Road,
Singapore 328254

Tel: 9172 2833

 

Image from Burpple.

Salted egg pork ribs

Tired of the usual Chinese-style salted egg pork ribs? You might want to try gastro bar PARK’s take on the dish, which comes with a serving of fries.

Price: $29.50++

Location:

281 Holland Ave
#01-01,
Singapore 278621

Tel: 9721 3815

 

Image from Carvers & Co Facebook page.

Sweet potato chips with salted egg mayonnaise dip

Carvers & Co receives consistently good reviews for its meats and beer selection. The unique item on its menu is its sweet potato chips with salted egg mayonnaise dip. It’s even available in a large portion, perfect for a big gathering!

Location:

43 East Coast Road,
Singapore 428764

Tel: 6348 0448

 

 

Image from Burpple.

Salted egg cream puffs (Ménage A Trois on the menu)

These salted egg cream puffs from East Bureau are served along with black sesame and yam paste cream puffs. You won’t be able to tell which filling it is from the outside, creating an element of surprise with each bite. The light and crispy pastry is topped with coconut caramel. It comes in a large portion best shared among four people.

Price: $19.00

Location:

Marina Square,
6 Raffles Boulevard #03-03,
Singapore 039594

Image from Burpple.

Donuts with salted egg dip

Located at the HomeTeam NS clubhouse along Ah Hood road, FIX serves a delicious combination of fluffy donuts paired with salted egg yolk custard dipping sauce.

Price: $6.00

Location:

HomeTeam NS-JOM Clubhouse
31 Ah Hood Rd
#01-06,
Singapore 329979

Tel: 6256 1484

 

 

 

Image from The Chinatown Stall Facebook page.

Salted egg fried tofu

The Chinatown Stall sells fried tofu served with salted egg sauce in a cup. This is a great snack to have while shopping in Ngee Ann City.

Price: $4.50

Location:

391 Orchard Road
Basement 2 Food Hall,
Takashimaya Ngee Ann City,
Singapore 238873

Tel: 6268 8171

 

Image from Wan He Lou Facebook page.

Crispy lotus with salted egg

Wan He Lou restaurant claims that this dish was here before the salted egg yolk craze came around. Looking for new crisps to munch on? Try their lotus crisps flavoured with salted egg.

Price: From $11.90

Location:

65 Maude Road
#01-01,
Singapore 208347

Tel: 6294 8057

.

Image from Burpple.

Poached baby spinach with conpoy in century and salted eggs stock

This dish by Soup Restaurant does not have the viscous salted egg sauce that is trending currently. It has chunks of salted egg yolk cooked in the vegetables instead. The dish also includes century eggs and chicken eggs. It’s definitely one for the egg lovers out there!

Price: $13.90

Location:

At all branches

Image from Crab Corner’s Facebook page.

Fried rice with salted egg crab meat

A humble dish like fried rice is elevated when the recipe includes salted egg and crab meat. The salted egg crab meat could be served separately or mixed with the rice. The salted egg gravy also has hints of curry leaves in it.

Price: $15

Location:

1 Joo Koon Circle
#03-26,
Singapore 629117
Tel: 6333 6969

Image from Little Drizzle’s website.

Salted egg earl grey cake

Little Drizzle’s floral earl grey sponge carries a hint of five spice and is frosted with earl grey cream. A layer of salted egg hollandaise sauce adorns it and the cake is topped with torched marshmallows.

Price: $55 (6″ cake)

Location:
77 Aliwal Street,
Singapore 199948

Tel: 9664 1518,
8233 9810

Image from KEK (Keng Eng Kee) Seafood at Pandan Gardens’ Facebook page.

Salted egg flavoured Ice cream with soft shell crab and crispy toast

KEK came up with this dish to have ice cream the Singaporean way – with toast. It’s served with soft shell crab and a generous helping of salted egg yolk sauce.

Price: $8 onwards

Location:

KEK Pandan Gardens
200 Pandan Gardens #01-12, 609336 Singapore

Tel: 6694 3044

 

Featured image a collation by Sean Chong.

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