Monday, July 4, 2011

Singapore Food Festival 2011 - Curries and Spices!

The Singapore Food Festival (SFF2011) takes a spicy turn this year, celebrating the way multiple cultures in our heritage use spices. Singapore is no stranger to spicy food. We pride ourselves on it. This island has been at the heart of many a spice trade route for centuries. So it's little wonder the various ethnic groups that settled here have modified traditional dishes or created new ones using spices in this region. Satay, chili crab, curry fish head, laksa, bak kut teh...these are just a few of those delicious things.

Award-winning chef Milind Sovani will be the key food consultant for SFF2011. Locals and tourists alike can find a lot about spicy food to explore. For 10 days from 15-24 July, you can expect events and activities including

Here's a sneak peek at what three of the main program highlights are like. Click on the links for more info and to make bookings.

Dates:  16, 17, 23, 24 July 2011 (only four  sessions, and bookings close 2 days prior to event)
Time:  10 am – 1.30 pm 
Maximum capacity:  20 pax per session
Venue:  [Start point] Little India MRT, Exit E. [End point] Muthu's Curry Restaurant 

Heritage Trail at Little India
I personally found this a wonderfully eye-opening tour. As much as we locals think we know Little India, there's nothing like a culinary expert like Chef Milind Sovani personally guiding you through the shops and sights.

An Indian Breakfast with Chef Milind Sovani
We kick off with an Indian vegetarian breakfast. Dosai, vadai, idli, samosa, sweet puddings, and not forgetting the lovely teh tarik ("pulled tea"). Fuel for the journey!

Chef Milind Sovani at a vegetable shop in Little India
We also visit a vegetable shop where Chef Sovani describes the various vegetables and their benefits.

Chef Sovani elaborates on various kitchenware used in Indian cooking
Next comes a kitchenware shop, where you'll see all kinds of special cookware and utensils used for Indian and spicy cooking.

Chef Sovani describes the health and medicinal benefits of various spices
A spice shop yields many treasures. Chef Sovani shares how each spice is not just used for flavour, but also for medicinal value and balance. He goes into great detail about how each spice helps counteract ailments such as high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and indigestion.

At the spice grinder in Little India
After picking up some dried chilies, Chef Sovani brings us to a spice grinder shop, one of the very few left in Singapore.

A "bed" full of chili powder!
There's an entire bed-sized platform filled with chili powder! Bless you.

Chef Milind Sovani demonstrating chicken tikka
With freshly ground chili powder, we head off on trishaw to the restaurant where Chef Sovani will demonstrate how easy it is to make chicken tikka.

Making "roomali", a paper-thin roti, requires leet skills in flipping!
We also saw another chef making "roomali" - he flips a handkerchief-like "roti" until it's paper-thin and heats it up on an inverted griddle. I swear, that is some amazing flipping skill. The roti flies around like one of those bioluminescent fan lizards from Avatar. And doesn't tear!

Sumptuous feast at Muthu's Curry
The tour culminates in a sumptuous feast of Indian dishes, including curry fish head, masala pappad, chicken tikka, ghost sheekh kebab, paneer makhni, cabbage masala, brinjal masala, to be eaten with briyani, butter naans and garlic naans. Lime juice and a very delicious carrot halwa round up the meal.

Dates:  15 to 24 July 2011 (10 days) 
Cruises Schedule:  (6 cruises per day)
4pm ‐ 4.45pm  
5pm ‐ 5.45pm 
6pm ‐ 6.45pm  
7pm ‐ 7.45pm 
8pm ‐ 8.45pm 
9pm ‐ 9.45pm  
Maximum capacity:  20 pax per cruise 
Venue:  [Start/end point] Singapore River Cruise booth waiting area, outside Liang Court 

The Tiffin Cruise takes you on a bumboat
Back again is the popular Tiffin Cruise that takes you on a veritable picnic on the river.

You get to bring this little baby home! This year's tiffin carrier is white with orchids
This year's tiffin carrier is a very pretty white version with purple orchids. Makes a very nice companion to last year's red one.

Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan food all represented on the Tiffin Cruise
You'll find that Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan food are all represented. Each of these use spices in their own way.
• 1st Layer: Satay and Ngor Hiang (Five Spice Prawn Roll) 
• 2nd Layer: Chicken Bryani and Fish Curry 
• 3rd Layer: Peranakan Kueh 

There's a chef on board the boat making naans hot on the spot!
There's even a chef on board, making fresh and hot naans on the spot!

The Tiffin Cruise takes you around the Merlion Park and turns back from there
The Tiffin Cruise takes you around the Merlion Park and turns back from there. The journey takes about 45 minutes in total.

Dates:  16, 17, 23, 24 July 2011 
Time:  5pm – 7pm 
Number of sessions:  1 session per day, 4 sessions in total 
Maximum capacity:  16 pax per session 
Venue:  Singapore Flyer 

Spicy adventures aboard the Singapore Flyer
Chef Milind Sovani takes to the skies as he shows us how to create canapés with unique flavours, colours and enhanced nutritional value.

Chef Milind Sovani demonstrating canapes on board the Singapore Flyer
These are the two modern and spiced up canapés that he demonstrates. He encourages the participants to experiment freely.

1. Achari Chicken Tikka Papdi Chat: Indian Nachos topped with Chicken tikka in achari mayo, onion salsa, crispies and cumin & chat masala 
2. Cocktail Chilly Popiah Rolls 
Popiah skins stuffed with prawns in sambal chilly, sweet peanuts, crunchy veggies & topped with caviar 

My feeble attempts at a canape and popiah!
My feeble attempts at the two snacks...

Enjoy canapes, chili chocolate and wine in the sky
In addition to your own creations, you can also enjoy professionally made canapés paired with wines, soft drinks and beer. The session includes two rotations (total 1 hour), so there's more than enough time to create and eat.


1. Curry Flavoured Diced SeaFood in Pietee shell
Spice ingredients: Curry powder, Garlic

2. Roast Chicken Tikka with mint yogurt
Spice ingredients: Ginger, Garlic, Coriander, Cumin, Nutmeg, Red Pepper, Garlic, Paprika, Mint

3. Lamb Stew Masala Puff
Spice ingredients: Coriander, Cumin

4. Spicy Shrimp with Melon Parcel
Spice ingredients: Thai chilli sauce

5. Cream Brulee in Mini Pot with Chilli Chocolate
Spice ingredients: Vanilla, chilli extract

I think the best part is making a mess!
I still think the best part is having lots of friends around and being able to make a mess while playing with your food!


So there you have it. Spicy feasting on land, on water and up in the sky! SFF2011 looks set to spice things up a little bit.

Thanks to Marcus and team at Word of Mouth Communications, and the organisers of SFF2011 for the preview.


  1. That's a great post! Thoroghly enjoyed the post...I have been to Little India on my trip to S'pore two years ago and had been to this vegetable shop I guess. Hats off to Chef Sovani for his endeavour and also to you for sharing such a good post like this with awesome pictures!!

  2. woah! this is so interesting, it just reminded me of India! :D

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I will participate in the heritage trail, bought tickets already :)

  4. Purabi Naha: Thank you! I am thrilled you enjoyed the post so much!

    Eunice: yes, hurry and blog yours!

    Hovkonditorn: That's great! I'm sure you'll enjoy it. You have a great blog, by the way!

  5. Hello, can I check with you after going for the tiffin cruise, was the meal filling enough for you? Or was it more like a snack?

  6. The tiffin cruise is a light meal (perhaps wise for a water journey) although the ngoh hiang and the naans can be filling. The real treat there is really the tiffin carrier you get to keep. It's so pretty!


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