Tuesday, October 31, 2017

AccorPlus: The 1 Card for Privileges Across 1000 Restaurants, 700 Hotels

I was intrigued to find out that AccorHotels is now the largest portfolio of hotel brands worldwide. The Raffles, Fairmont, Banyan Tree, SO/Sofitel, Swissotel and Angsana are now sister hotels to popular chains like Pullman, Mercure, Novotel, ibis, and others. With this diversity, you get all sorts of lodging and dining options, whether it's at a beach resort or chic city hotel.

So I was really keen when I heard about Accor Plus - the most expansive hotel, dining and lifestyle membership program in Asia Pacific. You may know it previously as Accor Advantage Plus. This one card gives you privileges across 700 hotels and 1000 restaurants in 18 countries throughout Asia Pacific.


Friday, October 27, 2017

AccorHotels Food & Wine Festival: Set Menus of Signature Dishes

Are you excited and looking forward to the AccorHotels Food & Wine Festival? For a full nine days from 4-12 Nov, there'll be plenty to look forward to - pool parties, special set menus of signature dishes, workshops and masterclasses.

The set menus are priced according to hotel tiers, and these are the participating outlets.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

AccorHotels Food & Wine Festival (4-12 Nov): Nine-day Party with Diversity!

Singapore's largest and most prestigious hotel operator is throwing a massive nine-day party! The AccorHotels Food & Wine Festival will showcase exciting culinary creations, masterclasses and delicious drinks across its 40 restaurants from 4-12 Nov 2017.

Leading culinary talent within the AccorHotels group includes Chef Kirk Westaway of Michelin-starred JAAN, Raffles Hotel legend Amos Ting, and Chef Louis Tay of Swissotel Merchant Court who took home gold for Singapore in the Culinary Olympics 2016.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Nami Japanese Restaurant at Shangri-La Singapore

Japanese fine-dining at the Shangri-La just got a modern update. Nadaman, which for years offered understated culinary refinement, has been replaced by the much more contemporary NAMI Restaurant and Bar on the 24th floor.

The cornerstone of NAMI is its Head Chef Shigeo Akiba from Yokohama with more than 30 years of stellar culinary experience. He helped prepare the wedding banquet of Japan’s Prince Akishinomiya and Princess Kiko, and later, their crowning ceremony. He has also had the honour of serving Emperor Akihito when he dined at the Nadaman restaurant in Tokyo. Mr. Akiba has also worked under Iron Chef Koumei Nakamura for five years as his executive chef.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Help #HappyPlateSG to Fight Food Wastage in Singapore (65 Million Kgs a Month)!

Food wastage is such a huge heartache. Singapore generated 791 million kg of food waste in 2016 - more than two million kg a day - and that's a 41.5 per cent increase over the past decade.

It's not just a blow to sustainability but to our wallets as well. Electrolux Singapore recently commissioned a survey on food waste generated in our homes. It found Singaporeans discard a staggering $200 million worth of expired food a year*!

*calculated using an estimated $170 per household in a year, multiply by 1,263,600 households in Singapore (household numbers retrieved from Singstat)

Here are some of the findings, good and bad:

The study is the third edition of Electrolux Singapore’s annual #HappyPlateSG
community initiative, which started in 2015. Previous years focused on consumption of ‘ugly food’ and finishing of meals to prevent food wastage.

Mr Douglas Chua, General Manager of Electrolux Singapore, Hong Kong and
Taiwan, said: “Tackling food waste is the cornerstone of our yearly initiative. This year, our focus is on food in storage, such as pantries and refrigerators. Often, we buy food, store them, but end up forgetting to consume them before their indicated dates on the packaging. This results in their eventual disposal. We want to encourage behavioural change that will allow for greater food sustainability and reduced waste.”

Ms Fiona Chia, Director of nutrition consultancy Health Can Be Fun, said: “Some food that are nearing or have exceeded the indicated date may still be eaten.” “An ‘Expires On’ date applies if there is a health risk in eating the item after that date. A ‘Best Before’ date is used as a guide to indicate how long a product can retain its peak quality and freshness. A ‘Sell By’ date acts as a reference for retailers, to let them know how long an item can be put on display for sale,” she added.

Mr Eric Low, Chef-Owner of Lush Epicurean Culinary Consultancy and author of six cook books, said: “Managing food nearing or have passed the indicated date is on a case by case basis. Different categories of food do not deteriorate at the same rate. Storage methods such as optimal temperature, frozen and vacuum sealing also help prolong the food lifespan.”

A dedicated microsite happyplate.sg will include tips on reducing food waste, how to be involved, recipe inspirations, “Ask Happy Plate”, among others. “Ask Happy Plate” is a new column featuring food experts, chefs and nutritionists, and will answer the public’s questions on food management.

The theme for this year is #SeasonYourEx, a short form for Season Your Expiring Food. There's a tongue in cheek video on Facebook playing on the word "ex" which kinda reminds me of Circles.Life's Break Up Campaign.

The aim is to change consumers’ mindsets that expiring and leftover food are not as tasty as fresh food. With creative recipes and cooking tips, you can make expiring and leftover food, from perishables (fruits, vegetables, eggs) to packaged items (canned produce) taste just as good.

HappyPlateSG is also using social media can help spread awareness on using expiring food. You can help in two easy steps:

•                  Post a photo of an expired, or soon to be expired, food or leftover item in your home on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and share what you can do with it
•                  Hashtag #SeasonYourEx #HappyPlateSG

Please make your post public.

For every 5 #hashtags and/or social media shares, Electrolux will fund the costs of running The Food Bank Singapore’s van for one day. The van collects donated food items from collection points across Singapore, and distributes them to beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, we could all plan our meals better, be more mindful of what's in our pantry, keep a minimalist larder (most supermarkets are so nearby, we don't need to stock everything) and when things do still expire...take a second look before we toss it out.

Prevention, I think, is still better than finding creative ways to save food.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

International Street Food Trends Making Their Mark In Singapore

Singapore is possibly one of the world's most well-known destinations for street food, and many tourists make it their business to spend at least a few of their mealtimes in the city at one of the different hawker centres while they’re visiting. Of course, even as a local, you could eat at hawker centres every day and still discover dishes you haven’t tried before.
However, there are always certain street foods that suddenly gain a mass following and become globally popular. Here’s a look at what international trends in street food have gained traction in Singapore.

Poké bowls

The original Poké (pronounced Poh-kay) bowls in Hawaii have always been based around cubed and seasoned raw fish, which is served on top of a bowl of sushi rice. But now, as the poké bowl trend has gone global, all kinds of variations are popping up. There’s always a common theme though, and that’s that every bowlful provides a nutritious and balanced meal.

Source: A Poke Theory via Facebook

Some poké bowls feature tofu, others meats such as braised beef, and it's not always rice that provides the substance to accompany the flavours - it can be quinoa, bulgar wheat or zucchini noodles too. See Deliveroo’s take on Singapore's best poké bowls that can be delivered to your door.

A healthy bowl of acai

Following the bowl theme, there’s another bowl dish that’s in vogue at the moment, and that’s the acai bowl. Mostly ordered for breakfast, these beautifully colourful dishes can make a great snack at any time of the day.

Acai is an antioxidant superfood from South America that offers many health benefits. As well as tackling oxidative damage, it can promote better skin, a healthy heart and boost your immune system. As well as being good for you, acai bowls have the advantage of being a delicious snack you actually look forward to eating.

Sometimes described as a smoothie that’s eaten with a spoon, every acai bowl has an acai smoothie at its base, and it’s then customised to taste with different toppings, such as sliced bananas, strawberries, chia and hemp seeds. While it’s possible to make your own acai bowl at home, there are plenty of different eateries now serving them around Singapore. Try them at  HICJUICE superfood bar at The Centrepoint.

Ice cream rolls and charcoal desserts

While most of us equate street food with savoury flavours, there are plenty of times you’re out and about and get a craving for something sweet.

Ice cream rolls have been a part of the Thai street food scene for quite some time, but recently, these delicate curls of ice-cream with myriad toppings have become popular all over the world. There are plenty of places in Singapore that have these ice cream rolls on their menus. Try Go Frost’s local flavour combos such as Golden Horlicks, Bandung, and Teh Tarik Milo.

Source: Black Mamba via Facebook

Perhaps one of this year’s most surprising food trends is those dishes that involve activated charcoal. Allegedly great for a detox and to aid digestion, these foods first got popular in the States, but in Singapore you can choose to take your dose of charcoal in frozen yogurt at Black Mamba. While the charcoal yogurt makes for a sombre-looking base, the different toppings that you choose - anything from aloe vera to caramelized popcorn - add colour to your cup. While it’s a fun way to try a novelty food, there has been some suggestion that too much charcoal might not be good for you, so this is probably not something to indulge in too often!

The great thing about food trends is that there’s always something new to tempt your taste buds. Whether it's going to be a fad or long-lasting favourite, we'll never know sometimes, but it's fun to go try the food and see how you like it!


Saturday, October 7, 2017

GIVEAWAY! Morganfield's Singapore: Baby Back Ribs vs Spare Ribs

Baby back ribs, spare ribs and St Louis style ribs. Many of us have enjoyed these different ribs without really knowing the difference. I've heard that some people even think that baby back ribs come from baby pigs! It could be this guy's fault...

But anyway, we had an interesting session at Morganfields where the chef gave us a quick anatomy lesson, carving up the different ribs and meat, and then putting it all back again like a 3D jigsaw puzzle.

Spine ribs comes from where the spine of the pig. It's mainly bones and not much meat, so this cut is usually used in Chinese cooking for making soups and broths.

Baby back ribs are the upper ribs, between the spine and spareribs. They are called baby back ribs, because they are smaller than spareribs. As these are cut from the loin of the pig, they have less fat content, so they are leaner and less juicy.

Spare ribs are cut from the belly of the pig. As we all know, the belly is where magic happens (think bacon and otoro). Spare ribs are meatier, fattier and have more connective tissue compared to baby back ribs.

Isn't it just beautiful?

Rib bones have a lot more connective tissue, fat, and cartilage than other muscle groups. This also means one thing - lots of collagen!

The best way to cook ribs is to go low and slow with the heat. When heated slowly, the rubber band-like connective tissues have time to relax and do not squeeze tightly. The connective tissue liquefies into gelatin.

The popular St. Louis-style spare ribs are achieved by cutting away the rib tips, which are the hard breastbone and chewy cartilage. Oh lord, those are the best parts - I love cartilage.

Luckily, for their signature Sticky Bones, Morganfields does not cut away the ribs tips as they are the most flavourful of rib meats, since they are closer to the belly and more heavily marbled! The spare ribs are sourced directly from Spain.

Morganfields is celebrating its fifth year already. They serve up more than 150,000 pounds of Sticky Bones annually. There are now five sauces to choose from: Hickory BBQ, Smoked Peppercorn, Garlic BBQ or Spicy Asian BBQ, and the latest Kansas Sweet (shown above).

For the fifth anniversary, they are introducing Baby Back Ribs for a limited time as well. Diners can try Baby Back Ribs (Full Slab: S$32.90) made with the leaner pork loin ribs.

Can’t decide to have baby back or spare ribs? Take both. Indulge in half
a slab of Sticky Bones Spare Ribs and half a slab of Baby Back Ribs with the
Half&Half (S$38.90). It comes with 2 sides and sauces of your choice, which makes it a pretty good deal.

I have a giveaway at the end of this post for two full slabs of Sticky Bones.

Iberico Ribs
They also have a very special treat of Iberico Sticky Bones Spare Ribs, but I found these sinewy in some parts and overly fatty in others. The regular spare ribs have the fats more evenly distributed.

Morganfield’s has managed to secure limited quantities of this premium pork and for a small top up of $3 for the half, and $6 for the full slab you can upgrade your Sticky Bones Spare Ribs.

But it's not all ribs at Morganfield's.

You can snack on some Pop Corn Pork (S$9.90) while you wait for your ribs. Marinated with Morganfield's secret spice mix & deep fried till crisp, these are served with homemade Garlic Aioli & BBQ Ranch sauce. So addictive.

Chicken Caesar (top, Caesar S$12.90, add S$5 for chicken)
Fresh romaine lettuce tossed with homemade Caesar dressing, topped with crispy bacon bits, croutons & parmesan cheese with slices of grilled Ranch chicken.

Crab & Spinach Dip (S$12.90)
This is an unusual warm dip made from crab meat & baby spinach cooked with parmesan cheese. I'm not sure the combination worked but we all sure loved the corn tortilla chips.

Golden Chicken Wings (S$12.90)
These taste a bit like har cheong gai or prawn paste chicken! I like that they are fried until super crispy without too much batter.

Corn bread! These are like soft and fluffy corn muffins. I could happily have these as dessert.

But there is dessert proper.

Morgan's Bread Pudding (S$11.90)
Whiskey sauce sets this apart from other bread puddings. The comfortingly warm homemade bread pudding is served with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Lava Cake (S$15.90)
This is the house specialty. Moist, warm chocolate cake filled with rich molten chocolate. Served warm with vanilla ice cream & caramel sauce.


So thanks to Morganfield's, I have two Full Slabs of Sticky Bones to give out (worth S$42.90 each), one slab to one reader each.

1. Just comment below:
- Which cut of ribs are your favourite - baby back, spare ribs, St Louis?
- Which outlet of Morganfield's you're most likely to go - Vivocity, Suntec City or Star Vista

2. Email me with the header "Morganfield's Ribs Giveaway" so you can let me know your email address without giving it out here.

Alternatively, you can head over to Facebook for the contest.

Closing date: 15 October 2017 (2359hrs)
Winners will be notified by email or Facebook message.

See my previous post on Morganfield's:

3 Temasek Boulevard
#01-645 Suntec City Mall
Singapore 038983
(Outside Tower 4, Next to Promenade MRT)
Tel: +65 6736-1136
Open daily Sun – Thu: 11am – 11pm
Fri, Sat & PH: 11am – Midnight

Morganfield's at Star Vista
1 Vista Exchange Green
#02-23 The Star Vista
Singapore 138617
Tel: +65 6694-3635

Morganfield's at Vivocity
Facing Sentosa Boardwalk entrance
1 Harbourfront Walk
#01-51A VivoCity
Singapore 098585
Tel: +65 6225 0501

Many thanks to Morganfield's for the invite and giveaway


Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Savoy London brings British Gourmet Dinner to Fairmont Jakarta

The Savoy, London, brought its magic to Jakarta in a burst of events last month at the Fairmont Jakarta. Executive Sous Chef Francisco Hernandez and his team whipped up a British Gourmet Dinner featuring signature classics from the Savoy's fine-dining legacy.

The View at Fairmont Jakarta
The dinner took place at The View, a trendy restaurant so named for its spectacular skyline views.

Soft brioche and butter
The evening began with soft brioche and butter.

Amuse bouche of salmon croquettes
The amuse bouche of salmon croquettes topped with a fruity salsa proved to be a most savoury appetiser. You immediately wished for more.

Wines paired with the dinner
The five course dinner was paired with wines like Mumm Cordon Rouge Reims, France; Wyndham Estate bin 222, Chardonnay, 2014; and Wyndham Estate Bin 555, Shiraz, 2013.

Heritage Beetroot and Goat Cheese Roulade
Heritage Beetroot and Goat Cheese Roulade
The first course arrives looking like an artistic garden; the ingredients reminded me of Julien Royer's Organic Beetroot Composition when he was at JAAN. This one had pickled mustard seeds, balsamic caviar and a shoot of cucumber essence.

Pan Seared Scallops
Pan Seared Scallops
Venus rising from the sea amidst the salty foam? This is a delightfully seared scallop nestling on English Pea espuma, with parsley oil, puff citrus pearl barley and water cress dust. Absolutely beautiful.

Duo of Barramundi and Sole
Duo of Barramundi and Sole
Oh this dish completely wowed us. How the fish beckoned from underneath the squid ink tuile, one deep-fried and the other pan-seared. The dainty accompaniments included mussel and fennel nage, asparagus mousse, sprouting broccoli, sea vegetables.

Traditional Beef Wellington
Traditional Beef Wellington
This is certainly a British classic and it's easy to see why it's a well-loved one. In this version, the beef is served with seasonal vegetables, celeriac puree, and spinach flan. It's then doused with some good old HP gravy.

Pim's Granite: a palate cleanser
Pim's Iced Granite
This palate cleanser is made extra refreshing with fresh cucumber, diced strawberry and orange gel.

Peach Melba Legacy
Peach Melba Legacy
Dessert was a show-stopper. This shiny spherical sugar shell coddled raspberries, poached peaches with peach sorbet and vanilla foam. Probably the most dramatic peach melba you'll ever encounter!

The View has a cosy sitting area for pre- or after-dinner drinks

That wrapped up a lovely evening of British favourites given a gourmet update. It was fun to see how modern touches added playfulness to what might otherwise be staid classics.

The View has a cosy sitting area for pre- or after-dinner drinks, where you can retreat to and continue your conversations. They also make interesting cocktails at the bar.

For more on the Fairmont Jakarta, check out my previous post:

Many thanks to Fairmont Jakarta for the invitation and hospitality.
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