Singapore is an amalgamation of cultures, which reflects in its food. DLF Promenade, along with the Singapore Tourism Board, is celebrating the same with the Singapore Food Festival – an event that celebrates the best of Singaporean culture and flavours. Come, experience the flavours of the nation with us! By Anushka Goel
If you’ve ever travelled to Singapore, you must have experienced the country’s culture and cuisine. From signboards in four languages (Malay, Chinese, Tamil and English) to its markets, festivals and more, Singapore is the perfect example of how immigrant cultures amalgamate to create something that’s unique, local and beautiful.
The same is reflected in its food – from dishes such as satays to nasi goreng and even vadais, that form a core part of Singaporean food map. The food is an extension of Malaysian cuisine, and has heavy influences from Chinese and Indian cuisine, too.
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With this in mind, and to allow Delhi to experience these gastronomic favours, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and DLF Promenade are currently hosting the Singapore Food Festival, which we recently visited. Restaurants including Andrea’s Bistro, Cafe Delhi Heights, Cha Shi, Le Cantine, Mamagoto, SAZ, Fat Tiger, Mai Bao and MKT, across DLF’s four properties – Promenade, Emporio, Avenue and The Chanakya – are participating in the festival, to bring home the flavours of Singaporean cuisine.
Singapore Food Festival brings the flavours of the country to India
The restaurant crawl, which we’re experiencing at the Singapore Food Festival at DLF Promenade, begins with a small talk on the country’s cuisine. As we sit at Cafe Delhi Heights, our first venue for the evening, Raymond Lim, senior representative of the STB, explains to us why dishes on the menu seem so familiar.
“Singapore is an immigrant country. There are a lot of immigrants from India, China, and Myanmar. As they live in Singapore, they brought alongside their cuisines. Over the years, this has evolved. You’ll see a lot of similarities in the dishes. For example a satay. Satay is actually skewered meat, and the sauces are different. In Indonesia, a Satay tends to be thicker pieces of meat with a crunchier peanut sauce. In Singapore, the sauce has peanut flavour but the peanut isn’t as crunchy. Also, the meat pieces are smaller, and usually, they have a layer of fat on them,” said Lim.
As we chat, we are served the offerings that CHD has – Chicken Satay, Laksa, Tom Sam Salad, Singaporean Chilli Prawns, Vadai, and Nasi Goreng. I sip on Lychee Lime Fizz, a mocktail with tropical flavours and the tang of lemons, and as I bite into the satay (thanks to the conversation with Lim), I can taste the flavour profiles he mentioned. Sweet, sticky, spicy, peanutty, umami – each bite has it all, and has readied my palate for the next few dishes. The salad is a refreshing version of the dish and the prawns are perfectly tender. The star of the show, however, is the Nasi Goreng – fried rice with meat, topped with an egg and served with satay. The flavours blend together to create a bite that is savoury and sweet at the same time, and we keep going back for seconds.
Our next stop is Andrea’s Bistro, where we are welcomed with a Singapore Sling – a refreshing, mild cocktail with flavours of gin, angostura, cherry, pineapple, lime and more, topped with a dried pineapple slice and a cherry. We begin our tasting here with another version of a chicken satay – this one differs slightly in flavour, and the peanut sauce is creamier (and not as spicy). What attracts me here are the baos – available in mushroom and pork variants – as well as the Hianese Chicken Rice. The baos are slightly sweet, stuffed with the filling, and the chicken unleashes a gamut of flavour onto my palate.
From Andrea’s, we head to Mamagoto, one of my favourite places to eat at. Here, I dig into some Curry Puffs – crispy, bite-sized puffs with a delicious Asian-style vegetable filling, as well as Steamed Popish (vegetarian), which are steamed spring rolls stuffed with sprouts, tofu, scallions, turnips and more. I also try the chilli prawns here – the flavours come through as spicy, sweet and sticky, elevating the juicy, tender seafood that has been served to me.
Our fourth stop for the evening is Le Cantine, where I sample a Singapore Mary – a version of the Bloody Mary that is lighter on flavour and has more refreshing notes. I also sample the Kopi cat, made with coffee, a staple in Singapore, along with hazelnut vodka, salted caramel and condensed milk. This tastes exactly like a boozy cold coffee would, which only makes it better. Here, along with many other treats, I sample the Hoisin Shiitake Mushroom Bao. The bun has a sweetness to it, the mushroom filling, along with cucumbers and mayo, makes for a juicy, gastronomic bite. I also try the vegetable wontons here, and I am surprised at the amount of flavour the tiny parcel has. The sesame and the dressing add a delicious umami and a nutty crunch, and if I had any more room in my stomach, I would have definitely eaten it all.
From here, we’re headed to Cha Shi in DLF Emporio, but before that, we stop for Bubble Tea at Fat Tiger. I love Tiramisu, and the moment I realise they have a Bubble Tea flavour of the same name, I know I am not sampling anything else! The drink isn’t overly sweet, which I love, and the tapioca pearls (boba) is chewy and tender.
Cha Shi, located on the ground floor at Emporio, is an open space. For the Singapore Food Festival, they offer the largest drinks menu that I’ve seen so far, and I sample two of them. The Citrus Spritzer is a refreshing, lemony, citrusy beverage with the perfect balance of sweet and sour, while Ocean Paradise is sweet, but not overwhelming. The flavours in this one are also quite tropical, which I love. There’s not much room for food, for me, but I try their stir fry vegetables, which are crunchy, savoury and delicious. As I leave that night, I am satiated, and grateful for the entire experience. The festival is on till September 11, so be sure to visit any of the partner restaurants for a wholesome, flavourful meal!
Singapore Food Festival event details
When: Till September 11, 2022
Where: DLF Promenade – Cafe Delhi Heights, Andrea’s Bistro, Le Cantine, Mamagoto, Fat Tiger; DLF Emporio – Cha Shi; DLF Avenue – Mai Bao; The Chanakya – MKT
Hero and Featured Images: Courtesy of Anushka Goel
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India