Bodacious Bar & Bistro @ Biopolis SG

It was New Year’s Eve and 8 of my church small group mates decided to meet for dinner before the Nightwatch service to welcome in 2020. An eatery relatively close to our church was chosen and that was Bodacious Bar & Bistro located at Biopolis in Buona Vista.

Though I live nearby, I didn’t realized there are quite a number of eateries in the commercial and industrial hub of Biopolis. Bodacious, located at the western end of Biopolis Street, is one of the bigger establishments with a large, sheltered al fresco area where people can be seen enjoying a drink or two on lazy afternoons.

Bodacious’ interiors is decorated in a hipster-cafe, light industrial style with much room between tables, and our group was seated near the side wall that holds a bold signage of the place placed against an eye-catching montage of celebrity images, with a row of wine bottles strategically lined in the middle.

As it was New Year’s Eve and because one of the serving staff insisted that “it’s Happy Hours every hour” – eg beer prices are between $7 to $12 for half-pints/pints/bottles all day, which is very decent – I decided to have a pint of Stella Artois ($11), while others chose either other beers or mocktails.

Bodacious’ dinner menu is quite extensive comprising soups, salads and appetisers, main courses, sweets and desserts, and sides for sharing. There’s even Happy Hours Oysters (@$2-$3) from 5-8pm. A list of small plates & bar snacks ($8-$19) is listed on a table menu. Drinks-wise, the bar covers a good range of beverages from wines, beers and spirits to cocktails, mocktails and liquers, from soft drinks, milkshakes and juices to brewed coffees, premium teas and mineral water.

Whilst waiting for others to arrive, we early birds decided to have the Bodacious Cheese Platter ($29 for 5 types/$20 for 3 types) which was a lovely mix of blue cheese, Camembert, goat cheese, provolone and grana Padano, accompanied with fig jam, walnuts, raisins, figs and mini toast. A great starter, the cheese lovers among us had absolutely no complaints about this item.

STARTING “SMALL”

When the rest eventually arrived, we first settled on three small plates for sharing, before each chose their own main course:

If you have a choice between French Fries ($8) or Truffle Fries ($10), go for the latter I always say. Nice, crispy and flavorful, this was delicious to munch.

It looks messy but the Crispy Wings Coated With Cajun BBQ Sauce ($10) was a good savory filler for those whose stomachs had started growling…

Finally, there was also the Ultimate Forest Roasted Cauliflower ($8), which is glazed with sweet garlic mayo and sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds. I never really fancy cauliflower but this was really good.

THE MAINS EVENT

A good thing of having a big crowd at dinner is that all can order different things (as much as possible) and then steal a bite from each other’s dishes. The main courses at Bodacious comprise mainly meat and seafood items, with a veggie item or two, ranging from $16 to $38.

The Iberico Pork Ribs ($21) sounds tempting and I was glad I ordered this as the baby pork ribs, served with coleslaw and salad, were savory and tender, with the meat easily coming off the bone. Its BBQ glaze was also just the right dash of sweetness and flavor.

The one who had the Linguini Vongole ($18) actually painstakingly removed all the clams from their shells before eating. However, despite being infused with white wine, chilli and parsley, the sauce was found wanting and the overall taste a tad salty.

The French-styled Duck Confit ($23), served with braised lentil tossed in foie gras butter and fresh green, actually looked good but the meat was not tender enough and could be better according to the one who partake of it.

She who had the pan-fried Sea Bass Steak ($19) with olive crust, served with corn puree and sauté green vegetable, found it nice enough although she deemed the small plates much more enjoyable in terms of taste.

The duo who shared the Bouillabaisse ($20) – a fish stew filled with fish, clam, prawn, and scallop served
with garlic toast – felt it tasted more like a seafood soup rather a stew. It’s not something I’d ever order so can’t comment…

The two who ordered the Scallop & Prawn Aglio Olio ($18) both felt that it wasn’t like a typical Aglio Olio. Although the taste wasn’t exactly bad, the dish was lacking the fragrance of garlic and olive oil.
Also, the presence of a parmesan crusted egg “added to the strangeness.”

JUST DESSERTS

After our mains shockingly, most of us still had room for desserts. Of course it also helped that we are all going to share a few choices and not have one whole dessert to ourselves.

For the eight of us, we thought ordering four desserts to share was justified:

First to arrive was the Classic Italian Tiramisu ($11) which was simply lovely with just the right amounts of cocoa, cream, sponge and rum. Yummilious!

The Dessert of the Day ($8) was an elongated peanut butter brownie served with vanilla ice cream which is actually quite nice.

The Salted Caramel & Chocolate Waffle ($11), served with vanilla ice cream and fruits, wasn’t too bad I thought but palate purists deemed it way too small, had too many fruits, and “where’s the chocolate ice cream?!” (The chocolate in its name refers to just the sauce topping apparently…)

Last but not least, there was the Chocolate Fondant ($11), a hot chocolate lava cake served with vanilla ice cream. It didn’t look appetizing when it arrived but once the “lava” oozed out, every bite was delicious and great.

All in all, the final bill cost an average of $36 person – from a range of $29++ to $42++ – which is quite decent except most felt the main courses could be better. Still, Bodacious has a nice ambience (both indoors and outdoors) and is still a recommended place for casual drinks and good bar snacks and desserts.

Bodacious is at 70 Biopolis Street, Singapore 138547. Opening hours: Mon-Thu 11am-10pm; Fri 11am-11pm; Sat 9am-10pm. Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays. Tel: 6778 9585

Chinese New Year Celebrations 2020 @ Chinatown Singapore

Rats! Lots and lots of them in Singapore’s Chinatown! Big ones, small ones, all gaily dressed in their Chinese New Year finest. Yes, as you read this at the start of 2020, the Year of the Rat will be upon us faster than you can say, er, “Rats!”

This year’s Lunar New Year is from Jan 25 till Feb 8, and Chinatown is already all geared up to usher in the Metal Rat with a host of festive activities and celebratory events. Musings on the M49 was chuffed to be invited to a media preview organized by the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens Consultative Committee to have a close-up look at this year’s lights!

Street Light-Up

In collaboration yet again with students from the Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD), the annual Street Light-up boasts 1,388 handcrafted lanterns—in the form of rats, gold coins, ingots, mandarin oranges, and firecrackers, etc—projecting much glow on Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road, South Bridge Road and Garden Bridge.

There are 200 rat lanterns in all, mostly placed along Eu Tong Sen Street, with the main 12m-tall centrepiece (see top main picture) located at the junction where the street meets Upper Cross Street.

Amongst the rat lanterns, look out for many a ferris wheel made of gold ingots (with mini rats inside a few of them) which represents an eternal cycle of luck and wealth.

The Year of the Rat also marks the start of the 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. According to legend, the Rat outsmarted larger animals such as the Tiger, Ox, Dragon, etc, to win the race set by the Jade Emperor and hence that is why the little creature ended up being at the head of the Zodiac. Lanterns of the other 11 animals that made it to the Zodiac (pictured above) can be spotted a distance behind the main centrepiece.

Official Light-Up and Opening Ceremony: Sat Jan 4, 2020

If you want to see the Chinatown lights, you can actually go now. BUT, if you enjoy big dazzling excitement and pomp, the official Light-Up and Opening Ceremony will be on Sat Jan 4 from 6pm-10pm at Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road and graced by Singapore’s President, Mdm Halimah Yacob. There will be music, dance and Cantonese Opera performances, and a lion dance troupe performing “21 Plum Blossoms Poles”, a festival first. And oh, stay on till the sure-to-be-explosive fireworks and firecrackers finale!

Heritage & Food Trail: Weekends Jan 5-19, 2020

Among the many activities planned for Chinatown’s 7-week Chinese New Year celebrations is the Heritage & Food Trail with an emphasis on Cantonese influence. The guided tour (available in English and Mandarin) takes one through the culturally-rich streets of Chinatown, before descending on Chinatown Complex Food Centre where participants will indulge in delicious Cantonese cuisine such as Yam Ring and Yam Cake from five popular hawker stalls including Heng Kee Cantonese Cooked Food and Jia Ji Mei Shi (pictured). A ticketed event, visit chinatownfestivals.sg for more information.

Other Highlights

Other Chinatown Chinese New Year events include a Festival Street Bazaar (Jan 3-24; 6pm-10.30pm daily and 6pm-1am on CNY eve) with over 300 stalls selling Chinese New Year delicacies, decorative items, apparel, etc; nightly stage shows at Kreta Ayer Square (Jan 4-24, 8pm-10.30pm) including lion dances and musical performances; and a Wishing Tree at Chinatown Point (Jan 3-24; 11am-9pm) where each “Make A Wish” card costs $2 and all proceeds will benefit the underprivileged elderly residing in Chinatown. A Countdown Party will also take place on Chinese New Year Eve on Fri 24 Jan.

Kreta Ayer People’s Theatre will also host a special Cantonese Opera show on Sun Jan 5, as well as the 13th International Lion Dance Competition on Sat 11 and Sun 12 Jan. For enquiries and ticket purchase, call Kreta Ayer Community Club at 6222 3597 (9am-9pm).

Last but not least, Chingay 2020 (Jan 31-Feb 1), Asia’s largest annual street performance and float parade, will make an appearance at Chinatown on Sun Feb 2, 6-10pm along New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street. So, if you can’t get to the F1 Pit Building for the parade, get on down to Chinatown instead!

For more info on all events, visit chinatownfestivals.sg.

All photos by Marguerita Tan.
No text or photos to be reproduced without the blog author’s permission.

El Teatro Tapas @ The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Arcade

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On Boxing Day a.k.a Annular Solar Eclipse Day, an ex-classmate and I decided to go to The Capitol Kempinski Hotel arcade for our bi-annual meet-up and we opted for the Spanish restaurant and bar, El Teatro Tapas.

We were led to a cosy corner table lined with many cushions and which offers a good view of the length of the arcade. The menu for El Teatro (which is Spanish for “The Theatre”) is simple: there’s cold tapas ($12-$16), hot tapas ($14-$30), cold cuts and olives ($10-$28), paellas ($28-$40), and desserts ($8-12). There’s also a wine menu from which you can order by the glass or bottle. On weekdays, they have a two-course ($17++) and 3-course ($22++) set lunches which are quite decently priced considering that some of the mains already cost around $20-$30.

We decided to order a la carte in order to try more dishes. First up was the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota ($28) or Acorn Iberian Ham Pork, which is a lovely slate of cured ham slices served with some salad. If you love Spanish Jamon or parma ham, this will be a delight to savor.

We had wanted a green veggie dish for the “health part” but was intrigued on what constituted a Russian Salad ($14). Well, it is a fancy creamy tuna potato salad with loads of mayo, topped with garnishing and thin croutons. A nice tasty item for sure. (Oh, we were also given at the start a complimentary tapas of olives which normally you have to order a glass of wine before getting it, so thought that was nice of the manager.)

It was while waiting for the next dish to arrive that we was wondering why the sky had suddenly gone dark – the arcade’s roof is partly glass from which you can see the sky – when we suddenly remembered that there was a solar eclipse happening on this very day – December 26, 2019! So we took turns to dash out of the building – and despite dark clouds and super bright sunlight (you ain’t supposed to watch it with the naked eye) – were able to fairly make out the crescent shape of the sun as the moon slowly move across it.

As the annular eclipse was supposed to occur at 1.24pm, we carried on with our lunch. The sizzling Garlic Prawns ($22) was utterly fragrant when it arrived, served on a piping hot pan drenched with olive oil and with loads of colorful peppers, plus two pieces of toasted bread. This is one of the items in the set lunch menu so it would be very worth it indeed if you like prawns.

Last but not least, our final dish is the prawn, chicken and mushroom croquettes. Though the menu states that you can choose between the three, we were told that two of each meat will be served in the dish of six croquettes, which was a-ok for us. The taste for the elongated prawn croquette (top of picture) was sadly nothing to wow about, but the mushroom (the round one) and the chicken (middle with crust slightly browner) were flavorful and tasty, enhanced by the Spanish Padrón peppers that came with the dish.

It was in the midst of eating our croquettes that we realized we had totally missed the “magic moment” when the “ring of fire” occurs. It was already 1.40pm when we both dashed out of the restaurant—not before informing the waitress not to clear our table!—this time just to the foyer right outside El Teatro to catch the view (as seen above) through the roof of the arcade. Oh well, at least we could say we saw phases of the cosmic spectacle of the century!

All in all, the quality of food in El Teatro was good and service was attentive. Pricing was probably a bit steep but our four dishes came up to about $96, which is still decent for two people in the town area. Would love to try their paellas one day as I have been looking for a paella as good as those we ate in Barcelona but to no avail. Something to consider.

El Teatro Tapas is at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel arcade, 15 Stamford Road. Opening hours: 1130-1430 and 18:00-22:00 daily.

‘Frozen 2’ Fun @ Singapore Changi Airport

Look out for a giant Olaf at Singapore Changi Airport T2!

If you or your kids are big fans of Disney’s Frozen 2, do make your way down to Singapore Changi Airport where there are loads of fun Instagram-worthy opportunities with the lovable characters from the blockbuster animated film, which has since grossed over US$1 billion (S$1.36b) at the global box office.

The main highlight of A Frozen Wonderland At Changi is located at the airport’s Terminal 3 Departure Hall (in front of Departure Immigration). Here you will find a handful of life-sized sets inspired by the enchanting film featuring key characters namely Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, and Grand Pabbie.

Every night till Jan 5, 2020, there will be an entralling light, sound and snow show at 7.30pm, 8pm, 8.30pm and 9pm, which primarily tells the story of Frozen 2, in which Queen Elsa and company go in search of a mystery voice she’s been hearing that or who may save the kingdom of Arendelle from grave danger. Needless to say, spoilers galore at the attraction (and this blog post) if you have yet to see the film!

Grand Pabbie, the wise old troll, should be the first figure you see if you approach the set from the front as he’s extremely well lit.

Over to the right, you will find Anna and Olaf in a boat, depicting the scene when Elsa sent them away for their safety.

At a lovely autumn-inspired spot, and besides four elemental pillars, you will find macho Kristoff and his faithful reindeer, Sven, in the midst of life-like looking trees and plants and in a great rush to find his beloved Anna.

Last but not least, on the biggest structure, you will find the getting-more-powerful Queen Elsa tackling Nokk, the mythical water horse spirit, in stormy seas. This set has a big part to play during the daily show, so make sure you have a good view of it during the performance!

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW

Each show will end with a dramatic snowfall scenario that everyone of all ages thoroughly enjoyed! It’s mainly soap suds in case you are wondering!

This moment lasted quite long and, have to say, my pal and I had great fun taking wefies and being covered in “snow”, as did everyone around us!

OTHER FROZEN 2 SIGHTINGS…

Elsewhere in T3 Departure Hall, you will find an Enchanted Forest as well as an Arendelle Castle, where you can pose with cardboard cut-outs of Elsa and Anna, or check out these utterly cute 1-metre-tall plushies of Olaf and Sven.

These sections have areas and activities primarily designed for kids, but you would require a pass (and probably need to spend some money on a single receipt that kind of thing.) Visit https://frozenwonderland.changiairport.com/ for more information on how one can participate.

Over at Jewel, there is also some Frozen 2 content. At the Cloud9 Piazza on Level 5, there is an Arendelle-inspired festival market with a few stalls selling Frozen 2 merchandise. But the draw is definitely these life-sized models of Princess Anna and Queen Elsa. An Olaf figure can also be found at one of the festival’s gates.

For a great shot of the lovable snowman though, you have to pop to Terminal 2 for this larger-than-life, 3-metre-tall, spinning Olaf which is easily a big draw. Don’t miss it!

A Frozen Wonderland At Changi will be at T3, T2 and Jewel until Jan 5, 2020.
For more information, visit https://frozenwonderland.changiairport.com/.

Read also:
* ‘Frozen 2’: The 20 Best Quotes from the Disney Animated Blockbuster Sequel
* ‘Frozen 2’ Leaked Image Shows Elsa and Anna in an Autumn Setting

Triple Three @ Mandarin Orchard

A Birthday Buffet Bash

For my name day earlier this month, I really wanted to celebrate with a good buffet, so me BFF and I opted for the Japanese-inspired international buffet at the long-established Triple Three at Mandarin Orchard.

Named after the hotel’s address (333 Orchard Road), Triple Three’s buffet spread, which has a few live cooking stations, covers a huge area so one has to check out every corner and nook so as to not miss any of its extensive offerings.

The first thing that had us at hello was this gorgeous Honey Glazed Ham, flanked by cute Yorkshire puddings. There was roast beef too but it wasn’t as enticing as this hunk of a ham here!

This massive Grilled Grouper was hard to miss too, and its tasty meat really went well with rice.

The cold cuts section was right by the roasts. Its selection of meats including parma ham and smoked salmon, just to name but two.

My game plan though was to focus on the seafood-on-ice section where I could have all the utterly huge, fresh and juicy Sakoshi Bay oysters from Japan that I could eat…

… and, most of all. succulent Alaskan King Crab legs as well! (So good and yummy!) The station is also filled with other under-the-sea delights such as prawns, mussels, clams and crayfish.

Another popular Japanese-inspired counter is the Yakiniku (grilled meat) live cooking section. This evening, we had this heavenly grilled Wagyu beef with vegetables that was simply da bomb!

The sushi and sashimi counter is understandably another popular section especially when you can order to your heart’s content items such as freshly sliced yellowtail sashimi or wagyu beef sushi made on the spot.

As focus was to be on just a few stations, counters I had to forgo include the Asian wok-fried favorites, Japanese tempura, and I’m sure there was even a pasta station…

Our tummies practically had no room for this rather tempting Indian section although I couldn’t resist a scoop of the fragrant balmastic rice (which I ate with the grouper fish) and a piece of crispy papadum.

And we’re still not done: There is a decent looking cheese section…

…an impressive bread stand (although the buns and rolls we picked were surprisingly tough…)

…and a good range of pretty and delicious-looking cakes and pastries.

Last but not least, there were healthy fruits to end your feasting, along with premium machine-brewed coffee (or tea if you prefer).

We love to stuff our faces but the primary reason my pal and I have not been indulging in hotel buffets is because buffet prices can be quite hefty these days. During my birthday week however, there was a Triple Three promotion whereby for the weekday dinner of $88++, the second adult gets 50% off if you pay by DBS, POSB and UOB cards. That was why we picked the spot and we ended up paying about $78 each which was decent for such a good spread.

So overall, an enjoyable experience at Triple Three just like the last time when I was there yons ago. Would definitely visit again.

Triple Three is @ Level 5, Mandarin Orchard Singapore, 333 Orchard Road, Singapore 238867. Breakfast – Daily: 6.30am-10.00am; Lunch – Mon- Sat: 12pm-2:30pm; Sun: 12pm-3pm; Dinner: Daily – 6.30pm-10pm. Tel: 6831 6271

The Art @ APS Cashew Road

“You wanna go so far north for lunch?” That was my response when a pal suggested going to The Art at Cashew Road on her off day because “the bread is very good”. So off we went as the casual dining restaurant, located within Assumption Pathway School (APS), is just a bus and MRT Orange line+Blue line away.

The Art, or Assumption Restaurant for Training, is the Catholic educational institution’s culinary skills establishment that allows APS students—some of whom have special needs—to learn cooking and baking techniques, as well as to gain experience interacting with real customers.

The restaurant is located deep inside the Assumption school premises. Once out of Cashew MRT station, we entered via the front gate of Assumption English School, followed the covered walkway for some distance till we reached and climbed a short flight of stairs. The Art can then be seen atop a “hill” (which faces a football field), and after signing in at a guardhouse—it’s a school after all—we finally arrived at the dining establishment after climbing yet another flight of stairs.

For a place sited far from the main road, The Art was quite a busy place during lunchtime, though not exactly packed. Still, my lunch mate was crestfallen to discover that the “very good bread” was already sold out by the time we sat at our table. “Must come early at 12 next time!” she said. Yes, m’am.

The lunch menu is relatively simple: soup/dessert of the day (each $3); six choices of mains ranging from Deep-fried Breaded Chicken with Cheese Sauce ($9/set $13.50) to Daily Roast (done medium; $15/set $19.50); mocktails ($3.50), and hot beverages ($2-$2.50). It also contains a special Tea-for-Two set (2.30pm-5pm, $12 nett) that comprises 12 pieces of petit fours and two hot beverages.

Interestingly whilst we were there, there was also a “Food Street” where pop-up stalls were set up along the restaurant’s al fresco area. These are manned by APS students, selling fare such as prawn noodles ($4.50), curry chicken ($4.50) and assorted desserts ($1), and which you can order at the table. This is only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 12pm-1.30pm.

Good 'o Fish N Chips

We decided to go for a la carte and my friend ordered Fish N Chips ($12) while I opted for the Daily Roast ($15). The tasty Fish N Chips came with crispy French fries, salad and tartar sauce, and my friend had no complaints about it.

I had no complaints about my beef steak either, which was served with mushrooms in cream sauce, potato/carrot combo and some greens. Beautifully done medium, the steak was tender and juicy, and enhanced much by the lovely gravy.

Juicy beef steak beautifully done medium.

We had actually wanted to order dessert from the Food Street but by the time we finished our mains, the stalls had already closed shop! Luckily. there was a deli counter filled with a variety of cakes, so we ended up with Tiramisu and Black Forest cakes, both of which were very well made. I also had a coffee ($2) to end my meal. (If you order the 3-course set meal, coffee comes along with the dessert).

And oh, there was good news re: the “very good bread”. By the time we ended our meal, the kitchen came out with a couple of huge pita-like bread that were topped with pesto, cheese and olive oil for the deli counter. It wasn’t the bread my friend was looking for but since we came all the way here, we bought one each. And let me tell you, the fragrant bread was really, really good – you can eat it on its own or dip it into thick chicken curry or a creamy soup.

Tiramisu and Black Forest

The Art, which has a cosy ambience, also serves set dinners (from $16.50) on Friday nights (except last Friday of the month) and porridge buffet (from $12.50, only on last Friday of the month). These are however by reservations only. The daily menu is also subject to periodic revisions.

All in all, The Art is a nice place to dine in and service by both students and volunteers was good. It is definitely worth going the long distance (if you don’t live or work around the north-west, that is) for its quality food items including freshly baked bread, cakes and pastries. My mains/dessert/coffee meal came up to $24 which is decent, especially with a delicious steak in the mix. Will be keen to try its porridge buffet one day…

The Art is located within Assumption Pathway School at 30 Cashew Road. Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays (during school terms). Lunch – 12pm-3.30pm; Teatime – 2.30pm-5pm; and Dinner – 6pm-9.30pm (on Fridays and by reservations only). For Reservations, call +65 6892 6187 or email the.art.aps@gmail.com. For more info, visit www.aps.edu.sg/theart.

Grub And Grog Galore @ SFFA And RPB Asia 2019

If you love grub and grog as much as I do, joy is being in a hall filled with hundreds of fine food and drink booths offering samples for anyone who’s keen to have their taste buds tickled. I was hence delighted when Musings on the M49 was invited to the 3rd annual Speciality & Fine Food Asia (SFFA) and Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia (RPB) 2019 where I could do exactly just that!

Held at Suntec Singapore from 17-19 July and featuring more than 200 artisanal food and drink producers, the trade show is primarily a platform for producers to network and forge business opportunities with people in the food service, retail and hospitality sectors. It was truly a global affair as there were exhibitors from Canada to Spain, Taiwan to Uzbekistan. It was also good to see much local representation with many Singapore producers showcasing their locally-crafted fare – from cheese to beer to mead.

Thanks to organiser Montgomery Asia, a specially curated media tour was arranged for us to check out a diverse range of products on display. Here’s a selection of the goodies that yours truly had the pleasure of sampling.

FINE GRUB @ SFFA2019 & RPB2019 (Selected)

Meats from Spain

Though this Provacuno (Spanish beef industry) booth says “Beef from Spain”, the professional chef doing live demonstrations prepared a few different meat dishes for visitors to try including beef kebab, roast lamb skirt and a veal item. We only had time for the first two but the wait was absolutely worth it – both meats were succulent and absolutely juicy and delicious. (www.provacuno.es)

Dried Fruits & Nuts from Uzbekistan

Truth be told, I noticed Uzbekistan only when they play in an Asian World Cup qualifying round. At their pavilion, we learnt that the Central Asian country is also known for being producers of high-quality dried fruits (grapes, apricots, melons, etc), nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, etc), jams, as well as flour and sugary confectionery. The samples we tried were definitely good and tasty. (http://uzkand.uz)

Cashew Cheese Crafted in Singapore

We were also introduced to Kroodi cheese, the first plant-based artisanal cashew cheese in Singapore. Created by Claudia Cani, an Italian based here, her cheeses are “dairy-free, lactose- free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and preservatives-free.” Now I love cheese and I love cashews, but the cashew-based cheese took a while to get used to. Still, I’m always game to try new types of cheese. Purchase is available at kroodi.com and RedMart.

Pastry, Baked Goods & Tea from Taichung, Taiwan

Taiwan food fare is very popular with Singaporeans and seven foods companies from Taichung, Taiwan’s second largest city, were out in full force to promote their products. Items include various Taiwanese pastries and handmade baked snacks such as tasty almond cookies and pure milk shortbread, as well as fragrant milk tea and coffee drinks. (www.taichung.gov.tw)

FINE GROG @ SFFA2019 & RPB2019 (Selected)

Gin & Natural Mineral Water from Sri Lanka

One of the first fine grog we tried was from Rockland Distillery. Colombo No. 7 (www.colombosevengin.com) is a Sri Lankan take on a London dry gin, flavored with seven spices and botanicals including juniper berries, curry leaves and cinnamon bark. With a ABV of 43.1%, the gin when taken neat is complex and vibrant. At the same booth, we also got to sample Olu Tropical Water (www.oluwater.com), a “natural mineral water sourced from the cloud forests of Sri Lanka”. One thing for sure, it definitely tasted better than your regular tap water!

Blueberry Wine from Michigan, USA

Hailing from Michigan, USA, Vintas Sapphire Blueberry Wine carries much fruity aromas and is sweet on the palate, though not as sweet as a dessert wine. With an ABV of 11%, it’s easy to drink and goes well with the generous cheese and dried fruit platter provided. It would certainly pairs well with meat and dessert items as well. (www.vintas.com.sg)

Mead Made In Singapore

“It’s not beer”, screamed a banner at the Lion City Meadery booth. Well, beer it’s definitely not but mead is still an alcoholic beverage that is basically made from fermented honey, yeast and water. Two local mead-loving lads decided to start their own craft mead brewery and now has three flavors available – Classic, Spiced and Hibiscus Blueberry. Visit www.lioncitymeadery.com for the outlets where you can find their mead.

Gin & Sour Beer from Norway

A Norwegian gin that really took our breathe away was the Harahorn Pink Gin which looks more orangey than pink. At 38% ABV, it has robust citrus aromas and floral undernotes. Its taste is wonderfully smooth with a slightly bitter aftertaste. We also got to try a fascinating Norwegian sour beer-which I forgot to ask how to pronounce its name-that is yet to be in the market. And oh, the booth used really lovely glasses for tasting. www.detnorskebrenneri.no/www.nordicbev.com)

Luxury Chocolate Wine from England

Made in England, Rubis Chocolate Wine (www.rubiswine.com) is exactly what you expect it would taste like – a rich tasting fine red wine blended with premium chocolate. Good enough to drink on its own or over ice, you can also make cocktails with it (just add Schweppes tonic water, for example). It can also be used for tiramisu, or added to ice cream and coffee. Currently available at The Rubis Kiosk @ Raffles City Shopping Centre B1.

Ending the Day with Coffee & Ice-Cream

My media session ended at two live demonstrations. First, it was to be served a yummy cappuccino by a robotic barista from homegrown company Crown Coffee Robotics (www.crowncoffee.co). Think of it as a sophisticated coffee vending machine where you can actually see the coffee being made. Then it was off to the live demo of the artisanal made-in-Singapore vegan, plant-based ice cream by Smoocht (www.smoocht.com). I tried their durian flavor which was served on the smallest wafer cone I’ve ever seen. And yes, it was good and flavorful. Just wished the sample was bigger…

The event was certainly interesting and Musings on the M49 was glad to have some spare time to check out other booths (especially those hawking local and foreign beers.) Here’s to the next SFFA and RPB Asia!

The next Speciality & Fine Food Asia and Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia trade show will take place from 29 Sept – 1 Oct 2020. To register as a participant or visitor, visit www.speciality-asia.com and www.rpb-asia.com.