Monuments in Miniature

Drop in with the kids to an exhibition of eight super intricate LEGO models of Singapore’s landmarks at the Central Library this June. 

It’s the June holidays and the kids are at home, growing more and more restless by the hour. You’re not letting them play on the computer for too long, you’ve read them all the books in your bookshelves. Now, you’re hard pressed to occupy them with meaningful activities.  We popped in yesterday at this fantastic little exhibition that just opened at the Central Library and we think it’s well worth bringing the tots down for a look.

Building History: Monuments in Bricks and Blocks is a brand new exhibition of eight of Singapore’s historical monuments all built using LEGO. Your kids like LEGO too? Bingo. They’d love it. The eight landmarks include the National Museum, the lovely red and white Central Fire Station, old Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, the Thian Hock Keng Temple, St Andrew’s Cathedral and Sultan Mosque. As miniatures, these are pretty big, adult-sized models done in impressive detail, using over 110,000 toy bricks (ie. LEGO which did not sponsor this) in total.

 

The exhibition was organised by the National Heritage Board’s  Preservation of Sites and Monuments division, but the models were built by three designers from My Little Brick Shop Pte Ltd. Lots of research had gone into doing it: they studied the architectural plans of the buildings (yes, really old documents), flew drones over the them to capture the details from above, and visited many times to take photos to capture the details. And it shows up in the models which took seven months to complete– from the floor patterns of the Thian Hock Keng Temple to the coloured glass window of St Andrew’s Cathedral and the bottles that decorate the base of the domes of Sultan Mosque. The largest model is the Mosque which weighs 40 kg and could not fit through a door. Just one of the golden domes itself is made up of 1,511 pieces of toy bricks.

St Andrew’s Cathedral, the tallest of the models which measured over 1m.
Sultan Mosque, the largest model of the eight which weighed 40 kg.

Getting nose-to-nose  with these models lets you really see and appreciate the details of these buildings which may not be apparent even when  you visit the actual site.

Thian Hock Keng Temple, one of the most painstaking and detailed of the models.

Making these models had its challenges and the model makers had to improvise sometimes. For instance instead of green dragons on the roof of the Thian Hock Keng Temple model, they had to use red snakes instead as LEGO did not make toy dragons. The pillars of at its main entrance are gears with chains, instead of grand dragons coiling upwards. But you get the idea. The main hall of the temple was recreated by memory work because the security lady in the hall was adamant that no photography was allowed.

This exhibition would hopefully help start a conversation among grownups and kids about the history of these landmarks and the communities that built them.

The exhibition runs from now until 30 June. Guess the number of bricks used to build the Sultan Mosque and the three closest guesses will win LEGO models. The next 10 closest guesses will win a children’s storybook on national monuments. Just upload a photo of the Sultan Mosque model with your answer on your personal Facebook or Instagram accounts with the hashtags #BuildingHistorySG and #librarysg.

The exhibition will then travel to other libraries: Marine Parade Library (1-30 July), Jurong regional Library (1-30 August), Tampines Regional Library (1-29 Sep), Ang Mo Kio Library (1-30 Oct), Sengkang Public Library (1-29 Nov) and  Choa Chu Kang Library (1-30 Dec).

 

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City Guide – 4 Tips On How to 7 Sydney Sights In 8 Hours

On the way to Auckland recently, I had an 8 hour stopover in Sydney with my pre-teen in tow. For once, the usually organised me – did not have a plan.

My last visit to Sydney was probably over twenty years ago. My daughter has never been to Sydney so since a stopover was a must, to get into Auckland as all the other flights were full – I decided – heck, why not!

So we landed at 6am in Sydney with no idea what to do except advice from a friend that I could take a train to Circular Quay from the airport terminal and work out the rest from there so that is exactly what I did.

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We ended up seeing 7 places in the short span of 8 hours, having a great meal by the Darling harbour and getting back to the airport in time and here are 4 useful tips on how to do that.

1. Foodstuff – Pack It With A List    

We arrived with two hand carries. One filled with computers, charges and iPads and the other filled with foodstuff so that we did not have to open our heavier main luggage when declaring it going into Auckland.  Not the wisest move to bring food out of transit in Australia, as Oz is the home of “Border Patrol” and they have strict, if not the strictest restrictions on what you can and can’t move out of customs. So if you are ever on transit here and in the same predicament do yourself a favour (like we did) and write a comprehensive list of what’s in your food bag. Eg. 1 packet dried shrimp. The general rule – no raw eggs, meat or honey and no seeds. Also do not take any foodstuff off the plane as that is also not allowed. Yes, leave the bottled water and the packet of nuts behind. If you have no food on you and don’t want a hassle queueing – that should be a point you want to note.

2. Find a Storage Locker

We found one in Sydney airport, right next to the Flower Shop after we happily cleared customs. For something like $12 for 8 hours per hand carry – it was the perfect drop off.

3. Look for the Train

The local train into the city runs right into the airport – a very good thing about Sydney’s airport.  Go to the end of arrivals and board the train into Central Sydney. We bought a day pass for under AUD50 each and off we went. It may seem high – but leaving the airport is already AUD15 and back is another AUD15, individual stops if you get off and on are AUD3 to AUD4 per one way.

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We got off at Circular Quay by 8am, home to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and within walking distance to the Rocks and the Darling Harbour so that was four attractions covered off in one stop.

4. Look for a Sydney Attractions Pass Booth

We headed to the Rocks for breakfast and coffee and around the area, ask any of the Tourism Info Centres where you can buy an attractions pass.

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Sydney is built for tourism and the good thing about Sydney is that the attractions are all nearby to each other – at least the main ones for kids are.

We found this place where you can buy it at one of their booths or online and we bought tickets (about AUD$65 each) to 3 attractions (the Aquarium, the Wildlife Centre and Madame Trussard’s Wax Museum) which we discovered were all located side by side along the Darling Harbour waterfront (our 7th and final stop) where we afterwards had a lovely late lunch before getting back to the airport by 3pm to catch our 5pm to Auckland.

City Stopover Summary  

  • 6am Landed in Sydney
  • 7am Cleared customs stored luggage
  • 745am Train to Circular Quay
  • 830am Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • 10am Breakfast and Coffee at The Rocks
  • 11am Buy Attraction Pass and walk to Darling Harbour Waterfront
  • 11.15am Aquarium Visit (its small with a travelator that goes under the fish dome that does not move so you can walk through. So expect to be done in 45 minutes)
  • 12pm The Wildlife Adventure (liked this best out of all the attractions as it was more unusual)
  • 1pm Madame Trussard’s Wax Museum – after all the goofy pics that we took and the realisation that some of the stars were actually shorter than I thought that they would be in real life, we got hungry!
  • 145pm Grabbed a quick Italian lunch at one of the lovely waterfront restaurants
  • 230pm Took the half hour ride back to the airport in time for our 530pm flight to Auckland

Other top Sydney Attractions HERE

Best and most productive and efficient 8 hours ever spent in one city!

 

 

6 Hipster Lunar New Year Feasts in Hong Kong

If you are swinging over to Hong Kong to avoid the ‘hong bao’ handouts, over inquisitive relatives then you might like to pop into these interesting relatively new hipster spots to savour some of the trendy eats that have emerged from Hong Kong’s ever creative dining scene.

Fang Fang

If you are fan of Modern Chinese, head to Fang Fang at LKF Towers, Central. They have an Ikebana cocktail menu that celebrates the Japanese art of floral decoration, available from 30 January – 6 February 2018.

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Award winning Bar Manager Gagan Gurung (ex Zuma) uses a floral theme to create cocktails with names like ‘Garden Old Fashioned’ featuring kavalan whiskey; ‘Fangroni’ which brings an enchanting Asian twist to the classic Negroni and the ‘Champaca Margarita’ which carries refreshing notes of magnolia flower infused Cointreau and citrus mix.

For the Lunar New Year, book a seat for 17 February 2018 for the Prosperity Brunch (HKD398) which includes a free flow moët (HKD 150) and features Chef Kent Lee’s new dim sum dishes as well as a modern take on the traditional Lo Hei, prepared with Norwegian Salmon. Brunch .  A festive dinner menu (HKD 888) will also be available for a limited amount of time and will feature rainbow Lo Hei with Norwegian Salmon as well as a Fang Fang’s a premium Dim Sum platter which will include a new interpretation of hargau, siumai and king crab dumpling.

If you want a bit of live entertainment, singer Wendy Robin, will be performing soulful jazz and blues from Tuesday through Saturday each week and throughout the Lunar New Year.

Yum Cha 

Chic, trendy and fast expanding dim sum dining destination restaurant YUM CHA has restaurants in TST, Mongkok, Central and a new one just opened in Causeway Bay (Emperor Watch & Jewellry Centre, 8 Russell Street) that resembles a New York loft concept. The chain which also owns Social Place, promises an eye-catching ‘instaworthy’ dim sum menu for Chinese New Year.

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Created by Executive Chef Winson Yip, red bean paste buns are designed to resemble the ‘God of Wealth’, bringing good fortune and prosperity; ‘Fried Dumplings with Pork Filling’ are styled after a traditional Chinese gold ingot; ‘Mandarin Buns’ are bite-sized lookalikes of a prosperous mandarin; and ‘Lo Hei’, a mini-version of the colourful, fun and tasty Prosperous Toss salad, traditionally shared to symbolise abundance and prosperity. The team have made it their mission to promote Hong Kong’s food culture, with expert dim sum and wok chefs bringing a modern twist to the fragrant harbour’s traditional ‘yum cha’ ritual of tea and dim sum delicacies.

Zen

Head to the heart of vibrant Wanchai to ZEN, a newly relaunched Cantonese restaurant.  The restaurant hails from London, now in Hong Kong with restaurants around the world including Beijing, Shanghai, Gold Coast, Tianjin, Sanya, Shanxi Taiyuan, Hainan Island, Chengdu, Mexico City, Macao, Dubai and Amman. There are 3 menus available from now till 2 March 2018 that are ideal for group gatherings. Each is a 10-course set priced at HKD5500, HKD6688 and HKD7788 respectively for 10-12 people.

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All about lucky connotations, the ‘Lucky Menu’ (HKD5,500) starts with Deep-fried Scallops stuffed with dishes like Shrimp Paste and Golden Roast Crispy Sesame Chicken. The ‘Joyful’ menu (HKD6,688) has a Whole Suckling Pig barbecued to perfection, Grilled King Prawns in a Honey Tomato Sauce and Poached Yin Yan Cabbage with Tofu Skin and Wood Fungi served in a rich fish stock. The ‘Prosperous’ menu (HKD7788) includes both supreme dried seafood and fresh catches of the day including the signature Fried Baby Lobster coated with Golden Duck Yolk and the Double-Boiled Yin Yan Chicken Soup with Ginseng.

Duddel’s

With restaurants in Hong Kong and London, Duddell’s fashionable take on Chinese food is not just about the food but also the location, the interior is said to be fashioned after the eclectic home of a seasoned art collector. The restaurant in Hong Kong is situated on the historic Duddell Street, in the heart of Hong Kong’s Central district.

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For the Lunar New Year,  Dim Sum and Suckling Pig are on their lavish menu. If you are going for the dim sum nibbles, they start at HKD68 per dish. If it’s a proper sit down reunion meal, that you are after then there are 2 set menus that start for minimum 4 people from HKD8388 with items like Baked Crab Shell with Onion, Braised Conpoy with dried Oysters and Sea moss, Sauteed Garoupa with termite mushroom, Crispy Salted Chicken. Available both lunch and dinner from 18th to 25th February

Mott 32

With restaurants in Vancouver, Hong Kong and soon Bangkok, Mott 32 is equally fashionable and well-located at the Standard Chartered Bank Building in Des Voeux Road, Central.

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Highly regarded, Executive Chef Lee Man Sing (ex-Mandarin Oriental) runs the kitchens and he has elaborate ala carte items like Whole Atlantic Lobster Salad (HKD688) with a homemade sauce, wok fried Razor clams with spring onion and ginger (HKD388), king Prawns in Chinese Rice wine, vinegar, chilli with a pan-fried sticky rice cake (HKD338), baked fresh Crab with egg, tangerine peel and onion (HKD488) and Apple-wood roasted Iberico Pork rib (HKD198) on the new year menu.

San Xi Lou 

If you have a thing for spicy Sichuan, this is the place to go to.  The name ‘San Xi Lou’ was is inspired by the Emperor Qianlong’s Imperial Studyroom – San Xi Tang (Hall of Three Rarities), in which he housed his favourite calligraphy treasures.

It’s two restaurants at Coda Plaza on Garden Road and its newly opened Times Square outlet in Causeway Bay are serving festive fare from 1 February – 2 March, with three banquet menu options featuring a range of symbolic dishes and two takeaway ‘Poon Choi’ options ideal for eight at HKD2,480.

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Their traditional ‘Poon Choi’ (Big Bowl) communal pot options come in both Sichuan and Cantonese style with premium ingredients including abalone, conpoy, goose web and dried oyster, meticulously layered , with a non-spicy ‘Nam Yue’ version, and San Xi Lou’s signature spicy Sichuan ‘Mala’ option. There are 3 Set Meals – Fiery Set (HK$8,880 for 12 persons), a milder ‘Golden Set’ (HK$16,800 or 12 persons) and a Prosperous Set’ (HK$6,880 or 12 persons). Each features eight appetisers, a variety of meat and seafood specialties, noodles, ending with dessert and a fruit platter.

 

Elaine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Box Chinese New Year Takeaways From Hong Kong

Singapore is so accustomed to the Lunar New Year cookie scene – plastic boxes with red lids packed with the most delightful goodies. The scene shifts slightly in Hong Kong as the eats come in pretty red boxes with a different flavour and premium packaging, Feast your eyes on what we got in our IN box this week from the fragrant harbour

The BonBonist

Newly opened at Pacific Place, The BonBonist combines playful, fun and decadent into delectable little treats. Founded by French confectionery expert Olivia Niddam, the shop is the latest sweet-tooth craze to hit Hong Kong with over 70 delicious selections of sweets and chocolates.

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Their Lunar Year gift set is a classy  “Auspicious Treasure Trove” highlighting four new enticing bonbons, a trendy tote bag and laisee packets. ((priced HKD628),  a perfect manifesto of Eastern tradition married with Francophone chic.  Each bonbon is  also available for purchase individually, priced from HKD48 to HKD68. Customers can opt to create their own special bonbon box with colour stickers and ribbons to add a simply sweet personal touch to gifts.  Order placed between 18 to 25 January 2018  will be treated a delightful discount of 10% off the first box purchased, 15% off when two boxes are purchased; and 20% off when five boxes are purchased.

Moreish 

Moreish is a contemporary Hong Kong brand driven by a passion to celebrate classic favourites  transforming them into fresh and exciting gourmet treats. Their treats are Malaysian inspired and based on ‘Mum’s secret recipe’, beautifully repackaged. The unusual name stems from the informal British word used as an adjective to describe a food that is so pleasant to eat, that one wants more.

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Their reinvented pineapple shortcake is made with pineapple sourced from small farms in Thailand and they use native Patavia pineapples that are selected by hand just before they fully ripen to ensure that the filling has the right balance – not too sweet with a tropical tang. Their pineapple treats are wrapped like square shortcakes at HK138 a box and are pina colada flavoured.

 

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Long standing veteran French chocolatier, La Maison du Chocolat has an exclusive Flourish Gift Box (HKD680) and a number of refined hatbox gift sets – all prettily packaged in French hatboxes. Alongside the main box, the Propitious Hatbox, Blossoming Hatbox, and Fruitful Hatbox – are tailored to fit every celebration during this festive time.

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The Flourish Gift Box offers a scintillating variety of sweet and crunchy La Maison du Chocolat treats presented in a beautifully designed box embellished with a sophisticated dog graphic.

Green Common

Launched four years ago, Green Common has really upped its game from health-conscious all-green organic-led supermarket to a restaurant and now a retail store offering lunar New Year vegan pastries that they have termed “food 2.0”.

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Filled with red quinoa and a variety of super food options like nourishing Cordycep flowers and peach gum, as well as purple sweet potato, each ingredient is nutrient-rich with no artificial colouring or flavouring agents. Everything is also manufactured fresh, locally-packed and vacuum sealed. There are four Chinese New Year puddings in-store to take away with names like “Purple east”, “Continuing success”, “Ma spirit” and “Well known household names” each named after the main ingredient – purple sweet potato, carrot, water chestnut, taro.

The Peninsula Hotel

Hong Kong’s Grand Dame hotel, The Peninsula (known fondly as ‘The Pen’) honours the season at their Spring Moon Chinese restaurant with their celebrated Lunar New Year puddings (HKD298) each available in Taro, Water Chestnut, Turnip and Spring Moon New Year Pudding flavours.

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Each pudding arrives in elegant packaging, making them ideal gifts for relatives and business associates – or simply for your own enjoyment. Order between 16 January 2018 and 15 February 2018 and collect from Spring Moon the following day. Guests purchasing 20 or more puddings are entitled to a 10% discount, while a 20% discount is applied to orders of 50 or more.

Cordis, Hong Kong

Cordis at Langham Place in Mongkok has also pulled out all the stops at Ming Court, their Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, with an array of suspicious festive pudding takeaways with an innovative range of flavours including Aged Pu’er, Dark Brown Sugar and Coconut Chinese New Year Pudding (HKD238); Pumpkin and Coconut Chinese New Year Pudding (HKD268) and the all-time favourite Abalone, Conpoy, Air-Dried Preserved Meat and Turnip Pudding (HK288).

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All puddings are elegantly packaged in Ming Court’s unique New Year prosperity box. Available to order from now. For orders of 30 boxes or more before 5th February 2018, guests enjoy a 20% discount.

 

The Intercontinental Hong Kong

With a prime view of the Victoria Harbour, The Intercontinental has gift boxes and puddings galore. The Hotel goes a step further. Here, you can actually learn to make your own Chinese New Year Savoury Kagoshima Thick Cut Daikon Pudding and Peanut & Sesame Dumplings under the expert guidance of Yan Toh Heen Executive Chef Lau Yiu Fai and his team. Chef Lau will demonstrate how to make this savoury seasonal treat, along with Peanut & Sesame Dumplings.

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Date/Time: Saturday, February 10, 2018 (12:15pm – 2:00pm)

Venue: Yan Toh Heen Private Room

Price:  HK$1,488 per person + 10% service charge                   

Takeaway gifts: A box of Savoury Kagoshima Thick Cut Daikon Pudding, a package of traditional Peanut & Sesame Dumplings, a bottle of Yan Toh Heen Homemade X.O. Chili Sauce and a Yan Toh Heen apron.

Participants:     10 persons maximum

For Restaurant and Chinese New Year Pudding Class Reservations call +852 2313 2323 or E-mail: fb.hongkong@ihg.com

Elaine

Comida Mexicana – Mexican Fare & Margaritas We Can’t Get Enough Of

Newly opened in Katong, Comida Mexicana is technically not new — it was formerly Margarita’s East Coast. In its refreshed branding and new menu, proprietress Vivian Wee continues to serve up top notch Mexican fare with a focus on healthy cooking, quality ingredients and fabulous flavours. I’ll admit, this post is particularly enthusiastic because hers has been our favourite neighbourhood restaurant for well over 15 years (ie. we’ve put our money where our mouth is), and we are very familiar with her as well as the food she whips up.

Oh, but Mexican is so heavy, and it’s all just refried beans and tacos, you say. Well, rest assured, not here.

For those who like their tipples, let me just state that they serve the best margaritas on this earth. There are several grades on the menu. The higher grades are smooth and well rounded, but the house pour margarita’s ($18) are good enough for me — I like them with a bit of an edge. And you’ll definitely feel the buzz from these. I like them classic, but if you fancy a twist, the tamarind margarita — as odd as it sounds — is actually very nice. There’s also sangria, mojito and daiquiris if you prefer.

Food portions are very generous here and meant for serious sharing. Not like the trendy ‘sharing plates’ that are actually two-thirds the size of full main courses, these are genuine, generous, hefty dishes. As a guideline, if there’s three of you, you’ll just need two appetisers and two mains to share, and get a jug of margarita. If you still have space for desserts, order two again to share. We promise you’ll be rolling out the restaurant after that.

So, on to the food. To start, share the mashed avocado sopes ($20), little tarts (made from scratch) piled with refried beans, guacamole, and a lime wedge, and my must-have, tortilla chips with home-made red salsa ($6), tangy, rich, with a substantial chillied kick. The mushroom fritters are great too.

From her main courses, the Mexican Yucatan chicken ($28) is a must have, comprising five large pieces of grilled leg meat on skewers. Marinated in achiote, garlic, orange and lemon juice, they are tasty, juicy with a zippy tang, served in a tortilla ‘bowl’ filled with salad and four steamed tortilla. Get hands-on and assemble your own tortilla wrap, filled with meat, salad and pieces of fried tortilla bowl. Since it made its debut, this dish has been making ‘instagrammed’ countless times and has won many over. And it’s large enough for two to share.

The carne asada ($52) is a drippingly juicy, boldly flavoured grain-fed beef marinated in brandy, tequila and orange juice, served with tortilla, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, salsa rojas, and black beans. It comes to the table sizzling, and is absolutely delectable. We love the carnitas, too, comprising delectable pulled pork slow-cooked for two and a half hours and served with tortilla, salsa rojas, salsa verde, and guacamole. Like the chicken, these are meant for hands-on assembling fun. If you fancy seafood, the cornflakes crusted baby snapper fillets ($32) with roasted tomatillo sauce is good – crisp, zingy and generous. The chicken burrito, and the braised lamb shank ($38) are also favourites.

If you’ve still got space for dessert, have the salted caramel pina colada bread pudding ($15). Unapologetic and not for the faint at heart, this is made of brioche soaked in dark rum and cream, with chopped pineapples, coconut ice cream and lashings of salted caramel sauce. Divine. And there’s the kahbrita ($14), a moreish composition of homemade coconut ice cream coated in chocolate powder, kahlua and a shot of espresso. A Mexican version of the affogato.

A passionate cook who is also totally health conscious, Vivian makes everything from scratch in her restaurant kitchen, from the sauces and salsas to ice cream. She imports most of her ingredients from Mexico and the USA, including avocadoes, chillies, beans and tomatillos — and most of them organic as far as possible. Canned ingredients are avoided as far as possible. Another thing worth noting, with three days advanced notice, she offers made-to-order reduced-sugar cakes such as Kahlua Tiramisu, Carrot Cake, Banana Cake, and Bread & Butter Pudding ($80-$150 for 3kg, takeaway only). And did we say they serve the best margarita’s on earth?

404 East Coast Road, Singapore 428998
Tel: (65) 6440 8030
(Closed on Mondays unless they are public holidays or PH eve)

A Very Early Christmas Listing – Takeaway Feasts in Singapore

Atypical of our usual ways, we are making an early start on Christmas this year. Many Christmas goodies are available from 1 November  and if you decide early enough, you’ll get early bird discounts, and less stress in the run up to the season. Here’s a selection of Christmas takeaways in Singapore this year.

Goodwood Park Hotel
The hotel’s new Chinese style 12 Treasures Turkey ($268, for 8-10 people) is a delectably tender moist bird stuffed with luxe ingredients like roast pork, abalones, chestnuts, conpoy, lingzhi and salted egg yolk, slow cooked in lotus leaves and served with vegetable fried rice. Also good are the roast turkey roulade with pork and chestnut stuffing, brussels sprouts and turkey gravy ($168, for 4-6 people) and the slow roasted Ibérico pork belly ($320 for 6 to 8 pax, limited to 25 orders per day) with its crisp crackling, white cabbage pickled with honey, granny smith apple sauce and smoked bacon-infused pork jus. For desserts, the Merry Mosaic Cakes ($48 for 500g) are a treat, comprising 16 little square cakes of six assorted flavours and iced delightfully for Christmas. Flavours include raspberry earl grey, tiramisu and green tea.

We always like Goodwood’s takeaway meals for convenience and value. This year, the Traditional Christmas Combo ($298) includes traditional Christmas turkey with stuffing, giblet gravy and cranberry sauce, honey glazed boneless ham with vanilla-pineapple sauce and traditional Christmas chocolate log cake. The Local Christmas Combo ($338) consists of Twelve Treasures Turkey, Turkey Gyoza (20 pieces) and Goodwood D24 durian Christmas log cake.
Available at The Deli from 1 to 26 December, five days advanced order required.
Tel: (65) 6730 1867 / 68 or email: festive@goodwoodparkhotel.com

The Fullerton Hotel

We like their nasi lemak Christmas turkey ($190), complete with ikan bilis, coconut rice, sambal, egg and cucumbers, and the roast turdunken — a chicken is stuffed into a duck which is stuffed into a turkey, stuffed with a yummy stuffing of dried fruits, pumpkin, sausages and lots more, based on a more-than-60-year old recipe. At $233.26 (6-7 kg), it’s a decent price considering all the work — including boning the birds—that goes into this spectacular treat. Tastes really good too. The third recommendation, the luxuriously comforting truffle mac & cheese with parmesan, mozzarella and gruyère cheese topped with freshly shaved black truffles. The panettone are good here too.
Available from 15 October 2017 to 1 January 2018 via shop.fullertonhotels.com Tel: (65) 6877 8943/8178

Intercontinental Singapore

Our favourites here are the tender juicy premium roasted kurobuta bara ($148 for 2kg) from Kagoshima, and the Bultarra Australian saltbush lamb ($148 for 2 kg), both of which come with roasted potatoes, mint jelly, tomatoes on the vine and mushrooms. If the bird is a must, have the succulent maple orange roasted tom turkey ($168 for 5kg) served with baked potatoes, vegetables, mushroom stuffing and giblet gravy.

For sweets, have the cChocolate sandwich biscuits—just like high class Tim Tams —filled with assorted flavours like raspberry gingerbread, pistachio amaretto cherry, mont blanc and chocolate peppermint. The madeleine croquembouche makes a nice centrepiece, and if you’re cutting down on sugar, go for the sugar-free framboise chocolat bȗche de Noël. That should keep the kilos in check!
Available from 18 November to 25 December 2017. tel: +65 6825 1224 or email sinhb-festive@ihg.com.
15% early bird savings when they place their orders between 18 November and 10 December 2017, with an added 5% off for online orders.

Hotel Indigo Katong

You can guess the kind of creative spin this hotel’s mod-Peranakan restaurant Baba Chews will be offering for Christmas this year. For a locally flavoured Christmas, we recommend their turkey breast “assam curry” ($78+) slow-baked with tamarind, rempah and creamy curry sauce; and the mouthwatering USDA prime beef short ribs rendang ($168+ for 2kg) served with Hainanese rice and achar. For endings, the chendol log cake ($63, 1kg) was excellent. 3 days’ advance order required.
Tel 6723 2025 or email hello@babachews.com.sg
8% early bird discount applies from 1Nov – 8 Dec. Orders available until 25 December.

Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre
Spicy is the word here, with the hotel’s two fiery turkeys. Bring home the tandoori turkey with masala potato ($117.70 for 5kg) or the Szechuan turkey ($107 for 5kg). We hear the tandoori turkey is particularly fabulous. But if you’re still into the classics, they do have a tom turkey with chestnut stuffing, thyme sauce and cranberry relish ($107), and for sweets, a nice guanja yule log with banana confit, and rich chocolate biscuit.
Tel +65 6733 8333 or email fnb.hisinorchard@ihg.com

Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium’s Christmas package takeaways are full meals with a local flavour. The Shiok Christmas package ($388 for 6-8 people) comprises a 4kg salt baked laksa turkey with stuffing and gravy, barbecued platter of roast duck, pork and char siew, prawn platter, and desserts is a chilled mango pudding with mango coulis, pomelo and sago, and six bottles of beer. The Traditional Christmas Package ($328) has the predictable traditional roast turkey with all its stuffings and sauces, mashed potatoes, tropicana yule log cake, red wine and my favourite, a most delectable sa cha-infused meatloaf. It was excellent. It’s other classic takeaways are notably well priced : a 3kg roasted leg of lamb with roasted baby tomatoes, brussels sprouts and vegetables ($92), and 1kg roasted Australian beef ribeye with mustard jus and all the vegetables ($62).
Available from 1 November to 27 December.
Get 30% early bird discount for orders before 30 November.
singaporeatrium.holidayinn.com/festive

Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Apart from the classic Christmas takeaways, they also offer an unusual Chinese style roast goose with apple and chestnut stuffing, roasted brussels sprouts and potatoes, plum sauce and giblet gravy ($140 for 6-8 pax), and oven roasted suckling pig ($250, for 8-10 pax) with potato salad, braised red cabbage, thyme and rosemary jus. For dessert, the matcha yaki-imo Christmas tree is too cute, comprising matcha mascarpone anglaise, sweet potato cream and sable Breton ($70).
Available from 30 November to 26 December 2017.
Email mosin-festive@mohg.com or tel: +65 6885 3081

 

 

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

For those who live in the eastern end of the island the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is a convenient place to get your turkey takeaways. It’s traditional roast Christmas turkey is priced at pretty good value($98+, 6kg), with cornbread stuffing, roast potatoes, braised brussels sprouts with bacon, braised red cabbage, maple caramelised chestnuts and vegetables. For a smaller party, get the turkey roulade ($68+, 1.2kg) stuffed with spinach, minced chicken and cranberry, and truffle sauce. Its punny Merry Berry Cheese-mas Yule Log Cake ($68+) was pretty good too, with moist Manjari chocolate sponge cake, layers of raspberry cream cheese frosting, crunchy strawberry pearls and almond flakes.
Available 1-24 December.
http://changiairport.crowneplaza.com/festive-takeaways-christmas-2017 or tel: +65 6823 5367

Capsuled Drinks for the Babes

Step aside Nespresso, here comes BabyNes, available now in Hong Kong. We think it’s a great (and stylish) gadget & nutrition system for expectant mums and babies. Created by Wyeth, it’s a Nespresso-like machine that dispenses specially formulated beverages via capsules for pregnant ladies and babies (from 7 months old). These are meant to supplement their nutritional needs along the different stages of their development.

The BabyNes capsules come in six formulations according to their developmental stages and contain different proportions of protein, fats and active probiotics, as well as other nutrients to support their immune system, digestive system, brain and nervous system, as well as eyesight, etc. Choose capsules for babies according to their age: for 7-12 months old, 13-24 months and 25-36 months (HK$548 for 26 capsules). There are two formulae for moms, which go under the name of Mom&Me: preconception & pregnancy (HK$369 for 26 capsules) and for breastfeeding ($388 for 26 capsules). The machine itself costs HK$2088. It is wifi and blue-tooth enabled — which means you can prepare the formula remotely anywhere in the house — has a touch screen interface and comes with a personal MyBabyNes dashboard, where parents can set up feeding alerts, track the growth and development of the child, for instance.

The machine’s water pressure technology gets you a cup of formula milk in one minute at a perfect 37C, making sure that milk powder is all fully dissolved. For hygiene, the system is also designed so that there is no contact between the powder and the machine. What’s more, each capsule contains a 0.2 μm filter to allow the formula to flow directly to into the cup.

The very comfortable-looking flagship store of Wyeth BabyNes is at ifc mall in Central; but other partner retails outlets are located at various MotherCourt outlets, Seraphine Paris-Mongkok, and Mothercare-Sogo Counter at Causeway Bay.

More details at http://www.babynes.com.hk