It’s National Day excitement in Singapore again. The grand preview of the National Day Parade is just over, and we’re all gearing up for NDP fervour this Friday. We are celebrating our 54th anniversary unshackled from the greedy hands of colonialism, and also marking the bicentennial of Singapore’s ‘founding’….But that’s like celebrating Nigella Lawson ‘discovering’ pandan leaves. Us in Asia knew about Singapore for quite a number of centuries already before Mr Stamford decided it was a good idea to pop over and grab it for the ‘empire’. Anyways, before we get too snide, let’s refocus our happy thoughts. If you’re not off to the parade, there’s plenty to do around town to feel the Majulah spirit. Here’s some nice stuff you can do….
Forest restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa has a brilliant $54 menu featuring five courses by chef Sam Leong’s 76-year-old mother Mdm Pit Yoke Eng, available til end August. They promise to be heritage dishes that remind you of grandma’s home cooking. These include Mama Leong’s Soup of the Day; ‘Samsui’ Kampung Chicken with ginger and homemade special sauce, signature chicken rice ball and steamed Soon Hock with preserved vegetables and shredded ginger. For $54, we think it’s great value. What’s more, several other RWS restaurants have $54 national day specials too. They include a 4-course crab themed menu at Tangerine (we love its tranquil setting), and a three-course lunch set at TEPPAN by Chef Yonemura comprising Sautéed Foie Gras, Prawn Kadaif and Saffron Rice with Beef Consommé; Iberico Pork “Pluma” Steak 110g and a dessert. Reserve online at http://www.rwsentosa.com/sg54-dining with the promo code RWSNDP at least 24 hours in advance.
Easy Asian restaurant Fat Chap at Suntec City celebrates national day with a big dose of ASEAN neighbourliness. We love how they celebrate not just the anniversary of our independence, but also of our neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia who also celebrate theirs in August. It has rolled out the ‘SIN-MYS-IDN Makan Trail’ menu for the entire month of August, showcasing favourites from the three countries. What looks good to us are Really Indomie Goreng ($12.90) with seafood and chicken satay, Lontong Sayur ($12.90) with sambal egg and beef rendang, sate ($18 for 6 skewers) including pork, Not Really Ramly Burger ($25) made with hand-chopped beef patty between homemade brioche buns and Durian Shortcake ($14) with homemade durian ice cream and cempedak brulee.
3 Temasek Blvd, Suntec City East Wing, #01-643, S038983
(Lobby of Tower 4)
Swissotel Stamford & Fairmont Singapore has the best vantage point for watching the parade and fireworks this year. If you didn’t book a staycation there, the next best thing to do is sit down with the girls and feast on a delicate yet patriotic afternoon tea ($52 per person) at Antidote, created by our friend and super talented head chef Tryson Quek. From a large, tiered jewel box are elegant bijou bites of inspired Singapore flavours such as chilli crab foie gras pao, lobster achar in coriander brioche, gula Melaka scones with kaya and clotted cream, pineapple tart with almond sable, and otah mousse with puff pastry and plenty others. If you’re feeling particularly celebratory, get a glass of Taittinger ($15) or don’t shy and go the whole hog with a magnum ($168).
The food at mod-Cantonese restaurant Mitzo is really excellent. But first, you have to get past its trippy lighting which, we admit, may not go down too great with our inner aunties. Settle down, and when the walls stop spinning, the reward is the five-course National Day Set Menu ($88 per person) made up of creative dishes inspired by heritage fare. Expect delectable like Scallop Spring Roll, Prawn with Red Yeast
Mayonnaise and Spicy Chicken Otah stuffed with Lotus Root, Abalone “Bak Kut Teh”, Cheese Baked Chilli Lobster and Braised Snow Vegetables and Sea Bass with Noodles. Finish with the Longevity Tea served with Sesame Ball. For hydration, take in patriotic cocktail National Treasure (S$21), an original creation of chamomile-infused
whisky, dry curacao, maraschino and grapefruit bitters, egg white and cranberry soda. (HSBC, UOB and DBS cardholders get a 10% discount.)
Other fun bits
As an “alternative cultural celebration”, the Former St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital, a state property, is open on National Day as the venue for I AM CITIZEN. A collaboration between Singapore Land Authority and The Local People, it’s a day of art, musical performances, art workshops (eg. calligraphy, bookbinding and block printing) and an art market where local designers and makers showcase their handmade treasures. Catch the national parade live streamed on the rooftop and see the fireworks from this unique building too. This is a fantastic opportunity to explore a unique building no longer open to the public ordinarily. Get updates from the ‘I AM CITIZEN’ Facebook page.
Details: 9 August, 5-11pm, at 5 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069183 (the former St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital, next to Maxwell Food Centre