Savouring Singapore's seafood
SINGAPORE - In the beginning, there was seafood. Singapore's first inhabitants, the orang laut (or "sea gypsies") depended on them for sustenance. According to the authors of Singapore, A Biography, they made their living "out on the water from fishing, peddling fruit and occasional piracy".
And despite all the Japanese wagyu and French foie that have come to delight our palate in modern times, seafood will always have a special place in our hearts.
For those who can't get enough - or those who have neglected their love of seafood of late - the coming month will present a delightfully rare opportunity to rediscover the ocean's bounty.
From the village people
For starters, the upcoming Singapore Food Festival (SFF) 2012, which runs from July 13 to 22, will shine the spotlight on seafood, offering a seemingly unending repertoire of classic and creative dishes. In keeping with the theme, the SFF Village this year will move to a larger - and apt - location at the Waterfront Promenade at Marina Bay. Under its sprawling tent, 50 stalls will offer their renditions of seafood specialities for the curious and gluttonous to enjoy.
One of the more popular names participating this year is HY California, the casual sister restaurant of Hide Yamamoto, helmed by its eponymous award-winning chef. The stall will sell its version of chilli crab and its much raved about sashimi and sushi for less than S$10 a pop, making it a great opportunity to taste HY California's fare without burning a hole in your pocket.
Another highlight of SFF Village is Seafood Paradise's SFF Seafood Platter, comprising a small portion of the restaurant's popular chilli crab or creamy butter crab, along with stir-fried live geoduck with asparagus in XO sauce, fried prawns tossed in salted egg yolk, Nonya-style deep-fried coral trout and seafood fried rice. At S$36.90 per plate, it is a veritable steal.
By the harbour front
Over at Sentosa, another rare opportunity awaits in the form of a barbecue at sunset on the shores of Siloso beach. The cover charge of S$29.90 buys diners S$30 worth of vouchers that can be redeemed for food and drink from eight stalls. The spread will feature not just seafood and meat, but also different barbecue techniques including the Hawaiian imu, where food is cooked in an "oven" made by digging a large hole in the ground. It all sounds like a lovely way to spend an evening with friends and family.
Meanwhile, a Gourmet Seafood Voyage at Resorts World Sentosa offers an excuse for food lovers to venture into the resort. Within three-and-a-half hours, you will sample buffets from three restaurants. Granted, the schedule sounds a little harrying, but for S$108, diners get to explore the Maritime Experiential Museum and Typhoon Theatre between 7pm and 7.30pm, before tucking into buffets at the Fish & Crab Shack, the Fiesta Restaurant and finally, the Starz Restaurant.
The Typhoon Theatre is a 360-degree multimedia theatre that simulates the perilous voyage on board a 9th-century Chinese junk, and while some might think it's not the best way to start a meal, the reality is you really have no time to think about it as you're whisked from restaurant to restaurant.