While we have adopted our festive foods from Western cultures, it is time to inject a touch of Singaporean flavour this holiday.
It is that time of the year again! The season for you to reconnect with your nearest and dearest, and for the turkeys and log cakes to reclaim their starring role on your dinner table at home.
In the spirit of supporting local that has been reiterated throughout the year, we think that it is the best time to incorporate local flavours into our mains that have been borrowed from foreign customs, such as the bûche de Noël cake that is symbolic of the Celtic belief of burning yule logs for good luck to commemorate the winter solstice or how the turkey was first chosen as the main meat for the festivities in the court of England’s King Henry VIII.
And as you celebrate the yuletide season per your own routines, let these dishes invoke the feelings of warmth and home accustomed to the Singaporean palate.
1. PERANAKAN MEE SIAM ROAST TURKEY
Injecting some necessary spice into your menu, Hotel Fort Canning has introduced the Peranakan Mee Siam Roast Turkey, where the bird is marinated with their homemade rempah comprising shallots, lemongrass, belachan, galangal and tamarind for sour and spicy notes, and then oven roasted for a charred exterior. To make it a full meal, the turkey comes with a side of fried mee siam and its accompanying gravy.
For more information, visit hfcsingapore.com.
2. TEH TARIK YULE LOG CAKE
A comforting solace to start your day, or to calm down and unwind after a long year, this frothy milk tea has long been a cornerstone of Singapore’s tea culture. The Fullerton Hotel Singapore’s take on the log cake features a light angel food cake rolled in generous layers of milk tea cream, and each bite provides a substantial sweetness from the black tea and condensed milk. The hotel’s other log cakes are also local-inspired, including Ondeh Ondeh Lamington Yule Log Cake and Mango Sago Pomelo Yule Log Cake.
For more information, visit shop.fullertonhotels.com.
3. ‘HAR CHEONG’ TURKEY
To honour the humble kopitiam zi char stalls that serve as the basis for our daily meals or family dinners, Goodwood Park Hotel’s ‘Har Cheong’ Turkey is inspired by a zi char staple, the har cheong gai, or deep-fried prawn-paste chicken. Chunks of turkey meat is fried with a batter of prawn paste, shaoxing wine, garlic and pepper and the dish is complemented with steamed Jasmine rice embellished with stir-fried Chinese cabbage and dried shrimps.
In the spirit of giving, 10% of the proceeds from the hotel’s log cakes, inclusive of flavours such as Black Thorn Durian and Black Forest, will be donated to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund that provides financial assistance to children from low-income families.
For more information, visit goodwoodparkhotel.com.
4. SUGEE CAKE
Christmas is an important occasion for many Eurasians. And food is always an integral part of their celebrations—with their recipes taking influences from Eastern and Western ingredients and cooking methods. Of which, a mainstay is the sugee cake, a rich and nutty cake made with semolina flour, crushed almonds and a generous helping of brandy. A less mentioned cuisine in the local culinary scene, this Eurasian cake would be ideal for those seeking out non-conventional bakes this year. It can be purchased at Quentin’s Singapore, where the cake, made with a passed-down family recipe, is covered with marzipan and royal icing.
For more information, visit quentins.com.sg.
5. MASAK MERAH TURKEY
Sheraton Towers Singapore presents a Malay twist on the turkey with the masak merah spice, made with chilli and tomato to give it a signature red hue. The turkey is infused with the masak merah sauce for 48 hours, then slow roasted for two and a half hours, ensuring that the flavour can be tasted all throughout the bird. It is served alongside Brussels sprouts sautéed with sambal hijau, a green chilli paste, begedil, a fried potato patty, and tomato fried rice.
For more information, visit shopatsheratonfestive.oddle.me.