Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Singapore Food Festival 2010 - Media Conference

This year Singapore Food Festival 2010 Media Conference was held on 06 July 2010 at Mandarin Oriental. It has being more than 10 years since the 1st Singapore Food Festival (SFF) held on 16 years ago. From 16 - 25 July 2010 (10 days) there will be varies kind of activities lining up such as great feast, cooking classes, online games and etc.

This year food festival is presented by Standard Chartered Bank and jointly organized by Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) and Single Point Contact Pte Ltd as well as supported by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). The highlighted of this year theme is focus on specialty dishes of the main Chinese dialect groups in Singapore.

I was honor to be invited to attend this event by Marcus form "Word Of Mouth Communications" to witness the media conference of this year Food Festival event. At the conference I was also excited to see my favourite celebrity chef, Eric Teo who is currently the Executive Chef of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Singapore.

The Ba Bao He - 八宝盒 (eight treasures box) that is originated from Qing Dynasty was used as jewellery boxes and snack containers during Chinese New Year. Each snack in the box is uniquely symbolised of a blessing from longevity to wealth. At the media conference yesterday, these eight treasures boxes are found on either the guest tables and reception area to be served as part of the "Singapore Chinese Dialect Street Snacks" theme. The snacks in the box are such as: Candied Winter Melon to represent a sweet year ahead, Malt Candy represent wealth and prosperity, whereas Dragon Beard Candy symbolised Longevity.

After guest arrival and registration follow by light cocktail reception, the media conference starts off with the opening speech follow by a 5 minutes of traditional street “Hand Puppet Performance - 布袋戏 “.

From 16 - 25 July 2010, you can also catch these Hand Puppet performance live at:-

Hand Puppets 布袋戏
Venue: Central's River Promenade
Time : 8.00pm to 8.30pm
9.00pm to 9.30pm
Language: Teochew, with English synopsis

After the interesting Hand Puppet performance, it is time for the highlight of the event where the SFF’10 Panelists will held a 30 minutes discussion follow by another 10 - 15 minutes of Question & Answer session to the Media. The 5 Panelists are:-

1. Mr Edmund Chua, Assistance Chief Executive from Singapore Tourism Board
2. Mr Andrew Phua, Director of Tourism, Shopping & Dining from Singapore Tourism Board
3. Mr K F Seetoh, SFF’ 10 Consultant from Makanstrua
4. Mr Luke Lee, SFF’ 10 Organiser, SPOC Solutions Pte Ltd
5. Mr Andrew Tjioe, CEO of Tong Lok Signatures Restaurant Pte Ltd

At this media conference event, there are also some Awards Presentation to the Sponsors such as Standard Chartered, Oriental Hotel, City Gas and etc. Master Chefs award are also given to Mr Lai Fak Nian from Plum Village, Mr Wong Kah Onn and his wife, Ms Helen Lim from Lai Wah Restaurant and etc.

Cooking Demo by Chef Eric Teo and Mr KF Seetoh marked the second highlight of the yesterday event. This cooking demo is to promote the “Makansutra SFF Culinary Master Classes” where foodies can choose to attend a series of cooking classes based on different “Singaporean Chinese Dialect” dishes conduct by some well-known chef such as Mr Liew Choy (on Chinese cze-cha dishes), Mr Francis Yeo Hock Seng(on Teo Chew Dishes), Mr Lai Fak Nian (on Hakka Dishes) and etc. Schedule & Booking information can be found on SFF'10 official website (HERE).

This is the first time that SFF actually focus on specialty dishes of Singapore's main Chinese dialect groups. Far from being a homogeneous cuisine, Chinese food is very varied and can differ greatly from region to region in China. By showcasing these dialect dishes at SFF 2010 and allowing locals and visitors to experience these dishes is a way of honouring Singapore's culture and heritage through food.

On the SFF 2010 media conference, all the invited guests and media are able to sample the 5 main Singapore Dialect group dishes from Cantonese, Kakka, Kokkien, Teo Chew and Hainan.

Above photo feature the Cantonese Style "Roast Pork Belly - 烧肉" from Cherry Garden, Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The top layer of the roast pork belly is so crispy and fragrant when bite and the meat portion seems to melt in your mouth too.

This "Braised Roasted Pork With Yam - 南乳芋头扣肉" is one of the 3 dishes from Moi Lum Restaurant. This famous restaurant was founded in the 1920s by founder Mr Khong Yu Lum and it has has been selling their legendary "Crispy Fried Chicken-梅林烧鸡" and "Golden Coin Beancurd - 金钱豆腐" for the past 80 years.

Talking about Hakka Dishes in Singapore, most of us will think of Hakka Niang Dou Fu and Suan Pan Zi (abacus seeds). On the event, Kew Garden has presented us three delicious Hakka dishes such as “Abacus Seeds - 算盘子”, “Red Wine Ginger Chicken - 红糟鸡” and “Soon Kueh - 客家笋粿”.

I was impressed by the taste of their "Red Wine Ginger Chicken" whereby the meat is so tender and perfectly infuse in their homemade rice wine and wine lees. And sampling of this dish gives me a familiar taste that resemble my mother-in-law’s signature Hakka “Huang Jiu Ji -黄酒鸡” dish that is cooked with Glutinous Rice Wine.

When comes to Teochew dishes or snacks, I am sure you are quite familiar with this “Peng Kueh -饭桃” that is made of Glutinous Rice fillings such as rice, peanut, dried shrimps and etc. This Teochew snacks is usually eaten at breakfast or teatime, which is served together with dark sweet soy sauce.

I am sure most of us would like this Hokkien “Kong Ba Bao - 扣肉包” even though it might be a bit towards the oily food section. For me a slice of good Kong Ba must be tender, juice and melt in your melt when eaten. And this taste extremely good when sandwich with steam mantou and lettuce.

The "Hainanese Chicken Rice and Pork Chop" from Yeh Lai Siang Catering Service caught my attention as the first pushcart stall near the entrance of the event room. The chicken rice is shaped into balls and accompany with delicious tender chicken pieces and fragrance chilli sauce. If you prefer something crispier to bite, perhaps you would like to have some Hainanese Pork Chop which is well season and taste equally great with the chicken rice balls.

After all the savory food, let’s hop over to Madam Ho Lily’s Dragon Beard Candy Stall to sample some of her traditional candies. Madam Ho is one of the few traditional Chinese Food artistes who not only sell traditional Chinese food, she has also improved on their tastes and presentation resulting to her food craft being very much sought after.

At this year SFF 2010, she has launch the first time ever in Singapore, crispy “Dragon Beard Candies - 龙须糖 “. These are roughly thumb-sized nuggets that consisted of hundred bits of groundnuts wrapped within thousands of fine malt threads. These very fine threads of malt are constantly dipped into a big tub of icing flour thus giving it the appearance and consistency of a fine white beard that is no difference from the beard of the mystical Chinese Dragon. The strands of the dragon bear candy symbolise longevity.

If you are interested in this snack, you can check out at Madam Ho’s shop at:-
Sim Lim Square
1 Rochor Canal Road

These are some of the food that I have sample during the event and I am sure during the Singapore Food Festive 2010 event held from 16 - 25 July 2010 there will be even more varieties of dialect cuisines available to satisfy our sight and taste buds. So stay tune for more updates on the next post on upcoming events in connection with the SFF 2010 or you can find out more information on their official site HERE. Posted by Picasa

Monday, 5 July 2010

Big Red Strawbery Farm @ Cameron Highlands

There are many strawberry farms in Cameron Highlands as the favourable climate environment definitely is appropriate for growing of strawberries. However we find that the strawberries are rather sour even thought they might look dark red and delicious.

There are roughly more than 8 strawberry farms in Cameron Highlands and the one that we are going to is known as “Big Red Strawberry Farm” which is just 10 minutes walking distance away from Binchang town. It is an ideal place to stop by no matter rain or shine. Big Red Strawberry Farm is more than just a farm but it is rather an attraction on its own with hydroponically grown strawberries, lettuces and etc.

Since we have only around 45 minutes to an hour in this strawberry farm, we have to act fast and plan wisely on our timing. With hesitation our first activities will be “Strawberry” picking which Rey has being waited for so long. Before entering the nursery, that counter staff roughly briefs through with us on the two prices such RM$20.00/500g or RM $40.00/kg for the strawberries plucks before hand over a basket and two pair of small scissor to us.

When picking strawberries, the nursery may dispatch a worker to keep an eye on you and at the same time advise you on which area to start your harvesting....

After some fun and laughter at the nursery picking up half basket of strawberries, we decided to take a rest at the “Big Red Café” where they serve a lot of strawberry based food & drinks.

Strawberry Waffle with Ice-Cream @ RM$5.90 look great but on a sad side, the waffle is kind of too soft and taste like cake texture instead of the crispy outer layer.

Strawberry Sande @ RM$6.90 which is full of fresh strawberries at the base of the cup, vanilla ice cream and drizzle of strawberries jam sauce. This dessert definitely refresh our soul after running here and there for the whole afternoon.

After finishing our dessert, Rey was eager to pick some tomato after his venture in the strawberry nursery. The price for the tomato was much cheaper than strawberry which cost around RM$5.00/kg. But from the photo you can see that there isn't many ripe one which we guess most of it has being pluck by the daily visitors.

During our way back before leaving the Strawberry Farm, we were surprised to spot Vineyard above our head. And on it are these gorgeous green grapes which look relatively small bunch compare to what we have seen in the supermarket and other vineyards that I have saw in Australia before. Posted by Picasa

Big Red Strawberry Farm
Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia.
Tel: 6 05-4913327
Location Map

Opening Hours:
Open daily 8.30am - 5.30pm - Free Entrance

Time Tunnel @ Cameron Highlands

Time Tunnel is the 1st attraction that we stop by after our lunch at Strawberry View Cafe & Restaurant. This museum is located in between Equatorial Hotel and Brinchang Town which you can easily spot the Big Signboard on the left side of the road towards Brinchang town. The entrance fee for the visiting this museum is RM$5.00 for adult and RM$2.00 for children between 6 - 12 years old.

Some of the interesting items such as wall clock, telephone, calender, ice shaving machine and etc found in olden day coffee shop.

Looking left, looking right. Did you find the gentleman in the above photo look rather familiar? Yes! When you step forward and have a closer look, you will realise that this gentleman is actually our present “Minister Mentor – Mr Lee Kuan Yew”. According to the write up on the photo, it is taken during his trip to Cameron Highlands in 1954 with his son Mr Lee Hsien Loong. I am sure this special and memorable photo can only be seen by public in this museum other than anywhere else from Mr Lee’s house.

The olden day coffee shop and glass bottle soft drink does bring back some of my mum's childhood memories. And I remember my favourite soft drink is Kickapoo and Fanta Orange, what's yours?

Look at these kitchen utensils; I guess most of us don’t even use or see most of the items in before. To me, I am only familiar with some of the Milo, Nestle Cereal and Cream Cracker tins which I had eaten during my childhood time.

Compare this saloon photo with the modern saloon that we have nowadays there is really a “big” difference. And on the wall poster, mum and aunty still can recognise some of their idol during their days. Overall this is a great place for kids, youngsters or even adults to find back their childhood memories. My boy definitely learn a lot of the olden day stuffs through the photos and displays. Posted by Picasa

Time Tunnel UT/MR/F-255
Jalan Sungai Burong
39100 Brinchang
Cameron Highlands

Opening Hours: 9.00am - 6.00pm daily

BOH Tea Plantation

No trip to Cameron Highlands is complete without a trip to the famous tea plantations. This is one of the main attraction that you have to put into your “must see" list. From there you can visit the factories to learn about the tea making process or you can also pamper yourself with a cup of tea at the café while enjoying the view overlooking the plantations.

BOH Plantations Sdn Bhd is the leading tea grower in Malaysia with four tea gardens – Boh, Sungei Palas and Fairlie situated in Cameron Highlands; and Bukit Cheeding in Selangor – constituting a total land area of 1200 hectares.

The road journey to the BOH Tea Plantation is quite an adventure as the road is narrow and winding. Our experience bus driver will give a honk or two while negotiating a corner to let oncoming traffic know there is coming vehicle. Apart from the narrow roads towards the plantation, the view of green rolling hills with neat standard rows of tea plants are truly breathtaking and refreshing.

BOH’s operations are mechanised while application of fertilisers is carried out aerially and harvesting is done by hand-held machines or raised tractor harvesters. Each of BOH’s tea gardens has its own processing facility and the Fairlie tea garden utilises some of the most modern machines in the world.

With a production capacity approaching 3000kgs per hectare, the Company produces 4 million kgs of tea annually which translates to about 5.5 million cups per day. Hence, with the high altitude, low temperatures and slightly acidic soil, Cameron Highlands is the ideal environment for growing superb teas of distinctive flavour and aroma.

There is a full length glass view café located near the entrance of the BOH Tea Plantation whereby you can grab a cup of tea with a slice of cake or snack while enjoying the magnificent view of the tea plantation. I am thankful that this trip we are able to explore this tea plantation to witness such a great view and enjoy the refreshing aroma of the tea leaves around the mountain. Posted by Picasa

39200 Ringlet
Cameron Highlands
Tel: +605 493 1324

39100 Brinchang
Cameron Highlands
Tel: +605 496 2096