It is our worst kept secret. Singaporeans can’t get enough of novelty. We go in for the kill when we hear of the opening of the next big thing in the bustling food and beverage industry in Singapore. We are eager to share with our friends our new discoveries and constantly anticipate the opening of the next new food chain! But did you know, nestled among the plethora of good food and fine dining that our food industry has to offer, there is an alluring and increasingly popular variety of food and drinks that carry with them a story of wild invention and unlimited culinary creativity. While we all have our perennial favourites, there can be no doubt that something new tantalises the tastes buds every now and then, and both the food and beverage industry and Singaporeans can’t say no!
For all that the food industry boasts, when we think of good food in Singapore, our favorites have a soft spot we never neglect. How then do the shapers of the food and beverage industry both surprise us with something new and to serve us what we already like? By reinventing what we always loved!
Cakes and desert are enjoyments that we sinfully make space for, even after an unforgettable meal at a fine dining restaurants. From mille feuilles, chocolate ganache cakes, to a good old cendol or sweet potato soup, it is always something sweet that seals the deal. Patisseries and bakers alike often take pride in using Singapore classic flavours, like pandan, durian and even red date, to create an extraordinary new invention that promises to whet your appetite.
In fact, the upcoming mooncake festival is one such time when you can witness the ingenuity of the creations of these inventors in the food and beverage industry. While the snowskin mooncake is not a creation originating from Singapore, the assortment of new and reinvented flavours each year really tops the charts for the best food in Singapore. By incorporating flavours like coffee, tea or gula Melaka, and even using ice cream in their mooncakes, these confectioners play into the novelty that Singaporeans love, all while serving up good food.
In recent years, cakes have also been making waves in the food industry. The cakes I grew up with have morphed from a single flat, creamed surface to elaborate three-dimensional designs made to look so exquisite and realistic that they are the centerpiece of birthday parties. Not only are these new cakes hot in demand for a celebration, they are great as party platters for your next gathering – that way you can tell your private chef to stay off the sugar!
Singaporeans love trying new things and at the same time continue to savour their favourite dishes. The food and beverage industry in Singapore has constantly churned out tantalising offerings based on new creations of old favourites, with many making spins on fusion cuisine, the mix of two culinary palettes. Japanese fusion, for instance is one of the most popular!
Spicing Up What We Love
Not only does invention happen in the kitchens of the food and beverage industry, Singaporeans are a smart bunch and many home recipes have garnered a following of their own. Milo Dinosaur is a drink close to my heart. Already impossibly appealing when drank iced in the sweltering heat; this malty, chocolate-based drink gets better with a spoonful of milo powder splashed on the surface of the drink. Now you get double the fun. Famous local dishes like chili crab all got the special treatment when chefs turned them into chili crab pasta, and even nachos with chilli crab sauce. The variety never ends and there is always something new to mix up the old favourites with!
Cocktails – the Most Intoxicating
Our cocktail bars are one of the most exciting and attractive places in our ever growing food and beverage industry. They are the best places to hit after dinner in Singapore or even a place to hold a birthday party. Interesting enough, cocktail bars are also where the most invention within the food and beverage industry occurs.
In a highly competitive arena, renowned bartenders serve up an array of reinvented classics, combining both practiced skill and a clear knowledge of their ingredients. Not only playing on old favourites, these bartenders make use of food technology to spice up their drinks – it is only with the most trained hands where animal fat and liquor can taste like a dream.
What do we want next?
If anything, we love our festival food. Why should the best pineapple tarts only be available during Chinese New Year? What about the amazing assortment of Malay goodies baked specially for Hari Raya? Singaporeans need these to be available year round. There are cravings that have to be satisfied immediately sometimes and if you, like me, know the pain of waiting a year for a dish to be available, we need it pronto.
Food inventions do not necessarily have to be confined to serving up dishes and drinks. The food and beverage industry has more to offer than good food or to open the next best place for dinner in Singapore. More often than not, a thoroughly enjoyable meal has lots to do with the experience of the meal, rather than just the quality of the food alone. Novel ideas like dining in the dark have generated some talk on the food and beverage industry but not so much. The idea that dining can always be excellent both taste-wise and as an experience is something that we can consider. Simple introductions to our daily activities like inviting a private chef, monthly, even weekly, to treat ourselves can hugely impact the way we look at food. We want to invent a whole new dining experience that is both luxurious but easily attainable.