Singapore 2012

Its been a while since I last went for a food event in Singapore, the last being Ferran Adrias 2 speeches approximately 3 years ago. Its not to say that there haven’t been many food events, in fact, there have been lots of celebrity chefs frequenting our tiny island; unfortunately, the meals that they host are usually quite pricy, and I cannot justify paying that amount of money when I feel that going to their own flagship restaurant would be a better reflection of the food that they strive to put out. offered a way to savour(points for incorporating the title) some dishes from world renowned chefs such as Alain Passard of L’Arpege, Alvin Leung of Bo Innovation, and Hans Valimaki of Chez Dominique. It was actually Passards name that piqued my interest for the event, my meal at L’Arpege last November was one of the most technically brilliant meals I’ve had in my life, a chance to attend one of his workshops was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Molecular Xiao Long Bao (Bo Innovation, HK, **)

My sister, who was at the event with me, headed straight for the Bo Innovation counter the moment we had entered and ordered everything that Bo had to offer. Her justification was to try some of Bo’s most famous dishes because she will, in all probability, never go to Bo. On the other hand, I will be having a meal at Bo this coming July, so this was all hers. I appreciated that they brought their own specific cutlery for the delicate item. On a side note on this (almost dead) spherified fad, I preferred my spherified mojito at Providence over the infamous spherified olive at El Bulli

Har Mei Lo Mien, with Har mei oil and powder (Bo Innovation, HK, **)

Basically pasta tossed with roe, with dried shrimp for flavor. It was comfortable and satisfying, the pasta was a good vehicle to carry the Asian flavors, but it was hardly pushing the boundaries. Reminded me a lot of Mentaiko pasta but obviously here with a different flavor profile. They also reduced this from $15 on the website to $9 at the fair, I don’t think anything more than $9 would have been a reasonable price. Okay


Egg waffles with black truffle and Vanilla Ice cream (Bo Innovation, HK, **)

The best dish I had during the fair. The waffles managed to stay crisp despite being topped with ice cream and a sauce(my sis thinks detected salted egg yolk in this but I have my doubts), and the infusion of truffle into the egg waffles itself was a nice touch. The ice cream had an interesting consistency, it was slightly more viscous than normal, and packed a lot of vanilla aroma in it as well(high fat content?), the pairing of truffle and vanilla worked gloriously together, I’m not particularly crazy about truffles, but this is one instance where I truly enjoyed it. Very good


Cod 2.0 for all your senses, Cod brandade flavored with dashi stock and served with cod skin crackers (Chez Dominique, Finland, **)

Fact: add ‘2.0’ to the back of any dish and it will sound molecular. I had half expected there to be some sort of dashi foam on the plate, I was a little glad when a conservatively plated dish emerged. The cod was very soft, but it had a slightly ‘pappy’ texture that happens when you sous vide food for too long, it was also slightly overseasoned for me, and lost some of its natural flavor. On a positive note, the bed of grains(Barley? Spelt?) it sat on was delicious. Okay


Potato and Malt, Sea buckthorn potato ice cream with malt (Chez Dominique, Finland, **)

The recreated potato is actually a white chocolate shell encapsulating an ice cream center. The crunchy malt bits at the bottom brought a delightful contrast in texture to the ice cream. Potato, Malt, white chocolate, an unusual combination of flavors that works well together, although I believe Wd~50 has used a similar combination in a dessert that they used to serve. The original dish served at Chez Dominique does look pretty different though, it just goes to show that many of dishes served at the fair are probably slightly modified to survive our climate. Good

Mexican pig with white spice sauce, alfayayocan bean, red and black radish (Pujol, Mexico)

I was quite amused by the black radish, having never seen one before. The pickled red radish provided a nice acidity to balance out the richness of the pork belly, unfortunately the belly wasn’t particularly well cooked. Okay


Cacao, corn and chilli. Cacao peru 64% and corn, rocoto pepper oil (Central Restaurante, Peru)

I had initially thought the chocolate was an ice cream, but it turned out to be an incredibly dense chocolate…. I dont even know what to call it. It was slightly gummy and way too thick to be called a ganache. The corn nuggets were severely lacking in any kind of flavor at all, and there was very minimal heat and aroma from the pepper oil. It was difficult enough trying to find flavor in the corn nuggets, and the flavor of the thick chocolate bulldozing its way though your tastebuds didn’t really help either. Bad


Coconut braised pork belly, with pickled cabbage and caramelized daikon (Xu, Vietnam)

This was one of the softest pork belly’s that Ive ever had, the thing literally broke apart with a fork, so much so that it became difficult to eat when the skin, fat, and meat separated due to its own weight, I would actually have liked the belly to have more structure so it would be easier to cut into. Whatever coconut flavor present in the dish was faint, and got lost in the pickled cabbage. It seemed to be an Asian take on German pork + sauerkraut, but with punchier flavors, especially with the pickled cabbage, I tasted quite a lot of soy sauce in it. Okay


Chocolate Brigadeiro, truffle candy, with cupuacu (Brasil sensational, Brazil)

It was my first time having cupuacu, and while I didn’t particularly care of the dish, the aroma of the cupuacu is quite unique, a lot of aromas and flavors all happening at once, definitely something that makes you sit up and take notice if you’ve never tried it before. Okay

Alain Passard’s masterclass

Unfortunately I didn’t try anything from the L’Arpege booth, but I did get to see Alain Passard in action, which made the trip to the entire event worth it.

He is ridiculously thin for a 3 star French chef, and I had no idea that chef Gunter trained under Passard for some time as well. Hearing Passard speak about food was quite inspirational, plus learning how he cooks his egg yolk in his soft egg dish was quite exciting too.

There were many other mini demonstrations, wine tastings, samplers going on at the fair, but I didn’t snap any pictures. Overall it was a well organized event, my only critique would be the line forming up to get in during the first 1/2 hour when the event started, congestion was quite bad and there could have been more staff allocated to the entry booths; I’m not sure why I’m even complaining about this because I went straight to the front, but if I had to queue up to get in, it would be something that I would like rectified.