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The chicken rice sushi roll (left) at Chinatown Food Street and Teochew steamed fish (right) by Swissotel Merchant Court. Image: Chinatown food street, S’pore Favourite Food Village 2015

Relive the old days of the former Ellenborough Market and its Teochew fare at the 22nd edition of the Singapore Food Festival (SFF). It is one of 13 food events at the annual gourmet festival, organised by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). The events, at various locations, will run from July 17 to Aug 2.

Nicknamed “Teochew Market” back in the late 1800s, Ellenborough served the largely Teochew population living by the Singapore River.

The event, to be held at Read Bridge in Clarke Quay, features such dishes as Teochew steamed fish and cold crab by Swissotel Merchant Court and bak kut teh from Xiao Chen Gu Shi.

Local chef Eric Low will also show how to prepare Teochew Opera Porridge, a supper dish sold by hawkers during the heydays of Teochew street opera.

Adding to the atmosphere, traditional Teochew opera troupe Tok Tok Chiang and Nam Hwa Teochew Opera Troupe will entertain diners on the weekends from July 24 to Aug 2.

In the hawker spotlight is Old Airport Road Food Centre, one of Singapore’s oldest food centres. It was built in 1973. There will be special dining deals at the stalls during the festival’s run.

For those looking for a more modern twist on local cuisine, head to Chinatown Food Street for the Mod-Local Fest. Classic dishes are served with a modern twist. For example, chicken rice is turned into chicken rice sushi roll.

Other activities include pop-up restaurant Streat by local celebrity chef Justin Quek of Sky on 57, Indian gourmet festival Suvai 2015 and the first Kueh Appreciation Day with kueh-making workshops.

At Kueh Appreciation Day, Mr Alan Tan, 43, owner of HarriAnns Nonya Table, which specialises in Nonya kueh, will showcase how to make its signature ondeh ondeh.

Hoping to draw in a crowd of at least 500 people, he says: “We want people to appreciate kueh, and the labour that goes into making it. We hope that the standard of kueh in Singapore is raised and will be seen as part of our culinary heritage.”

Ms Ranit Sundramoorthy, STB’s director of attractions, dining and retail, says: “The SFF has been a flag-bearer of Singapore’s vibrant food legacy, presenting varied ways to experience our nation’s culture. Till today, it is the only food festival in Singapore to feature local delights, and at the same time reinterpret them to showcase the inventive spirit of our ever-evolving local food scene.”

Singapore food festival highlights

 Dine at local celebrity chef Justin Quek’s pop-up restaurant, where he will serve Pacific Oysters with ginger flower dressing, and gula melaka creme brulee. You can also pick up some cooking tips from his masterclass. To celebrate local hawkers, he has also curated 16 stalls that will be selling food such as nasi kerabu (a Malay rice dish where blue rice is eaten with fish or chicken), and suckling pig sandwich with salted vegetable relish, at the event.
Where: Clifford Square, 80 Collyer Quay
When: July 24 and 25, 6 to 10pm
Price: $35 net for a three-course meal, prices vary for the dishes at the individual stalls

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Hawker spotlight: 51 Old Airport Road Food Centre
 Head down to Old Airport Road for a variety of special deals at various stalls in one of Singapore’s oldest hawker centres.
Where: 51 Old Airport Road
When: July 17 to Aug 2
Price: Prices vary for the dishes at the individual stalls

Mod-local fest

What: The Mod-Local Fest highlights street food with a contemporary twist. It kicks off with a Mod-Local Noir Dinner. Dishes such as chicken rice sushi roll, braised duck leg yam quinoa with chilli crumble and pulut hitam creme brulee will be served in a fine dining setting. Cargo containers will be turned into pop-up food kiosks serving dishes such as fusion rojak with chilli chocolate dip, and bak kut teh bisque with pork wonton.
Where: Chinatown Food Street, 335 Smith Street
When: July 17 and 18, 7 to 9pm (Mod-Local Noir Dinner), July 17 to Aug 2, noon to 11pm daily (food exhibition), July 24, 25, 31 and Aug 1, noon to 11pm daily (pop-up food container)
Price: $50 a person (Mod-Local Noir Dinner), from $2.50 (pop-up food container dishes)
Info: www.chinatownfoodstreet.sg/mod-local-fest

Singapore favourite food village 2015

What: Relive the charm of Ellenborough Market, which is long gone, with traditional fare such as prawn rolls and Teochew opera porridge – a popular dish sold duing the heydays of Teochew street operas.
Where: Read Bridge, Clarke Quay
When: July 24 to Aug 2, 5 to 11pm daily
Price: Food and drinks priced from $2
Info: www.singaporefavouritefood.sg

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Living culinary treasures

What: Learn local recipes and traditional cooking techniques from cooking doyenne Violet Oon, alongside others such as Eurasian chef Quentin Pereira (above) of Quentin’s restaurant.
Where: Violet Oon Singapore, 881 Bukit Timah Road
When: July 21, 23 to 25, 28, 30, 31 and Aug 1
Price: $129 nett (pre-payment required)
Info: Call 8533-1122 or go to www.violetoon.com

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Akar heritage social kitchen

What: Explore the past, present and future of Malay cuisine with the Singapore Halal Culinary Federation and celebrity chefs such as chef Siti Mastura (above).
Where: 735 North Bridge Road
When: 12.30 to 2.30pm, 3 to 5pm (July 25, 26, Aug 1 and 2), 6 to 9.30pm (July 24 to 26, 31, Aug 1 and 2)
Price: $90 (weekend lunch), $65 (weekend tea), $120 (dinner from Friday to Sunday)
Info: www.culinaryart.sg

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Suvai 2015

What: Savour the flavours of India with various local chefs including Devagi Sanmugam (above) and Artichoke’s head chef Jonathan Lee, as well as visiting ones such as Dhaithya Krawage, executive chef from the Taj Group of Hotels. Highlights include masala slushies and spiced lemon yogurt chicken wings.
Where: Tan Quee Lan Street (open field behind Bugis Junction)
When: July 30 to Aug 2, noon to 10pm daily
Price: Free admission, $5 to $15 for food
Info: www.suvai.sg

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Kueh appreciation day

What: Enjoy a selection of kueh and learn how to make traditional ones such as soon kueh and Nonya ondeh ondeh.
Where: ToTT, Sime Darby Centre, 896 Dunearn Road, 01-01A
When: July 26, 10am to 3pm
Price: Free admission, $12 (kueh-making demonstration)
Info: www.slowfood.sg/programs/kueh-appreciation-day-2015/

For more information go to www.singaporefoodfestival.com

This story was first published in The Straits Times on June 30, 2015. For similar stories, go to www.sph.straitstimes.com/lifestyle. 

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