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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Food Fest spices up

Curry and spices is the theme this year and highlights include dining on river cruises and on the Singapore Flyer
The Straits Times - June 11, 2011
By: rebecca lynne tan
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Food Fest spices up Discover spices as chef Milind Sovani of innovative Indian restaurant The Song Of India takes you on a walking tour of Little India. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE FOOD FESTIVAL

The annual Singapore Food Festival is back next month - with twice as many food stalls.

Curry and spices will be the focus this year. Expect to pepper your tastebuds with dishes from 60 stalls in Clarke Quay offering local and international fare. Tuck into all sorts of curries from different ethnicities, as well as dishes such as rojak and char kway teow.

Organised by integrated marketing and events agency SPOC Solutions and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the epicurean festival is now in its 18th year. The 10-day festival kicks off on July 15 in Clarke Quay.

Mr Andrew Phua, STB's director of precinct development, says the theme was chosen to highlight the flavourful culinary ingredients which define Singapore's diverse local cuisine.

He says: 'Curry and spices are the essence of our multi-ethnic melting pot and through the years, these flavours have evolved in tandem with the evolution of our society and culture.'

Mr Luke Lee, 35, director of SPOC Solutions, who has been organising the event since 2009, adds: 'We want to anchor every food festival with a culinary theme. Curry and spice is one that transcends all the ethnicities in Singapore, be it Indian, Chinese, Malay or Eurasian.'

Another highlight is a 45-minute bumboat ride for lovers of local food, which runs on the hour, six times a day, from 4pm. Those going on the river cruise can feast on dishes such as chicken briyani, fish curry and kueh salat - a nonya cake of glutinous rice topped with a pandan-flavoured coconut jam - served in a tiffin carrier (left).

Mr Lee hopes the festival's focus on the Singapore River and its surrounding areas will remind festivalgoers of Singapore's heritage as an important spice trading hub in the past.

Aside from the Singapore River, venues of other core events include the Singapore Flyer and Little India. The festival is expected to attract 400,000 people.

There will be a hands-on canape-making classes followed by a noshing session at the Singapore Flyer, as well as a heritage trail through Little India. Both events, held over two weekends - July 16 and 17, 23 and 24 - will be conducted by the festival's food consultant Milind Sovani, 47, chef-owner of innovative Indian restaurant The Song Of India in Scotts Road.

He says he wants to keep the events fun and cheerful.

He adds: 'At the Flyer, there will be about 24 ingredients such as carrot, prawns and sambal chilli for participants to make their canapes. I want them to use their creativity to make a tasty canape and just have fun doing it.'

Festival fringe activities will take place in areas such as Kampong Glam and at the Malay Heritage Centre in Sultan Gate. Events there include creating works of art with spices and a Malay cooking class where you can learn to cook dishes such as sayur lodeh (vegetables in coconut gravy) and roti jala (Malay lacy pancake) with chicken curry.

The festival aims to raise people's awareness of the use of spices in food.

STB's Mr Phua says: 'We hope participants will discover that many of Singapore's iconic dishes use a variety of spices that gives each dish its distinctive taste and flavour.'

For inquiries about Singapore Food Festival 2011, e-mail or call 6796-9331. Go to for more information. The website booking and payment portal go live on Monday.


What: There will be 60 stalls selling local and international fare at Clarke Quay. Besides local delights which will likely include char kway teow and rojak, cuisines from countries such as Italy, Spain, Japan and Korea will be on offer.

Where: Read Bridge as well as along the Singapore River promenade outside The Central, Clarke Quay and River Valley Road

When: July 15 to 24, 4 to 11pm on weekdays, noon to 11pm on weekends

Price: From about $2 a dish


What: During the river cruise, tuck into naan, satay, ngoh hiang, chicken briyani, fish curry, Peranakan kueh and more served in a tiffin carrier. The 45-minute cruise is limited to 20 people at a time. You get to keep the tiffin carrier.

Where: Singapore River, Liang Court Jetty, Tan Tye Place behind Liang Court

When: July 15 to 24. Cruises leave on the hour between 4 and 9pm

Price: $35+ a person


What: Discover spices as chef Milind Sovani of innovative Indian restaurant The Song Of India takes you on a walking tour of Little India. It starts with a breakfast at Komala Vilas Restaurant that includes thosai, an Indian pancake, served with chilli chutney. That is followed by visits to spice and vegetable shops, and a trishaw ride to Muthu's Curry restaurant for a cooking demonstration and lunch.

Where: Meet at Little India MRT, Exit E

When: July 16, 17, 23 and 24, 10am to 1.30pm

Price: $88+ a person


What: Chef Sovani will teach you to make two spicy canapes - achari chicken tikka papdi chat and cocktail chilli popiah rolls. After the hour-long demonstration, make your way into a Singapore Flyer car. During the ride, you can watch the sunset and fill your tummy with other canapes such as spicy shrimp melon parcels and mini creme brulee with chilli chocolate. Limited to 16 people a session.

Where: Singapore Flyer, 30 Raffles Avenue

When: July 16, 17, 23 and 24, 5 to 7pm

Price: $108+ a person


What: Chefs from hotels and restaurants, including Copthorne King's Hotel's Chinese restaurant Tien Court and Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, will conduct the cooking classes. Participants will get to taste the food afterwards. Each class is limited to 50 people.

Where: ToTT (Tools of The Trade) Store, 893 Dunearn Road 01-01A

When: July 16, 17, 23 and 24. There will be two sessions each day, 9am to noon, 2 to 5pm

Price: $88 a person

Info: For bookings, call 6479-7723. Go to for more information. Registration for classes will close one week before each class


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