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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Foodies savour top dishes at fair

Food festival lets visitors sample wide array of global cuisine from famous chefs at lower prices
The Sunday Times - April 1, 2012
By: Adeline Chia
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Foodies savour top dishes at fair PHOTO: DESMOND LUI FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

Can an egg by any name taste egg-quisite? If it is called 'chaud froid of egg', or 'hot-cold egg', and if it is whipped up by a top restaurant, expect it to be so.

The gently poached yolk - topped with creme fraiche, maple syrup and sherry vinegar - is served in its shell and eaten with dainty spoons.

It was among the most talked-about dishes yesterday at Savour, a three-day food festival that ends today.

This delicate creation of uber-chef Alain Passard is a signature item on the menu of the three Michelin- starred Parisian restaurant, L'Arpege.

Psychologist Hia Soo Boon, who is in her 40s, had this to say of the tiny appetiser: 'It's an acquired taste. It's good but too sweet. Maybe we're too used to the local half-boiled egg.'

The item, priced at $18, is among more than 50 gourmet dishes from traditional Japanese to molecular cuisine served at the fair held at the F1 Paddock and Pit Building.

Participating restaurants include Singapore's Garibaldi and Jaan, as well as two Michelin-starred Finnish restaurant Chez Dominique.

Besides pop-up booths by famous chefs, there is a gourmet food village selling specialty products, plus food tastings and demonstrations.

Organiser Savour Events, a new local company, expects over 13,000 visitors. More than 300 tickets are left to be bought at the door today.

A ticket for the lunch session costs $44, and $66 for the evening session.

Visitors said the fair offered them a chance to sample dishes from top chefs in a relaxed setting and at a lower price than in restaurants. Dishes at the fair cost $6 to $21 each.

Mr Jose Martinez, 40, a Swiss national and director in a multinational bank, said: 'I've been here for five months and this is a great introduction to the best Singapore restaurants. When you have a huge passion for food, it's good to see new techniques of cooking in the demonstrations and to taste different cuisines.'

One of the hits was local restaurant Forest's fragrant steamed yellow pumpkin rice. The $21 dish was served in a miniature pumpkin. The rice was cooked with XO sausages and pan-seared foie gras in sweet port wine sauce.

Teacher Yeow Li Yi, 25, said of the creation by chef Sam Leong: 'The rice is fragrant and the texture of the foie gras goes very well with it.'

The usual challenges of al-fresco dining in tropical Singapore got to some visitors in the afternoon. A late morning drizzle and a hot, humid afternoon left some feeling wilted. 'It's very hot. We need some fans here,' said secretary Yvette Poh, 31, dressed in a white cotton shirt and shorts.

But there was always the air-conditioned oasis of the gourmet market in the Pit Building, where visitors enjoyed wine tastings and shopping for food products from around the world.

The Gourmet Pie Company, an eight-week-old shop at North Bridge Road, was running a brisk trade at its booth. Australian co-owner Adam Wilson, 43, said the store sold more than 2,000 pies over two days. 'It's been very successful for us. We are opening six more outlets before the end of this year, and this is very encouraging.'

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