24 Hours: What To Eat In Singapore

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As Singapore turns 50 this month, our nation is in a grand party mood.  And one of our favourite ways to party is to indulge our palates.  We are in love with our food, and fussy to a fault when it comes to eating.  And you can hardly blame us.  Most of our dishes are born of our multi-racial culture, and the best dishes are Singaporean-ised over the years to perfectly suit our taste buds.

So if you are in Singapore for a short visit, join me on a food trail that is sure to impress.  This is 24 Hours: What To Eat In Singapore:

Prata for Breakfast

Roti Prata picture from Your Singapore (http://www.yoursingapore.com)

Roti Prata picture from Your Singapore (http://www.yoursingapore.com)

When I’m up bright and early, I usually make a beeline for roti pratas.  When done right, this South Indian flat bread is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the perfect morning nosh.

My personal favourite is what we call prata ‘kosong’.  ‘Kosong’ means ‘zero’ in the Malay language and refers to plain prata, which tastes best when dipped with fish curry.

However, if you are craving something a little more sweet or savoury, many prata stalls also offer modern variants such as cheese, onion, chocolate and bomb pratas – a flakier dough with margarine, sugar and condensed milk.  Enjoy these with strong local coffee for the perfect early morning pick-me-up.

Chicken Rice for Lunch

Chicken Rice picture from Your Singapore (http://www.yoursingapore.com)

Chicken Rice picture from Your Singapore (http://www.yoursingapore.com)

Though chicken rice has its roots in the Hainan province in China, it is widely hailed as our national dish.  In fact, it’s rare to walk more than five kilometres anywhere in Singapore without passing a chicken rice stall with a row of cooked chicken hanging from the stall front.

While this may seem a little shocking to tourists at first, it adds to the distinct flavour of the cuisine.  In fact, Singaporeans tend to like to see our meat in its entirety, and associate this with freshness and wholeness.

Quirks aside, Singaporean-Hainanese Chicken Rice is very different from the original version from China, which tends to feature a bonier fowl with green chilli dip.  In Singapore, we prefer tender spring chicken served with fragrant rice steamed with chicken stock and ginger.  This is accompanied by a tangy red chilli dip, minced ginger paste and thick sweet soy sauce.

Widely available at humble hawker centres and renowned restaurants, this national dish has inspired our nation so much that we have named movies such as Chicken Rice War after it!

Kaya Toast for Tea

Kaya Toast picture from https://yakuntoast.wordpress.com - a national favourite

Kaya Toast picture from Ya Kun (https://yakuntoast.wordpress.com) – a national favourite

As far as Singapore’s tea culture goes, the Kaya Toast probably sums it up.  Kaya is a local jam made from coconut milk, eggs, sugar and pandan leaves, which lends it a unique fragrance and distinctive green hue.  Served with toasted bread and generous slivers of butter, it the perfect mid-day energy booster.

Singaporeans love enjoying a Kaya Toast even when we’re not hungry.  It is most commonly savoured with local milk tea, or what we call ‘teh’ during a casual catch-up with friends, especially on a lazy weekend.

Chilli Crabs for Dinner

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Whenever I host overseas friends for dinner, I love to take them for some authentic Singaporean chilli crabs.  Usually served with the shell intact and drenched with a savoury chilli-tomato gravy, this is a messy eat.  Be ready to get your hands dirty, and expect a lot of splatter.  However, if you ask any Singaporean, this simply adds to the flavour of the crabs, and makes it a unique bonding experience for diners.

My three tips for enjoying the iconic chilli crab: 1) Never wear white or pricey clothes for this unless you are prepared to go home with stains.  2) Request for a female crab if you enjoy roe.  3) Always order mantou (fried buns) to soak up the chilli gravy after you’ve polished off the main!

Satay for Supper

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Think of this as the Southeast Asian version of the ubiquitous kebab, marinated in a piquant bouquet of local spices.  Satays tend to be sweeter than your regular kebabs, and served with a distinct sweet and spicy peanut dip.  Usually available as bite-sized chicken, beef and mutton sticks with a side of raw cucumbers, onions and ketupat (rice cakes), they are my favourite after-dinner snacks!

Since the best satays are freshly grilled over an open charcoal fire, they are usually only available from evening till late night.  Bear in mind that you can’t order one or two sticks of satay – nor should you.  Stall owners offer satay beginning from 8-10 sticks. And believe me, once you’ve tried it, you’ll wish you had ordered more.

 

Capella Singapore serves many of these delightful local cuisines.  Alternatively, if you are spending time around town, ask your Personal Assistant for recommendations.

 

Top 5 Things To Eat At Rheinkirmes

Tradition / Brauchtum - Kirmes Skyline

Dusseldorf’s biggest summer event is without question the Rheinkirmes. For the 115th time, the Rhine meadows will be transformed into an unique amusement park. A huge summer festival completed with traditional beer tents, spectacular modern rides, live bands, rustic food, candy stands and about four million visitors of all ages enjoying it. It is amazing!
The 9-day fair ties together traditions, culinary experiences and modern entertainment.  There is so much to do and see, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.  One of my favorite parts is the food!  So I thought it would be fun to share my top 5 things to eat at Rheinkirmes with you.

Tradition / Brauchtum - Kirmes Skyline

Tradition / Brauchtum – Kirmes Skyline

#1 Battered Fried Fish
If you like fried fish you will love the German Backfisch. You have the option between the fish on a roll or with fries as a side dish. Don’t forget the remoulade – it pairs perfectly.  This is a must eat at the fair!

#2 German Sausage
No trip to the Rheinkirmes is complete without some sausage.  Bratwurst is served on a roll along with a traditional side of sauerkraut.  Of course you can’t forget the mustard!  It is available in a wide range from spicy and coarse to sweet or hot, and everything in between.

#3 German Potato Pancakes
There is nothing like eating a freshly made Kartoffelpuffer (aka German potato pancake) with apple sauce.  It’s the perfect mix between sweet and hearty.  Don’t forget to order #4 along with it!

#4 Alt beer
Dusseldorf is the center of one of the most interesting beer regions of Germany. So, you don’t want to miss the Alt beer of Düsseldorf. We have three tradional breweres at the fun fair Füchschen, Uerige and Schuhmacher.  Every local has a favorite, so be sure to try them all and choose your own allegiance!

#5 Roasted almonds
You better buy two, because they just taste that delicious. The perfect mix between crunchy and sweet and you can just snack them while strolling through the attractions.

 

I Look forward to hearing your feedback about my top 5. By the way, food isn’t the only treat to discover!  A Rhine river cruise during the fireworks is my absolute favorite and a definite must-see. Next time you are staying at the Breidenbacher Hof, just ask your Personal Assistants and they will take care of all arrangements.

Die 5 kulinarischen Highlights der Rheinkirmes

Tradition / Brauchtum - Kirmes Skyline

Düsseldorfs größtes Sommerfest ist die Rheinkirmes. Zum 115. mal, wird das Rheinufer von Düsseldorf in einen einzigartigen Freizeitpark verwandelt. Ein riesiges Sommerfest mit traditionellen Bierzelten, spektakulären Fahrattraktionen, live Bands, herzhaften Leckereien, Süßigkeiten und über vier Millionen Besucher aller Altersgruppen. Es ist großartig!
Die 9-Tage andauernde Kirmes vereint Traditionen und kulinarische Köstlichkeiten mit Unterhaltung. Da es so viel zu entdecken gibt, fühlt man sich leicht überwältigt. Das beste an der Kirmes ist das Essen! Daher teile ich heute mit Euch meine 5 kulinarischen Highlights der Rheinkirmes.

 

Tradition / Brauchtum - Kirmes Skyline

Tradition / Brauchtum – Kirmes Skyline

# 1 Backfisch
Falls Ihr frittierten Fisch mögt, werdet Ihr den Backfisch lieben. Als Beilage könnt Ihr zwischen einem Backfisch im Brötchen oder frischen Pommes Frites entscheiden. Ihr müsst unbedingt die Remoularde probieren – Sie passt perfekt. Ihr solltest Euch dieses Gericht nicht entgehen lassen!
#2 Bratwurst
Ein Ausflug zur Kirmes ohne Bratwurst, ist kein richtiger Kirmesausflug.
Die Bratwurst wird in einem knusprigen Brötchen serviert, mit Sauerkraut als traditioneller Beilage. Den Senf nicht vergessen! Dieser ist erhältlich in den verschiedensten Geschmacksrichtungen von würzig und grob bis hin zu süß und scharf ist für jeden Geschmack etwas dabei.
#3 Kartoffelpuffer
Es gibt nichts Besseres als einen frisch zubereiteten Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelmus. Er ist der perfekte Mix zwischen süß und herzhaft und schmeckt am besten mit der #4!
#4
Düsseldorf liegt im Zentrum einer der interessantesten Bierregionen in Deutschland. Also führt kein Weg an einem Düsseldorfer Altbier vorbei. Es sind drei klassische Brauereien auf der Kirmes vertreten Füchschen, Uerige und Schuhmacher. Jeder Düsseldorfer hat seinen persönlichen Favoriten, Ihr solltet alles probieren um auch Euren Favoriten auswählen zu können!

#5 Gebratene Mandeln
Ihr solltet Euch direkt zwei Packungen kaufen, denn diese Mandeln schmecken köstlich. Der perfekte Mix zwischen knusprig und süß, Ihr könnt sie snacken während Ihr die Fahrattraktionen erlebt.

Ich freue mich schon über Eurer Feedback bezüglich meiner Top 5. Außerdem, gibt es nicht nur Essen zu entdecken! Eine Rheinschifffahrt während des Feuerwerks ist meine absolute Krönung und ein definitives Muss. Wenn Ihr das nächste Mal zu Gast im Breidenbacher Hof seid, fragt unsere Persönlichen Assistenten und sie werden sich um alle Gegebenheiten kümmern.

Eating Well: Healthy Tips For Summer Travel

Steven Fowler - Director of Food & Beverage DC

Longer days, children buzzing about outdoors, and warmer weather can only mean one thing – summer has finally arrived!  My family summer vacations always included fun road-trips, action-packed plans, and a ton of laughter while creating memories that I continue to cherish until today.

Often a key component of our traveling was the dining.  My parents always attempted to find a balance between summer indulgence and making sure we stayed healthy and well nourished.  Today, this is still a priority for me, as I love to take part in local flavors, but not at the expense of taking care of my body.  Taking this into consideration, I thought it the perfect opportunity to sit down with the Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown culinary team to find out what they recommend for maintaining a healthy, but enjoyable, lifestyle during summer travel.

Healthy Tips For Summer Travel:

Chef Frank Ruta - DC

“Always ask the locals and those around you, even your waiters while dining out what the healthiest options are on the menu or local spots to try.  Insider tips are always helpful and they know what they’re talking about!”   ~Executive Chef, Frank Ruta

Chef Aggie - Pastry Chef DC

“Remember it’s a vacation!  It’s a time to enjoy everything that’s going on with the activities and with your family and friends surrounding you. Enjoy the food and desserts and have a great time.” ~Pastry Chef, Aggie Chin

Steven Fowler - Director of Food & Beverage DC

 “Sitting in a cramped position for long periods, whether in an airplane, car, or bus, can lead to an increased risk of potentially health related issues.  To minimize risk, drink plenty of water and stay active to allow the blood to flow.  Always carry around with you bottles of water and try to drink plenty of fluids to prevent from becoming dehydrated.” ~Food & Beverage Director, Steve Fowler

Kelly S - Catering Sales Manager DC

“The first thing I do when I travel is to search for the local markets and grocery stores to stock up on fresh veggies, fruits, and snacks.  Sourcing our breakfast meals from fresh local markets was a great way to save some extra cash and getting in touch with how the community in that particular destination lived.  You can ask for a complimentary mini-fridge to be sent to your hotel room to store these items as well.” ~Catering Sales Manager, Kelly Schneider

I hope these tips will come in handy for healthy and delicious summer of traveling!  Please tag @CapellaDC on social media and share your own healthy/delicious summer traveling tips so that I can share them with our community.  Have a great summer!

Meet Pastry Chef of The Year, Aggie Chin

Bubble, Pop, Electric

Life is short…eat dessert first!  This is probably one of my favorite mantras.  Following this mantra is especially easy when you have Aggie Chin, creating delicious one-of-a-kind desserts in Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown’s The Grill Room.  But don’t take my word for it!  Chef Aggie, was just named “Pastry Chef Of The Year” by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.

Aggie RAMMY SelfieThe Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) is the regional trade association representing restaurants and the foodservice industry in the D.C. metro area.  The RAMMY Awards Gala honors exceptional ability and accomplishments of the hard-working individuals and the region’s restaurants.  It was truly a wonderful night witnessing Chef Aggie being honored for her dedication to the industry as well as celebrating her remarkable achievements!

Aggie Chin - RAMMY

Chef Aggie has been a mastermind behind delicious and delectable desserts for many years prior to joining our Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown family.  Aggie spared no time adding whimsical and creative dessert menu options to The Grill Room, welcoming exotic flavors and fresh seasonal mixes to everyone’s palate.  To set a True Capella experience for everyone, Chef Aggie wanted to curate a unique experience for the evolving desserts menu, “My vision for The Grill Room’s new dessert menu matches the welcoming atmosphere of Capella while adding exciting elements reflecting the bustling diverse metropolis of D.C.”

Aggie Chin Headshot

We are all very proud of Chef Aggie’s accomplishments, so I am delighted to share with you an easy spinoff cocktail that draws inspiration from Bubble, Pop, Electric, one of her most popular desserts.

Bubble, Pop, Electric

Make At Home: Bubble, Pop, Electric – The Cocktail (or Mocktail!) – Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (8 oz) of strawberries. Clean and chopped
  • 5 cup of sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • A bag of pop rocks candy (Optional)

Preparation:

  • Add all ingredients in a blender and puree together
  • Disperse mixture in a popsicle mold (You can use ice cube trays as well)
  • Freeze in a freezer overnight
  • Rim glass with pop rocks candy
  • Add frozen mixture into a glass and pour over either sparkling water (for a mocktail) or champagne (for a cocktail)
  • Garnish with fresh strawberry

And of course, if you just have to have the real thing, come by The Grill Room and Chef Aggie will share some of her culinary magic with you.  Always save room for dessert!  Enjoy!

Summer Ice Cream Profiteroles

Ice Cream Profiteroles
Ice Cream Profiteroles

Ice Cream Profiteroles

What does summer tastes like?  When I posed this question to Capella Singapore’s Pastry Chef Sam, he didn’t have to pause to think twice.

“Ice cream profiteroles and summer are a match made in tropical paradise,” he shares.

This dough keeps well for three days in the freezer, so you can prep for a summer party in advance, or savour it slowly over a few days.  “Dessert is a luxury that should be enjoyed on a daily basis – not just reserved for special occasions,” he adds.  So get creative, and fill it with cream, ice cream or enjoy it on its own.

However, that is not the only reason Chef Sam is so fond of these little gems.  They remind him of the cream puffs his favourite aunt used to make for him in his younger days.  And they certainly take me back to my own carefree childhood as well.

The chef’s three tips for avid or aspiring home bakers: have patience, infuse a sense of warmth into your creations, and keep your flavours simple and well balanced.

And his tip for avid foodies such as me? Tuck in before it melts!

Pastry Chef Sam making gorgeous profiteroles

Pastry Chef Sam making gorgeous profiteroles

Summer Ice Cream Profiterole Recipe
Makes 20 servings

Ingredients
250g milk
250g water
3g salt
10g sugar
200g butter
300g all-purpose flour
10g baking powder
8 eggs
Ice cream or sorbet of your choice
Fresh berries for garnishing

Directions

1. In a pot, bring milk, water, salt, sugar and butter to a strong boil.

2. Add in sifted dry ingredients to the pot, stir and cook till mixture comes together into a ball without clumps.

3. Remove the dough from the heat and add half your beaten egg mixture, slowly stirring with a spatula.  Then, add the other half until the dough is glossy.

4. Pipe one-inch balls onto a sheet tray lined with baking paper.

5. Bake at 180ºC for 25 minutes.

6. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes, and cut horizontally in half.

7. Fill with your favourite ice cream, and serve in a champagne saucer or on a plate garnished with fresh berries.

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To enjoy perfect profiteroles or other exquisite desserts, join us for a meal at The Knolls. Say ‘Hi’ to Pastry Chef Sam while you’re here! He helms Capella Singapore’s pastry team.