Where to find white asparagus? – Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel

It’s Spring in Europe, and that means white asparagus season is here! Check out specially curated white asparagus dishes available at the Pool Grill restaurant at Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. Hurry, because they are only available until 31 May 2016!

What’s the difference between white asparagus vs the more common green asparagus you may ask? Well apart from the colour, white asparagus has a more delicate flavour, with a nutty hint at times. It also tastes slightly sweeter and juicier to me. And the fascinating thing is that all asparagus start out the same, but those you want white are deprived of sunlight by completely covering them with earth when they are growing. This prevents them from producing chlorophyll, and hence they end up white instead of green. 

There are many ways to eat white asparagus, but the best is to leave them lightly cooked so that you can enjoy their natural taste. I prefer to pair them up with stronger tasting accompaniments such as with steak so that the contrasting flavours are more pronounced. Here are the 6 asparagus dishes you can enjoy at Marriott hotel during white asparagus season. Please note the pictures below are about 1/2 – 2/3 the original portion as this was sampled as part of media tasting session.

Marriott Pool Grill - White asparagus soup, seared scallop, avruga caviar

White asparagus soup, seared scallop, avruga caviar

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SAVOUR Gourmet 2016 (Free Entry!)

Savour 2016 is back this year from 12 – 15 May and is currently on-going as we speak! This year, being the 5th year that Savour has been held, the format has changed into 3 exciting, specially-themed editions.

The 2016 Calendar:

  • SAVOUR Gourmet : 12 – 15 May
  • SAVOUR Wines : 8 – 11 September
  • SAVOUR Christmas : 17 – 20 November

But more importantly, this year’s SAVOUR Gourmet will feature FREE ENTRY! A total of 10 restaurants are featured at the Gourmet Village, and dishes are priced at the more affordable pricing of either $6 or $12. Cash and credit are now also accepted on the grounds. You can also purchase the SAVOUR Experience Pack for $30 which includes vouchers to be spent at the Gourmet Village and Jasons Gourmet Market, a goodie bag and an exclusive Xiao Long Bao from 3-michelin starred Bo Innovation (otherwise not available to the public)!

Savour Gourmet 2016 (11)

2016 also marks the debut of DBS Live Your Dream initiative, which provides emerging home-grown talents a platform to showcase their culinary skills. You can play a part in helping to pick out the next culinary star by voting for your favourite up and coming chef during the 4 day event.

The 10 restaurants featured are

  • Artichoke – Jonathan Lee with mentor Bjorn Shen
  • Buona Terra – William Bai with mentor Denis Lucchi
  • CATO – Tommy KJim with mentor Ethan Li
  • Gattopardo – Kenneth Oh with mentor Lino Sauro
  • abyrinth – Han Liguang (slugging it out on his own)
  • Lower East Side – Michael Yeong with mentor Claudio Sandri
  • Salt Tapas & Bar – Ronald Li with mentor Luke Mangan
  • Saveur Art – Tyler Lai (slugging it out on his own)
  • Guest Team R&D – Eric Chong (Masterchef Canada Winner) with mentor Alvin Leung

I had a sneak peek on Thursday, and my was the whole place teeming with activity. Did I mention that the location is also more accessible this year? It’s located at the empty field next to Marina Bay Sands, so for those coming by public transport, just take the MRT to Bayfront MRT Station and it will be a 5 minute walk to SAVOUR.

Savour Gourmet 2016 (7)

Buona Terra – Homemade Tagliolini Mushrooms, Saffron, Parmesan and Black Truffle $12

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Avenue Joffre at Sentosa (Restaurant)

If you’re looking for a restaurant to try out good and authentic Shanghainese/Sze Chuan/ Cantonese food, you might just want to check out Avenue Joffre at Sentosa this month. Avenue Joffre will be hosting legendary Culinary Master Chef Zhou Yuan-Chang where he will present his award-winning signature dishes for a limited time only until 31 May 2016!

Chef Zhou is regarded as one of the most famous chefs in China. He has won awards including the China Golden Chef award, and the “Middle Age Cooking Elite” award of the first “Champion Cup” in Shanghai. His dishes have been praised by movers and shakers such as China National People’s Congress Wu Bang Guo and former USA Vice-President Walter Mondale. Chef Zhou deploys authentic but rarely practiced Shanghainese cooking methods to create natural flavours and textures in the dishes that he serves. Just in case you find the name “Avenue Joffre” familiar, this is the former name of Huai Hai Road in Shanghai during the 1930s.

We had the pleasure of sampling a number of Chef Zhou’s dishes. While the dishes may look like what you would find in many Chinese restaurants, we soon found out that there’s more to it than meets the eye. Here are the dishes I enjoyed the most.

Avenue Joffre - Deep-fried chicken wing stuffed with birds' nest $15

Deep-fried chicken wing stuffed with birds’ nest $15

This might just be my first time eating stuffed chicken wing, much less one stuffed with birds’ nest, although apparently this is a classic Cantonese dish. Love how the crispy skin complements the delicate bird’s nest stuffing!

Avenue Joffre - Simmered Mud Crab with Asparagus Lettuce in clay pot

Simmered Mud Crab with Asparagus Lettuce in clay pot (market price)

Absolutely loved the taste of this soup that I had at least 3 servings. Those green strands are not noodles but asparagus lettuce shredded into thin strands to act as noodles. A lot of knife skills going on here. They were the perfect vehicle to soak up the aromatic mud crab broth. A must order!

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South Union Park (Cafe)

Hundreds of cafes have opened in Singapore in the last 2 to 3 years, however not that many actually have opened in the East. And by that I mean East of the East, ie Eunos towards Airport area. So I was really glad to find out about South Union Park, which opened several weeks ago in the residential area of Kembangan. It took over the spot of French casual restaurant Vis-a-Vis which closed in January 2016 after 24 years in business.

I’m quite familiar with the Kembangan area as I live in the East also and I have several friends living in the Kembangan area. But strangely, I’ve never known of this cluster of shops. This area is about 10 minutes walk from the MRT station, and the walk is largely unsheltered unfortunately, or you could take the bus as the bus stop is just outside. Fortunately, if you make the trek in, you would be rewarded with good fare.

South Union Park - Short Rib Ragu Pasta $22 (2)

South Union Park is helmed by chefs who have had fine dining backgrounds. I was speaking to chef Terrence, who worked at Jaan amongst other fine-dining restaurants, and has more than 10 years experience as a chef despite his young looks. He shared that they wanted to be able to showcase food using fine-dining techniques but at affordable prices. So for much of the menu, you will find that the ingredients used have been lovingly prepared onsite. For example, all the pasta is made in-house. The fish is lightly cured in house as well. The short rib used in the short rib pasta is slow-cooked for more than 10 hours. With prices of the mains ranging from $17 – $22 (no gst, no service charge!), I’m already thinking of making a second trip back there. (It also makes you wonder how on earth some other cafes have the cheek to charge this amount while serving nondescript dishes)

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Tulip Mania 2016 with Baby!

The much anticipated Tulip Mania tulip extravaganza is back again at Gardens by the Bay! The blast of cool air upon entering the Flower Dome, the waft of fresh tulips and the kaleidoscope of colours, Tulip Mania is one event at the Gardens that I look forward to attending each year because it just makes me feel like I am on holiday overseas in a temperate climate. 

This year, Tulipmania pays homage to the origins of the tulip by showcasing them in a Turkish theme. Way before the tulip was brought to the Netherlands where it sparked “Tulipomania” during the Dutch Golden Age, the first wild tulips were believed to have grown in the mountainous regions of Central Asia and the ancient Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey). So captivating was it to the Sultan and people of the 16th-century Ottoman Empire that it became the inspiration for many songs, poetry and paintings.

Btw local senior citizens get 50% discount for purchase of tickets onsite!

Tulip Mania 2016 (24)

This year’s visit to Tulipmania was extra special because we brought a special someone along with us! Although Baby is only 2.5 months old, we think it’s important that Baby gets to experience as much as possible instead of being stuck at home with the 4 white walls. We were hoping that he would enjoy the colours of the various tulips, but he was in a grumpy mood. Oh well, at this age, he is indeed a little too young to appreciate what he is seeing. Still it was great fun for us the parents nonetheless! The pictures of his grumpy face below are priceless!

Tulip Mania 2016 (9)

Tulip Mania 2016 (20)

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