Christmas classics in Asian flavours
TURKEY and ham are must-haves on the Christmas dinner table. Here are some places where you can get these items with a decidedly Asian flavour:
Shangri-La Hotel - Char Siew Glazed Bone-In Ham
You'll find char siew in the form of pork belly or pork loin, but it's a bit unusual to taste its familiar flavours in a leg of Christmas ham. Fortunately, Shangri-La's new take on traditional Christmas roasted ham - Char Siew Glazed Bone-in Ham ($248 nett and serving eight to 10 people) - hits all the right notes.
The bone-in ham already scores points for being more tender, as its natural fats, muscle and bone were undisturbed during preparation.
Key ingredients of the marinade include hoisin sauce and maltose sugar, and the ham is roasted between 11/2 and two hours at an internal temperature of 63 deg C.
The set comes with honey mustard, mashed potatoes, citrus-glazed root vegetables, brussels sprouts with herb butter and braised purple cabbage.
22 ORANGE GROVE ROAD
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Swiss Butchery - Harry Potter-inspired Butterbeer Ham
When it comes to the "magic" of Christmas, Swiss Butchery takes things to a whole new level with its Harry Potter-inspired Butterbeer Ham ($60/kg).
This smoked ham is already tender and juicy enough to devour on its own, and its skin is covered in a hint of sweet vanilla marinade.
But don't forget the star of the show - the small bottle of butterbeer glaze (give it a good shake first) that you're supposed to pour over the ham before heating it up in the oven. It has a vaguely artificial butterscotch flavour which is surprisingly addictive.
Also available during the festive season is its signature Grand Marnier ham glazed with a house blend of honey ($60/kg), dunkel pork knuckle jelly ($28/kg) and liver pate with cranberries ($28/kg).
30/32 GREENWOOD AVENUE
56 Tanglin Road, #01-02
Rang Mahal - Tandoori Turkey
Tandoori may not be the most festive option for a Christmas meal, but the Signature Tandor-roasted Turkey by fine-dining Indian restaurant Rang Mahal just might change your mind.
The turkey is marinated in traditional yogurt and masala spices before roasting, and any latent dryness is countered by the thick and rich orange yogurt sauce it comes with.
On its own, it costs $118+, but we recommend you top it up to $138+ to include the fragrant stuffing of briyani-style basmati rice cooked with dried fruit, quail eggs, tandoor-roasted potatoes and bits of candied cherry for a pleasant, sweet contrast.
PAN PACIFIC SINGAPORE LEVEL 3
Intercontinental Singapore - Turkey Panggang with rempah marinade, nasi kunyit raisins and sauteed vegetables
As a twist for this year's Christmas, Intercontinental Singapore's executive chef, Eric Neo, has upsized the familiar ayam panggang (grilled chicken) with his own recipe for Turkey Panggang ($135+).
The 5kg bird is marinated for a full 24 hours in the chef's own rempah, roasted and served with nasi kunyit raisins (glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and turmeric) and sauteed vegetables.
80 MIDDLE ROAD
Goodwood Park Hotel - Turkey stuffed with fresh chestnuts, ham and vegetables, served with yam rice
Steam a turkey and it'll be moist, but with ugly pale skin.
Bake it and it'll look nice outside but paper dry within. The chefs at Goodwood seem to have developed the perfect combination of a steamed and baked turkey that's toasty brown on the outside but still retaining some springy juiciness within.
Its latest creation comes with a delicious Chinese-dumpling-inspired mix of chestnuts, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and carrots, along with savoury yam rice with little cubes of tender tuber scattered in the mix.
Don't expect pak cham kai (white-cooked chicken) smoothness in the turkey breast - you need some good sous-vide skills for that - but despite its slight dryness, the Goodwood turkey easily trumps the majority of birds on the market. Priced at $198.
22 SCOTTS ROAD
Saint Pierre - Whole boneless piglet
If turkey has been banned from your house by those still suffering from nightmares of leftover turkey dinners, Saint Pierre steps up to the plate with its twist on Asian suckling pig - a whole piglet is deboned and fashioned into a roll stuffed with a bready mixture of chorizo sausage, organic vegetables and mushrooms.
The compact roll features a layer of crisp skin on top followed by another thin layer of tender meat, and a whole lot of stuffing that can be a little stodgy because of the amount of bread used.
But for sheer visual appeal and ease of carving, suckling pig could well be your Christmas meat of choice.
Priced at $98/kg before GST.
31 OCEAN WAY, #01-15 QUAYSIDE ISLE
THE BUSINESS TIMES