That Singapore Sling... here in Manila.
Photographed and Written by JUN REYNALES.
Singapore Food Republic, 4th Ave BGC Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Philippines, April 15, 2013 -- My first thought was "Nasi Lemak" was one beautiful girl a friend wants to introduce me that one summer day in Taguig City.
It was not about a beautiful girl but a beauty nonetheless.
It was an invite to a gastronomical adventure. An adventure that gave me, not only the taste, but the personal history of the wonderful delights from the Singapore Food Republic, as invited no less than the man behind it – H.K. Tan. This was one worthwhile food trip, as the restaurant was listed in CNN Travel’s “Top 40 Singapore Foods We Can’t Live Without” – with treats such as the Hainanese Chicken Rice, Char Kway Teow, Chili Crab, Bah Kut Teh, Laksa, Satay and Tarik Tea. It was a sumptuous feast of food trip that day.
Owned and operated by H.K. Tan, a fellow spirited adventurer, a man of the world, a fellow traveler and photographer oversees the day-to-day operations of this beautiful place located in Bonifacio Global City – showed me one of the best place to go to when in Manila for some best Singaporean traditional dishes.
First, that Singaporean Sling. It’s sexy and taste good too. With the light taste of alcohol spirit in it, with its pinkish-fruity flavour, perfect match to the summer sweltering heat. As the enjoyable conversation with H.K. Tan on the history of how the different Singaporean cuisine came about, the delicious food treat came about, trooped with their lovely restaurant staffs garbed in their beautiful costumes – well, they resembled more like flight stewardesses in some asian route airlines.
The dishes from appetizers to the main course to the desserts were all delicious.
I get to enjoy munching the sweet sticky and crispy baby squids, crunchy lemon grass seafood sticks, and the satay sticks... not only will they make you expect more good things to follow but also makes you want to have more!
And boy, they sure are good even for those happy-hour-types of after-work hangout with officemates and friends – served with ice-cold beer! Since the location is just a stone’s throw away to St. Luke’s Hospital, HSBC, AutoStradalle, and others. Once this hangout place gets to be discovered, I am not gonna be surprised when people with powersuits troops here after work. Food has always been a good opium in relieving stress from work.
The demonstration of how the Tarek Tea was being prepared was also one of the nice things learned that day. The sight of pouring from one pitcher to another, to stretch the froth (I guess) from the tea made it more flavourful.
Nothing beats the main course when they arrived though. Hehe.
Served right before my very eyes (and growling stomach) was an array of mouth-watering dishes like the Hainanese Chicken & Rice set, Chili Crab, Laksa, Bak Kut Teah, Garlic Fish Fillet (a loadful of steamed lapu-lapu), Malaysian Chicken Curry, and Beef Redang. I realized that I was stressful to be served with all these and which one to start... it was a good stressful situation anyhow so I couldn’t care less... and digged in.
All such treats were accompanied with stories like the influences of Chinese and Malay to Laksa in Singapore, a fusion not only of the ingredients but also those traditions of countries and histories. The Tarek Tea’s Indian influence in pouring the hot tea mix in two vessels, as practiced through its culture of “pulling tea” in India. The Beef Redang’s Indonesian influence as it is enjoyed by the Singaporeans up to today.
One thing I get to understand and learned about this food experience is the different cultural influences of countries nearby, as shared through gastronomic cultures, made up, evolved and formed to what delightful Singaporean Food Republic offers today. As stringently practiced and observed by their restaurant staffs, it was not only a stomach-filling adventure but also a learning experience one as I get to understand every story of every dish offered that one fine day of April.
Wonderful as I don’t need to spend an arm-and-a-leg to fly to Singapore that day just to taste not only the food but the history. It just took me a short bus ride around the city.
A wise move, a wise adventure.
I just can’t remember how my day started though. Temporary amnesia perhaps as caused by so much tasty dishes? Did I ate breakfast earlier that day? Hehe. Perhaps... not.
Oh well, it was such a fun, delicious and wonderful experience in Singapore Food Republic just right smack in the BGC Taguig City.
Indeed... Life is Good!