Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Spices and Slices of Singapore at Dusit Thani Manila

Singapore always holds a soft spot in my heart. I loved it ever since I visited this very organized and beautiful country when I was 10 up until present. Luckily, Paul shares the same fascination towards Singapore that it came pretty naturally that we decided to spend a week in Singapore for our Honeymoon two years ago. Everything is always just in proper order and of course, Singapore is truly a foodie's mecca!

A trip to Singapore is not complete without enjoying the many hawker centers scattered around the country. Nothing beats the real thing as you enjoy a plate of Hainanese Chicken Rice, Lamb Briyani and a lot more! I love Singaporean food and the simplicity of it.

This is the reason why I happily headed to Dusit Thani Manila's Basix All-Day Dining Restaurant for lunch yesterday. To celebrate Singapore's National Day, they are having a 10-day long buffet special highlighting a number of Singaporean favorites. Spearheading this special promotion is Executive Sous Chef Liew Tian Heong of the famous Chatterbox restaurant of Meritus Mandarin Hotel. Chatterbox is known to have one of the yummiest Hainanese Chicken Rice as this has been regularly mentioned in Singaporean food blogs. I will make a mental note to try this on our next visit.

Yesterday, I had the privilege to sample a couple of dishes that will be included in the lunch and dinner buffet of Basix from August 6 to 16, 2012. Let me share them with you:

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For starters we had a sampler plate consisting of a Mango and Prawn Salad, Achar Pickles, Chef Liew Special chicken and Marinated Mushroom.

I tried the Special Chicken which looked like a deep-fried prawn strip to me and I loved it! I was surprised that it was made of chicken instead. The Marinated Mushroom was good as it made use of a number of herbs and spices common in Singaporean dishes. The Mango and Prawn Salad was refreshing and yummy too. The only thing that I didn't like was the Achar Pickles as it was too spicy for me.

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I guess it must be my Chinese influence that I grew up being able to appreciate the taste of all sorts of herbs and spices. After all, I used to drink a bitter medical concoction made of barks, leaves and some 'organic' insect back when I was a child. The doctor said this is to improve my resistance (or to secretly train me for Fear Factor haha). Normally, kids wouldn't like the herbal taste of the Singaporean Bah Kut Teh but not me and my sister! We had this every meal during our 2-week long stay back then. It was delicious! I love the tender meat and the delicious soup. It has an acquired taste but for me, it's really really yummy.

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What's a Singaporean meal without a platter of Chili Crabs?! To be honest, I never had this as I have very low tolerance for spicy food but as I took a small piece of the very tender crab meat, I instantly loved it! It wasn't painfully spicy but instead it was very addicting, enticing you to take another piece...and another...and another. I can't believe that I've been missing out on such a delicious dish. I can't wait to go back to Singapore to have this with lots of Fried Mantou Bread to wipe the chili sauce off my plate!

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We also had Chef Liew Tian Heong's signature Hainanese Chicken Rice and he really didn't disappoint! Look how shiny the Chicken Rice was as this was cooked using the broth of the chicken. It's oily and really flavorful. I happily drizzled a lot of chili sauce from the crabs until it turned orange.

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The chicken meat was very tender. I love having a lot of ginger oil and a few drops of soy sauce with my Hainanese Chicken. This is really good stuff!

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What a feast! I was ready for dessert but was surprised that we had one last main dish -- Braised Dark Vinegar Pork. Served on a small bowl, it reminded me of our local Pork Adobo or my Kongkong's Patatim. The meat was really good and tasting the full flavor tells me that it has been simmered for a long time.

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We had three different kinds of dessert! I always loved Crepe Cake after tasting one that was brought to us by my business counterparts from Indonesia. I love the fluffiness of this light and creamy cake that I was so happy knowing that it was also readily available here in Manila. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch the names of the two other desserts but both made use of coconut making it really milky and yummy! Wish they also have Paul's favorite drink/dessert called Iced Cendol.

To make your dining experience more exciting, all guests who avails of the buffet will get the chance to win gift vouchers from Dusit Thani Manila and one lucky diner will get to win a Singapore Getaway Package which includes a round trip airfare for two and an overnight accommodation at the Meritus Mandarin Orchard Hotel in Singapore! Winners will be drawn on August 17, 2012!

These Singaporean dishes will be part of the daily buffet spread where you will also be able to enjoy a wide array for International fares like my favorite sushi, cheese platter, shrimp hakaw and a lot more! Drinks (iced tea, soda and juices) are also included in the buffet too. 

Buffet rate:
Lunch -- Php. 1,450 net
Dinner -- Php. 1,650 net

Visit the Basix All-Day Dining Restaurant at the Ground Floor of Dusit Thani Manila Hotel, Ayala Center in Makati City. Call 238-8888 for reservations.

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