Fancy Food Fads to Watch
Sample some trendy eats that are fast catching on in the world of gourmet
Issue: Jun 2012
Yuzu Scented Spaghetti with Teriyaki Salmon from tcc, the connoisseur concerto, infuses the citrus flavour of the Yuzu into the noodles to perk up the dish
There is nothing like a good food trend to get gourmands talking. Singapore, this year’s host for the World Gourmet Summit, has had its fair share of food fads. Think bubble tea, apple strudel, cinnamon rolls, coffee buns, Portuguese egg tarts, doughnuts, cupcakes and macrons – Singapore has embraced them all. Some have been unique to Singapore. Others have been universally adopted as well. Watch out for some new food fads that are fast catching on in Singapore and beyond, and possibly defining the way we eat in future.
From the land that gave the world matcha and teriyaki comes another flavour that is being added to kitchens worldwide – Yuzu. Yuzu is an East Asian citrus fruit that is a cross between an orange and a grapefruit. Rarely eaten as a fruit, it has, however, been creatively incorporated into both Japanese and Korean cuisine as a seasoning, a garnish and for that special flavour. But now, the Yuzu is no longer confined to just East Asian cuisine. Chefs of every culinary persuasion have been using the fruit in their menus, a sure sign that it is fast gaining an international standing. In San Francisco, there is Yuzu marmalade; in Phoenix, Chicago and Las Vegas, the fruit appears in cocktail drinks; Florida has a flourless chocolate cake with Yuzu custard; and you can have a Yuzu cupcake at Palm Springs. In Europe, the Yuzu has appeared in macrons, pies, sorbets and even cocktails.
At The Pump Room, Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with Yuzu-Goma Dressing, Rocket Leaves and Shaved Parmesan replaces the usual Dijon Mustard sauce with a fragrant mix of Yuzu and sesame
In Singapore, the Yuzu has gone Italian at tcc, the connoisseur concerto, a casual dining café with a focus on gourmet coffee. One of tcc’s newest main courses is Yuzu Scented Spaghetti with Teriyaki Salmon. The dish is like a deconstructed sweet and sour dish that is best appreciated when each mouthful has both the tangy Yuzu-infused pasta and the fresh flaky fish slathered in sweet and spicy sauce. The thickly sliced salmon is smooth and well-marinated, and pairs perfectly with the fruity-flavoured spaghetti that makes the dish refreshing. Wash it down with their Lime Ginger with Yuzu Soda that leaves a hint of tanginess in your mouth.
Microbrewery, bistro and bar, The Pump Room at Clarke Quay, has a starter that takes the best of Japan and gives it an Italian interpretation. Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with Yuzu-Goma Dressing, Rocket Leaves and Shaved Parmesan is as the dish describes. Carpaccio is a Venetian dish of raw meat dressed with Dijon mustard sauce and goma is Japanese for sesame. The way the high quality, thinly sliced pieces of tender beef melt in your mouth and how the fragrance of sesame and citrusy Yuzu are blended into a heady mix with generous amounts of sauce drizzled over the dish make this appetizer a satisfying meal in itself.
When it comes to desserts, the trend is towards style of “cute and compact”. New York Times noted this trend towards tiny desserts in October last year, recognising that downsized desserts hold a lot of appeal: small means fewer calories, lower prices, and more opportunities to try different tastes. In Singapore, small is definitely catching on. Just look at how cupcakes have been overtaken by macaroons, and doughnut have made way for doughnut holes.
Bite-sized doughnuts, cupcakes, Swiss rolls and other beautifully decorated pastries at the House of Mini give finger foods a new meaning
The House of Mini at newly-opened JCube has taken “cute and compact” to heart and come up with bite-sized pastries. Cupcakes (Baby Cups), doughnuts (Baby Rings), Swiss rolls (Baby Rollies), macaroons (Baby Yoyos), cream puffs (Baby Puffs) and crispy cakes all small enough to pop into your mouth at one go. They do not stint on style either. Every piece is painstakingly decorated with tiny mounds of cream, sprinkles, miniature macrons and a host of sugary toppings that make them almost too precious to eat. There are as many flavours as there are colours and decorations. But, the flavours do not really matter because every creation is delicious. Besides, since they are so small, there is every excuse to try as many as your heart desires and your eyes covet.
Compact, single-serving cups of desserts with parfait¸ semi-frozen creams, soufflés, cookies, fruits, chocolate and gourmet gelée from Dessert Cup
Dessert Cup at Raffles City Singapore has a different interpretation of “cute and compact”. They have taken the usual cakes – layers of cream, fingers of sponge cake, fruit, decorations – and stuffed them all into single serving, see-through glasses; making the desserts easy-to-eat and mess-free. Avocado Rum & Raisin works the creamy avocado and rum into a parfait dotted with raisins, before combining it with lime gelée (jelly) and almond Florentine cookies. Rich, fragrant, crunchy – different textures and flavours explode with every bite. Champagne Pistachio is pure indulgence: pistachio parfait with champagne gelée, raspberry sauce and raspberries in a fruit and nut pairing that is always winning combination. Chocolate lovers will relish The Lava which has dark molten chocolate cake oozing with chocolaty goodness within, along with twisted marshmallows and vanilla ice cream.
In the ice cream world, the trend is leaning towards the humble popsicle which is making a strong comeback. This is really a food-on-a-stick trend (cake pops and pie pops) that has been adopted by ice creams. But now, the pops have had a quality upgrade with gelato joining the fray.
Stickhouse at JCube offers the Italian cold dessert on a stick. Made with natural ingredients and gluten-free, the gelato comes in some interesting flavours: fior di panna (white Italian cream), gianduia (chocolate and hazelnut) and liquorice. Apart from gelato, they also have gelato-filled sorbets on a stick and a new creation called Merenda. Merenda is gelato-filled sponge cake on a stick that is dipped in a layer of dark, milk or white chocolate, then covered in hazelnuts, almonds or pistachio grains to form a crispy outer covering. Stickhouse has certainly taken cake pops (another cake-on-a-stick idea) and upped the ante.
Stick ‘em up – gelato popsicles makes its first appearance in Singapore at JCube
In a place like Singapore where cuisine types and food trends are ever-evolving to suit the palates of the population in a cosmopolitan city, being able to introduce something new that can catch the fancy of consumers is quite a feat. These food trends seem to signal the preference of future generation for foods that are easy-to-eat, portable and fun - perhaps a clear reflection of the on-the-go, hassle-free dining experience demanded by the modern society.
tcc, the connoisseur concerto
Bugis Junction (Atrium)
80 Middle Road
Bugis Junction #01-97
Tel: (65) 6336 6956
tcc, the connoisseur concerto
Bugis Junction (Main Boutique)
80 Middle Road
Bugis Junction #01-92/96
Tel: (65) 6837 2027
tcc, the connoisseur concerto
109 North Bridge Road
Funan DigitaLife Mall #01-34/35/36
Tel: (65) 6337 4700
The Pump Room
3B River Valley Road
Clarke Quay #01-09-10
Tel: (65) 6334 2628 / 6338 0138
252 North Bridge Road
Raffles City Shopping Centre #B1-73
Tel: (65) 6468 2838