Seasoned with Love
Dine at restaurants in Singapore that dish out great food with a generous heart this festive season
Issue: Dec 2011
Sautéed Crab with Black Bean, Crispy Rice, Minced Garlic and Cut Chilli from Crystal Jade Dining Place puts a sophisticated spin on a Singapore favourite - fried rice
It is the season of peace on earth and goodwill to Man. Few other occasions evokes as strong a desire for love and charity as Christmas. So, as you celebrate the year-end festivities why not do your part for charity and dine at some restaurants in Singapore that have a heart for those in need.
Going global is a Singapore-based chain of restaurants run by Crystal Jade Culinary Concept Holdings. Crystal Jade has several different restaurant brands spread across CapitaMalls Asia. At Crystal Jade Kitchen which has Chinese food in a casual setting, the Deep-fried Prawn with Salted Egg Yolk is a crowd favourite. The creamy yolk is a delicious counterpoint to the succulent seafood. At Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao which specialises in Shanghainese cuisine, apart from the xiaolong bao, the Braised "Tong Po" Pork served with thin pancakes is worth a taste. The pork, soaked in the thick glossy sauce, is flavourful and tender. Eaten with the warm pancakes, it makes for a delightful Chinese-style burger. Crystal Jade Dining Place, the Group's family restaurant, takes the simple fried rice and turns it into Sautéed Crab with Black Bean, Crispy Rice, Minced Garlic and Cut Chilli. The spicy dish does not mask the sweetness of the crab and it is comfort food gone stylish.
Crystal Clear Vision for the World
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Crystal Jade Kitchen's Deep-fried Prawn with Salted Egg has crisp, fresh prawns encased in creamy salted egg yolk, decadently delicious
Crystal Jade staff visiting the children at KK Children's and Women's Hospital at Christmas
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the home-grown business had a three-day carnival in August during which funds were raised for World Vision. A total of S$100,000 was raised.
"We wanted to celebrate the occasion with as many people as possible as well as give back to the community. World Vision is an international organisation that aids communities across countries, cultures, religions, and races. As a Singapore brand that is starting to go regional, we wanted to help not only the Singapore community but also expand our Corporate Social Responsibility focus across borders," said Crystal Jade Culinary Concepts Holding Chairman and CEO Ip Yiu Tung.
This Christmas, their staff will be visiting KK Children's and Women's Hospital to play Santa to the children patients. Crystal Jade will also be printing 1,500 pieces of 2012 charity calendars. Diners will get a S$40 Crystal Jade voucher for each calendar they buy. The proceeds will be given to the KK Hospital Health Endowment Fund.
In Aid of Asia
Pan-Asian fine dining restaurant, Coriander Leaf at Clarke Quay, offers fusion food as well as dishes from Lebanon, Iran¸ Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Recognised by Miele Guide as one of Asia's finest restaurants 2008/09 and Wine and Dine as one of Singapore's finest every year from 2002 to 2009, Coriander Leaf combines carefully created dishes with thoughtful campaigns to help the needy.
Fish Molee from the South Asian menu where every S$8 spent by patrons on the menu goes in aid of Pakistan Flood Relief
Since 2010, Coriander Leaf - which comes under The Coriander Lead Group of experienced chef and restaurant entrepreneur Samia Ahad - has been committed to helping victims of the Pakistan flood. It does so by raising funds through a special menu at the restaurant. There are two menus priced at S$60++ and S$120++ each. The latter is a South Asian menu that gives diners the option to choose from chicken, fish or vegetables for the main course. Tandoori Chicken is served with cucumber-yoghurt relish, mint chutney and buttered naan. Fish Molee is a flavourful sea bass in a ginger-coconut broth and pickled relish with buttered rice on the side. Koussa Mahshi is a medley of vegetables with herbed rice and chickpeas that entices with its rich hues of red, orange, deep purple and ochre yellow. The Journey Through Asia menu is a buffet of dishes that lets you sample the tastes of ASEAN, the Middle East and South Asia.
S$8 from each menu goes to Karachi Relief Trust, a well-known Pakistani NGO with an established track record for providing housing and relief to locals. When the floods first devastated villages in Pakistan in July last year, Ahad had friends and relatives on site assessing how they could help those affected.
"The best way is to help one village at a time. It takes only S$8 to feed a family of six for week," explained Ahad about the decision to donate that amount per menu.
Spicy Cod Roe & Potato Pizza at Pasta de Waraku is Japan meets Italy in its taste
Pasta de Waraku at iluma is another eatery that has Asia in its heart. This casual Japanese pasta restaurant offers Italian cuisine with a Japanese influence. The Spicy Cod Roe and Potato Pizza with Mentai Mayonnaise Sauce is a thin-crust pizza topped with Japanese favourites and mozzarella cheese baked to bubbling perfection. The multiple and varied textures of the pizza – the crunchy sweetness of the roe, the smooth richness of the potatoes, the savoury gooey cheese – create a riot of tastes with every bite. Double Stack Hanito is a thick toast slathered with honey specially brought from Shinbuya, Tokyo and topped with vanilla ice-cream and mixed fruit.
When the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan earlier this year, Waraku Holdings, which runs Pasta de Waraku, organised a month-long charity drive to raise money for the survivors under the Singapore Red Cross Japan Disaster 2011 Relief Fund. Donations tins were placed in its outlets and other restaurant chains that under Waraku Holdings.
"We felt the need to help our home country in any way we could," said Kiyoshi Ueki, CEO of Waraku Holdings. "The drive was well-received by our customers, especially our Japanese customers."
Mango Pomelo Sago and the Osmanthus Jelly are sweet treats with amazing explosions of tastes you can get at
Sheng Kee Hong Kong Dessert
Sweet Reason to Help the Community
If having a sweet end to every meal is a must for you, then there is one place you can satisfy your sweet tooth while sweetening someone else's life. Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert is a café under Select Group Limited with branches at IMM Building and Raffles City Shopping Centre. This little shop unashamedly puts desserts first and they do a fine job of it.
On the menu is a unique item that is as much a treat for the eyes as it is for the stomach. Osmanthus Jelly is a trio of crystal clear squares of jelly filled with osmanthus flowers and wolfberries. The pale yellow flowers and red fruits suspended in the jelly make it look a garden trapped in time. Not only does it look good, it is also good for you. Osmanthus flowers are said to promote good complexion while wolfberries improve vision. A Hong Kong snack staple is Ginger Milk which they inherited from Guangzhou. Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert's Ginger Milk balances perfectly the heat of the ginger with the sweetness of the smooth curd, making for a soothing dessert that warms you to your core. If you are craving for something cold, a must-try is the Mango Pomelo Sago that features fresh Thai Honey Mangoes that balance the taste and texture of the bitter-sweet crunch of pomelo sacs and smooth pearl sagos.
Behind this restaurant that serves up authentic Hong Kong snacks and desserts is a management with a warm heart as well. Select Group has played an active role in three Kreta Ayer Senior Activity Centres since 1997. For the past 14 years, nearly 100 needy elderly citizens who go there have received free lunch packets from Select Group.
"Most of the residents were pioneers who contributed to making Singapore what she is today, people like the Samsui women. This is our way of giving back to them," said Vincent Tan, Founder and Managing Director, Select Group Limited.
Every year for the last three years, they have also organised mass Reunion Dinners for over 1,000 underprivileged residents of Kim Seng at the Kreta Ayer – Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Community. Their staff also volunteers at these events as well as others like Camp Rainbow where Select Group also sponsors free lunches. Camp Rainbow is a stay-in adventure camp for chronically and terminally ill children.
So, this Christmas, why not put your money where your mouth is, literally, and give to the less fortunate through your support of these restaurants with a heart.
3A River Valley Rd,
#02-03 Clarke Quay
Tel: (65) 6732 3354
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Hong Kong Sheng Kee Desserts
2 Jurong East Street
IMM Building #01-124B
Tel: (65) 6567 0183
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Crystal Jade Dining Place
2 Jurong East Street
#01-101 IMM Building
Tel: (65) 6567 8010
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252 North Bridge Road
Raffles City Shopping Centre #B1-79
Tel: (65) 6336 0183
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Crystal Jade Kitchen
9 Bishan Place
#B1-07 Junction 8
Tel: (65) 6255 6336
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Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
200 Victoria Street
#B1-04A Bugis Junction
Tel: (65) 6339 6902
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68 Orchard Road
#02-32 Plaza Singapura
Tel: (65) 6336 2833
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Pasta de Waraku
201 Victoria Street
Tel: (65) 6238 8676