Celebrating Singaporean Food at The Shangri La Hotel in Dubai

Creating Singaporean culinary masterpieces like Singaporean Chili Crab, Grilled Sambal Fish, Nyonya Laksa, and much more, legendary guest Chef Raymond Ying has over 30 years of gastronomic experience. He was on hand for a Singaporean food festival in partnership with Singapore Airlines at the Shangri La Hotel’s Dunes Café from September 20 to 29.

A self-serve buffet was presented at this expansive cafe. One side showcased cold seafood including lobsters, crabs, prawns, oysters, and mussels and I tucked into ample helpings of crab legs while the kids savored the Chik kut, a classic double boiled chicken soup with herbs. There were also lots of cheeses, breads, and salads on offer.

I was delighted to see a live Rojak station as I had always wanted to try this very popular fruit and vegetable salad with pineapple, apples, and mangoes topped with crushed peanuts and a dressing of tamarind, chili, and shrimp paste.

There was also a station where the chef was creating Nyonya Laksa Lemak or noodle soup with coconut milk. The bowls held rice noodles and the toppings were customized—I had mine with sliced boiled eggs, shrimp, and fish, topped by a steaming broth, sprinkled with chili and coriander. There was also an ample sushi station with sashimi, nigiri, salmon, tuna, and so much more.

And now for the mains—there was a huge array of seafood waiting to be cooked by the chef and also lots of Singaporean curries on offer. From wok fried beef to my favorite creamy lobster curry and wok fried chicken with curry sauce; each hit the right notes, especially when paired with the special sticky rice. The showstopper however, was the special chili crab which Chef Raymond Ying explained was meant to be eaten with the accompanying bread, dipped into the chili sauce. This was the most succulent and flavorful crab I had tasted and the chili sauce lent spiciness that amped up the flavors.

After so much on offer, the huge assortment of desserts followed with lots of Singaporean desserts including Kueh Da Da, Pandan cake, Oneh Oneh, Kueh layer, Sago Gula Melaka, and mango pudding. My favorite was the Pandan cake, but the star was the Ice Kachang live station where the presenter crushed ice, topped it with candied fruits, syrup, condensed milk, sweet corn, and red beans. I had mine topped with a scoop of mango ice-cream. It was a first for me and the fusion of cold, sweet, and creamy flavors was superb.

But it wasn’t just Singaporean desserts on offer—there were Arabic sweets, cupcakes, blueberry macaroons, Lava chocolate pudding with warm sauces, Pavlova, raspberry Choux, and even macaroons served with tiny tubes of mango filling.

The Verdict: I am now a bonafide fan of Singaporean food; not only did Chef Ying bring with him a wealth of culinary experience and wisdom, he officially launched the Singaporean foodie scene in Dubai.

Visit: www.shangri-la.com