Epicurean Market 2014: Part Two

After gorging ourselves on 19 dishes, my friends and I were ready to explore and get some exercise. Actually we were gunning for $2 espressos and cold pressed juice cocktails from Fresh Pressed! Three-quarters of the 12,500 square meters arena at EM2014 were filled with various wine merchants, cocktail and coffee bars (samples galore!). There were also produce and condiments shopping as well as an Epicurean Campus where Masterclasses took place.

I was particularly stoked to find Proof & Co. giving out complimentary Gin & Tonics with a Gin of your choice. Unfortunately I only discovered this much later before we left. Bummer! At the booth was the sixth best Bartender in the World, Peter Chua, from 28HKS. I nearly freaked out! My expat friends could not believe this slim-built, gentle, and well-mannered man in front us was a formidable Mixologist. Unfortunately we did not get the leisure of his concoction as his only job was to mix G&Ts. Ah well, at least it’s something mixed by his hands. I got a (brand) gin which was alright – I’m through and through a Hendrick’s girl.

IMG_4549Also at Proof’s booth, the widest array of Gin were stocked.

IMG_4440Another cocktail I was eager to get my hands on was from Fresh Pressed. With their special juice concoctions, spirits were mixed in to them. I could not resist the Spirit Base: Sipsmith Summer Cup with Apple, Strawberry and Basil, while my friend, SY, went for the Tequila Base with Ruby Grapefruit, Honeydew Melon and Rosemary. After payment, we were each given a tasting glass of our choices. Bad move. We disliked it. But we were unsure if we could “reject” it since we already paid. So we sucked it up, grabbed our glass bottles and walked away.

IMG_4523For $18, our cocktails were a rip-off! The only regret purchase of the weekend. A tiny weak weird-tasting cocktail, I’m particular prone to break out in an Asian Flush but after finishing the our drink, I remained stone cold sober. My friend’s drink was another odd concoction with the jarring taste of tequila. Both drinks did not agree with any of us.

IMG_4528Disappointed, we trotted to the other end of the arena where Masterclasses were held: Epicurean Campus

IMG_4536Our minds were quickly distracted by the first class: Cut’s Cooking Alaskan Halibut. Chef Joshua Brown demonstrated a butter-basting method which infused the meaty fish with tons of flavour and retained its juiciness. After the session, his answers and knowledge on local seafood alternatives were impressive.

IMG_4540Chef Tetsuya from Waku Ghin presented a Seafood Sensation class which saw him prepare five dishes in an hour. He also revealed his true colours: a warm humorous gentleman. His easy laughter and banter on fellow chefs present made his class both educational and entertaining.

IMG_4542Chef Tetsuya demonstrated a few unusual, useful techniques. Such as ensuring the Wagyu beef is fridge-cold before searing in the pan. Ensuring the Wagyu beef is baked evenly by laying it on a bed of rolled up baking parchment sheets. Setting the oven to 70 degrees C to retain the moisture and bring out the best in the beef. This was highly unusual as the oven was nowhere near hot; Chef himself placed his hand on the baking rack to prove it. With this method, the Wagyu beef could be slowly cooked for one to one half hours; perfect for entertaining when guests hardly arrive on time or together.

At the end, there was a mad clamour when we were allowed to taste all five dishes. My eager beaverness paid off again by being the FIRST to score a cube of his expert Wagyu beef steak. My Mama sure was proud when I recounted to her afterwards.

IMG_4546-0Paired with fresh grated wasabi, the little cube of beef was luscious luscious luscious. Silky fatty cube was a heaven in my mouth. I refused to swallow the little gem and only did when it almost disintegrated into nothingness.

Chef Tetsuya further shocked and impressed us with his truffle dish with fish below. I don’t remember the fish below but it didnt matter because just look at the amount of truffle he shaved on the plate…

IMG_4544It was as if truffle was free… to him.

Aside from the Celebrity-chef restaurants, there were other affordable food booths too. A re-branded Swiss Butchery served up freshly-grilled Sausages for $3 each and Lamb Ribs ($8 for 3). They were extremely popular and throughout the day, long queues could be seen at the booth. At the same time, sausages were retailing at affordable prices too. SY and I could not resist picking up a couple of packs in anticipation of our party this coming Saturday. Weirdly but interestingly, they were pushing for Black Cow Milk Vodka  and cheese too…

One of the best parts of festivals is discovering new brands and cuisines in Singapore.

Food distributor, Shiro Food Corp, devoted an ENTIRE booth to Canadian produce; predominantly Beef products. At the same time, a small Canadian Wine sampling was set up. My Mum and I were enamoured with the crisp and clean Reisling.  

IMG_4421This Beijing No. 1 booth with its traditional Chinese desserts was a wonderful surprise! I am a big fan of Chinese food in China. The flavours are usually more robust with aggressive seasoning. I have noticed the Chinese love their food in extreme forms, like me. Bland food is such a waste of time. 

IMG_4430If not for my stuffed self, I would gladly have gone for a few packs of these inviting sweets.

IMG_4427

This Red Date Glutinous Cake with layers of Glutinous Rice and Red Bean was so new!IMG_4423

This Red Bean Glutinous Rice Roll coated with rolled sandy peanuts looked absolutely inviting! IMG_4426Epicurean Market 2014 was such a good experience. As an adventurous and ADD foodie, the variety of activities and food booths made for an enriching gastronomic weekend. After seeing my crazy lot of pictures, my Family is game planning for next year’s event: attend as soon as it starts, and grandparents take care of grandchildren while the in-betweens divide and conquer!  

In the meantime, thanks for reading. Till next time! YY x

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