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October Feast

Eat, drink and be merry with our irresistible cocktail of news nuggets and fascinating food trivia, compiled to satisfy your cravings for all things culinary. 

Words: Alice Yong

Specially for tea-totalers

Over 450 types of fine teas coupled with a sweet and savoury epicurean menu await tea enthusiasts at the fi rst TWG Tea Salon & Boutique in Kuala Lumpur (Level 2, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Bukit Bintang. T: +603 2142 9922). Savour signature specialities such as Wagyu burger with green tea-infused vinaigrette and assorted macarons complemented by cups of TWG’s iconic tea blends or, select a bespoke hamper and fine patisserie for takeaway. TWG outlets are also located in Singapore, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong and Dubai www.twgtea.com

Uncle Chin’s Chicken Rice

As a management pilot with 39 years of flying experience, Uncle Chin enjoys flying high on weekdays and cooking up a storm on weekends. That’s why high grade rice, flavourful chicken stock and juicy chicken thigh portions are carefully selected in the preparation of Uncle Chin’s Chicken Rice that’s served on board AirAsia flights. Produced to perfection under the supervision of Uncle Chin himself, this typical Hainanese dish is a mouth watering offering that epitomises the best in simple hawker food but served high up in the air! Remember to pre-book Uncle Chin’s Chicken Rice on your next AirAsia flight! www.airasia.com

Tomato’s terrific

Known as the ‘apple of love’ in France and ‘the apple of paradise’ in Germany, tomato is the world’s most popular fruit. The earliest tomato plants were grown in Greece by Friar Francis in 1818, in the gardens of a Capuchin monastery in Athens. Interestingly, the highest concentration of Vitamin C in tomatoes is found in the jellylike substance around the seeds. Lycopene, the natural compound that gives tomato its red colour, is found in raw tomatoes but becomes potent in cooked and processed forms such as tomato sauce, paste, salsa and canned tomatoes, thus making it easier to absorb by the body.

** Eating food high in lycopene is helpful in reducing the incidence of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and macular degeneration. High amounts of lycopene are found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon and guava.

Deciphering food labels

Confused by the plethora of organic labels in the marketplace and what they mean? Then look for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic seal on products that have been independently, thirdparty verified as having met strict organic regulations.

READ THE FINE PRINT

Products displaying the USDA Organic label consist of at least 95 percent organic ingredients, produced without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers, synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, or artifi cial stuff. Multi-ingredient, processed products such as bread must contain at least 70 percent certified organic ingredients but can only use the phrase ‘made with organic ingredients’ on the package, listing up to three of these organic ingredients or food groups.

WADE THROUGH THE FOOD JARGON

FREE-RANGE indicates the flock was provided shelter in a building or area with unlimited access to food, fresh water, and continuous access to an outdoor area that may or may not be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material.

CAGE-FREE indicates the flock was free to roam in a building or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle.

NATURAL As required by USDA, products labelled as ‘natural’ must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the label only applies to processing of meat and egg products. There are no standards or regulations for the labelling of natural food products beyond meat or eggs.

GRASS-FED This means the animals received most of their nutrients from grass. Organic animals’ pasture diet may be supplemented with organically produced grain without synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or genetically engineered materials.

The next time you step into a grocery store, look for the USDA Organic seal – a trusted symbol of quality verifiably organic food.

Image: www.worldfestivaldirectory.com

Drink and beer it

About 6.5 million visitors guzzle a staggering 7.1 million litres of beer and chomp their way through 120,000 pairs of sausages and 505,000 roast chickens at the world’s largest Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany each year. It’s certainly a far cry from early  Oktoberfest festivities back in 1810, a simple agricultural show with horse races to celebrate the royal marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Bavaria. Costumed parades were later included, followed by carnival booths selling bratwurst and beer in 1887.

Taiwan’s best eats

“The best thing I’ve eaten in Taiwan is the prix fixe menu at Shi-Yang Culture Restaurant (7 Lane 350, Sec 3, Xi Wan Rd. XiZhi District. T: +886-2-2646 2266). Located in wooden chalets, surrounded by lush forest, crisp cool mountain air and a babbling brook, the restaurant’s selection infuses locally procured ingredients with Japanese nuances in degustation portions. From the starter of sushi/sashimi to the concluding dish of fragrant chicken soup with lotus root, mushroom and a dried lily flower that ‘blooms’ when hot soup is poured in, the food’s extremely fresh and delicious.”

~ Tan Bee Hong, AirAsia guest and veteran food writer.

Sensational summer eats

Executive chef Phil Davenport fuses local produce and global infl uences at Ku De Ta (A: Jalan Laksmana 9, Denpasar, Bali T: +62 361 736969). The updated summery menu highlights Korean-spiced tuna tartare, daikon and tuna fl oss rice rolls; oxtail bakpao with pickled cucumber, chilli and aioli, and crab-chicken orzo with saffron broth, spinach and basil. End the meal with pastry chef Will Goldfarb’s creamy coconut sorbet, airy light coconut cake and pandan-infused panna cotta with local strawberries and Balinese pomelo sorbet. www.kudeta.net