A great number of people turn their nose up whenever the words “fusion” and “food” are put together. Unlike founder Denise who views all fusion dishes with suspicion, I am quite forgiving. If done sparingly, some dishes do lend themselves quite well to “fusion-ing”. Laksa pesto pasta is one such dish. Another fusion dish that I like is the rice burgers at Mos Burgers. There is nothing sacrilegious about combining the foods from two (or more!) cultures into one dish. In fact, the region of Southeast Asia is swimming with fusion food. Take the Vietnamese bahn mi for example, definitely French-inspired. Singapore’s very own kaya toast is most certainly a fusion food as well.
You probably have a instinctive feel about whether a fusion-dish works or not, so this isn’t a piece about whether you should or should not eat fusion stuff. I like to put chilli padi into my spaghetti bolognaise. Who am I to judge?
If you are as forgiving as I am, culinarily speaking, from now till 31 October, 2013, you can pop down to Swensen’s to try its version of “fusion” food. I went for the food tasting a couple of weeks ago and here are some of my favourites:
1. Spiced Maple Waffle Chicken, $14.90
What is it?
Four beautifully fried pieces of chicken stacked over a Belgian waffle.
Where’s the fusion bit?
The maple syrup. It’s chilli-padi infused maple syrup so it’s sweet with a bit of kick!
I can definitely wipe out the entire dish by myself. The chicken was fried just right, retaining its juiciness. There is only one small piece of waffle but, you know what, it’s just nice cos the meat will fill you up. Served with a side of butter cream and mixed greens, this dish is a must-try for fried-chicken lovers.
2. Crispy Cereal King Prawns, $19.90
What is it?
Four (if I recall correctly) huge king prawns coated with a special batter made from cereal, bread crumbs and spices.
Where’s the fusion bit?
It’s a lot like the cereal prawns you can find at cze-char stalls at kopitiams except that this batter isn’t as thick and as oily as the hawker’s version. They come with a side of steak-cut fries and mixed greens.
Firm, fresh and definitely full of bite! If you asked me which one I prefer, I’d be hard-pressed to make a choice. I love that the cereal coating isn’t oily at all. This dish is very addictive if you love your seafood. I feel my mouth watering just thinking about biting into one of these big fat juicy prawns.
And once you’re done with your main course, it’s time to tuck into Swensen’s yummy sundaes. For this period, you get to enjoy a $1 off your sundaes if you go with the recommended main-dessert pairings. But you know what? It’s dessert so I say you go with what you want. Life’s too short to be stuck with ice cream you don’t like. So … I highly recommend these two creamy treats with a strong hint of local in them.
1. Salted Gula Melaka Heaven, $9.90 (left)
It’s like salted caramel, Southeast Asian style! The fragrant aroma of gula melaka is immediately detectable the moment you scoop up a spoonful of this yummy salted gula melake ice cream. Decorated with chocolate balls, diced almonds and chocolate bits, this dessert is guaranteed to make your problems go away – at least temporarily. You’ll feel happy just eating it.
2. Chendol Delight, $9.90 (right)
If you thought the sundae above sounded magical, this one here is simply orgasmic. It’s chendol ice cream drowned in gula melaka … TWICE THE STUFF I LOVE! Except if I were to order this again, I would ask for no red beans. This sundae comes with attap seeds and chendol jelly … it’s like eating frozen chendol without the shaved ice. Yums!
These offerings will be available at all Swensen’s restaurants from now till 31 October, 2013. To find a Swensen’s near you, click here.
Material World was invited to a food tasting session and all opinions are the author’s own.
About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits and loves anything with gula melaka … ANYTHING. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.
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