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Knights of the Vine RUSSIA


Singapore Selection
by Charles W. Borden

Ambassador Tay pours champagne for his guests

We enjoyed a Singapore Evening at the residence of Singapore Ambassador Michael Tay and his wife Meena Mylvanganam-Tay. Meena is editing a book on the subject of matching wine with Asian foods.

Armed with the menu in advance, John Ortega selected a couple cases of wine and beat the traffic to the ambassador's door.

We were presented with two white and two red wines, and we tested all four against each menu item. The first flight consisted of a Josmeyer 1997 Riesling (Alsace), Leon Beyer Gewurtztraminer Reserve 2001 (Alsace), Yalumba Shiraz 2003 (Australia) and a New Zealand Marlborough Pinot Noir (New Zealand). For latter dishes, two additional Australian Shiraz wines were served Ц Jeanneret Shiraz 1998 and Haan Shiraz Prestige 1999. Dessert was accompanied with a very nice Chilean Viu Manent Late Harvest Semillion.

Tasted in this manner, especially with contrast of the Asian dishes, there were definitely winners and losers for each menu item, and it was somewhat surprising how a change in the spice profile could shift a wine preference from a light, white Riesling like the Josmeyer to a powerful Australian Shiraz like the Yalumba. There was also a fair amount of agreement at the table on the selections. The preferred wines are noted in the menu below.

Meena supervised the preparation of the food selection for the evening and helped us understand the nuances of Singapore cuisine. Each menu item was delightful, and the wine comparisons provided a challenge. The food, atmosphere and company made the evening truly enjoyable.

L-R: David Wack of Squire Sanders & Dempsey, George Voloshin, International Business Director, Maria Ramos and Ian Jones.
Charles Borden in the background.

Meena Mylvanganam-Tay chats to Ian Jones,
GM Swissotel

The Menu for a Singapore Evening

Yu Sheng Chinese Raw Fish Salad

Josmeyer 1997 Riesling
A colourful salad of raw fish, crunchy vegetables and pickles usually eaten during the Lunar New Year, created in Singapore that has been exported to Malaysia and Hong Kong, but not found in China. Besides being full of flavours and textures, the dish is filled with symbolic meaning, like most things Chinese. The raw ingredients signify the renewal of life. The sound of the word for fish in Cantonese sounds like that for prosperity.

Chilli Prawns

Yalumba Shiraz 2003 (Australia)
A true Singaporean dish usually made with crab. Taste the spiciness and sweetness of the tomato-chilli sauce Ц a fusion of the different ethnic groups of Singapore.

Kiam Chye Ahk Duck & Preserved Mustard Green Soup

Leon Beyer Gewurtztraminer Reserve 2001
A Chinese soup often served during the Lunar New Year as it keeps well without refrigeration.

Grilled Cod with Shitake Mushrooms

Marlborough Pinot Noir
A modern take on the traditional Chinese steamed fish dish, this time grilled but using the same seasonings Ц Chinese wine, sesame oil, soya sauce and sugar

Roast Duck

Leon Beyer Gewurtztraminer Reserve 2001
Crispy grilled duck served with plum sauce

Main Course of Peranakan Cuisine

Peranakan, or Straits-born Chinese, are unique to Singapore, Melaka and Penang in Malaysia. Chinese traders and voyagers of the 15th century first settled in Melaka where they married Malay women, creating a new culture - language, clothing, customs and food combining Chinese and Malay elements. When Singapore was established by the British in the early 19th century, many Straits Chinese moved to Singapore, thereby creating another culture - that of the Peranakan Singaporean, combining Chinese, Malay and other influences for a unique blend. The food you will taste is a sample of their rich cuisine. Notice that the names of the dishes are in Malay but the ingredients are Chinese but cooked Malay-style with chilli, spices and coconut milk.

Ayam Tempra Chicken with Soya Sauce & Lime

Josmeyer 1997 Riesling

Sambal Babi Pork in Spicy Chilli Sauce

Jeanneret Shirz 1998

Kobis Masak Lemak Cabbage Cooked in Coconut Milk Haan

Shiraz Prestige 1999

Sambal Timun Cucumber Salad with Dried Prawn Chilli Dressing

Haan Shiraz Prestige 1999

Mango Soup

Viu Manent Late Harvest Semillion

Kuih Lapis Indonesian Layer Cake

Viu Manent Late Harvest Semillion

A multi-layered grilled cake rich with eggs and spices

Pineapple Tarts

Viu Manent Late Harvest Semillion

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