Chilli crab sliders in Denmark

Coffee pork ribs, kueh pie tee and chilli crab sliders will be making their way to Denmark next week, as part of an annual culinary festival in the country's capital, Copenhagen.

Five Singapore chefs serving traditional and contemporary takes on local cuisine have left for Copenhagen to represent the country at the city's 10th instalment of the 10-day gourmet event, which is also touted as Northern Europe's leading food festival.

It started last Friday and ends next Sunday, and also includes cooking demonstrations, hands-on workshops and experimental epicurean experiences.

The five participating chefs are Bryan Chia and Petrina Loh, both 32, chef-owners of sharing plates restaurant Morsels in Mayo Street off Jalan Besar; Lee Boon Seng, 29, sous chef of contemporary Australia restaurant Osia at Resorts World Sentosa; Wayne Liew, 30, of popular zi char restaurant Keng Eng Kee in Alexandra Village and Vicky Quek of popiah and kueh pie tee shop Kway Guan Huat in Joo Chiat.

The chefs' participation this year has been organised in collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board; Wonderful Copenhagen, the official convention and visitor-tourism bureau of greater Copenhagen; and well-known restaurant group the Meyer Group, which is behind restaurants such as Michelin starred restaurant Noma and Asian-Peranakan restaurant NamNam.

This is the second year that Singapore will be showcasing local chefs and cuisine at the event.

Last year, the Singapore team included Bjorn Shen of Artichoke restaurant who prepared a bak chor mee sandwich; and Wee Liang Lian of Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice.

Ms Ranita Sundramoorthy, STB's director for attractions, dining and retail, says: "Apart from international exposure, the chefs who participated last year returned from the programme with insights into new flavours, kitchen operations and cooking techniques. We hope this year's chefs will be similarly inspired from their experience in Copenhagen."

Kway Guan Huat and Keng Eng Kee will be selling their street food from Friday to Sunday at the Street Food Festival, which is one of the components of the festival this year. Other participating countries include Bolivia and Morocco.

Dishes will be priced at about 50 Danish krone (S$11) each.

Ms Quek's nephew Michael Ker, a third-generation family member who is involved in the business, will be demonstrating and making popiah skins from scratch. The shop will sell made-to-order popiah with its signature sweet flour fruit sauce and kueh pie tee.

Mr Liew of Keng Eng Kee, and his siblings Paul, 33, and Geraldine, 23 - all third-generation family business owners - will be preparing coffee pork ribs marinated in the restaurant's signature coffee syrup blend, and one of its more recent creations, fried prawns with potato grits, which is a new take on cereal prawns but using potato, a European staple, instead.

He says: "The Danes might be familiar with sweet and sour pork, but may not realise that coffee, which is usually consumed as a beverage, can also be used in cooking. Coffee pork ribs might be something unusual for them and we hope they take to it."

The other three chefs will be presenting a six-course dinner for 200 people at NamNam restaurant on Friday night. The following night, the founder of the Meyer Group, Mr Claus Meyer, has invited them to replicate the meal for his wife's 60th birthday party at his home.

The Morsels duo will be serving a spiked version of bak kut teh infused with brandy and a pork rib spring roll; a salad with cold otah otah noodles; and chilli crab sliders.

The dishes were created especially for the event and are not part of their restaurant's menu.

Each of their dishes represents a taste and tells a story about Singapore's food heritage.

Ms Loh says: "Bak kut teh, for instance, is food for the common man and it dates back to our forefathers' era. We decided to spike it with some brandy to add some roundness to it but still infuse it with the usual spices such as cinnamon cloves and star anise to make it herbal.

"We will remove the tender pork from the rib and use the meat to make a long spring roll, to mimic the you tiao or dough fritter that the soup is traditionally served with."

The other three dishes for the dinner, created by Osia's Mr Lee, are a lobster laksa with the gravy served as an emulsion; an oyster omelette with a crispy base, served with oysters poached in a broth of coriander, lemongrass and chilli; and for dessert, a cheng tng terrine - cheng tng set with gelatin and served with lemongrass panna cotta, gula melaka ice cream, and common cheng tng ingredients such as red dates, pearl barley and white fungus.

The chefs from Morsels will also be doing a two-day stint at Studio restaurant while in Copenhagen.

Mr Chia says: "I have no expectations and am going there with an open mind and a great attitude. I will take whatever comes, good and bad, and I hope to achieve a positive experience and a chance to thrive on this team-building opportunity."

Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan

This article was first published on Aug 24, 2014.
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