Asian-inspired festive fare

Shangri-La Hotel - Char Siew Glazed Bone-in Ham

You'll find char siew in the form of pork belly or pork loin, but it's a bit unusual to taste its familiar flavours in a leg of Christmas ham. Fortunately, Shangri-La's new take on a traditional Christmas roasted ham - a Char Siew Glazed Bone-in Ham (S$248 nett and serves eight to 10 people) - hits all the right notes.

As a bone-in ham, it already scores points for being more tender since its natural fats, muscle and bone were undisturbed during preparation.

Key ingredients of the marinade include hoisin sauce and maltose sugar, and the ham is roasted between one-and-a-half to two hours at an internal temperature of 63 degrees Celsius.

The set comes with honey mustard, mashed potatoes, citrus-glazed root vegetables, Brussels sprouts with herb butter, and braised purple cabbage.

Location: 22 Orange Grove Road

Tel: 6233-5177

Email: dining.sls@shangri-la.com (3-days' advance notice is required)

Swiss Butchery - Harry Potter-inspired Butterbeer Ham

When it comes to the "magic" of Christmas, Swiss Butchery takes things to a whole new level with their Harry Potter-inspired Butterbeer Ham (S$60/kg).

This smoked ham is already tender and juicy enough to devour on its own, and its skin is covered in a hint of sweet vanilla marinade.

But don't forget the star of the show - the small bottle of butterbeer glaze (give it a good shake first) that you're supposed to pour over the ham before heating it up in the oven. It's got a vaguely artificial butterscotch flavour which is surprisingly addictive.

Also available for the festive season is their signature Grand Marnier ham glazed with a house blend of honey (S$60/kg), a dunkel pork knuckle jelly (S$28/kg), and liver pate with cranberries (S$28/kg).

Location: 30/32 Greenwood Avenue

Tel: 6468 7588 56

Location: Tanglin Road, #01-02

Tel: 6235 8080

Website: http://swiss-butchery.com.sg

Rang Mahal - Tandoori Turkey

Tandoori may not be the most festive option for a Christmas meal, but the Signature Tandor-roasted Turkey by fine dining Indian restaurant Rang Mahal just might change your mind.

The turkey is marinaded in traditional yoghurt and masala spices before roasting, and any latent dryness is countered by the thick and rich orange yogurt sauce it comes with.

On its own, it costs S$118+, but we recommend you top it up to S$138+ to include the fragrant stuffing of biryani-style basmati rice cooked with dried fruit, quail eggs, tandoor-roasted potatoes, and bits of candied cherry for a pleasant sweet contrast.

Location: Pan Pacific Singapore Level 3

Tel: 6333 1788

Location: Naumi Hotel

Tel: 6403 6005

Websitewww.rangmahal.com.sg

Hotel Fort Canning - Tom Yum Turkey and Laksa Turkey

For a familiar spicy zing in your Christmas feast, Hotel Fort Canning injects Thai and Singaporean flavours into its Tom Yum and Laksa Roast Turkeys respectively.

Each turkey is marinated in its respective paste for between eight and 12 hours, and weighs approximately between 4.5 and 5.5 kg before cooking.

Besides the light infusion of spice in the meat, the birds come with a tangy tom yum gravy and a thick laksa-ish gravy which we prefer to the tom yum.

Conventional birds are available, such as the Traditional Roast Turkey, Chardonnnay Braised Roast Turkey, and Traditional American-style Deep-fried Turkey. The turkey costs S$128+ each and serves six to eight people.

Location: 11 Canning Walk

Tel: 6559 6760

Email: fnb@hfcsingapore.com (Last date for orders is Dec 20, last day for collection is Dec 25)

Violet Oon's Kitchen - Pre-sliced Roast Turkey Breast with Chestnut, Mushroom, Roast Pork and Sticky Rice Stuffing and Dry Laksa

Just for the festive season, Violet Oon's Kitchen has added to its regular Peranakan menu a list of Christmas Party Trays like Pre-sliced Roast Turkey Breast with Apricot Sausage Stuffing (S$118+), Beef Roulade in Red Wine Sauce (S$105+), and Seafood Pasta Pie with Prawns, Fish & Mussels in Caper-Infused Sauce (S$105+).

But that doesn't mean you can't still get that Nonya flavour in your Christmas dinner - just opt for the Chinese stuffing of chestnuts, mushrooms, roast pork and sticky rice (S$38+) instead, or the popular dry laksa (S$85+) instead of the usual mashed potatoes.

Each Christmas Party Tray feeds about eight to 12 people.

Location: 881 Bukit Timah Road

Tel: 8533 1122

Emailcatering@violetoonskitchen.com (Order 5 days in advance)

Intercontinental Singapore - Turkey Panggang with Rempah Marinade, Nasi Kunyit Raisins, and Sauteed Vegetables

As a twist for this year's Christmas, Intercontinental Singapore's executive chef Eric Neo has upsized the familiar ayam panggang (grilled chicken) with his own recipe for Turkey Panggang (S$135+).

The 5kg bird is marinated for a full 24 hours in the chef's own rempah, roasted and served with Nasi Kunyit Raisins (glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and turmeric) and Sauteed Vegetables.

Location: 80 Middle Rd

Tel: 6825 1008

Emailsinhb-festive@ihg.com

Goodwood Park Hotel - Turkey stuffed with Fresh Chestnuts, Ham & Vegetables, served with Yam Rice

Steam a turkey and it'll be moist but with ugly pale skin . Bake it and it'll look nice outside but paper dry within.

The chefs at Goodwood seem to have developed the perfect combination of a steamed and baked turkey that's toasty brown on the outside but still retaining some springy juiciness within.

Its latest creation comes with a delicious Chinese dumpling-inspired mix of chestnuts, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and carrots, along with savoury yam rice with little cubes of tender tuber scattered in the mix.

Don't expect pak cham kai (white-cooked chicken) smoothness in the turkey breast - you need some good sous-vide skills for that - but despite its slight dryness, the Goodwood turkey easily trumps the majority of birds on the market. Priced at S$198.

Location: 22, Scotts Road.

Tel: 6730-1867/68.

Email: festive@goodwoodparkhotel.com or online on festivepromotions.goodwoodparkhotel.com.

Saint Pierre - Whole Boneless Piglet

If turkey has been banned from your house by those still suffering nightmares of leftover turkey dinners, Saint Pierre steps up to the plate with its twist on Asian suckling pig - a whole piglet is deboned and fashioned into a roll stuffed with a bready mixture of chorizo sausage, organic vegetables and mushrooms.

The compact roll features a layer of crisp skin on top followed by another thin layer of tender meat and a whole lot of stuffing that can be a little stodgy because of the amount of bread used.

But for sheer visual appeal and the ease of carving, suckling pig could well be your Christmas meat of choice. Price at S$98/kg before GST.

Location: 31 Ocean way, #01-15 Quayside Isle.

Tel: 6438-0887

jaime@sph.com.sg

rachloi@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 20, 2014.
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