Hate turkey? Go for great alternatives this Christmas

It's dry, tasteless and boring.

You can hear this refrain, over and over again from turkey haters. Even a pampering of new flavours for the busty Christmas bird might not even fascinate them no matter how spectacular it looks as a centrepiece.

If you're going to host a table of epicurean guests who all don't care too hoots for this fowl, serve them with delectable alternatives apart from other traditional must-have ham.

Hotels, supermarkets and gourmet stores offer a whole slew of festive takeaways for an all-day, all-night blowout - if that's your idea of eat, drink and be merry!

Here are mouthwatering standouts and recommended selections from the hotels. Orders are usually accepted three days in advance before Christmas Eve or till New Year's Day or January 3. Do check with the hotels for credit card discounts.

Beef it up!

Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore's Deluxe Christmas Dinner

Photo: Ritz-Carlton Millenia

The king of the hotel's takeaway dinner set for eight persons is crowned with a 3kg Roasted Rib Eye that will send you to straight beef heaven.

Your stay on cloud nine will be extended by the accompanying truffle bordelaise sauce, mustard grapes gravy, truffle-roasted new potatoes, chestnut stuffing, asparagus and pumpkin fougasse bread.

Ho ho ho - next comes a rolly polly roasted lobe of foie gras, presenting its full 'buttery' richness, smoky and salty flavours. Banish any bypass fear with the cranberry sauce.

Poached figs in Port wine and the moist signature Stollen with fruit and walnuts round off this stupendous feast.

Price: $388+, which works out to only about $50 a person. Tel: (65) 6434-5288, or email: rc.sinrz.restaurantreservations@ritzcarlton.com

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport's Roasted Texas BBQ Beef Short-Rib

Photo: Crowne Plaza

Slow cooked sous vide style for 24 hours before crisping in the oven, the beef short ribs are a mighty treat that will get everyone smacking their lips in approval.

Slipping off the bone easily, the tender chunky meat is smothered with a beefy demi-glace that is so delicious that you would want to mop any remainder with bread or mash. Be warned: You don't want to be clubbed for not ordering enough.

Price: $120+ for 1 kg. Tel: +65-6823-5367

The Fullerton Hotel's Beef Wellington

Photo: Fullerton Hotel Singapore

Here's an impressive Beef Wellington with gorgeous pink meat to satisfy lovers of quality meat.

Kept lovingly moist by the spread of mushroom duxelle around it, and then by the finishing buttery puff pastry, this show-stopper is perfect for a British-style celebration. So flavourful, it needs only a judicious anointing of gravy.

Price: $118+ for 1kg. Chicken and salmon wellingtons are available too. Tel: (65) 6877 8943 or email fullertonshop@fullertonhotel.com.

More bovine madness

Most five-star hotels offer quality beef, mostly slow-cooked to retain the flavourful juices in their takeaway menu.

Savour the natural flavours of quality cuts in Conrad Centennial's Slow Cooked US Angus Tenderloin ($280+ for 2kg) and New Zealand Ribeye ($248+ for 3kg). The marvelously bold sauce of mixed mushrooms elevates the enjoyment.

Also slow roasting its 100 Days Grain Fed Beef is Marina Mandarin Hotel.

Regent Hotel offers a flavourful grass-fed Angus beef tenderloin and a roasted Wagyu rump, while its sister hotel, The Four Seasons has both grain and grass-fed beef on its takeaway list.

Pig out!

Parkroyal On Beach Road's Spicy Sichuan Pork Knuckle

Photo: Parkroyal on Beach Road 

Since you can enjoy a German-style pork knuckle all-year round at restaurants, how about one bedevilled with a copious amount of Sichuan peppercorns and dried chillis.

Braised till tender and then roasted, this mean hefty hock is guaranteed to fire up your party with gut-busting reactions from your guests. If you're a chilli novice, just brush away the searing-hot chilli and numbing peppercorns, and say a prayer before slipping the meat into your mouth.

Price: $68+, from Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant at Parkroyal On Beach Road.

For non-chilli eaters

The Mafia brigade might turn into angels with Regent Hotel's Italian-style Crispy Pork Belly with Sardinian Mirto Liquor ($168 for 2kg). Available from Dolcetto by Basilico, an outlet of the hotel's Italian restaurant.

Or try appeasing the Godfather with a whole roasted suckling pig from The Fullerton Hotel.

And since everyone loves ham, lug home a handsome gammon. Read here for recommendations. 

Go fishing!

Parkroyal On Beach Road's Salmon Brioche

Photo: Parkroyal on Beach Road 

Inspired by the wellington, this is a neat pastry parcel that encases moist salmon with layers of tender spinach and a ragout of fresh mushrooms. A joy to eat with the buttery pastry and lemony yoghurt.

Priced at $78+ for 1kg. Tel: 65055710 or email dining.prsin@parkroyalhotels.com.

The Four Seasons Hotel offers the popular salmon too. Theirs is a roasted centre-cut salmon fillet paired with basil pesto and a confit of vine ripened cherry tomatoes. Price: $158+ for 1.3kg. Tel: 68317253 or email festiveseason.sin@fourseasons.com

Trot with the lamb

Lamb, which is a traditional must-have at Easter celebration, is less popular for Christmas. But if you're hankering for it, some top hotels do roast a rack or leg of lamb for takeaway.

Dolcetto by Baslico at Regent Singapore offers both - a rack of lamb with rosemary potatoes, artichokes and asparagus ($228+ for 2kg) and a leg of lamb with truffle mustard ($201+ for 2.5kg).

Sister hotel, The Four Seasons roasts a whole leg of lamb, served with herb jus, Dijon mustard and mint jelly ($258+ for 3kg).

Grab a mixed platter

Photo: Parkroyal On Kitchener Road

Still scratching your head as to what meat alternatives to serve?

Solve the problem with Parkroyal On Kitchener Road's festive platter of assorted sliced cuts. The $98+ ensemble comprises salted-crusted beef sirloin, well-brined roast turkey, stuffing of pork liver and chestnuts, gammon ham with peach sauce and Cumberland sausages.

This year, Marketplace supermarkets offer new platters of assorted European cold cuts and salami, as well as western and asian-style wraps tucked with beef, turkey, chicken, duck and tuna.