Singapore may be a modern nation, but it has, without a doubt, a history that’s rich in culture; evident in the plethora of food the island has to offer. Simply step inside a hawker centre and be instantly transported into a wonderland of wafting aromas and a spectrum of flavours that awaken the palate. And of course, we mustn’t forget dessert—local sweets that have stood the test of time are a microcosm of The Lion City’s rich cultural heritage.
This month, all the way until October, Creamier is proud to be collaborating with The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore in a new ice cream flavour and two heritage desserts that will be served at The Fullerton Hotels. Today, we sit down with our very own Executive Chef Audrey Wang and The Fullerton Hotels’ Assistant Pastry Chef Yew Tuck Wai to talk about heritage.
“Working at The Fullerton Hotel – Singapore’s 71st National Monument – history and heritage lie close to our hearts. Heritage Kopi is served at The Courtyard with a slice of Kueh Lapis, while The Clifford Pier preserves the landmark’s hawker culture as part of the guests’ culinary experiences. There, I was inspired to add to the line-up of desserts and offer heritage-inspired creations to complement the menus’ local dishes,” says Chef Wai.
We collaborated with The Fullerton Hotels for our newest ice cream flavour, Lapis Spice, which is served atop The Fullerton Hotels’ very own dessert version of Kueh Lapis (a traditional layered snack made with rice cake). Creamy with hints of cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, and nutmeg, this flavour is available at all three Creamier shops this September and October.
Also, our Kaya Toast ice cream is served on The Fullerton Hotels’ rendition of the iconic local breakfast, served with toasted brioche sticks, and a white chocolate egg filled with coconut mousse and a mango “yolk” centre. It’s also accompanied by a drizzle of “soy sauce” and a shake of “pepper”, which are cleverly disguised as chocolate sauce and icing sugar.
A sense such as taste provokes memory, and each chef had a fond one to share about Kueh Lapis and Kaya Toast. “Kueh Lapis is a Chinese New Year favourite and a must-have dessert! I love eating it layer by layer. Kaya (Coconut Jam), on the other hand, is a staple at my house, we would buy it from this famous shop in Katong. Despite how it’s normally served with toasted bread, I enjoy eating it best with white, untoasted bread,” shares Chef Audrey.
For Chef Wai, Kaya Toast provides a lot of nostalgia as it was a childhood treat of his, “My mother often prepared it for breakfast when I was a young boy. I loved the salty cold butter against the sweet jam.”
Perhaps, one could say that transforming familiar flavours into unique and more modern expressions could be quite a challenge. According to Chef Wai and Chef Audrey, a few trials had to be conducted. Sometimes, familiar flavours worked because everyone expects a particular pairing of various components, but when these components are reimagined, they can be met with a little apprehension. The Lapis Spice ice cream, for example, went through a number of versions in order for the flavour to complement The Fullerton Hotels’ layered cake best. “The challenge is to keep the flavours as authentic as possible so they don’t steer too far from the original,” adds Chef Wai.
It’s important to share the craft with like-minded folks, and we’re grateful that Chef Wai and The Fullerton Hotels team feel the exact same way when it comes to the art of dessert making, “As a pastry chef, retaining a handcrafted touch is extremely important. Handcrafted ingredients are more tangible in a dessert—this is what makes your creation truly unique, as no ordinary tool or machine can recreate the same unique touches.” Just like our ice creams, the desserts that you will find at The Fullerton Hotels share the same handcrafted quality, which is vital, especially when it comes to these heritage desserts.
“Heritage, for me, is the recollection of a point in time (history) and the memories associated with it—nostalgia.” shares Chef Wai. “I believe heritage is a combination of traditions passed down from generations.” says Chef Audrey, “Traditions that are worth preserving.” These heritage desserts embody cultural flavours, while pushing the envelope by elevating their presentations into something modern and fresh.
Lastly, we ask the chefs what flavours they feel best represent Singapore. “Definitely the familiar scent of pandan, which is an important flavour in many desserts: kaya, kueh salat (chewy glutinous rice topped with sweet, coconut custard), chiffon cakes, and ondeh ondeh (rice cake balls filled with liquid palm sugar and coated in grated coconut),”Chef Wai says. One the other hand, Chef Audrey chooses Rojak (a traditional mixed fruit and vegetable salad dish). “If I could encapsulate Singapore in one taste, it would be the taste of Rojak”, Chef Audrey says. “A mix of races, language, and cultures.”
Creamier’s Lapis Spice ice cream is currently scooping and available in pints at all three Creamier Shops. The Fullerton Hotels’ Kaya Toast and Kueh Lapis plated desserts are available at The Courtyard and Town Restaurant at The Fullerton Hotel and The Clifford Pier at The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore.
Stand a chance to win a complimentary Fullerton Hotel Heritage Dessert Set by joining our Instagram contest! Guests who post a photo of Creamier’s Lapis Spice or Kaya Toast ice cream on their Instagram page and share what makes them proudest of their Singaporean heritage will stand a chance to win a complimentary Fullerton Heritage Dessert Set, comprising a Kueh Lapis and Kaya Toast plated dessert worth S$38++.