Lobster Salad with Cider Vinegar and the Blood Pudding Cookie at Akelare.
In the final part of our interview with Cheryl Yuen, Commercial Manager at Le Creuset in Singapore, she recounts a wonderful meal in San Sebastian, Spain, and tells travellers to head to Chinatown and Sungei Road to get an authentic taste of Singapore.
NOSHtrekker: What was your most recent memorable meal?
Cheryl Yuen: Akelare in San Sebastian, Spain. I was on a Barcelona food trip with my partner, and Akelare was the third Michelin starred restaurant we were dining at on this trip.
I distinctly remembered that we arrived at the restaurant at 8.00pm, after a long winding taxi ride up a hill, we were warmly invited to cocktails at the deck overlooking the Bay of Biscay. The panoramic view of the vast ocean that greeted us completely took my breath away. By time I could bring myself to be seated in the dining room, it was close to 9:00pm. With a glass of bubbles in hand, a stunning setting sun against a backdrop of the ocean and running hills, we had one of the best dinners of the trip.
We both had the Classic of Akelare tasting menu since it was our first visit. I particularly liked one of the amuse bouche of Black Pudding Cookie, a savoury cookie with a creamy spread made from black pudding. The starter of Sautéed Fresh Foie Gras with “Salt Flakes and grain Pepper” came together with some theatrics. As our server placed the dish in front of us, he tipped what appeared to be a large amount of salt flakes and peppercorns over our foie gras. Seeing our wide-eyed faces, he laughed and quickly advised us with a chuckle that the salt flakes were actually sugar flakes and the peppercorns were puffed black rice.
The meal was a blend of classic cooking and innovative styles (which worked and tasted good), flavours were delicate and refined, service faultless and our server was funny and personable. I only wish the lighting in the restaurant was better because none of my food pictures came out nicely.
Lian He Ben Ji Claypot Rice
aka “Three Sisters'”
335 Smith Street
NT: What insider recommendation would you make to seasoned foodies who are travelling to Singapore? What should they eat?
CY: I would go with the “Three Sisters Claypot Rice” at Chinatown. Firstly, there’s no way anyone who visits Singapore for the first time should miss out on taking a walk around a hawker centre (plus being in Chinatown, it’s a plus point). Secondly, there’s no better way to experience Singapore’s deep love for food then by patiently waiting for dinner the way we do (minimum waiting time without a queue is 25 minutes because each pot of rice is cooked to order). Lastly, it’s just the whole flavour of the dish, the chicken, the lup cheong and salted fish, and of course that gorgeous crusty rice at the bottom of the pot which lends that lovely smokey flavour.
And if there’s still tummy space left, I would recommend the Laksa at Sungei Road. I never fail to slurp up every drop of gravy whenever I’m having a bowl. After all, who’s counting the calories and cholesterol level, right? It’s a holiday!
NT: And your favourite meal abroad? Where does a foodie like yourself go to?
CY: I have had so many great meals overseas. One will be the Unagi Don at Narita San Kawatoyo Honten. Long lines form outside the restaurant as people stand in line for a seat or to watch the chefs prepare the live eels for grilling. I love watching chefs in action, every moment was quick and precise. Not a moment of rest from the time they grab a live eel in hand, to the time it’s cleaned and skewed. The Unagi is grilled and seasoned perfectly, with a slight crisp at the edges.
This was my first meal in Japan, straight off the plane. We had taken the redeye flight, and I was completely exhausted. After this gorgeous meal, I placed my chopsticks down and immediately fell asleep at the table with a smile on my face, to the amusement of my partner who could not resist snapping a few quick shots before waking me up.
Unagi Don from Kawatoyohonten at Narita San. Photo by Cheryl Yuen.
About Cheryl Yuen
Cheryl loves her food. She can often be found scouting for new places to try or revisiting personal favourites. During the weekends, she can be seen pottering about in the kitchen — perspiration running down her temples, a small frown of concentration on her face — as she tests out new recipes or prepares meals for friends and loved ones. But really, Cheryl is a lot more comfortable being in the dining room, then she is in the kitchen. @cheryllovesbess