Whether you want to keep your festive dining simple, or are planning to go all-out with the prep and home entertaining, Singapore’s best food and beverage experts have got you covered! Read on for twists on turkey, how to pair your wine perfectly, and where to find a slap-up Christmas feast in Singapore if you want to keep out of the kitchen. Enjoy!

Prep like a pro

By Charles Nguyen, Chef De Cuisine, Intercontinental Singapore
“Plan dishes in advance. It’s not just about deciding what food to serve, but also ensuring that ingredients are complementary to each other. Planning gives you the opportunity to test recipes out, get familiar with the cooking process, and improve time management, all of which are crucial when preparing multiple dishes.

I recommend making a great first impression with appetisers; they play such an important role in setting the tone for the entire festive meal. Take your guests’ preferences into consideration: a charcuterie board or a seafood bisque is often a popular and fuss-free choice to kick off with.

Importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s key for the person cooking to enjoy the process, so rope in friends and family! If handling a roast turkey is too complicated, order it from a hotel or restaurant and focus on the dishes you enjoy making.”

5 ways to max a whole salmon

By Chef Jordan Keao, Chef de Cuisine at Butcher’s Block.

  1. Salmon belly for Sashimi
    It’s important to check with your fishmonger that the salmon is of sashimi grade before purchasing and serving it raw to your guests. As a delicacy, the fatty and buttery salmon belly is best used for sashimi.
  2. Trimmings for Salmon Tartare on Toast
    After collecting the salmon belly, use the trimmings and meat scraped off the bones for a delicious Salmon Tartare on Toast.
  3. Salmon collar for Misoyaki Grilled Salmon Collar
    As the collar is the most tender and flavoursome part of a fish, glaze it with an umami mix of white miso, mirin, sake and sugar before grilling until caramelised.
  4. Salmon top loin for Baked Salmon with Lemon
    The most premium cut of the salmon with a high fat-to-flesh ratio, the top loin only requires a simple preparation of baking with lemon slices, olive oil, and salt to season. You can also bake the salmon in parchment paper for fuss-free cooking.
  5. Salmon skin for Crispy Salmon Skin with Sansho
    Don’t throw away the skin: lay it out on a tray to dehydrate and dry out the moisture at a low temperature in the oven. Then deep-fry and toss with any seasoning you like. I like sansho pepper powder for a citrus and floral flavour.


The ultimate Xmas Duck

By Chef Aaron Tan, Executive Chinese Chef at Man Fu Yuan.

Is duck a good alternative to turkey?
It’s excellent, and certainly one to consider. The key difference is the texture; turkey tends to be drier, particularly when compared to Silver Hill Duck, and the skin of turkey will not become as crispy as that of duck. Another consideration is size – a whole turkey may be too large for smaller families.

How do I cook it?
The method is relatively simple. We usually roast duck due to its texture. As it’s more tender, with a higher fat content, roasting will give the best results and ensure a crispy skin with juicy, succulent meat. Try seasoning with Cajun spices and black pepper to add a Cantonese twist to the meat.

What about the prep?
This is the most time-consuming part of the process, although seasoned chefs will enjoy it. First, stuff the duck with spring onion, ginger, and cinnamon before allowing it to marinate for a minimum of eight hours. Afterwards, poach the duck for 10 seconds, pour over a sauce if required, and fan dry for 8-10 hours. The oven should be set to 165 – 175 degrees Celsius, with the duck roasting for 45 minutes.

And the sides?
Grilled broccolini, glazed BBQ pineapple, and plum sauce.

What about wine?
Red wine complements duck better. Try Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Bordeaux.

Any other tips?
If the duck is too large to fit into your oven, debone the breast and pan sear instead. Or order in – our Silver Hill Irish Duck will be available for takeaway over the festive season!

Man Fu Yuan is collaborating with the Irish Duck Company until 15 November 2023.

Wine shopping tips (+ how to heal a hangover)

By Louis Toh, Head Sommelier,
Raffles Hotel Singapore.

Fizz is the biz
While connecting with friends and family over a meal, I recommend selecting champagne to pair with festive dishes. It’s so versatile that it can be paired with cured meats, cheeses, baked ham, and roast turkey. From November onwards, Raffles Hotel will be introducing Tarlant Champagne Brut Nature Zero into our master wine list – a bubbly which is especially rare, and delivers a delicious complexity with multiple layers.

What a pair
A zesty white wine is brilliantly versatile as well. While it’s easy to go with the typical guideline of pairing white wine with white meats and red wines with red meats, it’s vital to consider the sauce and cooking method of the dish also. Stronger flavours require a heavier wine. More delicate flavours or cooking methods like steaming or poaching go best with more delicate options.

Perfect match

My personal favourite food and wine pairing for the year end is tender semi bone-in half gammon ham complemented with an approachable Barossa Shiraz such as Head The Blonde Shiraz.

So gifted
For those looking to gift a bottle of wine, consider the personality of the person receiving it, their drinking habits, and the occasion. For a Christmas dinner party, a beautiful sparkling such as the Idée Fixe Premier Brut Blanc de Blancs by Vasse Felix from Margaret River is bright, easy to drink and pairs with many dishes.

Port for thought
I love opening a vintage port wine for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Crafted with notes of concentrated dried fruits, blackberry, cocoa, and spices, it complements chocolate log cake, panettone, cheese, and salted, smoked nuts.

No pain, all gain
As with all parties this holiday season, avoiding a hangover can be hard! My cure is a pot of hot and strong black tea which helps rejuvenate the body thanks to caffeine properties which can relieve fatigue. I once decided to brew a pot of Pu-Er tea one morning after too much indulgence and found that it alleviated my headache and tiredness. Magic!

Raffles Hotel’s Bar and Billiard Room is hosting an exclusive wine dinner on Sunday, 3 December 2023.

Do Happy Hour at Home

Funky Monks – Red Hot Chili Peppers
By Tippling Club.


  1. Add 40ml of white rum (Rhum Agricole preferred), 15ml of fresh lime juice, 10ml of ginger syrup, and 10ml of crème de cassis into a shaker and shake vigorously.
  2. Strain into a chilled tall glass, and top it up with chilled soda water and a lime wedge dipped in Togarashi spice for garnish.


Sticky Fingers

By Mel Chavez, Bar Manager, Smoke & Mirrors.


  1. Prep time: Add sous vide dates into a whisky of choice for 30 minutes to an hour. Then strain the liquid and keep it aside.
  2. For DIY-ers, create your own toffee syrup by melting 80g unsalted butter and combining it with 300g dark brown sugar and 400ml of heavy cream. Boil for 10 minutes until you have your preferred consistency. If you’re rushing for time, Monin Toffee Syrup from RedMart will do the trick!
  3. Shake up 25ml of your date-infused whisky, 25ml of dark rum, 15ml of the toffee syrup, 5ml of sugar syrup, and one whole egg. Strain it into an iced glass.
  4. Drizzle the toffee syrup on your drink. Enjoy with sticky date cake bites (store-bought or homemade)!


More cheese please!

By Executive Chef, Kelly Tay, The Westin Singapore.

“If you’ve got cheese left over from Christmas parties, make cheese scones. Serve with fig jam and homemade honey truffle as the sweetness and subtle tartness of fig jam pair will pair perfectly. To make honey truffle drizzle, simply mix some truffle oil with good quality honey. The earthy taste of truffle and the natural sweetness of honey will add elegance to your cheese board or cheese scones.”

High Cheese runs at Lobby Lounge, The Westin Singapore, until 26 November. Festive Afternoon Tea is from 27 November – 4 January 2024. marriott.com

Tips for Wagyu Carpaccio

By the CÉ LA VI Culinary Team.

  1. Purchase top-grade beef fillet such as A4 Miyazaki Wagyu Beef and thinly slice.
  2. Sauce prep: Pickle small shimeji mushrooms in water, vinegar, salt, and sugar, and boil for five minutes (larger mushrooms at about 8-10 minutes). Leave to cool and infuse.
  3. Dressing prep: Make your own ponzu dressing by combining soy sauce, dashi stock, mirin, rice vinegar (preferred, but regular vinegar works too), lemon juice, and lime juice. Zest your lemon for an extra burst of tanginess.
  4. Brush dressing over the thinly sliced beef, and serve with the pickled sauce.
  5. Make it extra fancy by coupling with Nomad Kaluga caviar (a fine delicacy on its own).


The perfect Australian Rock Lobster

By Chef Alynna Tan, Humpback.

“Christmas is a time for family and celebration. As chefs, we’re usually away from home during festive seasons, but on the rare occasion that I get to spend Christmas with my family, I like to cook a comforting, communal dish that my parents love instead of traditional Christmas staples. Since my mum loves my Japanese donabe cooking pot and my dad’s dream is always to have a huge lobster (inspired by watching Korean TV!), I created a Lobster Donabe using Australian Rock Lobster that is the best of both worlds. This way, they don’t fight over who is the favourite parent!”

Ingredients | 4 portions

  • Japanese shortgrain rice
  • Lobster stock
  • Rock Lobster, shells reserved for stock
  • Mizuna or watercress
  • Ginger, brunoise or pink oyster mushrooms
  • Lobster butter
  • Canola or grapeseed oil
  • Mirepoix – onion, carrot, celery, leek
  • Tomato paste
  • Crushed garlic
  • Dry or cooking sake
  • Mirin
  • Water

Lobster Prep
Detach lobster head from its tail
Separate the claws
Blanch the lobster in salted water for 1.5 to 2 minutes

Step 1: Wash the Japanese shortgrain rice with cold water until the water is clear
Step 2: Soak the rice in water for 10 minutes
Step 3: Roast the lobster shells until golden brown
Step 4: Add in mirepoix and garlic, followed by the tomato paste. Stir so it doesn’t burn
Step 5: Once caramelised, reserve half of the ingredients and transfer to another pot
Step 6: Deglaze the first pot with sake and mirin
Step 7: Add water and simmer for two hours or until the flavour is extracted
Step 8: Season with salt to taste

Merry Mindful Eating

By Tiffany Wee, In-house Naturopath & Nutritionist, SuperNature at COMO Dempsey.
Yes, we all want to dive into the Quality Street, but for maximum enjoyment, it’s wise to approach festive food mindfully. Here’s how:

  1. Before you eat, bring yourself into the present moment with three deep breaths. Beyond the food, take in and delight in all aspects of the dining experience.
  2. Consciously give yourself permission to indulge a little. Not only is this liberating, it allows you to facilitate a happier and healthier relationship with food in the long-term.
  3. Eat slowly. Pay attention to the look, smell, sound, texture and taste of the food. Eating with all our senses help us to better appreciate our food, and we tend to eat less.
  4. Begin each meal with gratitude and acknowledge the effort that has gone into its preparation. After all, the holiday season is a time to count our blessings and give thanks.
  5. Fully savour the moment. Set aside time for yourself to connect with loved ones while dining by opting for a fuss-free celebration.

Chef Ammi’s Pie Corner!

By Chef Ammie Khoo, Rosemead.

Apple pie
“I grew up spending the holidays enjoying my mum’s easy-to-make apple pie. She makes the shortcrust dough in advance, rolls it thin, then freezes it. The filling can also be made in advance – she premixes sugar, cinnamon, and flour before setting it aside. On Christmas Day, you just need to peel and slice some Granny Smith apples, mix with the sugar-cinnamon mixture and assemble the pie. Bake it when your guests start arriving.”

Pot pie
“Our family also loves pot pie. You can make the bechamel filling in advance and buy frozen puff pastry and good quality frozen vegetables. On the day of eating, simply cook your preferred protein (we love using lobster, turkey or chicken thigh), and mix it with the bechamel and vegetables. Put all the filling in a porcelain baking tray and top it off with puff pastry. Final step: brush some egg wash on top and bake it off. Easy!”