Tuesday, 27 December 2022

9 of the world’s most underrated archaeological sites

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny hits the cinema screens in 2023, so we decided it’s high time to pay tribute to our favourite intrepid archaeologist with a guide to some of the most underrated archaeological sites from South Korea, France and beyond – all of which are open to the public.

1. Ganghwa Dolmen Sites, South Korea

Historians have spent decades wondering how the people behind England’s Stonehenge mustered the strength to drag the site’s stones into place, but the builders of South Korea’s dolmens required significantly more stamina. In fact, the country has the highest density of these single-chamber megalithic tombs, each built with thick slabs of stone. Some of the finest examples can be found on the island of Ganghwa. Built during the Neolithic and Bronze Age, they were used as grave markers, and excavations of the ground beneath them have provided archaeologists with fascinating insights into funerary practices, prehistoric stonework techniques and social systems – the riches found beneath the dolmens suggest they were reserved for elite members of society.

Ganghwa Dolmen credit Korea Tourism Organization-and Kim Jiho underrated archaeological sites
The Ganghwa Dolmens are a series of ancient tombs build for Korean society’s elites. Photo credit: Korea Tourism Organization, Kim Jiho

2. Lullingstone Roman Villa, UK

When Kent’s Lullingstone Roman Villa was built in 100AD, it was a simple dwelling with four rooms and a cellar. Subsequent expansions suggest the owners amassed considerable wealth – a chapel and bathing suite with hot, cold and tepid rooms were added, along with additional bedrooms. In the so-called Cult Room (a basement room where owners would practice pagan beliefs) the walls were adorned with frescos depicting water goddesses. Additionally, a highly detailed image of three water nymphs provided archaeologists with an insight into Roman interior decoration trends. Visitors to Lullingstone can check out the villa’s well-preserved remains that include stunning wall paintings from the former church and various artefacts discovered during the excavation process. These include two skeletons (presumed to be former owners) and some of the finest Roman mosaics discovered in the UK.

Lullingstone villa credit Visit Kent underrated archaeological sites
Lullingstone Roman Villa provided insight into ancient Roman interior design trends. Photo credit: Visit Kent

3. Lascaux Cave, France

Full disclosure – Dordogne’s Lascaux Cave has been closed to the public since the 1960s, but visitors to the nearby Lascaux IV International Centre will find a complete replica of one of France’s most significant archaeological sites. The discovery of the rock art in the Lascaux Cave transformed scientists’ understanding of both prehistoric art and human origins. A wide range of tools and techniques was used – in some areas, there’s an abundance of engraved images, while elsewhere, pigment was applied using a spray-painting technique, one of the earliest examples of this artform. However, it’s the abundance of painted art, created using basic brushes and stencils made from animal hides, that astounded archaeologists. At a time when most rock art was either drawn or engraved, the Lascaux Cave artists created hundreds of intricate images using a huge range of pigments mixed with calcite.

Lascaux caves rock art credit Manu Allicot - Famille Lx underrated archaeological sites
Lascaux Caves feature some of the earliest known examples of the spray-painting technique. Photo credit: Manu Allicot

4. Sterkfontein Caves, South Africa

Some of the fossils found at the Sterkfontein Caves, part of an area referred to as the Cradle of Humankind, are four million years old. This underrated archaeological site is home to an Australopithecus skeleton, a species of extinct primates closely related to modern humans. Also on display are ancient stone tools which proved that our ancestors mastered the art of fire-making more than a million years ago. Fancy checking out the world’s longest-running archaeological excavation site? Start with a visit to the museum, where you can see some of the fossils and learn how the discoveries made here bolstered Darwin’s theory that human life began in Africa, before heading underground to see the cathedral-like caves.

Sterkfontein Caves
One of the main draws of the Sterkfontein Caves is the Australopithecus skeleton. Photo credit: South Africa Tourism

5. Ayutthaya, Thailand

Ayutthaya is a Siamese capital which was founded in around 1350 and flourished until the 1700s, when it was destroyed by the Burmese. Famous for its sky-scraping prangs (ornate towers common in Hindu and Buddhist architecture) and monastaries, this beautiful temple complex was built near the confluence of the Lopburi, Pasak and Chao Phraya rivers. This allowed its architects to install a vast network of canals and moats and what was, at the time, Asia’s most advanced hydraulic water management system. It was regarded as so sophisticated that the country’s current capital, Bangkok, was modelled on its layout, hence the reason Ayutthaya features in Bangkok’s traditional name.

When it was first built, Ayutthaya boasted Asia’s most advanced hydraulic water management system.

6. Jumeirah Archaeological Site, Dubai

Dubai’s Jumeirah district isn’t just home to shopping malls and five-star hotels – it’s also got a sprawling urban archaeological site that’s severely underrated. When archaeologists started excavating the site in 1969, they found a vast haul of ancient treasures, including coins, tools and pottery. Their findings proved that the spot wasn’t only a former settlement but a stop-off for traders travelling between Iraq and Oman between the ninth and eleventh centuries. One of the most significant findings was the foundations of a 1,000-square-metre caravanserai (a roadside inn) alongside the remains of a mosque and a marketplace. Today, a network of walking paths weaves between the ruins, and items found here can be seen at both the small on-site museum and at the Dubai Museum.

This sprawling archaeological site was once a trading site for travellers going between Iraq and Oman. Photo credit: Dubai Tourism

7. River House Ruin, US

Visit Utah’s River House Ruin site for a brilliant insight into the lives of the ancestral Puebloans who lived in Southern Utah between 900 and the late 1200s. Highlights include the remains of a kiva (a space used for rituals and political meetings), several one and two-storey cliff dwellings and a stunning selection of pictographs, including ones showing Kokopelli, a fertility deity typically depicted as a hunched, flute-playing figure. There are numerous reminders of more recent human activity here too, including wheel ruts carved into the stone by the wagons of Mormon pioneers who travelled through this area 150 years ago.

River House Ruin 4 - San Juan River - Matt Morgan
The River House Ruins are a collection of ancient structures built into stone cliffsides. Photo credit: Matt Morgan

8. Madjedbebe, Australia

The use of grinding stones – whether to sharpen tools, prepare food or make pigments for rock art – is one of the most important innovations in human evolution, and much of what we know is down to the findings discovered at this Northern Territory archaeological site, a 65,000-year-old rock shelter and the setting for both the earliest known use of edge-ground axes and ground ochre pigments. Findings at Madjedbebe, which is Australia’s oldest and probably most underrated archaeological site, suggest that Aboriginal Australians arrived in on the continent 20,000 years before the first humans arrived in Europe. The pictographs found here include ones which document the arrival of the first Europeans, depicted in images showing firearms, ships and hat-wearing figures.

The cave paintings at Madjedbebe depict the arrival of the first Europeans to Australia. Photo credit: Tourism Northern Territory, James Fisher

9. Augusta Raurica, Switzerland

In 170AD, Romans living in north-western Switzerland spent much of their downtime in Augusta Raurica’s ancient amphitheater. Here they watched executions, animal hunts and gladiator battles. Today, it’s the best-preserved Roman town north of the alps and the oldest known Roman colony on the Rhine, home to not only a beautiful amphitheater but a similarly grand Roman theatre and the remains of a bathhouse, bakery and tile kiln. It’s possible that other treasures will soon be revealed, as experts believe only 20% of this underrated archaeological site has been excavated. Don’t miss a visit to the museum, where a selection of the 1.7 million items found here (including the largest haul of Roman silver) are on display.

The ruins of Augusts Raurica include an amphitheater, bathhouse, bakery and tile kiln. Photo credit: Basel001/Shutterstock

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit singaporeair.com. For updates and travel advisories, please visit Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website. 

The post 9 of the world’s most underrated archaeological sites appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

9 of the best restaurants in Singapore for authentic Teochew cuisine

Purveyors of Teochew cuisine are known for prioritising clean and natural flavours. Dishes are lightly seasoned and cooked in ways that bring forth the freshness of each ingredient. That said, chefs still make use of the full spectrum of Chinese cooking techniques to prepare their food. These range from steaming and poaching to braising, stir-frying and deep-frying, resulting in varied dishes. Here’s where you can find some of the best authentic Teochew restaurants in Singapore.

1. Swatow Seafood

Swatow Seafood restaurant has been a stalwart in the industry ever since it was established in 2010. All three of its outlets in Toa Payoh, Serangoon Gardens Country Club and Singapore Recreation Club have a casual atmosphere and serve similar fare – healthy, fresh food with only the lightest of seasonings to bring out the natural flavours inherent in the raw ingredients. Stop by in the morning for some delicate, freshly-made Teochew dim sum or head over for dinner to indulge in comfort food dishes. Signature items include the Teochew cold crab, a dish that is first steamed and then served cold with a generous portion of crab roe; and the tender Teochew braised sliced duck with beancurd – a staple in most Teochew eateries. Other highlights include the crispy prawn roll and the chilled jellied pork knuckles.

Various locations

2. Liang Kee Teochew Restaurant

The original Liang Kee Restaurant was started in 1974 at the former Ellenborough Market by the late Ng Bak Liang, a Teochew immigrant from China. Today, it’s located in a non-descript spot along MacPherson Road where it serves up a mix of traditional and contemporary dishes in a cosy, family-friendly setting. Signatures include pomfret cooked two ways, Teochew braised cabbage with dried scallop; and Teochew braised duck with beancurd, while more modern fare includes the salted egg chicken and Mami pork ribs.

556 MacPherson Road. Nearest MRT: Tai Seng

3. Teochew Restaurant Huat Kee

Founded by the late Lee Jee Tee in 1969, Huat Kee started as a humble canteen stall before progressing to a zi char outlet; moving to a couple of locations before settling in Amoy Street; and, finally, its current location at RELC Building along Orange Grove Road. The family-run restaurant stays true to its roots and features classics prepared using authentic Teochew cooking methods. Crowd-pleasing favourites here include the oyster omelette, steamed pomfret and sliced braised duck.

30 Orange Grove Road, RELC International Hotel. Nearest MRT: Stevens

Huat Kee Teochew restaurant in Singapore
Huat Kee’s Cold Dish Combination comprising dishes such as spring roll, jelly pork trotter, prawn roll and brawn terrine. Photo credit: Teochew Restaurant Huat Kee

4. Chin Lee Restaurant

Chin Lee Restaurant is practically an institution to residents in the east. Located under an HDB block in Bedok North Road, the humble, fuss-free eatery has been around since 1973 and has a loyal following. It is currently helmed by chef Eric Chua who inherited the business from his father. Expect big juicy oysters in the oyster omelette and satisfying crackling skin in the Teochew crispy pig trotter. Other favourites include the plump and crispy homemade Teochew prawn ball paired with a perfect sweet sauce and tender coffee pork ribs. Make sure you try the house specialty, the Teochew yam paste and pumpkin served with gingko nut (orh nee) – a rich and smooth concoction that makes a fine ending to the meal.

115 Bedok North Road, #01-285. Nearest MRT: Bedok Reservoir

5. Di Wei Teochew Restaurant

Situated in a quaint colonial bungalow in Seletar Aerospace Park, Di Wei is a storied restaurant headed by chef Khoo Tai Guan, a man who came from humble beginnings. He worked his way up, starting as a kitchen helper in his younger days before progressing on to hold the title of assistant chef. He then opened a food stall within Food Canopy at Botanic Gardens in 2014 before finally launching his own 140-seater restaurant at The Oval two years later. All in, the affable chef has been whipping up authentic Teochew dishes for more than 50 years. Stars on Di Wei’s menu include braised crab beehoon, pork rib yam ring and Teochew fried kway teow with preserved radish. Finish with a sweet plate of sugar yam strips – an addictive dessert of deep-fried yam that’s coated with sugar.

1 The Oval, Seletar Aerospace Hub. Buses: 102, 103, 117, 117M

Di Wei Teochew Restaurants in Singapore
Sweet and sour pork yam ring from Di Wei Teochew Restaurant. Photo credit: Di Wei Teochew Restaurant

6. Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine

If you’re looking for Teochew restaurants in Singapore that offer an elevated take on the cuisine, look no further than the one-Michelin-starred Imperial Treasure. While the restaurant takes a fine-dining approach to Teochew cuisine, traditional fare still takes centre stage. Its Ion Orchard premise boasts an airy and bright dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Standouts include a Teochew-style marinated platter of selected meat, deep-fried black moss roll, oyster omelette, fried hor fun with diced Chinese broccoli (with a heady dose of wok hey) and mashed taro with pumpkin.

2 Orchard Turn, ION Orchard, #03-05. Nearest MRT: Orchard

7. Chui Huay Lim

Located in the historic Chui Huay Lim Club that’s been around over 175 years, Chui Huay Lim is managed by Jumbo Group and has been offering more than 150 Teochew-style dishes since 2011. The ambience is clean and elegant, and the dishes are simple but delicious. Besides the quintessential braised duck, cold crab and steamed pomfret, you might want to try the crispy fried sea cucumber and shiitake mushroom; the comforting Teochew seafood fried mee sua; and the Teochew “puning” fermented bean chicken – a dish of plump free-range chicken with a side of pickled vegetables. For a varied sampling of its highlights, get the Teochew classic platter which features a variety of meat.

190 Keng Lee Rd, #01-02, Chui Huay Lim Club. Nearest MRT: Newton

Teochew restaurants in Singapore Chui Huay Lim
Braised duck with beancurd from Chui Huay Lim. Photo credit: Chui Huay Lim

8. Ah Orh Seafood Restaurant

While many Teochew Restaurants in Singapore offer contemporary takes on the classics, Ah Orh Seafood Restaurant keeps things traditional. The restaurant’s roots date back to 1919, when it was a pushcart along the former Ellenborough Market. It’s also one of the oldest Teochew restaurants in Singapore and has been managed by three generations. Today it continues to offer traditional fare using its decades-old recipes at its HDB location. There are no contemporary dishes here like salted egg pork ribs; only dishes rooted in heritage. The food is cooked by the late founder’s grandsons, while his granddaughter manages the front of house. Favourites include oyster omelette, Teochew cold prawn, cold crab and sliced braised duck with pork belly.

115 Jalan Bukit Merah, #01-1627. Nearest MRT: Tiong Bahru

9. Lee Kwang Kee Teochew Cuisine

Despite being a relative newcomer to the scene, having opened in 2014, Lee Kwang Kee has developed a devoted following thanks to its extensive selection of Teochew classics. For an introduction to Teochew-style braised dishes, opt for the Lo-Shui Combo which comes with four braised meats – duck, pork skin, pork belly and pork intestines. If you’re not a fan of offal, there are plenty of other dishes to savour including the oyster omelette, Teochew-style cold crab and sweet and sour sliced garoupa. The specialty here is the Jing Tai Lan Fish Head Steamboat – a visually impressive dish served in an intricately painted and enameled copper steamboat, brimming with tender fish slices, togu, enoki mushrooms and vegetables. Good news for night owls: the Toa Payoh outlet is open 24/7 while the Bukit Batok outlet opens till 4am daily.

Various outlets

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours before visiting and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

The post 9 of the best restaurants in Singapore for authentic Teochew cuisine appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

Friday, 2 December 2022

6 of Japan’s quirkiest, wackiest and most delightful museums

Be it giant watermelons grown in the shapes of hearts and cubes; spas where you can soak your entire body in a large steaming vat of ramen noodles (complete with a fragrant pork-based broth); or game shows in which contestants attempt to eat spaghetti while getting spun around helter-skelter in a dryer, Japanese culture certainly has an affinity for the odder things in life.

When it comes to museums, the country boasts some equally weird and wonderful treasures dedicated to national cultural obsessions – from cup noodles and ninjas to kites and animated films. Here are a few to check out on your next trip to Japan.

1. Cup Noodle Museum, Yokohama

Fresh, frozen or instant – the Japanese certainly love their noodles, even when it comes packaged in a Styrofoam cup. Visitors to the Cup Noodle Museum in central Yokohama can find out about the history, manufacturing process and cultural significance of the humble dish via an array of analogue, digital and interactive exhibits. You can even try your hand at making noodles from scratch at the Chicken Ramen Factory; or assemble your own cup noodles – all the way down to the package design – to take home with you as a souvenir.

Find out more about all things noodles at the Cup Noodle Museum. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

2. Meguro Parasitological Museum, Tokyo

Fancy getting up close and personal with some unique creepy crawlies? Japan’s capital is home to the Meguro Parasitological Museum, a private museum dedicated to the science of parasitology that was founded in 1953. As one of the only museums in the world completely dedicated to parasites, the two-storey attraction has a whopping upwards of 60,000 specimens in its impressive collection, and displays around 300 of them for visitors. The must-see exhibit is one of the world’s longest tapeworms, measuring an impressive 8.8 metres in length.

An education in creepy crawlies awaits at the Meguro Parasitological Musuem

3. Ninja Museum of Igaryu, Mie Prefecture

While there have been many movies about Japanese ninjas, not much is known about the history of these ancient intelligence officers. Learn about ninjas and ninjutsu (the strategy and tactics practiced by ninjas) at the Ninja Museum of Igaryu. You can check out exhibits showcasing garments and written secret codes; peruse displays of over 400 tools; and catch an exciting live-action show where traditional weapons such as shuriken (a hidden hand blade), swords and kusarigama (which comprises a sickle and a weight) are used to demonstrate how ninjas used to do battle. The museum’s gift shop also purports to sell rare and original ninja goods that cannot be found anywhere else.

Get schooled at the Ninja Museum of Igaryu. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

4. Ghibli Museum, Tokyo

From Princess Mononoke (1997) and My Neighbour Totoro (1988) to Spirited Away (2001) and The Wind Rises (2014), Studio Ghibli has given the world much joy with their whimsical, heartfelt animated films. If you’re looking to dive into all things Ghibli, pencil in a visit to this one-of-a-kind attraction. Located in the Mitaka suburb of Tokyo, it’s here that you’ll find an immersive wonderland of film screenings, exhibits, animations, displays and even outdoor attractions dedicated to the magical universes dreamed up by the animation studio over the years. Be sure to snap a picture with the giant Totoro mascot at the entrance. Tickets are extremely limited and sell out well in advance, so do book as early as possible.

Ghibli Museum’s colourful wonders to explore. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

5. Sand Museum, Tottori

The world’s only indoor museum entirely devoted to sand sculptures, the Sand Museum in the coastal city of Tottori exhibits various works of art made from sand obtained from nearby dunes. Each year, the museum – which is helmed by award-winning sand sculptor Chaen Katsuhiko – bases its exhibits around a certain theme and invites world-class sand sculptors to create works that speak to the topic. Thereafter, the temporary exhibits are demolished, and the sand is returned back to its natural environment. If you’re planning to visit, do note that the museum closes every year between January and mid-April, to allow time for artists to demolish the previous exhibition and build new sculptures following the new theme selected.

Works of art at the Sand Musuem in Tottori. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

6. Kite Museum, Tokyo

Despite being one of the smaller museum in Japan, this attraction is a worth a visit to check out the colourful collection of kites sourced from all over the world. The Kite Museum was initially created in 1977 by enthusiast Shingo Modegi and, despite his passing, the museum lives on as a tribute to his quirky obsession. You’ll find roughly 300 different kites from various eras (some date all the way back to the Edo period) displayed along the walls, hanging from the ceiling and placed in packed display cabinets. There are reportedly another 3,500 kites held in storage.

Check out Japanese kites from across the centuries at the Kite Museum. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit singaporeair.com.

The post 6 of Japan’s quirkiest, wackiest and most delightful museums appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

The unspoiled charm of onsen town Jozankei, Japan

“Something quite strange yet magical happens when you arrive in Jozankei,” whispers Sayaka Hamano, the okami (landlord) of Kasho Gyoen, a ryokan overlooking the Shikotsu-Toya National Park situated on the edges of Jozankei town. “It is hard to explain, but time seems to slow here. It almost seems to stop.”

Legend has it that the town, 30km from Sapporo, was founded in 1866, the year that Japanese monk Miizumi Jozan first discovered the hot, healing waters that simmer beneath the earth’s surface here. The story goes that he was being guided by an indigenous Ainu person, through dense pine forests along the Toyohira River, when the water hit a series of cascades and broke off into a web of streams and pools. Jozan realised the pools were being fed by hot springs, with geothermally heated, mineral-rich groundwater rising from the earth’s crust through cracks in the riverbed. The monk cleared the forest and developed an open-air bathing facility, called an onsen, and invited the ailing to visit.

Jozankei sapporo feature
Gorgeous winter scenes at Lake Jozan at Shikotsu Toya National Park

Over the years, the number of onsens and ryokans (traditional inns often attached to onsens) blossomed, and the area – which was eventually christened Jozankei after the monk – became known as one of the country’s finest hot spring spas. And while much of the rest of Hokkaido is world-famous for its ski resorts and its legendary “Japow” (Japanese powder snow), Jozankei boasts dozens of hot springs, luring in more than 1.6 million tourists each year, all yearning to be transported far away from the hubbub of everyday life by this healing haven and its traditional hostelries.

Jozankei sapporo feature
Sayaka Hamano, the okami (landlord) of Kasho Gyoen ryokan

The 39-year-old Sayaka comes from a long line of okamis and grew up in Jozankei before spells working in Tokyo and Beijing. She doesn’t look her age, and I ask whether the timelessness she’s just described also helps reverse the effects of ageing. She laughs, but tells me the Hibestu spring that bubbles away underneath the 23-room Kasho Gyoen ryokan is rich in skin-drenching minerals such as calcium, sodium bicarbonate and sulphur. “People comment on how their skin feels soft like velvet after bathing in our water. Our springs are pure and straight from the source… not mixed with any water or filtered in any way,” she says. “We Japanese say it cures the lethargy of life.”

While she found living in the city thrilling, Sayaka pined for Hokkaido’s pristine countryside. So when her father asked her to come back to inject some new life into a design-driven ryokan he planned to open, she jumped at the opportunity. “Hokkaido’s winters can be severe, but because of this the land is quite unspoiled. There is a lonely beauty that exists here and I find it very special,” she says, gesturing out the window of one of the ryokan’s sitting rooms at a grove of leafless beech trees.

Jozankei sapporo feature
A small shrine in the woods around Jozankei

Ryokans were first built more than a millennium ago as accommodation for travelling merchants, offering baths, simple futon beds and a Japanese breakfast. They have been an intrinsic part of Japan’s cultural identity ever since, tied to a profound respect for omotenashi (hospitality). In many ways, they embody the Japanese ideals of living close to nature, and in harmony with the four seasons.

Jozankei sapporo feature
A close-up of an antique kimono

But Kasho Gyoen, like other new-wave inns across Japan right now, is tapping into a wider trend of weaving in innovation and design together with the old tenets. I follow Sayaka as she glides down the property’s hushed hallways to show me to my room. She points out the traditional features that have been kept: floors lined with tatami mats, leafy views, minimalist furniture, washi screen doors and tokonoma (alcoves). Even her exquisite silk kimono has been passed down through generations. However, she also notes the more contemporary elements she feels are essential to bring in more diverse, younger guests: espresso machines, luxury bath amenities and cloud-soft beds instead of futons.

Jozankei sapporo feature
A contemporary fireplace at Kasho Gyoen

Despite these moves to modernity, one of the most important rituals at a ryokan remains a soak in the facility’s communal onsen. Bathing stems back to an important Shinto purification rite that’s thousands of years old – and it comes as second nature to the Japanese. However it’s a tradition that is loaded with strict rules: colour-coded curtains separate men and women; no tattoos; no loud noises; you must bathe naked; and you must not submerge your head. Sayaka says that while preserving an ancient culture, these rules had also excluded people: “There are people that like to travel and go to the onsen with their children, and people that require privacy due to medical conditions. There are also more young Japanese with tattoos.”

The land is quite unspoiled. There is a lonely beauty that exists here and I find it very special

If you’re one of the above, or just shy, the highlight of each Kasho Gyoen room is its private onsen: a deep, square-shaped stone tub with sublime views overlooking the national park. Sayaka insists I have a soak right away (“Multiple onsens a day is best!”) and whooshes out of the room, closing the door quietly behind her. I unwrap my yukata (gown), remove my geta (sandals) and wade in. Steam envelops the room and the 37°C water miraculously soothes my aches and pains. I feel better than I have in months.

Jozankei sapporo feature
A dish of Hokkaido Wagyu at the Italian-inspired restaurant at Kasho Gyoen

After my bath, it’s off to another ceremonial ryokan treat: the nightly kaiseki-ryori, a multi-course meal revolving around foraged, seasonal ingredients. At Kasho Gyoen’s restaurant, chefs harness Hokkaido’s bounty in an array of modern Italian-inspired dishes. We feast on fresh sashimi with white asparagus and caviar; linguini with Hokkaido hairy crab, urchin and chives; and silky and creamy panna cotta.

After my meal, I discover another of Kasho Gyoen’s nifty “innovations” – a secret speakeasy behind a hidden sliding door. The bar is helmed by a polished, suited bartender. Like the onsen in my room, it overlooks the snowy forest, and at night, it’s a winter wonderland lit up in dreamy blue lights. “I’ve seen bears roaming around in there,” the bartender, Ikkei Honma, tells me with wide eyes as he builds a perfectly balanced martini. Far from perturbed, though, I long for another soak in my private onsen and to curl up to sleep in my luxurious bed.

Jozankei sapporo feature
A staff at Kasho Gyoen’s restaurant

The next morning, as I sit down to a breakfast of grilled mackerel, miso with clams and other delightful morsels sitting in pretty ceramic vessels, Sayaka greets me with a cheerful “Ohayo gozaimasu!” before suggesting I pay a visit to the nearby Hoheikyo – Hokkaido’s largest and perhaps most popular outdoor ryokan.

I decide instead to check out the winding streets of Jozankei. Dotted all around the town, I find free public water features: reflexology footbaths (for “longevity and health”), hand baths and even baths to boil eggs in (the latter forming part of the Jozankei Gensen Park, a tribute to the monk Jozan). I trek down to the Toyohira River, lined by weeping willows and plum trees, and cross a bridge before scaling the bank down to the river’s edge. With water so crystal clear it looks like gin, it’s not hard to see why monk Jozan became so enchanted with the place he never left.

Jozankei sapporo feature
A public onsen at Kuriya Suizan

Later on, I visit another design-forward ryokan, the striking Kuriya Suizan, a sister property to the larger Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei in the centre of town. The Daiichi group now runs seven ryokans across Hokkaido, including some female-only inns and one with an adjoining ceramics studio. Tapping into three original hot springs, they take their spring water seriously, employing several engineers to measure even the smallest variation in temperature or quality of minerals.

Jozankei sapporo feature
A private outdoor onsen in one of the rooms at Kuriya Suizan

Kuriya Suizan has 14 guest rooms that exude Japanese minimalism and a restaurant focused on cutting-edge culinary experiences: its centrepiece is a huge open kitchen, helmed by the same chef Natsume Tomohiro, who I met for lunch by the lake earlier in the day. “Ryokans across Japan are changing,” says Oshima, the PR manager for the group. “I think it’s because there is a new generation of managers in their thirties and forties who are open to new ideas and realise the need to target millennials – one of our new ryokans will focus on top-quality sake and produce, but it will be self-service and a third of the price of more traditional ryokans.”

Jozankei sapporo feature
Suizantei Club Jyozankei

But Oshima tells me that before I go, I really should spend a night at one of Daiichi’s oldest ryokans, Club Jozankei, to get a sense of a more traditional Japanese inn. Upon check-in, I’m led to my room, where futons are rolled out and facilities explained: the in-room cypress wood onsen and steam room; MIKIMOTO amenities; a complimentary cocktail bar that opens at 8pm; and a restaurant serving sumptuous kaiseki meals.

Jozankei sapporo feature
The outdoor Hoheikyo Onsen

On my last day, I finally find the courage to visit Hoheikyo. Sayaka is right – it’s a charming onsen: a barn-like, old-world building surrounded by manicured Zen gardens of fir and birch trees and perfectly arranged stones. The facility features a network of indoor and outdoor baths connected by creaking hallways, and it’s large enough to accommodate a whopping 200 bathers. “Elderly people come here, and when they leave, they are often feeling so great that they forget their walking sticks,” Junpei Baba, the energetic manager of the onsen exclaims as we walk past the facility’s restaurant.

Jozankei sapporo feature
Stained rocks at Hoheikyo Onsen

Like Kasho Gyoen, what makes the springs here so special is that they’re not temperature controlled or filtered in any way, and rather than being stored in a tank, their waters flow straight from the source. The PH-neutral waters, rich in calcium and sodium chloride, have even eroded the rocks into incredible floral patterns and textures. I arrive right at opening time and, lucky for me, I have the place completely to myself.

Jozankei sapporo feature
A snowy scene at Shikotsu- Toya National Park

Sinking into the huge, steamy outdoor onsen, I soak in the panoramic views of the undulating mountains and close my eyes. Before I know it, almost half an hour has passed – yet it seems like it’s been mere minutes – and other bathers start to arrive. Liquid-limbed, I climb out of the bath and head back inside. Delicate, soft snowflakes drift from the sky, landing on the heated rocks and gently melting into shimmering puddles. Perhaps I’ve immersed myself in hot water for too long and am lightheaded, or maybe time really does slow down in Jozankei.

Stay active on your trip – be it summer or winter – with these three activities


Located about an hour away from Jozankei, the town of Niseko boasts four interlinked resorts and is known for its consistent quality of powder, tree runs and open powder bowls. The particularly long ski season lasts from November to April.

Horse riding

From December through to March, travellers can try horse riding at Wild Mustang’s ranch, taking in the snowy scenery beneath Mount Hakkenzan. The ranch has beautiful Dosanko horses, a sturdy breed with thick coats that is indigenous to Hokkaido.


The Toyohira River is a popular water sport destination in the spring and summer. Gliding down its upper streams, you can see gushing hot springs on either side of the river, and the waterway hits a valley so deep that it can’t be accessed by road.

Singapore Airlines will operate seasonal flights to Sapporo from December 2019 to January 2020. To book a flight, visit singaporeair.com

This article was originally published in the October 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine

The post The unspoiled charm of onsen town Jozankei, Japan appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

10 of the best burgers in Singapore

There’s absolutely no shortage of restaurants serving fantastic burgers in Singapore – from fast food conglomerates and Western hawker stalls to home-grown burger specialists and cult-favourite American franchises. Whether you’re looking for a saucy smashburger or more keen to go with the thick steakhouse style, we’ve got you covered with this list of Singapore’s ten best burgers.

1. Social Smoker

While better known for their American-style barbecue offerings, Social Smoker’s burger certainly deserves its spot on the menu, alongside smokehouse requisites like brisket, pulled pork and tender fall-off-the-bone smoked pork ribs. The burgers here are deceptively simple, but it’s the attention to detail that makes them an essay in perfection. The Signature Smashburgers are crafted with a special blend of beef that’s ground in-house and smashed while on the grill to maximise the patties’ lacey, crispy edges. Topped with crunchy homemade pickles, the burger is served in a pillowy potato brioche bun that’s been tailored to the restaurant’s specifications. The side of pickled onions and jalapeños also allows you to add a little more complexity to your burger if desired.

2 Jalan Leban. Buses: 163, 167, 169, 855, 980

2. Three Buns, Potato Head Singapore

The first international outpost of the Indonesian franchise, Three Buns at Potato Head Singapore in Chinatown – opened in 2014 – lives up to the acclaimed Balinese beach club’s reputation with its whimsical façade, tropical cocktails and hearty burgers. Three Buns, the brand’s burger concept, occupies two levels of the building, and also operates a stand-alone restaurant in Robertson Quay which opened in 2018. Vegetarians aren’t without options here – try the plant-based burgers like the Impossible Dream and The Impossible Chedda which feature a char-grilled medium-rare Impossible patty between a toasted brioche bun. Guests can opt to enjoy their meals at the rooftop bar.

36 Keong Saik Road. Nearest MRT: Outram Park

Three Buns Potato Head Singapore burger SilverKris
Can You Dig It, The Impossible Dream, and Impossible Chedda are three of Three Bun, Potato Head Singapore’s most popular burgers. Photo credit: Potato Head

3. Burger Labo

Burger Labo made a name for itself after coming out tops in a 2019 blind taste test by The Straits Times, against 11 other burgers in Singapore. The restaurant opened in 2015 with just a single item on the menu, a “Basic” Burger that was anything but. It comprised of a single or double patty made with a blend of 100% grass-fed Aberdeen Angus and Kuroge Washu grilled a la plancha (on a steel griddle), topped with red onions pickled in IPA, American cheese, Wagyu fat, a homemade special sauce and gherkins – all sandwiched between a buttered and toasted potato bun. While the Basic Burger is a signature that’s still available today, you can now try additional menu items like the blue cod fillet burger, chicken burger and even a Connecticut-style lobster roll.

41 Malan Road. Nearest MRT: Labrador Park

4. 2280

Sister establishment to Burger Labo, 2280 features an even more pared down menu that distils their burger crafting know-how into just three burgers: a single and double beef burger and a cod burger. The beef burgers here are priced more affordably and have smaller 100g patties (as opposed to Burger Labo’s 150g patties) that are infused with beef garum (a fermented beef extract) and topped with American cheese, pickled red onions and the same house-made sauce as Burger Labo.

213 Henderson Road, #01-10 Henderson Industrial Park. Buses: 57, 145, 145A, 175, 176, 272, 273

5. Shake Shack

The famed New York burger joint Shake Shack opened its first Southeast Asian outpost at Jewel Changi Airport with much fanfare (and snaking queues) in 2019. Signature menu items like the ShackBurger – a grilled Angus beef patty topped with American cheese and served between pillowy potato buns – and the vegetarian ‘Shroom Burger, with crispy fried portobello mushrooms and a tangy blend of melted Colby cheddar, Monterey Jack and Tilsit cheese as its patty, are a must-try. The Jewel outlet is Shake Shack’s flagship in Asia but you can now grab their burgers at nine outlets across Singapore.

Various locations

Shake Shack burger Singapore SilverKris
Shake Shack recommends the Shack Burger for first-timers. Photo credit: Shack Shack

6. Five Guys

Hot on the heels of Shack Shack, Five Guys opened their first Singapore outlet in December 2019 where they sold over a thousand burgers on opening day. Like Shake Shack, Five Guys has a devoted following of burger aficionados that include former US President Barack Obama. Burgers here come with two 100g patties (or a single one if you opt for the “little” burgers) and you’ll have the option to add free toppings like onions, jalapeños, hot sauce and sautéed mushrooms. The burger menu here is kept restrained, offering regular and little burgers, with or without bacon and cheese, along with Cajun spiced fries, all-beef hot dogs and a decadent selection of milkshakes.

Various locations

7. Burger Bar New York

With only a neon-lit sign betraying its location, this secret burger shack found in a back alley of Gemmill Lane is a little hard to spot. Venture past the heavy metal doors and thick velvet drapes and you’ll find a casual American-style diner within. The venue is styled after its original outpost in New York’s Parker Meridien Hotel. Burger Bar New York’s menu is scrawled on torn cardboard boxes features a selection of burgers along with sides like crispy shoestring fries. For drinks, there’s craft beer on tap as well as an array of milkshakes. What makes this one of the best burgers in Singapore is the freshness of the meat, which is flown in from Nebraska. For an introduction to their offerings, opt for the bacon cheeseburgerwhich comes with a five-ounce medium-rare patty topped with melted cheddar, crispy bacon, ketchup, mayo and mustard served on a toasted bun. Be sure to order “the works” for toppings such as pickles and onions, at no additional charge.

115 Amoy Street (entrance on Gemmill Lane). Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer

Burger Joint Singapore SilverKris
Pop by Burger Bar New York for their mouth-watering Jalapeño Bacon Cheeseburger. Photo credit: Burger Bar New York

8. 25 Degrees Singapore

The Singapore branch of the swish Los Angeles burger and wine bar is named after the temperature difference between a raw and well-done burger. 25 Degrees Singapore’s main menu is a tight one, featuring just six burgers. A must-try is the signature Number One, which has a 200g USA Angus beef patty and strips of smoky bacon, topped with creamy Crescenza cheese and Thousand Island dressing. Number Two and Number Three contain beef patties with a variety of toppings like burrata or Monterey Jack cheese, while the Number Four consists of seared yellowfin tuna topped with fresh lettuce, fried onions and spicy aioli. Its original Hollywood location has also developed a reputation as a hotspot for A-list celebrities.

200 Middle Road, Hotel G. Nearest MRT: Rochor, Bencoolen

25 Degrees Singapore SilverKris
25 Degrees Singapore’s signature Number One burger. Photo credit: 25 Degrees Singapore

9. Meatsmith Telok Ayer

The meat mavens at the longstanding “full metal” smokehouse Meatsmith are savvy with more than just briskets and pulled pork. The Meatsmith Cheeseburger is a hefty proposition with two beef patties, American cheese and pickles sandwiched between a soft brioche bun. Come by between 11.30am and 2.30pm and you can enjoy their lunchtime offer which includes crinkle cut fries, slaw and a tap beer of your choice for $30. Other burger-adjacent offerings include the Nashville fried chicken, pulled pork, brisket and eggplant sandwiches.

167-169 Telok Ayer Street. Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer

10. Wolf Burgers

From humble beginnings as a gourmet food stall, Wolf Burgers has since made a name for itself and expanded to seven locations across Singapore. The chain offers quality burgers at an affordable price point. There’s also a menu for kids as well as family bundles with sliders as an option. If you’re particularly hungry, sink your teeth into the Alpha, a double beef patty burger stacked with cheddar, pickled onions and their specialty WOLF sauce sandwiched between brioche buns. If you’re a fan of mushrooms in a burger, the Forager is another great pick which features a single beef patty smothered in sautéed onions, shoyu mayo, Provolone cheese and white button mushrooms.

Various locations

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting. Remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

This article was originally published in the June 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine and updated on 30 November 2022.

The post 10 of the best burgers in Singapore appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

Thursday, 1 December 2022

10 best things to do and see in Narita, Japan

Despite what you may see at first glance, the Narita is full of attractions and entertainment options, since it is also a major hub for airline crew in search of activities. Whether you are on a 24-hour stopover or intend to add Narita as part of your Japanese itinerary, we uncover why this Japanese city is worthy of your vacation time.

1. Naritasan Omotesando Street

This store-lined street in front of Narita Station stretches over a kilometre and offers fantastic options for shopping, dining and drinking. There’s a wide variety of shops selling traditional crafts, souvenirs and clothing, so it’s a great place to pick up gifts. There is a range of eateries, but be sure to try the local freshwater eel (unagi). Or if you have a sweet tooth, give the fluffy Japanese pancakes a go. Some of the buildings date back to the Edo period, creating a gorgeous shopping experience among old Japanese architecture.

2. Naritasan Temple

This beautiful Buddhist temple is an insight into historic Japan. Built over 1,000 years ago, Naritasan Shinshoji Temple surrounds its main sacred object of worship, a statue of the Buddhist Fudo Myo-o deity. Despite the low-key location, it is actually the second most visited shrine or temple in Japan after the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo – its striking beauty no doubt the reason behind its popularity. A variety of temple buildings are also scattered around the peaceful gardens that incorporate both traditional Japanese and European influences.

Photo credit: Drufisher/Flickr

3. Narita Airport

Love airports? They actually don’t get much better than Narita, so arrive early and explore what it has to offer. At Terminal 1, there is the NAA Art Gallery featuring works from talented local artists. Aviation enthusiasts can also watch planes take off and land from the observation decks of Terminals 1 and 2. Or if you’d rather wait for your flight in style, then check into one of the comfy traveller’s lounges and watch the planes with a beverage and newspaper instead.

4. Naritasan Park

Located behind the famous Naritasan Temple, the park is a huge traditional landscape of plants, flowering trees and ponds with goldfish circling around. It is beautiful during all seasons, but especially so in spring, during cherry blossom season in March and April, and autumn (October), when the leaves change to warm brown, yellow and orange colours. There are two waterfalls that feed the park’s stream, and if you’re lucky, you can catch one of many music performances held in front of the Great Peace Pagoda on weekends in spring and autumn.

Photo credit: かがみ~/Flickr

5. The Museum of Aeronautical Sciences

The Museum of Aeronautical Sciences is a super-fun, hands-on museum all about the wonderful world of aviation. There are full-scale replicas of historic aircraft, a garden of smaller planes and helicopters, and you can even try piloting your own plane in the life-sized flight simulators. As the museum is located next to Narita Airport on the south end of the runway, there is an impressive observation area offering great views of all the action. The design of the deck is modelled after a flight control tower.

6. Narita Gion Festival

This festival has been taking place annually for over 300 years and signals the beginning of summer in Japan. It is huge – so popular with locals that they start preparing for the next one the day after it’s over. The whole of Narita becomes a vibrant whirlwind of colour, with floats, chanting and dancing. Come and join in the celebrations and witness some amazing sights and sounds. The festival is held each year on the three days closest to July 7, 8 and 9, heading into the weekend.

Photo credit: Hetarllen Mumriken/Flickr

7. Nabedana Kouzaki Brewery

Nabedana has brewed sake (Japanese rice wine) for more than 350 years and the company has been in the family for 19 generations. Here, you can learn about the process of sake making and sample some of the freshly brewed bottles in the shop, including signature brands Jinyu and Fudoh. The shop has many kinds, sizes and prices of sake, from single bottles to gift sets, and there are cute little ceramic sake cups available for purchase. Reservations for the tours are required at least a week in advance (these are in Japanese but include English videos) via the website.

Photo credit: Nabedana/Facebook

8. Kimono Try-On Service

The kimono is a traditional Japanese outfit, most often worn for special occasions such as festivals or formal family celebrations. At Kimono Try-On, men, women and children can sport one of these stunning garments and go for a stroll around the local area to take photos in them. Staff will help you put one on, and if you get really attached, you can even purchase a kimono in the shop afterwards. In summer, they also rent yukata, a garment made of lighter, thinner material than the standard kimono.

9. Sushi Edokko

If you love big portions, you’ll love Sushi Edokko. The pieces are all way above average in size, taste delicious and reasonably priced – visitors can expect to have a massive feast for lunch or dinner. The restaurant has a quaint and comfy atmosphere, so pull up a chair and get lost in a world of amazing sushi.

10. Narita Dream Dairy Farm

Since 1887, Narita Dream Dairy Farm has produced the freshest and most delicious milk for the people of Japan. This large 300,000 sq m farm produces its own ice cream and yogurt as well, and visitors can discover the processes of creating fine Narita Dream dairy products as well as savour the flavours in its restaurant and cafe. There is even a chance to milk a cow, twice a day at 11.30am and 2.30pm, and kids will love the pony riding stables and seeing the adorable rabbits.

This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.

The post 10 best things to do and see in Narita, Japan appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

Friday, 25 November 2022

Restaurant Lafleur

This restaurant has been deemed worthy of not one but two Michelin stars. Set inside Palmengarten, one of Frankfurt’s botanical gardens, Lafleur offers multi-course Mediterranean-influenced feasts, as well as a vegan tasting menu.

The post Restaurant Lafleur appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

Thursday, 24 November 2022


Having achieved cult status in the US, where the likes of Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber and Gigi Hadid are all fans of its jeans, the much-vaunted clothier Re/Done recently opened its first international outpost in the Paris, on 22 Rue de Grenelle. The French capital is not short of smart boutiques – in fact, it’s arguably the world’s foremost retail hotspot – but this new opening in Paris brings something quite unique to the city with its focus on vintage and sustainable apparel – perfect for any visitor looking to come home with a unique, and fashion-forward reminder of their stay.

The post Re/Done appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

Bvlgari Hôtel Paris

The latest addition to Bulgari’s growing global portfolio of luxury hotels is proof that style and substance can co-exist in glorious harmony. The Italian fashion house is famed for its meticulous attention to detail and that laser-guided eye has been extended to all parts of the 76-room property, from the subterranean spa and top-notch gym to the ground-floor public spaces, which include a cocktail bar and wonderful Italian restaurant, helmed by Niko Romito, the Michelin star-winning chef. Of course it’s opulent. Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, the Milanese architecture firm behind all of Bulgari’s hotels, has created a eye-catching vision of Italianate high living in the heart of Paris’s 8th arrondissement, within striking distance of the Champs-Elysées and the Eifel Tower. But what makes the Bulgari Paris so special are the staff: kind, courteous and ready to whir into action at a moment’s notice, they elevate an already elevated stay.



The post Bvlgari Hôtel Paris appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Festivals in Tasmania worth travelling for in 2023

In many ways, Tasmania is the perfect post-pandemic destination: if stunning landscapes, endless beaches, incredible night skies and world-class food and drink aren’t enough, it’s also remote enough to scratch that ‘once in a lifetime’ itch. While it’s no secret to locals, Australia’s smallest state (and 26th largest island in the world) flies under the radar for most of the rest of us. Locals may implore you not to spoil the secret, but honestly it’s simply too good not to. So while it’s not like you need an excuse to go, structuring a trip around one of the many unique festivals in Tasmania will give your visit even more purpose.

And with many of these events returning after Covid-19, we’ve helped parse some of the best of them, spread across both the year and the island’s two biggest cities, Hobart in the south and Launceston in the north.

1. Festivale

Launceston’s City Park is frequently ranked among the country’s best, and 2023 sees the longstanding celebration of food, drink and music return to this iconic venue. Having run for over 30 years, Festivale takes place across three days in the height of the summer and attracts close to 30,000 visitors. As well as comedy shows and over 60 food stalls featuring top-notch Tasmanian produce, music is a highlight, with this edition’s lineup featuring the likes of Sneaky Soundsystem, folk-rock from the Waifs and Aussie rock act The Living End. It’s also a family-friendly event, with a special day for kids on the Sunday.

Opens from 3 to 5 February 2023

Festivale festivals in Tasmania 2023
Festivale is a family-friendly event that’s been held for over 30 years. Photo credit: Festivale

2. Taste of Summer

If you’re looking for festivals in Tasmania centred around food, Taste of Summer brings together more than 80 of the island’s top food and drink vendors along Hobart’s Princess Wharf waterfront. Recently renewed for a further five years, expect the very best in local seafood, farm produce and more. It’s a ticketed event, other than Family Day on 31 December when there’s free entry until 4pm, ahead of a big New Year’s Eve celebration featuring Aussie musical icon Daryl Braithwaite.

Opens from 27 December 2022 to 2 January 2023

3. Mona Foma

The summer edition of Dark Mofo (see below), Mona Foma goes big on music (and the Faux Mo afterparties are the stuff of legend). This time round, Pavement, Peaches, Bon Iver and Angel Olsen are on their way to the Mona lawns in Hobart, while the Chills, Kae Tempest and Pertubator will be appearing in the ‘reunion district’ of Launceston. Keep an eye out for additions to the lineup in November.

Opens from 17 to 19 February 2023 (Launceston), 24 to 26 February 2023 (Hobart)

Mona Foma festivals in Tasmania
Pavement and Peaches will make an appearance at this lively music festival. Photo credit: Mona Foma

4. Ten Days on the Island

This biennial, statewide festival of creativity returns next year showcasing work from Tasmania’s finest artists and arts companies. After growing in scope over its 20-year history, the team behind Ten Days on the Island has in recent years renewed their focus on promoting local talent. The event has a real grassroots feel to it, with art and events popping up across the island everywhere from museums and theatres to barns, sheds and even stately homes.

Opens from 8 to 19 March 2023

5. Tasmanian Wine Festival

Although they still account for only 1% of Australia’s national production, Tassie wines have quickly acquired an outsized reputation. From 20 producers in the early ’90s to something like 250 today, the world has cottoned on to the magic of the cool terroir here. To take just one example, the Financial Times recently highlighted Tolpuddle, from the island’s Coal River Valley in the south, as one of the world’s best new wines of the last decade. The winter edition of Tasmanian Wine Festival takes place in Hobart’s Goods Shed, embracing big bold Tasmanian reds, alongside live entertainment and open firepits to save off that southerly cold. There are also Masterclasses from the likes of Joseph Burton, the island’s first certified Sommelier.

Opens from 20 to 21 August 2023

Tasmania Wine Festivals in Tasmania
Sample some of Tasmania’s world renowned wines. Photo credit: Aiesha Hanson

6. Junction

Held in unusual and unexpected venues all across Launceston in the first week of spring, Junction is a celebration of Tasmanian art, music and performance. It feels refreshingly homegrown too, with a marked absence of PR gloss. With a focus on interactive, participatory work and site-specific installations – everywhere from a deconsecrated church to a hotel room – it’s a powerfully evocative event that taps into the unique (and often unpleasant and challenging) history and remoteness of this part of the world.

Opens September 2023

7. Antarctic Festival

Although the next edition of the biennial Antarctic Festival event doesn’t take place until winter 2024, there’s nothing quite like it for bringing home the close connection between Hobart and the Icy Continent. As far back as the 1770s and James Cook’s voyages, Hobart has acted as a gateway for Antarctic exploration and later played a pivotal role in the historic voyages of Douglas Mawson, Roald Amundsen and many others. The Festival shines a light on the challenges faced by those early pioneers, while also delving into the work of modern-day scientists, conservationists and others working in such a unique environment through photo exhibitions, film shows and lectures.

Dates TBA

Where to Stay

It’s the waterfront that has defined Hobart throughout its history and today it’s a great base from which to experience festivals in Tasmania. Singaporean brand Ascott’s city property here has an unbeatable location, right over the water. Housed in a converted 1930s harbour building, Somerset on the Pier’s duplex serviced apartments (one-bedroom or family-sized) are just steps away from the ferries to Mona and the outlying suburbs, as well as the historic Salamanca Place. Wake up early for incredible sunrise views across the harbour.

Somerset on the Pier Hobart
A unique hotel that offers stellar views of the harbour. Photo credit: Somerset on the Pier Hobart

How to Get There

Singapore Airlines flies 3-4 times daily to Melbourne, with onward flights to Tasmania operated by codeshare partner Virgin Australia.

The post Festivals in Tasmania worth travelling for in 2023 appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

Friday, 18 November 2022

Where to get mouth-watering Peranakan food in Singapore

Peranakan cuisine – which marries primarily Chinese, Malaysian and Indonesian culinary influences – offers a veritable feast of rich flavours, aromatic spices and fresh herbs that make for a thoroughly satisfying meal. Also known as Nyonya food, it originates from the descendants of migrants from China who settled around the Malay Peninsula and Indonesian Archipelago – Singapore, Penang and Malacca in particular – between the 15th and 17th centuries. Whether you’re in the mood for no-nonsense, homestyle fare or want to experience a contemporary take on traditional dishes, we’ve got you covered with our list of top-notch establishments to indulge in sumptuous Peranakan food in Singapore.

1. Rempapa

Rempapa, opened in August 2021, is a Singapore heritage restaurant that presents a multi-ethnic menu of Peranakan, Chinese, Indian, Malay and Eurasian dishes. Helmed by chef Damian D’Silva, who’s known as the “grandfather of Singapore heritage cuisine”, the restaurant’s must-try Peranakan dishes include nostalgic classics like baca Assam and babi pongteh. Other standouts include singgang, a classic Eurasian dish that comprises of painstakingly deboned fish that’s been cooked in a paste of fresh chillies, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, shallots and candlenuts. Alongside these requisites, you’ll also find contemporary creations with heritage flavours like the buah keluak fried rice, made with a fresh sambal paste, minced pork and the rich savoury “meat” of the buah keluak nut.

2 Paya Lebar Road, #01-01/02/03, Park Place Residences at PLQ. Nearest MRT: Paya Lebar

Baca Assam at Rempapa Peranakan Food in Singapore
Baca Assam at Rempapa. Photo credit: Rempapa

2. Candlenut

Boasting the title of the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan culinary establishment, Candlenut is your go-to for a contemporary take on the centuries-old cuisine. Treat yourself by splurging on chef Malcolm Lee’s “Taste of Candlenut” seasonal tasting menu – available during both lunch and dinner services – through which he explores the myriad flavours of his heritage. The current dinner option for November 2022 features offerings such as beef cheek rendang (braised till tender in a rich gravy with 15 herbs and spices); slow-cooked pork belly with Ah Seng sauce (a heritage Hokkien dish that hails from Penang); and a baked tapioca cake with palm sugar syrup to finish.

17A Dempsey Road. Buses: 7, 75, 77, 105, 106, 123, 174

A feast of dishes at Candlenut

3. Charlie’s Peranakan Food

With Golden Mile Food Centre recently reopening after a long renovation exercise, customers are once again able to tuck into Charlie’s Peranakan Food’s humble yet hearty fare. The cult-favourite basement hawker stall, which often draws long queues, plates up affordable Peranakan dishes that taste almost as good as your grandmother’s cooking. We recommend the nangka masak lemak (jackfruit curry), babi pongteh (stewed pork with mushrooms and bamboo shoots) and gulai tumis (tamarind fish curry) with a side of rice to mop up all of that delicious gravy.

505 Beach Road, #B1-30, Golden Mile Food Centre. Nearest MRT: Nicoll Highway

4. Godmama

Stuck in the CBD and craving Peranakan food? Make your way to the centrally located Godmama. Occupying a fourth-floor space at shopping mall Funan, the outlet’s contemporary minimalist-chic interior mirrors the ubiquitous café aesthetic to a tee. Dine on casual and comforting renditions of Nyonya favourites, including chap chye (mixed braised vegetables); babi Assam (stewed Assam pork); ikan masak nanas (grilled barramundi cooked in a tamarind stew with pineapple) and ayam buah keluak (chicken and black nut stew). Godmama also offers a range of Peranakan-inspired cocktails to go along with your meal. Try the heady “Bunga Kantan Martini”: bourbon mixed with tamarind and lemon juice and shaken with egg white for a velvety texture.

107 North Bridge Road, #04-07, Funan. Nearest MRT: City Hall

Rice and assorted vegetable dishes from Godmama

5. Old Bibik’s Peranakan Kitchen

Located in the colourful heritage area of Joo Chiat – arguably the city-state’s main enclave for Peranakan culture – Old Bibik’s Peranakan Kitchen is a casual, no-frills outlet that serves authentic Nyonya delights at prices that won’t break the bank. It’s Halal-certified and purports to use only the freshest ingredients to make its dishes. A must-try is the grilled sambal barramundi, in which the deep-sea fish is smothered in a mouth-watering sambal relish and topped with fresh herbs and thin slices of lime. Other moreish options include the signature beef rendang, which features succulent beef chunks braised in a myriad of spices until tender; and kang kong stir-fried in a classic garlic or sambal sauce.

328 Joo Chiat Road, #01-02. Buses: 33, 33B

old bibik's peranakan kitchen
Old Bibik’s Peranakan Kitchen does a mean Grilled Sambal Barramundi

6. The Blue Ginger

The Blue Ginger has been a crowd favourite since first opening its doors in 1995. Today, the Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient boasts two outpost: one at Tanjong Pagar, which is situated in a gorgeous three-storey restored shophouse, and the other at the buzzy Great World shopping centre. At the cosy Tanjong Pagar location, which is perfect for an intimate date night, you can choose from a selection of well-executed Peranakan favourites: including pork ribs Assam (braised pork ribs in a tamarind sauce); hee peow soup (fish maw, fish and prawn balls and cabbage in a clear broth); and ngoh hiang (fried minced pork and prawn roll).

97 Tanjong Pagar Road. Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar

7. Tingkat PeraMakan

This restaurant derives its moniker from tingkats – layered containers that Peranakan mothers of yore would use to ferry home-cooked meals to a loved one at work or at school. Run by founder, chef and fourth-generation Nyonya Kathryn Ho, Tingkat PeraMakan applies a similar nurturing and homey ethos to its cooking. Diners can expect down-to-earth favourites redolent of nostalgic and familiar flavours. You can order a set option, which includes a main, two sides, a drink and a dessert. Our pick for a main is the signature ayam buak keluak, in which the chicken is braised until tender in a sauce of garam assam and Indonesian black nut pulp. And for dessert, durian fiends will delight in the durian pengat: a rich and velvety durian mousse.

Multiple locations

tingkat pera makan Peranakan food in Singapore
Ayam Buah Keluak and assorted dishes from Tingkat PeraMakan

8. Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant

Another Joo Chiat stalwart, Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant has been serving comforting Peranakan plates since 1953, making it one of Singapore’s oldest spots for Nyonya cuisine. To add to its claim to fame, it was also reportedly the Peranakan joint of choice for the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Feast on traditional dishes such as Ayam Buah Keluak (stewed chicken in gravy), babi pongteh (braised pork), Nyonya chap chye (braised vegetables) and sayor lodeh (vegetable stew). The decor may be nothing to write home about, but the Peranakan food here definitely hits the spot.

200 Joo Chiat Road. Buses: 33, 33B

guan hoe soon Peranakan food in Singapore
Nyonya Chap Chye from Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant. Photo credit: Guan Hoe Soon

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours before visiting and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

The post Where to get mouth-watering Peranakan food in Singapore appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris