Tuesday, 17 May 2022

A go-to guide for travelling through Changi Airport in 2022

As travel picks up with the opening of borders, find out what to keep in mind when booking your next flight, how to prepare for your trip and the necessary things to note when you depart from or arrive at Changi Airport.

Things to keep in mind when booking your flight

1. Check entry requirements for different countries – Visit Singapore Airlines’ Travel Advisories page to know the necessary documents or testing required and the Visa and Immigration Requirements page for visa and passport validity requirements for the destination(s) you are headed to. For travellers arriving in Singapore, details of what is required can be found here. 

2. Select the Auto Check-In (ACI) option. With ACI, you can automatically check-in with ease 48 hours before your flight departs. If you missed this option when booking your flight online, you can still do it through Manage Booking. For travellers who did not select ACI, you will receive an email check-in reminder 48 hours prior to your scheduled departure, and have the option to check-in via singaporeair.com or the SingaporeAir Mobile App.

Check-in online before heading to the airport

Before you arrive at Changi Airport for your flight

1. Check-in online before heading to the airport.

a) Ensure your travel document information is updated accurately when you check in

b) Upload health certificate(s)* and generate your boarding pass

c) Declare the number of bags to be checked in

d) Print your baggage tags when you arrive at Changi Airport’s self-service kiosk. Please note that this service is only available for travel out of Singapore.

Travellers who check in via the SingaporeAir Mobile App, may simply scan their Mobile Boarding Pass (MBP)** QR code at self-service kiosk when they arrive at Changi Airport.

* Please check the Online or Mobile Check-In page for eligible routes
** Bag tag generation will only be available for eligible passengers travelling on selected routes

2. In line with Singapore’s regulations, all travellers (6 years and above) must wear a mask when travelling to Changi Airport on any form of public transportation and throughout their journey at the airport and on board Singapore Airlines.

3. Download the SingaporeAir Mobile App to have all the necessary information at your fingertips. Simply add your trip by entering your booking reference number and receive updates on your flight such as check-in reminders, boarding alerts, gate and baggage belt information.

Check-in kiosk at Changi’s Terminal 3

Departing from Changi Airport

1. For a relaxing journey, head to the airport at least 3 hours before your flight time. Take note of the terminal number that is displayed on your boarding pass or booking confirmation.

2. At the airport, proceed to the check-in row noted alongside your flight number (Please note that certain destinations will not allow you to go to self service check-in kiosks due to requirements to view documentation prior to check-in)

3. If you did not check-in online prior to arriving at Changi Airport, check-in for your flight at the self-service check-in kiosk. Make sure to have a digitally verifiable health certificate ready (must include QR code), as required by your destination country. After checking in and getting your boarding pass and bag tags printed, proceed to drop off your bags after tagging.

Arriving at Changi Airport

All passengers arriving in Singapore must submit the SG Arrival Card and the accompanying electronic Health Declaration within three days before the flight. Please note that the SG Arrival Card is not a visa. You may refer to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (Singapore)’s site for more information.

We hope that this guide makes travelling through Changi Airport a breeze before you embark on your next adventure. Got a bit of extra time? Explore all of the things there are to see and eat at Jewel Changi Airport, the airport’s nature-themed retail complex. Remember to check what’s open before you arrive!

Take a leap on this giant net at Jewel Changi Airport’s Manulife Sky Nets

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Wednesday, 11 May 2022

The best city beaches in Europe

1. Paris Plages, Paris

Every summer, about 5,000 tonnes of sand shipped from Normandy, 550 deckchairs, 450 beach umbrellas and 50 palm trees are deposited along the banks of the River Seine in Paris to form temporary urban beaches. They’re located between Pont de Solférino and Pont Alexandre III on the left bank, and between Pont de Sully and Pont Neuf on the right bank. Along the Parc Rives de Seine on the right bank, things like tai chi sessions, dance workshops and a pop-up library have been spotted.

Unfortunately, swimming in the Seine is forbidden; however, if you’re craving a dip, head to the artificial lake of Bassin de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement, where you’ll find three specially erected swimming pools.
Free entry

Paris Plages
Paris Plages

2. Amager Strandpark, Copenhagen

Copenhageners have been flocking to this beach park since 1934, which was extended in 2005 with a 2km-long artificial island. Its serene northern end features sand dunes and winding paths, as well as the Helgoland baths, which comprise three saltwater pools (two single-sex and one unisex). Don’t be alarmed if you spot a bare derrière – swimwear is only mandatory in the mixed pool.

In contrast, the southern end, with its marina and broad promenade, is ideal for activities like rollerblading, sailing, kayaking and windsurfing. Kids will love splashing about in the shallow lagoons too.
Free entry

Amager Strandpark
Amager Strandpark

3. Blijburg aan Zee, Amsterdam

“Blij” is the Dutch word for “happy” (Blijburg aan Zee can be translated as “happy castle by the sea”), and indeed, it’s hard to be anything but merry when kicking back on this beach. Located on Amsterdam’s  IJburg, a collection of artificial islands east of the city centre, it is known for a distinctively bohemian vibe.

Days can be spent swimming, lounging on the sandy stretch or enjoying the delicious fare at the beach restaurant – they whip up dishes using organic ingredients and locally sourced vegetables. Come nightfall, the place transforms into party central, with DJ sets and campfires galore.
Free entry

Blijburg aan Zee (Photo: Raymond van Mil)
Blijburg aan Zee (Photo: Raymond van Mil)

4. Barceloneta, Barcelona

A mere 20-minute walk from the city centre, this is Barcelona’s most popular beach. Once the mercury hits 20ºC, you’ll find locals out here in full force – sunbathing, swimming, surfing, playing beach volleyball and enjoying tapas at the beachside restaurants.

Stroll along the beach and admire a variety of intriguing architectural structures. Frank Gehry’s gilded fish sculpture, which towers at a height of 35m and spans 56m in length, is a sight to behold with its stainless steel scales shimmering in the sun.
Free entry

Barceloneta (Photo: Turisme de Barcelona)
Barceloneta (Photo: Turisme de Barcelona)

5. The Fulham Beach Club, London

Much like Peter’s Pan’s Neverland, London’s urban beach club is all about celebrating your inner child. The Fullham Beach Club opens in May 2022 on the banks of the River Thames in Fulham. The place is decked out like a pastel-coloured dream with fairy lights, cabanas and beach huts. There’s a full line-up of events too, including beach yoga, glitter art and sand-sculpting events, table tennis, croquet and even fancy-dress parties. Feeling peckish? Head to pop-up restaurant Jimmy Garcia’s BBQ Club, or book a spot at their bottomless bubbly brunch on Sundays.
Fees apply; until 31 August

Neverland
Neverland

6. Isar River, Munich

When locals yearn to escape the summer heat, they often flock to the banks of the Isar. The river, which is fed by water from the Alps, flows through the centre of Munich and offers miles of idyllic shoreline. Here, you’ll find several open grassy spaces, islets and sandy inlets where you can sunbathe, swim or picnic. Barbecues are also allowed at certain locations.

One of the most popular stretches of the Isar is the Eisbach, a small channel with an unlikely feature – a manmade wave that swells and spans the length of the brook. Here, surfers can hone their skills all year round. Surfing competitions are occasionally held too.
Free entry

Isar River (Photo: Sigi Mueller)
Isar River (Photo: Sigi Mueller)

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

The information is accurate as of press time. For the latest travel advisory updates, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit singaporeair.com. To join us in protecting the environment by offsetting your carbon emissions on your future flights, visit the following websites to learn more: carbonoffset.singaporeair.com.sg and carbonoffset.flyscoot.com

Updated version of post from August 2018

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Thursday, 5 May 2022

6 ways award-winning KrisFlyer rewards your everyday life

The Freddie Awards 2022, the most prestigious award-giving body in the global travel loyalty industry, crowned KrisFlyer, Singapore Airlines Group’s lifestyle rewards programme, Program of the Year for the Middle East, Asia and Oceania region. Held in New Orleans, Louisiana, KrisFlyer also trounced competitors in the five other categories it was nominated for – including Best Elite Airline Program, Best Redemption Ability and Best Customer Service.

KrisFlyer’s clean sweep at the Freddie Awards 2022 is a testament to the benefits and experiences that its members are currently enjoying. Not yet a KrisFlyer member? Here’s how you can benefit from the rewards programme that millions of travellers have recognised and voted for as the best.

1. Earn miles from flights, hotel stays and car rentals – plus enjoy perks

Flying on Singapore Airlines and Scoot will earn you miles, but don’t stop there. Further boost your miles balance by booking hotel stays or car rentals with KrisFlyer partners, and see your KrisFlyer account add up in no time. You can redeem those miles for future flights and everyday rewards.

As a KrisFlyer member, you can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi on board your future Singapore Airlines flights, even if you travel in Economy Class. The more you travel, the more Elite miles you will earn.

With 25,000 Elite miles (accumulated within 12 consecutive months), you’ll be upgraded to KrisFlyer Elite Silver, where you’ll earn 25% more miles, and enjoy free Standard seat selection amongst other benefits.

With 50,000 Elite miles (accumulated within 12 consecutive months), you’ll move up to the Elite Gold membership, where priority boarding, additional checked baggage allowance, lounge access and free Forward Zone seat selection await.

Starting from just 1,000 Elite miles, you’ll also be able to enjoy Milestone Rewards, ranging from bonus KrisFlyer miles to Premium Economy Class advance upgrade on Singapore Airlines.

2. Shop duty-free from home and collect inflight

KrisShop isn’t just an onboard duty-free shopping service. With KrisShop.com open 24/7, you can shop anywhere or anytime, and  enjoy duty-free prices when you opt for inflight collection on your upcoming Singapore Airlines or Scoot flight. You can also have items delivered to your doorstep, even when you’re not flying.

With KrisShop’s newly launched loyalty programme, KrisShopper, earn up to 4 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent, as well as member-only deals and first dibs on new arrivals. Simply link your KrisFlyer account to KrisShopper to get started. You can also redeem your miles to offset your shopping expenses at KrisShop.

Asian couple smiling
KrisShop isn’t just an onboard duty-free shopping service, you can also shop from home

3. Earn miles with Kris+ when you dine, get a massage or make a reservation

If you’re based in Singapore, you may have heard of SIA’s lifestyle rewards app Kris+. Whether you’re looking to satisfy hunger pangs or inspiration for me-time, log on to the Kris+ app for a plethora of discounts and deals. On top of value-for-money deals, earn up to 9 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent when transacting with contactless payment on the app. With Makan+, you can even accumulate miles with restaurant reservations, making it really easy to earn miles, which you can convert to your KrisFlyer account within seven days.

Asian women eating
Log on to the Kris+ app for a plethora of discounts and deals at restaurants, bars and retail shops

4. Gain access to special events

After working hard to clock up those miles, it’s time to enjoy sweet rewards. In partnership with Mastercard, KrisFlyer Experiences offers a curated list of experiences ranging from themed F&B evenings to workshops and more. Visit KrisFlyerExperiences.com for more details.

5. Book curated experiences on Pelago

Looking to book tours and activities for your next getaway? Head to SIA-owned travel experiences platform Pelago.co and be inspired by curated experiences in Southeast Asia, Oceania, the Middle East and Europe. From hidden gems to gastronomic adventures, Pelago offers unique ways to experience a new (and familiar) destination. What’s more, you can earn 1 KrisFlyer mile per S$1 spent when you book on Pelago.co. You can also redeem your miles for Pelago bookings.

6. Accumulate points, benefits and privileges with co-branded cards

Apply for a co-brand card and enjoy even more KrisFlyer benefits and privileges. Co-brand cards are available in Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. The American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer card issued in Singapore was also named the Best Loyalty Credit Card in the 2022 Freddie Awards.

Asian woman holding credit card in front of laptop
Apply for a co-brand card and enjoy even more KrisFlyer benefits and privileges

With just one membership, you’d be able to live and breathe all the things you love, from travel, shopping, dining to exploring new experiences, and enjoy a journey that’s miles better with KrisFlyer. Convinced to join the region’s best programme? Sign up at singaporeair.com/KFsignup with the code KF800 and receive complimentary 800 miles to start your KrisFlyer journey. Welcome!

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Friday, 29 April 2022

Top picks for fast-casual dining in San Francisco

Fast-casual restaurants have been taking the Bay Area by storm. From sandwiches filled with fried chicken or hand-rolled pasta to Cuban and Vietnamese fare, check out the following San Francisco spots that won’t waste your time or money.

1. A modern Vietnamese café

Rice and Bones is lauded chef Charles Phan’s first fast-casual foray is a modern Vietnamese café on the UC Berkeley campus. Choose from regularly changing dishes like beef stew and spicy chicken stir-fry.

Rice and Bones
Rice and Bones

2. Southeast Asian-inspired fare

Head to Hawking Bird and savour Southeast Asian-inspired dishes like KMG, or khao mun gai – poached chicken served atop rice that’s cooked in chicken broth – in this bright corner space owned by Michelin-starred chef James Syhabout.

Khao mun gai
Khao mun gai

3. Cuban sandwiches and rice bowls

Fun, funky and filled with tropical colours, Media Noche serves up delicious Cuban Miami fare like Cubano sandwiches and a wide selection of rice-based bowls.

Cubano sandwiches at Media Noche (Photo: Molly Decoudreaux)
Cubano sandwiches at Media Noche (Photo: Molly Decoudreaux)

4. Rotisserie chicken is the star dish

It’s not surprising that RT Rotisserie‘s star dish is a succulent rotisserie chicken. Brined for 24 hours in buttermilk, it’s served with delicious sauces ranging from chimichurri to Douglas fir sour cream.

The signature rotisserie chicken at RT Rotisserie
The signature rotisserie chicken at RT Rotisserie

5.  Californian-Italian-style pizza and pasta

Located in the Mission District, Barzotto’s tightly curated menu includes fresh, hand-rolled pasta dishes like spaghetti with marinara sauce and pork and turkey meatballs and bucatini with clams, green garlic, furikake and chilli.

Bucatini with clams, green garlic, furikake and chilli at Barzotto
Bucatini with clams, green garlic, furikake and chilli at Barzotto

6. Dishes inspired by casual souvlaki joints found throughout Greece

One of the originals, when it comes to fast-casual dining, Souvla is a Greek chain that opened back in 2014. They are known for lamb salads, chicken wraps and delicious frozen yogurt.

frozen Greek yoghurt at Souvla
Frozen Greek yoghurt at Souvla

 

– PHOTOGRAPHY BY AUBRIE PICK

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

The information is accurate as of press time. For the latest travel advisory updates, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights to San Francisco, visit singaporeair.com. To join us in protecting the environment by offsetting your carbon emissions on your future flights, visit the following websites to learn more: carbonoffset.singaporeair.com.sg and carbonoffset.flyscoot.com

This article was originally published in October 2021

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Tuesday, 26 April 2022

A food tour of North India’s legendary regional cuisines

Driving through India, the country’s cuisines, like its languages and customs, can change every half an hour. The Indian nation is an astounding assortment of topographies, religions and historical origins that inform the way its people eat. The variety of must-try dishes is on display in larger North Indian cities like Delhi, Amritsar, Lucknow and Varanasi.

There is always colour and texture to North Indian cuisines. Take qormas – thick, rich curries made of meat and flavoured with an assortment of spices; or flatbreads like, roomali roti, which is made thin as a handkerchief to be wrapped around kebabs, and kulchas, which are stuffed, baked and served with zesty sides. Its dishes are laden with spicy chutneys as additions, elements of crunch, and other techniques that speak to the varied and wide histories of the region. 

Eating though North India is a journey of constant adventure, and may not be for the faint-hearted, as it demands will and exploration. It is, however, somewhere every true food traveller should have on their must-try culinary map. Follow crowds in bustling street corners, and visit beloved city icons to eat dishes devised in kings’ courts. In this tightly packed, theatrical part of India, there is something for everyone. 

1. Chaat

The origins of chaat remain debated, but many conclude that when 16th-century Delhi saw an epidemic of cholera, its emperor, Shahjahan  (popularly known for building the Taj Mahal) ordained his cooks to prepare spicy, tangy dishes that could kill the bacteria that was spreading. Chaat is not a dish, but a spectrum of Indian cuisine in which every plate, and every recipe is subject to the whims and imaginations of its cooks. 

Many say the name Chaat, which literally translates to “lick”, derives from the delicious recipes that cooks of the North-Indian kingdoms concocted, which left customers licking their fingers and bowls when they ate these inventive creations. Chaat is always eaten on the street – and different cities, districts and neighbourhoods have distinct chaat varieties to their name. Like in Delhi, “aloo tikki” is beloved – in which flat discs of potatoes and lentils are fried, and topped with fresh sauces.

In Varanasi, meanwhile, palak chaak, in which fried spinach leaves are topped with zesty toppings, tells tales of the city’s culinary prowess. 

Where to try: The best way to eat chaat is to wander, and follow throngs of locals in the old quarters of cities, but if in Delhi, head to the old city’s Natraj Dahi Bhalle for some of the city’s best offerings, and in Varanasi, Deena Chaat Bhandar and Kashi Chaat Bhandar in the city’s winding lanes will leave little else to desire after you are done.

Chaat North India
Chaat is always eaten on the street and different varieties can be found across North Indian cities. Photo credit: Adobe

2. Kebab

Kebabs – dishes that consist of skewered meat on a grill – were first brought to the country by incoming populations of Turkish traders, and Persianate kings. The recipes consist of different variations of spices, herbs and other softeners like yoghurt and cream. Kebabs are made by shaping the meat and grilling them in large tandoors – massive metal grills that operate on coals.

Kebabs are, as everything in Indian cuisine, of endless types. Take the reshmi kebab, which instructs that pieces of chicken must be marinated in cream and grilled so they are finally as soft as “resham” or silk. Another option is the simple seekh kebab, in which minced and spiced chicken (or mutton meat) are moulded into tubular shapes and eaten with handkerchief like rotis for a quick, filling meal. 

Where to try: In Lucknow, the Tunday Kebab –  a soft, melt-in-the-mouth kebab made with beef or mutton meat that was devised for a toothless king is a citywide legend and can be found at its namesake restaurant, Tunday Kababi. In Delhi, the neighbourhood of Nizamuddin is home to the city’s most renowned sufi-shrine, and kebab restaurant named Ghalib Kabab Corner — both of which exhibit the city’s layered cuisine and history.

Kebabs India
Turkish traders introduced kebabs to North India. Photo credit: Adobe

3. Gulab Jamun

Indulgence has its best form in this popular North Indian dessert. Gulab Jamun originates from the Arabic dessert Luqmat-Al-Qadi and is a soft, melt-in-your-mouth treat made from fried dumplings made of thickened milk. After they are fried, the round, sugary sweets are coated with rose-flavoured sugar syrup, and garnished with powdered pistachios and served warm. While perfect for the winters, Gulab Jamun is eaten all year round by delighted children and sneaky adults. 

Where to try: These are available at most sweet shops in North Indian cities, but the most famous are at Chaina Ram Confectioners in Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi; and at Kesar Da Dhaba in Chowk Passian, Amritsar.

Gulab jamun
Gulab jamun can be found in sweet shops across North India. Photo credit: Adobe

4. Kulcha

The conception of Indian food has finally expanded beyond its most obvious formulations of chicken tikka masala and naan. This is what brings us to the Kulcha, native to Amritsar, Punjab. Kulcha is a stuffed bread made with flour in a large coal-fired tandoor, or on an iron-pan over a stove. Unlike naan, kulcha is a layered, flaky flatbread, and can contain pastry-like folds that are laden with ghee, made with cow’s milk, and also fillings of onions, potatoes and paneer. 

In Amritsar, the kulcha is beloved, and served with onions, mint chutney, raitas or yoghurt-based preparations, and a “chhole” which is a spiced curry of chickpeas on the side. The bread is a perfect breakfast or lunch, but remember that kulchas are best eaten in the day, as they are a hearty meal that match their origin city Amritsar’s robust and resilient spirit. 

Where to try: In Amritsar, kulchas are abundantly available, but a few recommendations include: Ashok Kulche Vala at Ranjit Avenue; or Brothers Dhaba, at Golden Temple road near the city’s most visited, and wondrous temple. In Delhi, a good Amritsari kulcha can be found at a restaurant named Prem Di Hatti, in the city’s West, which makes an assortment of the dish.

Kulcha is a clay-baked bread native to Amritsar. Photo credit: Adobe

5. Lassi

This Indian beverage, varied in form and flavour is often unfairly reduced to its one, mostly consumed form of “mango lassi”. Here, the yoghurt is set with artificial flavourings and sweetened with sugar before it is served. But a good lassi is about the quality and freshness of its milk, the way the yoghurt is churned, and set in large clay pots before it is served. 

An industrially made lassi has nothing on a tall, frothy glass made in one of India’s oldest and finest lassi shops. Lassis can be salty – as accompaniments to meals, where the drink is garnished with freshly ground cumin, or other house spices. They can also be luxurious and sweet, where they are thickened, sweetened, and flavoured with saffron, set with beautifully cut nuts. (Disclaimer, sweet lassis can be entire meals in themselves). 

Where to try: In Varanasi, Pehalwan Lassi is a treat fit for a king. Each glass of lassi is churned for hours, before it is infused with rabdi – a pudding-like sweet made by reducing fresh, creamy milk, and topped with fragrant spices and almonds.

Lassi North India
Lassis can be found both salty and sweet. Photo credit: Adobe

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

The information is accurate as of press time. For the latest travel advisory updates, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights to India, visit singaporeair.com. To join us in protecting the environment by offsetting your carbon emissions on your future flights, visit the following websites to learn more: carbonoffset.singaporeair.com.sg and carbonoffset.flyscoot.com

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Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Enjoy shopping? Join KrisShop’s new loyalty programme

Since the launch of KrisFlyer in 1999, members have been rewarded for not only flying with the Singapore Airlines Group, but also when they dine and shop with partners. With the launch of KrisShopper, KrisFlyer members who love shopping can get their retail therapy on KrisShop, and enjoy even more rewards for it.

KrisShop started as an inflight duty free shop on board Singapore Airlines. Since then, it has expanded to an omni-channel retailer with a flagship e-commerce platform, as well as presence on Kris+ and KrisWorld. In addition to offering a wide array of global brands and homegrown labels, KrisShop is also home to exclusive merchandise and collaborations. For instance, the Batik Label by KrisShop features products that incorporate the iconic Singapore Airlines batik motif, while The Upcycling Project breathes new life into parts and materials from retired commercial aircraft. KrisShop’s new loyalty programme is one more reason to continue shopping on KrisShop.

Wondering how it works? KrisShopper has four tiers of membership, take a look below:

KrisShopper_Privileges Singapore Airlines

Ready to join? There are several early-bird promotions that shoppers can take advantage of until 30 June 2022. The first 30,000 members can get up to 1,000 bonus KrisFlyer miles (500 miles when you link your account and 500 miles when you subscribe to the KrisShopper newsletter). Of which, the first 5,000 people to take those actions will get an additional S$20 early-bird reward. KrisShop is also offering a limited-time status match for selected KrisFlyer tiers. This means Elite Gold and Elite Silver members would be upgraded to Icon and Insider respectively.

PPS Club members are entitled to a status match to KrisShopper Ambassador, applicable for the duration of their PPS Club membership. Non-KrisFlyer members can also sign up for both programmes concurrently here.

To learn more about KrisShopper, KrisShop’s loyalty programme, click here.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Top restaurants in New Delhi to dine at

The food scene in New Delhi is diverse and seems to be growing by the minute. While international flavours can be found in many of the city’s hot spots, it is the Indian flavours that are being presented in an entirely new light. Check out these fantastic Delhi restaurants for a taste of the top picks.

1. Seasonal produce can be sampled at NicoCaara

NicoCaara is the result of a collaboration between the Nicobar clothing brand and CAARA cafe. This spot utilises seasonal organic produce to explore the coastal cuisines of India and the Mediterranean. Expect curries and pasta served alongside chilli- and coriander-flecked avocado toasts as well as burrata with grilled eggplant and Goan Tripoli pepper.

NicoCaara delhi silverkris

A must-try at NicoCaara is their chicken and shitake orange glazed meatballs (Photo credit: NicoCaara)

2. Regional Indian cuisine is the focus at Jamun

Jamun pays homage to India’s diverse culinary traditions. They menu curates a mix of forgotten recipes and popular Indian dishes from the heartland. For example, the bharwan guchhi – tandoor roasted Kashmiri morels stuffed with water chestnut and sprinkled with truffle oil – uses mushrooms sourced directly from farmwives in Kashmir.

Jamun Delhi SilverKris
Jamun offers an à la carte menu and specially curated set menus on certain occasions

3. Inventive Indian cuisine can be enjoyed at Indian Accent

At Indian Accent, fusion ingredients and techniques underscore plates such as pork ribs and sun-dried mango pickle or spice-infused chicken kofta. Consistently named among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, the restaurant now sits in an artful dining room at The Lodhi hotel.

Indian Accent India Silverkris
Baigan Bharta Cornet at the Indian Accent

4. Re-imagined Indian dishes are prepared at Varq

Varq is an upscale restaurant that specialises in re-imagined, sophisticated Indian cuisine, beautifully plated and plump with the essence and aromas of Indian food. The menu is expansive, and indulgent and boasts a fine spread that consists of chaat, a popular street-snack made with crispy flowers, and puddings of apricot in handmade puff pastry.

Additional reporting by Sharanya Deepak

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

The information is accurate as of press time. For the latest travel advisory updates, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit singaporeair.com. To join us in protecting the environment by offsetting your carbon emissions on your future flights, visit the following websites to learn more: carbonoffset.singaporeair.com.sg and carbonoffset.flyscoot.com

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

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Top fashion designers in Delhi

Delhi has always been a great city city for shopping. Famous for its marketplaces, the retail scene is being reinvented by designers who want to change how people shop and express themselves.

Smack in the centre of India’s north-central plains, the capital city was for centuries a bustling junction on transcontinental trade routes. A parade of dynasties flocked here, razing and rebuilding the city, leaving behind staggering architecture and a legacy of opulence. The city’s myriad marketplaces also thrived, piled high with textiles, spices, gold and ceramics from far-flung lands and packed with artisan guilds whose handiwork adorned everything from clothes and jewellery to crafts.

Markets and shopping remain an important focus in the city today, be it the overwhelming alleys of Chandni Chowk, the sprawling fabric, sundries and gold shops of Lajpat Nagar or the millennial-friendly haunts of Hauz Khas. But that’s not to say the retail scene hasn’t changed.

bodice delhi silverkris
The interior of Bodice Studio

Beginning in the mid-1980s, commercial hubs such as Khan Market, Meharchand Market and Greater Kailash began introducing air-conditioned spaces to cater to a growing base of middle-class shoppers in search of ready-to-wear fashion and boutique labels. What remained the same, though, is Delhi’s devotion to following Bollywood trends and status consciousness.

But now, a new breed of designers is reinventing the wheel – turning shopping from a purely transactional process to a design-centric experience where people can meaningfully connect. More than that, though, their thoughtful mix of beautiful spaces, envelope-pushing Indian fashion and curated events is fostering an unprecedented experimentation with personal style.

We visit four of the pioneers behind this fashion revolution in the metropolis.

Raul Rai nicobar delhi silverkris
Designer Raul Rai

Designer Raul Rai offers an ode to tropical modernism

Perched atop The Chanakya, a high-end indoor market adjacent to the architecturally rich Lutyens’ Delhi, Nicobar’s frond-filled interiors are an ode to Tropical Modernism. Muslin tunics and organic bamboo fibre knits swing from driftwood beams. Wood and brass spice boxes, earthy ceramics and clay kulhads for serving chai channel a rustic vibe. At in-store café NicoCaara, baristas whip up chai lattes while barkeeps pour sangria margaritas.

Launched in 2016 by Raul Rai and his wife Simran Lal, Nicobar delivers timeless silhouettes that work equally well on the beach and in the city. But through its in-store experiences, it does much more than that.

nicobar delhi silverkris
Nicobar also takes international orders

“In India, questioning lifestyle and the state of being was unheard of five or 10 years ago, but this drives how we think about our space, our design process and our story,” explains Rai. “The dot-com boom occurred 10 years ago [in India], and millennials are looking for new ways to think and create an impact. Our business model takes all this into account.”

The store layout is inspired by a haveli, a traditional Indian house arranged around a central garden. This design facilitates the movement of people as well as the myriad of cultural experiences on offer here. Shoppers picking up a linen pinstripe kurta (tunic) or organic cotton trousers may discover a Nico Talk, a monthly series covering topics such as mindful eating and recycling (the brand recently eliminated all plastic from its shipping and packaging). A recent pop-up here bringing together iconic motorcycle maker Royal Enfield, Goa-based start-up gin Greater Than and natural skincare line Ayca drew in nearly 1,200 people.

These touches underscore Nicobar’s commitment to bringing more value to retail. “Buying for buying’s sake isn’t satisfying and it’s not responsible,” Rai says. “Markets provide a natural arena for cultural discourse. Today, these conversations are deeper and cover fashion, wellness, entertainment, you name it. Our design vocabulary responds to this and takes it further.”

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Designer Sanjay Garg

Designer Sanjay Garg’s fresh and modern take on the sari

Delhi-based designer Sanjay Garg is known for marching to his own drum. While other designers explore non-traditional silhouettes, Garg’s label Raw Mango hones in on India’s most iconic garment by updating traditional weaves and patterns – using age-old fabrics like jamdani but tweaking colour and motifs, for example – keeping the sari fresh and modern.

“Blouses, petticoats, the patterns and colours were all frozen in time,” Garg says when explaining why saris came to be seen as dated. According to him, this stagnation is symptomatic of a larger issue: Indian design in general languished during the colonial and post-colonial periods. “Four hundred years ago, Delhi had a robust aesthetic language. The Mughal Empire was on a par with Versailles,” he continues. “The west continued to evolve, but the role of designers in India was negligible after the British arrived. Now, [over 70] years after independence, [the concept of design] is being revived.”

The standard perception is that the sari – in essence, a single long piece of fabric – can be worn only one way and on specific occasions. Garg tosses those rules aside, pointing to a younger generation who are hitching up the hems of their saris to the calf and pairing them with boots or trainers.

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Modern saris at Raw Mango

In April 2019, Garg opened a second outpost in the heart of the city, adjacent to Lodhi Colony Market, a petit promenade of whitewashed storefronts housing hip and traditional shops and eateries in the heart of one of Delhi’s poshest districts.

“Clothing, like anything else in India, is tied up with caste, religion, identity… it’s been like that for years”

Unlike typically frenzied sari stores, Garg’s spot is like a Zen retreat amidst the bustle. A discreet arched entryway leads down a tree-lined walk and ends in an all-white sanctuary surrounded with shade-filled courtyards. Inside, Garg’s dreamy saris, tunics and lenghas (long skirts) are tucked inside sleek cupboards and traditional armoires reminiscent of private dressing rooms.

“Clothing, like anything else in India, is tied up with caste, religion, identity,” Garg explains. “It’s been like that for years. Only now are we seeing individuality… and community come into play. That’s exciting.”

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Designer Ruchika Sachdeva

Designer Ruchika Sachdeva creates a modern Indian wardrobe

Fashion designer Ruchika Sachdeva’s label Bodice occupies an upscale address in Vasant Kunj. The lush, tree-lined lawn at Bodice’s farmhouse contains a glass-walled shop, where Sachdeva’s meticulously tailored collections float like ethereal art pieces.

The main house is where patternmakers, tailors and Sachdeva’s energetic assistants carry out her vision for the modern Indian wardrobe: structured tops, skirts, trousers and dresses with trim waists and sharp silhouettes cut from materials such as cotton, linen and all-season wool.

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Bodice Studio features trendy and modern outfits

Bodice started out as a tiny studio space deep in the cacophonous warrens of the now-trendy Hauz Khas Village just over 10km away. “It was good to start out there,” the effervescent designer remembers. “Rents were cheap, the vibe was edgy. But it became commercial really fast.”

Dressed simply in a sand-coloured T-shirt and matching culottes, the 30-year-old designer explains how a younger generation of Delhiites is increasingly “fed up with” the pressure to dress to impress or follow Bollywood style fads. “There’s a shift towards cultivating individual style,” she says.

She is chatting to a Finnish banker, a regular client who is picking up a few new pieces, when she has to field a call from the organiser of a Sofar Sounds gig happening at Bodice that evening.“This event brings music, fashion and a cross-section of people together,” says Sachdeva, who gained global recognition when she won the prestigious 2017/18 Woolmark Prize (womenswear) for rising designers. “I would never have been able to do this in my former space.”

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Designer Gautam Sinha

Designer Gautam Sinha focuses on detail-oriented craftsmanship

In late 2017, Central Saint Martins, London, graduate Gautam Sinha scoped out the abandoned industrial warehouses at Dhan Mill Compound for his leather craft label Nappa Dori. Located 14km from the city centre in the southern suburbs and admittedly “not on the way to anything”, it was a risky choice for his flagship.

But he jumped in anyway, transforming one of the warehouses into a loft-like creative space with soaring ceilings and spacious displays for his handcrafted leather trunks, buttery soft handbags, screen-printed satchels and sporty leather footwear. An in-house atelier provides room for artisans to cut and sew modern leather accoutrements and acts as a classroom for DIY belt-making workshops using traditional tools and craftsmanship.

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Nappa Dori blends both Indian and western style into their clothes

At the in-house Café Dori, Maneet Bedi – the brand’s designer and operations manager – discusses Nappa Dori’s evolution over a fresh lime soda, all while keeping an eye on the brisk lunch crowd as they dive into the eatery’s signature flatbreads and house-made pasta dishes.

“Design [as concept and lifestyle] is a relatively new idea here,” says the soft-spoken 24-year-old Bedi, a creative ingénue who helped Sinha appeal to Delhi’s upwardly mobile millennial shopper. “And not everyone gets it. We wanted to create the [city’s] first retail concept store… where Delhiites [can] explore retail in a different light.” Bedi cites Nappa Dori’s frequent design and lifestyle pop-ups that spotlight new labels and art as one way they’ve tried to loosen the lofty conceptual underpinnings of design to make it more approachable.

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Nappa Dori is famed for their leather style

Other designers in the area have since followed Sinha’s lead. Dhan Mill Compound’s former industrial bodegas now house creative spaces, including OddBird Theatre, an independent theatre; Claymen, a ceramic studio; and Motherland, an art and design publishing house, to name a few.

By stepping outside conventional market spaces, Sinha inadvertently jump-started a new type of marketplace, one that hinges on incubating creativity and connections in unexpected places.

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

The information is accurate as of press time. For the latest travel advisory updates, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit singaporeair.com. To join us in protecting the environment by offsetting your carbon emissions on your future flights, visit the following websites to learn more: carbonoffset.singaporeair.com.sg and carbonoffset.flyscoot.com

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

The post Top fashion designers in Delhi appeared first on SilverKris.



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Monday, 18 April 2022

These boozy bars in Bangalore are brewing some of the best craft beer

The sultry, southern Indian city of Bangalore has carved out a niche as the hub of India’s thriving IT sector, but what visitors may not realise is that it has also long enjoyed a reputation as the country’s pub capital. While other megalopolises such as Mumbai and New Delhi host a bevy of swish watering holes and cocktail dens that stay open into the wee hours, it is Bangalore that boasts a new wave of microbreweries and a thriving, independent craft beer scene.

At the best beer venues in the city, one can find innovative pints spiked with seasonal fruit or local spices and even brewed with traditional grains, offering up intriguing flavours drinkers are unlikely to experience anywhere else. Here are eight spots to sample some of Bangalore’s best brews.

1. India’s First American Craft Brewery

Arbor Brewing Company is the first Indian outpost of a US craft brewery based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s known for its India Pale Ale (IPA) varieties – bitter beers that use generous quantities of hops for both flavour and aroma. Beyond IPAs, they offer a wide range of other brews, from the popular, spicy Bangalore Bliss hefeweizen, with hints of banana, clove and lemon blossom, to the award-winning Michael Faricy’s Irish stout that has flavours of dark chocolate and Turkish coffee.

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Arbor Brewing Company

2. Go Byg of go home in Hennur

At a sprawling 65,000 square feet, Byg Brewski Brewing Company in Hennur is a massive microbrewery with more than enough elbow space to chill out with a pint. Dine alfresco at its rustic outdoor space, where seats surround a manmade lake that’s lit with fairy lights at nightfall. Besides offering a selection of artisanal brews such as the Byg Triple, a Belgian-style strong ale, and the Byg Peppercorn that’s bursting with pink and green peppercorn notes, the brewery also serves specially crafted cocktails. Pair your tipples with its varied menu of continental, Italian, North Indian and Thai cuisine. The craft-beer infused dishes, such as its pork spare ribs and beer battered onion rings, are not to be missed.

3. Bangalore’s first Irish brewhouse

Seemingly straight out of Ireland, Murphy’s Brewhouse is a tavern located inside luxury hotel The Paul. Along with having the honour of being Bangalore’s first Irish Brewhouse, they boast that their brewers make the best lager in town. While such a claim may sound lofty, their bestselling Black Beard lager is sublimely smooth and malty, carrying a whiff of caramelised sugar. They also serve a range of cocktails and wines, best paired with international fare they serve. The décor – all wood and leather with beer barrels serving as tables – is designed as a tribute to old, kitschy Irish pubs.

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Murphy’s Brewhouse

4. Live music and the best hops

Local residents love to kick back with a pint of Windmills Craftworks’ hefeweizen, which is inspired by the refreshing wheat beers of southern Germany and contains a special yeast that imbues the beer with mild hints of banana and clove. On the other side of the flavour spectrum is their dark and full-bodied stout, with its distinct taste of roasted barley. The warm and cosy restaurant space is lined with bookshelves and also plays host to some of the city’s more exciting music events.

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Windmills Craftworks

5. Best microbrewery award winner

One of south India’s oldest microbreweries and winner of the “Best Microbrewery” award’ at the Times Food & Nightlife Awards 2022, The Biere Club prides itself on fresh beers created in small batches. This means the innovative use of seasonal ingredients and spices: think smoked orange ale, mango beer or a lemon and chilli cooler ideal for the sweltering summer months. In the cooler season, the pub offers wheat beers made with rich malts and spicy hops. If in doubt, there is also a sampler flight to start with – four to six small glasses, usually comprising a wheat beer, lager, stout, ale and any seasonal or special brew.

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The Biere Club

6. Hand crafted beer and wood-fired food

For an unbeatable buzz, Bangalore’s hottest watering hole is Toit, right in the beating heart of Indiranagar, a lush and leafy residential neighbourhood. From pale ales and smoked rye ales to lagers and English malts, there is something for every kind of beer aficionado here. Toit also creates brews with a fruity twist from time to time using local ingredients such as mosambi (sweet lime) and jackfruit. If you want to take a break from beer (though I don’t see why you would), Toit serves a selection of spirits, juices and wines, and make some wicked cocktails. Toit has also opened up shop in Mumbai’s Lower Parel and Kalyani Nagar in Pune.

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Toit

7. Stand-up comedy with beer in hand

Prost Brewpub, with outlets in both Bangalore and Hyderabad, derives its name from the German word for “cheers”. It is known for its excellent line up of live music and stand-up comedy events as much as its beers. Their own tribute to the city comes in the form of the pale Bangalore Bolt which is made using German wheat and barley along with a special Bavarian yeast. Also try the Red Alert, a copper-tinted brew that’s fruity and made from Himalayan apples.

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Prost Brewpub

Additional reporting by Claire Ang

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

The information is accurate as of press time. For the latest travel advisory updates, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit singaporeair.com. To join us in protecting the environment by offsetting your carbon emissions on your future flights, visit the following websites to learn more: carbonoffset.singaporeair.com.sg and carbonoffset.flyscoot.com

This article was originally published in the December 2018 issue of SilverKris magazine

The post These boozy bars in Bangalore are brewing some of the best craft beer appeared first on SilverKris.



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Gorgeous palaces, forts and havelis where you can book a stay in India

Beautifully preserved palaces, forts and havelis have become some of the most popular retreats in India, allowing travellers to completely immerse themselves in the country’s rich, royal history.

The majority of palaces and forts were formerly inhabited by Indian royalty; forts in particular were built with strong defences, including earthen ramparts and stone reinforcements to keep enemies out. Havelis, meanwhile, were once private mansions owned by the state’s princes, wealthy merchants or jagirdars (officials who had been gifted land from the king). Many of them are still run by their descendants and now welcome guests into their homes.

Today, a stay at one of these fascinating properties gives travellers a glimpse of how luxurious life was for India’s blue bloods and elite.

1. Bujera Fort, Udaipur

Tucked up in the Aravalli Hills, just a 20-minute drive from Udaipur in the western state of Rajasthan, lies this luxurious, handsome fort. A true design-lover’s dream, the property features antiques, an incredible collection of artwork and sprawling gardens to lose yourself in. Constructed with tradition in mind, it features 86 hand-carved stone columns and jharokas (overhanging enclosed balconies) crafted in local stone.

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Bujera Fort

2. Haveli Dharampura, Delhi

Haveli Dharampura in Delhi is a meticulously restored mansion reportedly built in 1887. It is said to have served as the grand home of one of the city’s Muslim noblemen. Its original design features are heavily influenced by the architectural style of the Mughal Empire, which was dissolved in 1857. These days, the abode feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of the dense, heady Indian capital it is located in. Its 14 rooms are decorated in traditional style and the shared areas such as the courtyards, rooftop area and archways have all been lovingly restored. Grab a bite to eat at Lakhori restaurant – featuring food inspired by Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk streets which sold spices, dried fruit and Indian sweets – for a snapshot of what the good life must have felt like in Delhi during the 19th century.

 

Haveli Dharampura

3. RAAS Jodhpur

Immerse yourself in history at RAAS Jodhpur, which was built around an 18th-century haveli in this ancient city in Rajasthan. Many of its original structures, such as the darikhana (previously the Chamber of Carpets) and the baradari (which once served as the owner’s personal entertainment pavilion) are now iconic dining establishments in the hotel. The pièce de résistance though is the sublime view of Mehrangarh Fort which is perched up on the hill overlooking the famous “blue city” below.

Raas Jodphur SilverKris
Raas, Jodphur. Photo credit: Shutterstock

4. Neemrana Fort-Palace, Alwar

Just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Delhi is the incredible Neemrana Fort-Palace. Built in 1464, the fort was restored from ruins and now plays host to guests who appreciate accommodation steeped in history. Boasting nine wings and 74 rooms and suites, the fort is nothing short of epic. We recommend exploring the 18th-century Neemrana stepwell, a huge manmade chasm that was previously used to harvest water and is still a marvel to behold.

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Neemerama Fort-Palace

5. Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai

With its opulent design and attentive staff, it’s easy to feel transported at the Taj Mahal Palace. Built in 1903, 21 years before the famous Gateway of India, Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai is a tourist attraction in itself as a landmark building of the Bombay Harbour. It was also the first Indian hotel to have electricity, as well as to house the city’s first licensed bar. If you do stay here, be sure to take the complimentary hotel tour to soak up the incredible history of the palace, which has also played host to famous guests such as Muhammad Ali and the Obamas.

Rajput Suite at The Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai
The Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai

6. Samode Palace, Jaipur

Built in the 19th century in the pink-hued capital of Rajasthan, Samode Palace is a great representation of the regal Indo-Saracenic architecture – combining Indian and Mughal styles – that abounds in this city. An hour and a half’s drive outside of Jaipur, the palace offers breathtaking views of the Aravalli range as well as luxurious accommodations featuring oversized tubs, private balconies and, in the case of the four royal suites, private courtyards. Take a dip in the marble and mosaic-decorated outdoor pool, or head up to the rooftop where an infinity pool and Jacuzzi await.

Samode Palace. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

7. Vivaana Culture Hotel, Mandawa

An artfully restored twin haveli from the 19th century, Vivaana Culture Hotel is located in a small town around 200km from Jaipur and features carved pillars, hand-painted frescos and colourful stained-glass windows in almost every corner. It’s easy to feel transported back in time while sipping on piping hot local tea in one of the lavishly decorated dining areas. Learn more about the area’s history from its daily cultural shows, or head to the Elephant House Spa for a traditional Ayurvedic treatment like shirodhara, where warm oil is gently poured over the forehead.

Vivaana Culture Hotel
Vivaana Culture Hotel


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

The information is accurate as of press time. For the latest travel advisory updates, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit singaporeair.com. To join us in protecting the environment by offsetting your carbon emissions on your future flights, visit the following websites to learn more: carbonoffset.singaporeair.com.sg and carbonoffset.flyscoot.com

This article was originally published in December 2018

The post Gorgeous palaces, forts and havelis where you can book a stay in India appeared first on SilverKris.



from SilverKris