Food Festival, Gourmet Summit on Singapore's plate

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SINGAPORE -- The Singapore Tourism Board will hold the sixth edition of its popular Singapore Food Festival July 2 to 23, followed by the World Gourmet Summit here.

Foodies from around the world will descend on the destination to partake in a full menu of events, including food tours, banquets and fairs showcasing the street foods, traditional cuisines and "fusion" fare available in the destination's ethnically diverse neighborhoods. The apex of the events will occur July 25 to 30 when 10 top international chefs show off their talents at the World Gourmet Summit at 10 hotels and restaurants, including the Four Seasons, the Mandarin Oriental, the Regent and the Singapore landmark Raffles.

The theme of this year's summit is "Asian Flavors Go Global," opening with each host establishment serving up a dish or two at the colonial-era Chijmes church. Other Gourmet Summit activities include gourmet safaris, a gala dinner, various food promotions and wine appreciation sessions. Additional information regarding the World Gourmet Summit is available at the event's Web site, www.worldgourmetsummit.com.

The food festival opens at Parco Bugis Junction with a free July 2 to 4 street party where top local chefs offer their signature dishes amid live entertainment. Daily food tours include a Chinese Culinary Secrets Food Tour, which leads clients through a tour of Chinatown to sample and learn about the cuisine styles brought by Chinese immigrants to Singapore.

Another is the Flavors of New Asia -- Singapore Food Tour (offered daily except Mondays), during which a number of tour operators will shuttle clients to sites throughout the city to sample and learn about the island nation's renowned cuisine. The cost of the tours is about $15 for adults, $8 for children.

Among the most interesting promotions is the Singapore Food Festival Goes to the Zoo package, which offers three programs that enable clients to, among other things, dine with the zoo's residents.

Your clients can opt to drink tea while meeting an orangutan, eat gourmet hamburgers with the zoo's first baby elephant or participate in a Dinner Safari in which guests are shuttled to different locations within the zoo to enjoy each course of the meal.

Another cuisine curiosity offered at this year's festival is a July 10 and 17 Sky Dining program in which guests board a cable car to take in a panoramic view with their meal. The cost of the Sky Dining program is $111 per couple.

Another promotion combining food with a tourism product is a Taste of the Eastern & Oriental Express excursion, which will have the luxury rail line Eastern & Oriental Express embarking from Keppel Railway Station July 17 for a daylong rail tour between Malaysia and Singapore, highlighted by the line's sumptuous cuisine and priced at $175 per person.

Workshops offered during the Singapore Food Festival and World Gourmet Summit include the following:

ò The Chinese Harvest Home Culinary Workshop, held Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. at the Chinese Harvest Home. Here clients can experience cooking demonstrations and a sit-down food tasting and receive recipes and a set of culinary souvenirs for $59 per person, including transportation back to the hotel. Children are admitted for half price, and the minimum group size is six, with a maximum of 18 participants per session.

ò The Peranakan Culinary Workshop, held July 16, 19, 21 and 23 beginning at noon at the Peranakan (Singapore-born Chinese) heritage restaurant Chili Padi. The workshop will feature a buffet lunch and the secret recipes of Chef Jolly Wee for $29 per person.

ò Masterclasses, held July 25 to 29 at the Singapore Tourism Board Auditorium, during which two master chefs impart their culinary secrets to attendees. The Masterclasses are priced at $27 per person.

ò Masterchef Safaris, held July 26 to 29, during which clients taste five different courses at five restaurants -- in the company of the establishments' master chefs -- for $153 per person.

The Grand Finale Dinner, which will feature signature dishes from each of the guest master chefs, will be held on July 30 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

For more information about the Singapore Food Festival or the World Gourmet Summit, contact your nearest Singapore Tourism Board office: (212) 302-4861 in New York; (312) 938-1888 in Chicago; (323) 852-1901 in Beverly Hills, Calif., or (416) 363-8898 in Toronto.

The Singapore Tourism Board maintains a Web site, located at www.singapore-usa.com.

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