From 12 to 25 March 2014, The Line’s resident Middle Eastern Chef, Chef Khaled Elelimi who hails from Egypt, is showcasing the local flavours of “Al Souq” (local market in Arabic). I have to confess that when I hear about Al Souq, I only think of shopping! I forgot the market is also you get delicious local food.
Thanks to the ladies from Shangri-la Singapore, I got to taste and talk to Chef Khaled about Middle Eastern food. He said, the food is similar but a little different for the countries in the Middle East. I will paraphrase it as how Satay, Chicken Rice, or even Chilli Crabs tastes different in Singapore, Malaysia or Indonesia.
He said the version from Egypt taste better. I also got to talk to him about how some dishes need 24 hours of soaking before it can be prepared. He told me how his mum does it.
We had Hibiscus Tea for the night. It’s quite a soothing drink. Nice and warm and it prepares us for our Middle Eastern meal.
The Al Souq journey is an addition to the usual Line Buffet. Just for these 2 weeks, there’s a special supplement to showcase their skills of their chefs.
We got to taste various hot and also cold Lebanese Meeze. Meeze are bite size portions of food, commonly eaten with fingers. They usually comes in various taste, textures, aroma and colours.
These are marinated octopus slices with bits of avocado, pomelo and edible flowers with roasted coriander dressing and top with onion sumac. It has a very nice texture to it. It gets tastier as you eat more slices of it.
These dips are really quite delicious and really takes time to prepare. These are the stuff that chef said need soaking for 24 hours before.
The turkish tabouleh was my favourite of the lot. I guess it’s because I always like chopped parsley, onion, diced tomato. It also has crushed wheat tossed with olive oil, lemon juice and Turkish chilli paste.
The Baba Ghanoush is made from eggplant that has been smoked with sesame oil and lemon juice. The Hummus is prepared the traditional Lebanese way and topped with sauteed lamb and roasted pine nuts.
This is a warm mezze and another of my favourite. Shrimps cooked with tomato, green olives, fresh herbs and olive oil. It also has lots of onions and garlic, special spices and coriander.
The sauce is so tasty, you would want to dip the pita bread in to soak it all up!
I must confess I usually skip the falafels because I never liked the taste. I know many folks love chickpeas, how can I say I like Middle Eastern food when I don’t like chickpeas? Yup, that’s me.
However, this was made from a mixture of ground chickpeas, broad beans, onions, garlics and fresh green herbs was good. It did not have the very strong chickpeas taste, but has been blended in nicely with the other herbs.
This is tomato, rice, onion wrapped in grape leaves, cooked in its natural juice.
OK, not for me. I don’t like grape leaves. LOL
This was a lovely dish. Lamb cooked with saffron, sun-dried tomato, ginger and onions. I had quite a few portions of it. The ginger and onions have masked the gamey taste of the lamb.
Chef was saying that couscous is served when there’s a happy occasion in the Middle East.
To eat it, you have the couscous on the bottom and topped with the Lamb Tagine. If you like things a bit spicy, add in the spicy paste and then you drizzle the vegetable broth all over it.
As I said earlier, I liked this.
This was a huge long dessert! Crepe stuffed with fresh apple mixed with brown sugar and cinnamon powder. It’s then topped with caramelised milk and banana. I liked the banana!
I was too full to eat this whole thing.
The Al Souq is an addition to the normal buffet line.
My favourite is the assorted satays they have here! You can’t get enough of satays!
Prawns! Sweet little things!
Who doesn’t love these things?
Of course, the desserts are always tempting here!
The cakes and desserts here are always so tempting. Don’t you think this cake looks so delicious?
This is so colourful isn’t it?
If chocolate is not your favourite, these are full of fruits!
The ice cream is one of my favourite counters!
The green tea and chocolate is my favourite.
The Al Souq is only around for 2 weeks.
Hint: Book online if you want special discounts. The link to book is below.
22 Orange Grove Road
Tel: +65 6213 4398
Book online at: http://www.shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila/dining/