The Town Restaurant is one of five food and beverage outlets at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, a heritage site that once housed the city-state’s General Post Office.
As luck would have it, I checked into The Fullerton Hotel Singapore the very day that local media had been invited to preview a special promotion that would be served in the hotel’s buffet restaurant the following month.
And guess where I had been invited by a couple of my buddies for lunch! That very self-same restaurant!
“I’ll be the first person from Hong Kong to know about this and share the news,” I thought.“Once again I can scoop the South China Morning Post!”
Not to mention Hong Kong’s Chinese language media . . .
But luck was not totally on my side. Owing to technical screw-ups, I managed to delete the best of the three video clips that I had attempted to film of the event.
Time to hit the rewind button …
Singapore is a modern metropolis undergoing a serious case of nostalgia. The Lion City – as travel writers like to refer to it – are seriously in denial as the city’s much loved street food slowly but surely disappears from the scene.
So leave it to a hotel such as The Fullerton – which itself is a study in nostalgia – to invite street hawkers on site to serve up hand-crafted Asian bites made the way their fathers and grandfathers did.
First was 29-year-old Daniel Surendran from Heaven’s Indian Curry, which launched The Fullerton Hotel’s Young Hawker Series with his signature handcrafted putu mayam, appam, and thosai two months earlier.
Next will be third-generation hawker, Michael Ker from Kway Guan Huat Joo, who will serve Chiat Original Popiah and Kueh Pie Tee.
Michael will collaborate with The Fullerton’s culinary team at Town Restaurant from 8 to 18 March 2017, showcasing his family recipes for the mouthwatering snacks.
“The premise is apt, as the newly revamped al fresco area along the historic Singapore River was where street hawkers in the 1960s and 1970s once lined,” the hotel’s press release says.
Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale, General Manager of The Fullerton Heritage, puts it this way: “Over the last few years, there has been much discussion on the issue of disappearing hawker culture in Singapore. Street food is a way for individuals to trace their lineage and the evolution of their cultures.”
Joo Chiat District
Michael’s stall is housed in one of the many pre-war shop houses that populate Singapore’s historic Joo Chiat district in the city-state’s Eastern flank.
In 1991, the Urban Redevelopment Authority gazetted 518 buildings in the neighborhood for conservation. Most of them were the two-story shop houses and terrace houses for which Singapore is famous.
It was, in fact, in one of these shop houses that Michael’s grandfather established his business before World War II. Michael continues to operate the business in its original location today.
River Hawker Festival
Michael is no new-comer to The Fullerton Hotel. He also participated in the heritage property’s River Hawker Festival last year.
His current guest stint will continue to provide insight into his family’s culinary trade.
While many other companies create popiah using skins made by machine, Michael insists that “the best popiah skin is made only by hand”.
Equal attention is paid to the filling, whose ingredients include slow-cooked turnips, crabmeat, crispy fish bits, fresh lettuce, blanched beansprouts, prawns, egg, and a dab of chili.
Town Restaurant Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Town Restaurant is best known for its spectacular buffets, which offer both international and Asian dishes.
The roast beef, Chinese roast meats and Indian curries are highly recommended. Diners can also order a la carte.
The Singapore High Tea Buffet, Asian Buffet Dinner, Seafood Gourmet Buffet Dinner, and lavish Sunday Champagne Brunch are especially popular with local Singaporeans.
The al fresco waterfront terrace, which offers enchanting views of the historic Singapore River, was recently given a face lift.
Hotel Food and Beverage Outlets
The Town Restaurant is one of five food and beverage outlets at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.
Jade serves authentic Chinese cuisine in elegant surroundings. Locals favour the mouth-watering Cantonese dim sum and wholesome soups. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
The Lighthouse Restaurant and Rooftop Bar occupies the lighthouse that used to guide ships into the harbour. Serving Italian cuisine, it offers spectacular views of Marina Bay and Singapore’s beautiful skyline.
The eatery is open for lunch and dinner.
The Post Bar is the place for power lunches, signature cocktails, and yummy canapes. With indoor and outdoor seating, popular cocktail lounge is open from noon until 2 am.
The Courtyard occupies the hotel’s sun-lit atrium. The North Courtyard serves Japanese buffets; the South Courtyard, Indian buffets.
Don’t miss the Signature Chocolate Buffet on Friday and Saturday evenings. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
My lunch at the Town Restaurant was hosted by The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.
Town Restaurant, The Fullerton Hotel, 1 Fullerton Square, Singapore. Telephone: (65) 6877 8911 / 8912.