Wine & Dine - - PUBLISHER'S NOTE - Joyce­line Tully PUB­LISHER

Ac­cord­ing to WWF, Sin­ga­pore con­sumes a whop­ping 120,000 tonnes of seafood ev­ery year. It’s a large num­ber for a small is­land, but no sur­prise re­ally. The ocean’s bounty is in­te­gral to our food cul­ture, and our love for it is one wrapped up in our col­lec­tive psy­che. From crisp dainty ikan bilis paired with aro­matic nasi lemak and fiery sam­bal, to spongy sea cu­cum­ber en­riched by a leisurely braise in su­pe­rior stock, we rel­ish them all.

This is­sue, we cel­e­brate seafood big and small, the well-loved and the fa­mil­iar, along­side more es­o­teric va­ri­eties from the deep.

One seafood trend that has legs, as our con­trib­u­tor An­nette Tan clev­erly puts it, is the oc­to­pus. Prob­a­bly the hottest cephalo­pod in the town, it is mak­ing its rounds on the city’s top tables right now, from White­grass to Pollen (p.34). For those with a taste for the ex­otic, we serve up four fine fish—gi­ant grouper, puffer fish, em­pu­rau and sweet fish, oth­er­wise known as ayu (p.38). Equally fas­ci­nat­ing is the pun­gent, umami-laden, sun-dried spec­i­mens col­lec­tively known as dried seafood. In this part of the world, they rank proudly along­side their sea-fresh coun­ter­parts. In many in­stances, dried may well even be bet­ter (p.52).

Mean­while, chef Ivan Brehm of Nouri shares five fish dishes in­spired by di­verse cul­tures around the world (p.44). In­deed, for the food lover, the world is your oys­ter—quite lit­er­ally. Check out the va­ri­ety of oys­ters avail­able on the mar­ket and their unique flavours as shaped by their re­spec­tive en­vi­ron­ments (p.60). Last but not least, wash them down with choice tip­ples (p.66).

The sole draw­back in our ob­ses­sion with crea­tures from the deep is that many of the pop­u­lar seafood species con­sumed are un­sus­tain­able. In­deed, reports from en­vi­ron­men­tal groups on the state of our oceans are dis­mal. The bluefin tuna so highly prized by sushi and sashimi lovers, for in­stance, is well on its way to com­mer­cial ex­tinc­tion due to over­fish­ing. Even worse, the by­catch—fish or other marine species caught along­side—is tremen­dously high; sea tur­tles, sharks and other mam­mals get trapped in the fish­ing lines and gear used to catch tuna. At­lantic cod, Chilean seabass, gi­ant grouper, red snap­per… the list of over­fished species is long and dreary. For fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to en­joy the bounty of the sea as we have been priv­i­leged to, we must act to pro­tect it. And to truly love our food, we must look be­yond our plate.

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