Traveling the world to taste new discoveries and searching for new inspirations using freshest food ingredients are foodie giant — Benjamin Yong’s passionate past times. The Chief Eating Officer of The BIG Group recently journeyed to Singapore in conjunction with the new destination brand launch — Passion Made Possible, on a culinary adventure to unravel what the city has to offer to travellers around the world.
Joining him on his foodie adventure is cooking doyenne Violet Oon of Violet Oon Singapore, who introduces her local favourites and prepares a feast enjoyed with other local foodie personalities. His foodie discoveries in Singapore is detailed in a four-part web video series titled ‘Where Foodies Meet’ and is now released on Malaysia’s VisitSingapore Facebook Page (URL: http://www.facebook.com/visits
There’s no denying that food is best enjoyed in the company of those you love. As Benjamin describes, “It builds relationship and brings out the best in people”. The series highlighted his food experiences around the city with movers and shakers of the gourmet scene in Singapore which includes Douglas Ng from The Fishball Story; Chef Willin Low of Wild Rocket; Ryan Huber of Huber’s Butchery and Owner and Head Chef of Burnt Ends, Dave Pynt. Through the series, Ben is inspired by the local flavour profiles at the wet market, encounters new taste combinations and leaves inspired to cook up a storm with Singapore’s Great Dame of Cooking.
From the smell of ingredients, to each step of the meal preparation, every aspect plays an important role in telling a story. On eating his way through Singapore, Benjamin Yong shares that “Singapore is ever-evolving. The most exciting aspect for me is the fact that I’m always able to find something new, discover new flavours, new taste profiles, meet new people and new talents and these are the things that will keep drawing me back here – the ability to keep discovering.”
EPISODE 1 – FOOD WITH FRIENDS
Benjamin Yong visits opera singer, turned journalist and now superstar chef Violet Oon whom he shares the same passion for food, at her restaurant Violet Oon Satay Bar and Grill to speak about the vibrant food scene in Singapore. A conversation with her helps him discover what sets Singapore apart from the rest of Asia as a gourmet destination. Violet takes Benjamin to visit the local wet market where she buys her fresh ingredients for cooking and together they shop for local ingredients to cook a dish together. The episode also explores Benjamin and Violet’s visit to the supermarket which inspired Benjamin to start his chain of BIG supermarkets back home in Malaysia.
EPISODE 2 – LOVE AT FIRST BITE
Benjamin Yong, explores his local favourite haunts in Singapore which he frequents to find out how they’ve evolved and maintained consistency throughout the year. Find out which Hainanese chicken rice which he frequents in Singapore since he was introduced to 5 years ago and where he butcher shops for a great assortment of meats. He also embarks on a quest to find the perfect fishball which he deems as something so satisfying and simple made so well.
EPISODE 3 – TASTING NEW EXPERIENCES
In this episode, Benjamin’s palate is exposed to a new array of food flavours through a meeting with Chef Willin of Wild Rocket. Ben’s first experience of Mod-Sin cuisine left Ben convinced of Chef Willin’s ability to tweak the boundaries of modern cooking, while being inspired by local Singaporean flavours. He also visited Irvins Salted Egg, a franchise that introduces the highly addictive Salted Egg Fish Skins which he was introduced to by a friend during one of his travels. This episode explores how a meeting with owner and Head Chef of Burnt Ends, Dave Pynt, shows Benjamin how the primitive art of cooking with fire can bring out the best of flavours.
EPISODE 4 – FEAST WITH FRIENDS
Benjamin and Violet host several friends which include Food Host of Asian Food Channel and Food Blogger Sarah Benjamin, Ryan Huber and Chef Willin Low who shares the same passions for food as them. With ingredients bought from the market visits, and in-depth discussions with Violet, they co-create a dish called “Haebe Pasta” which celebrates both their cooking styles (Ben who prefers the western style of cooking, while Violet who is fond of Peranakan cooking). Over a meal each of these foodies shared about what they love about the diversity of Singapore’s ever-evolving culinary scene.