Less than 24 hours till the dawn of the new year begins, I have started planning ahead of all the new places to eat and visit, old haunts to revisit, and goals for this writing space in 2019. Admittedly, 2018 has been a year of lesser travels and prioritisation of work, and I wished I did more and experienced more of the world.
Nonetheless, the year saw some of the best dining adventures of our lives – Etxebarri (1*), for one, showed us how good produce should taste like, through a stimulation of 16 perfect courses of grilled meats, dairy, fish, seafood and vegetables. It was our privilege to enjoy chef and grill legend Victor Arguinzoniz’s cooking, and we hope to be back soon someday. In January, we will be kicking off our first foodie adventure of the year in Tokyo (which we started planning for 6 months ago) – follow us on Instagram (@Foodume) for the latest daily updates!
From Basque Country to Paris, and at home in Singapore, here are our favourite 10 dishes (and 5 desserts) of 2018:
1. Palamos prawns at Etxebarri, Axpe Valley
2. Spring peas cooked in a stock of its own juices at Etxebarri, Axpe Valley
3. Grilled turbot at Elkano (1*), Getaria
4. Tortilla espanola at Bar Nestor, San Sebastian
5. Pachino filled with beluga caviar at Disfrutar (2*), Barcelona
6. Monkfish and golden potatoes pan-fried in simple olive oil, salt and garlic at Cal Pep, a casual tapas bar in Barcelona
7. Langoustines at Le Duc, Paris, where chef Pascal Hélard sources for the best fish and seafood ingredients in Europe.
8. Lamb of Quercy at Restaurant A.T., Paris. Perfectly cooked lamb served together with its kidney and spring herbs.
9. Cantonese roast duck at Outram Park Roasted Meat stall, Chinatown Complex Market, Singapore. The chef and owner is usually on a short fuse and impatient with orders that are not shouted clearly and fast enough, but there’s no stopping the method to his madness in cooking one of the best crispy-skinned duck. Roasted every day at his compact hawker stall, the ducks are freshly cleaved upon order and always arrive piping hot, wet with its juices, tender, and just so darn delicious.
10. Charcoal roasted ‘bu jian tian’ (the cut of the pig’s armpit) charsiu at Kim Heng Roasted Meat, Singapore. A beautiful combination of smokey char, Chinese spices, fat marbling and tender pork meat.
5 Favourite Desserts:
1.Basque-style Cheesecake at La Vina, San Sebastian (even better with sherry poured over)
2. Baba au rhum at Le Duc, Paris
3. Artisan chocolates at Patrick Roger (MOF), Paris. If life is like a box of chocolates from here – it would be perfection.
4. Paris Brest at Cédric Grolet, Paris, the world’s most viral pastry chef on Instagram
5. Éclairs at Maison Caffet (MOF), Champagne