Lunch with Ferran Adria


I was in the kitchen cooking breakfast porridge and deep-frying some tofu when I discovered 5 missed calls from TTC. Our dinner with Ferran Adria had turned into a lunch because he had an early evening flight out of Singapore.

Like all busy celebrities that everyone wants a piece of, Ferran’s schedule was unpredictable. But I was told he wanted to sample hawker food. So an alternate plan was formulated.


Tasting the fermented prawn paste of Rojak

If you don’t know by now, Singapore has a vibrant and thriving food culture and one of the most definitive expression of that culture is the hawker center. It is uniquely Singaporean.

However, therein lies the problem as while we wanted to showcase the best, no single hawker center holds all the good stuff, so some traveling was required. The problem was further compounded by the fact that the queues at lunch hour were J. Holmesian in proportion.


Discovering Esferificación in a Singaporean hawker center

In the end, we brought him to Maxwell Hawker Centre to try the Tian Tian Chicken Rice and the Old Market Street Ngor Hiang Kuan Chiang, and to the Old Airport Road Hawker Centre to try the Nam Seng Hokkien Mee and the Toa Payoh Rojak as well as assorted iced desserts. I must say that the Nam Seng Hokkien Mee is probably the best I’ve ever had.

During lunch, Ferran was most animated when talking about food. He was amazed at how complex the process of boiling the chicken for chicken rice and he was delighted to find that the sago balls in the iced desserts to be similar to what his Esferificación method produces. He particularly liked the prawn paste used in Rojak.

K.F. Seetoh was the official food guide and nobody does it better; his fascinating descriptions and stories of food had everyone mesmerized.


Rojak demonstra Learning how Rojak is made

We were told that the reason Ferran Adria goes to Japan regularly because, apart from eating at the finest restaurants in the world, he is always shown the best of what Japan can offer. We tried our best to present Singapore’s cuisine in the best light. Unfortunately, given the schedule unpredictability and short reaction time, we could only hit two hawker centers and totally leave out tze char which I feel are even more interesting.

At the end of the day, there was a slight dissatisfaction at missed opportunities, but given that we had another dinner in 3 hours with a friend of Umami’s, c’est la vie.

If Ferran Adria decides to comes back to Singapore, hopefully he’ll have time for The Great Singapore Makan Tour II: Dinner. Until then, it’s makan as usual. 😛


My friends paid $48 and all I got was lunch with Ferran Adria!


You don’t need a tripod, really…




Nam Seng Hokkien Mee in Old Airport Road HC – probably the best I’ve ever had


Tian Tian Chicken Rice in Maxwell Hawker Center


Old Market Street Ngor Hiang Kuan Chiang

Posted on 26th Apr 2010 in Fun, Makankaki


There Are 6 Comments


Victoria commented on April 27, 2010 at 12:18 am

Wow! Meeting Ferran Adria? That must have been SUCH an amazing opportunity! The next best thing would be meeting celebrity chefs who’ll open their restaurants at the IRs! Totally looking forward to that.


Su-Lin commented on April 27, 2010 at 6:11 am

What a great lunch that must have been! I definitely want to hit up that Hokkien mee place during my next trip on your recommendation!


ivan commented on April 27, 2010 at 11:21 am

@su-lin: It was a fun-filled afternoon for totally different reasons and yeah, you should do the Hokkien mee when you next visit. Hopefully we can do lunch too.


ivan commented on April 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

@Victoria: Well, I look forward to reading write-ups by people who attended the $48 lecture.


[…] our effort, we were invited by the Spanish Ambassador to Singapore, His Excellency Antonio Sánchez Jara to […]


mike commented on May 28, 2010 at 9:13 pm

he is a legend already. Too bad i wouldnt get the chance to taste his food, i hope he comes back here in singapore

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