AsiaMalls Food On Parade: Cooking Up A Storm! @ Century Square

This post is brought to you by AsiaMalls.

On Sunday, 19 June 2011, 5 eager teams gathered at the level 1 atrium of Century Square for another AsiaMalls Food On Parade – Cooking Up A Storm cook-off!

This event was one of AsiaMalls preliminary cooking contests, spread out over two weekends in June 2011 at 6 AsiaMalls shopping malls. Last week, we highlighted the preliminary round at Hougang Mall where the theme was Malaysian cuisine. This week’s preliminary at Century Square features Taiwanese cuisine.

Although the contestants knew in advance what the theme was, the compulsory mystery ingredient was unknown to all. And the mystery ingredient was: Taiwanese rice wine!

The teams of two brainstormed in hushed whispers before they dashed off to purchase their ingredients. They were given a budget of S$30 and 30 minutes to shop. After that, they only had 1 hour to complete their dishes.

While the teams were out making their grocery purchases, the audience were entertained with a cooking demo by Chef Mervyn Chan — chef-owner of Cooking with Mervyn and chef instructor at ToTT. This talented young chef is no stranger to foodies; having appeared in numerous publications such as Elle, Appetite, The New Paper, The Sunday Times and New Citybeat on MediaCorp Channel 8.

As Chef Mervyn got down to introducing the featured dish — braised lion head meatballs 红烧狮子头 — the MC invited members of the audience to gather for a closer look.

“Why is the dish named ‘lion head meatballs?’ ” asked the MC. Apparently, this dish gets its moniker from round meatballs wrapped with layers of cabbage leaves, which resemble a lion’s mane.

The ingredients for lion head meatballs are common ingredients that are readily available from local supermarkets. Chef Mervyn demonstrated how to shape marinated minced meat into large balls before pan-frying them in a pot. As the surface of the meatballs char easily, it is crucial to control the heat well at this stage.

Chef Mervyn also explained that this is a highly flexible dish that you can customize according to your preferences. The minced pork can be substituted with minced beef, chicken or even fish paste. If you fancy a juicier “crunch”, you could add more chopped water chestnut or mushroom to the recipe too.

After the demo, the 5 competing teams were back at their workstations, ready for the action to begin at 3pm!

Among all the contestants was the only male participant in a husband-and-wife team. Working deftly with his ingredients, he was clearly a culinary force to be reckoned with!

60 minutes flew by in a flash. Here are pics of the final dishes, all beautifully plated. One team even adorned their dish with hand-carved garnishes!

Here are the teams with their delicious-looking creations. Well done, everyone!

These two charming ladies are the judges for the day — centre manager Quek Mui Hwa and Chef Judy Koh of Creative Culinaire.

And here’s the winning team! These two good pals won the judges over with their chicken and vermicelli spring roll wraps. One of them was so happy and relieved she even shed tears of joy!

Besides a S$200 cash prize, the winning team also gets to compete against 5 other teams in the cooking competition finals at Liang Court on 25th June 2011. The grand prize winner will win S$2,000 AsiaMalls shopping vouchers!

Stay tuned for more updates on exciting events by AsiaMalls Food On Parade 2011. For upcoming AsiaMalls Food On Parade happenings and articles on past events, you can go to AsiaMalls Yummy Fix! app on FaceBook.