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Imagineering Food & Wine: Singapore – Guest Blog Post

Singapore is SO misunderstood.

I have to admit, I know very little about Singapore.  For example, did you know that it is just off the southern tip of Malaysia and is an island country made up of 63 islands?!

When it comes to Food & Wine, in spite of the culinary genius of Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann and his team, Singapore annually receives criticism as THE marketplace desperately in need of “stepping its game up”.

However, consider this … a Singapore “hawker center” is a building housing rows and rows of small food stalls – all serving a variety of foods and desserts.  Sound a bit familiar?

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

Is it Food & Wine every day in Singapore?

Or, how about this?  When it comes to cuisine, diversity is THE word.  Malaysia, China, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, the Middle East and many other countries can claim influence on Singapore’s culinary landscape.

To be honest, if ever there was a country MADE for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, it is Singapore!

Let’s take a look back at recent history.  In 2011, Chef Jens offered us a shrimp cake on a sugar cane skewer.  In addition, his entrees included an Indonesian-inspired coconut-braised beef rendang.  Last year, the beef rendang returned to be accompanied by a seared mahi-mahi.

As I recall, the shrimp cake and mahi-mahi were quite tasty.  I have to admit, however, that I couldn’t scrape up the desire to try the rendang.  I mean, the pictures that I saw of that spicy meat dish didn’t look appetizing at all.

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

Step your game up, Singapore!

So, if we were given the chance to write Chef’s menu, what could we offer?

Well, first, I would suggest replacing the beef rendang.  It has had its day, and, as I researched the multitude of options we could choose for Singapore, I found the perfect replacement.  Chef Jens won’t have to travel far to find a slam-dunk recipe.  Have you ever had Sanaa’s butter chicken?  You should.  It’s an incredible Indian-influenced dish.  Sanaa can be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village.

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

If you give us butter chicken, Chef, we’ll flock to Singapore!

For Singapore’s second entree, I could make a strong argument to keep their seared mahi-mahi.  It WAS pretty tasty, but, since this marketplace is going to get a complete “refurb”, I’m going to suggest a popular seafood dish with Malaysian overtones – chili crab.

Imagine crab stir-fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savory tomato and chili-based sauce.  Despite its name, it is not a very spicy dish.  It was, however, listed by CNN as one of the “World’s 50 most delicious foods” in 2011.  Some rendition of this has got to be worth a taste.

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

If not crab, then I could imagine Chef presenting some kind of “chili seafood” dish.

There you have it.  If Singapore is in need of an upgrade, I would say its old entrees need to be completely erased in favor of brand new choices.  In my mind, the butter chicken is a sure winner.  The crab is a wild card.

Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at


Heat Things Up at Viva la Musica at SeaWorld Orlando!

Are you ready to heat things up? Then join us at SeaWorld Orlando for Viva la Musica, Central Florida’s hottest Latin food and concert festival, every Saturday from April 13 through May 4.

Come celebrate the food, fun, sights and sounds of Latin culture at this annual festival, featuring live concerts by internationally renowned Latin musical artists – all included with park admission.

Viva la Musica, Central Florida’s hottest Latin food and concert festival, every Saturday from April 13 through May 4.

The Viva la Música festival area opens at 12 p.m. each Saturday, with concerts starting at 3 p.m. at Bayside Stadium:

  • Saturday, April 13 – Daddy Yankee (reggaeton)
  • Saturday, April 20 – Willie Colón (salsa)
  • Saturday, April 27 – Grupománia (merengue)
  • Saturday, May 4 – El Gran Combo (salsa)

With more than 20 years experience – and a lifetime enjoying countless Caribbean and Latin dishes – Executive Chef Héctor Colon is cooking up traditional Latin favorites like arroz con gandules y pasteles, arroz con pollo, habichuelas rojas y maduros, mofongo con carne frita, alcapurrias and bacalaítos.

Viva la Musica, Central Florida’s hottest Latin food and concert festival, every Saturday from April 13 through May 4.

For Florida residents, the best way to experience Viva la Música is with a 2013 SeaWorld Fun Card, where you pay for a day and come back all year through Dec. 31, 2013. You’ll have unlimited admission to Viva la Música and all of our other exciting events, plus experience Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, when it opens May 24.

Mark your calendars for Viva la Musica, the hottest festival in Central Florida, starting April 13!

Disney Encourages Kids to ‘TRYit’ During Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival chefs have chosen some fun dishes to encourage youngsters to try something new as part of Disney’s TRYit campaign.

 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival chefs have chosen some fun dishes to encourage youngsters to try something new as part of Disney’s TRYit campaign.

Jens Dahlmann, executive chef for Epcot says, “I approached the TRYit dishes for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival like I approach new foods with my own children, focusing on great ingredients and finding ways to make them interesting for our younger guests.  For some dishes, we found fun and interesting ways to present them, like the ‘Frushi’ [fruit sushi] for example, while other dishes such as the Watermelon Salad combine a familiar fruit paired with the unusual tastes of arugula and feta cheese, making it a whole new experience.”

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival chefs have chosen some fun dishes to encourage youngsters to try something new as part of Disney’s TRYit campaign.

TRYit is part of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living initiative, partnering with parents to inspire kids to try new foods and new activities. You’ll see TRYit dishes all throughout the World Showcase Promenade. The festival is a fun way to try small bites of something new.

Look for the TRYit logo on these diverse dishes in the Garden Marketplaces and Festival Center.

The festival runs from March 6 – May 19, so there’s lots of time to try them all:

  • Beet Lollipop (Intermissions Café in the Festival Center)
  • Wild Berry Slush (Fruits by the Glass)
  • Baked Goat’s Brie with Kumquat Chutney (The Cottage, United Kingdom)
  • Frushi (Fruit Sushi) (Hanami, Japan)
  • Lasagna Primavera (Primavera Kitchen, Italy)
  • Potato Pancakes with house-made Apple Sauce (Bauernmarkt, Germany)
  • Spring Pancake with Grilled Chicken & Green Apple (Lotus House, China)
  • Watermelon Salad with pickled Red Onions, BW Farms Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese & Balsamic Reduction (Florida Fresh)
  • Angel Food Cake with macerated Florida Berries (Florida Fresh)
  • Ratatouille Tarte with Goat Cheese (L’Orangerie, France)
  • Moroccan Sweet Pancake (Taste of Marrakesh, Morocco)
  • Waterkist Farms Heirloom Tomatoes with house-made Mozzarella, Minus 8 Vinegar & Basil (The Cottage, United Kingdom)

To learn more about TRYit and Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living, visit the Magic of Healthy Living web site.

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