Culinary Journeys: Sake

In Singapore, a Spanish tapas restaurant teaches diners about Japanese sake

Lilit Marcus, CNNUpdated 30th September 2019
(CNN) — The island city-state of Singapore may be small, but it's known for exceptional food you can't find anywhere else in the world.
What other places might call fusion is what Singaporeans just call food -- the country's mix of Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and British cultures have resulted in a wide range of culinary combos.
At Singapore restaurant Bam!, two other cultures have been melded into a new cuisine -- Japanese and Spanish.
There, chef de cuisine Li Si and the rest of the team combine Japanese style, Spanish flavors and elegant presentation for a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience.
The restaurant's ethos is "modern shudo," or "the contemporary way of sake enjoyment."
That means that sake isn't just in a glass -- it's on the plate, too.
"We do actually use a lot of sake in our food," says chef Si. "For making sauces, in our dressings."
Bam!'s dishes combine Japanese style and Spanish flavors.
Bam!'s dishes combine Japanese style and Spanish flavors.
Courtesy of Bam!
She says it's common for guests to compliment a certain dish, ask questions about how it is made, and then express surprise that sake is an ingredient.
Staff members can answer questions about sake and recommend different varieties that diners might like to try alongside their meal. Luckily, with an 80-bottle deep sake list, there's plenty to choose from.
One of the popular dishes at Bam! is an abalone congee with espardenyes. This ultra-rich dish mixes Asian favorites (abalone and congee, a rice-based porridge) with Spanish espardenyes, aka sea cucumbers.
The broth is made with dashi and the dish is finished off with jellied disks of salted egg yolk, crispy "egg floss" and spring onion.
The dish was one of the first things that chef Si, a Singapore native who spent several years working in Spain before returning to run the kitchen at Bam!, came up with at the restaurant.
And for the pairing? In Si's eyes, nothing pairs better with seafood than sake, especially when you're trying to bring out notes of sweetness.
Find out more in the above video.
Bam! Restaurant, 38 Tras St, Singapore 078977 7RHV+9P Singapore, +65 6226 0500