The Dendrobium is displayed at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Flowers and gastronomy definitely delight and the island-city state of Singapore, not only in celebration of its National Day in connection with the Expo2020 Dubai, but more importantly recognising the strong bond it has with the host government, has unveiled a new crossbreed of the orchid Dendrobium genus and introduced as well to the UAE community a signature variety of easy-to-prepare meals that well-represent the over 5.9 million Singaporeans.
Carefully cross bred by the experts of the 162-year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens, Dendrobium Expo2020 Dubai, with thin slender stems typical of the orchid genus, but distinguished with willowy twisted golden yellow petals marked with lilac veins, was presented to UAE Minister of Tolerance and Co-Existence Expo2020 Dubai Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan by Singapore National Security Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister Teo Chee Hean during the “Singapore National Day” held on Saturday morning at the Al Wasl Plaza of the World Exposition site.
Formal diplomatic ties between the UAE and Singapore were established on May 15, 1985 and on Saturday, Teo said: “As small states and hubs in our respective regions, Singapore and the UAE have benefitted from a close friendship and partnership that have continued to strengthen over the years. The UAE is Singapore’s largest trading partner and investment destination in the Middle East. We enjoy strong people-to-people ties, with the UAE hosting the largest number of Singaporeans in the region. Our two countries are also strongly committed to creating more sustainable future. It is fitting that we are unveiling the Dendrobium Expo2020 Dubai today, to mark not just the flourishing ties between our two countries, but also our shared love and respect for nature.”
The colours of the Dendrobium Expo2020 Dubai were specifically selected by the horticulturists at the Singapore Botanic Gardens—classified as a heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) consisting of the National Orchid Garden, Ethnobotany Garden, and the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden—“to complement the colours of the Expo2020 Dubai logo; to celebrate the coming together of nations from all over the world to forge stronger partnerships and co-create a brighter future.”
The Dendrobium Expo2020 Dubai shall be prominently displayed at the Flower Cone of the ever-verdant and refreshing Singapore Pavilion within the Sustainability District alongside the special Dendrobium Fatima bint Mubarak, named after the Mother of the UAE, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak and the Aranda Lee Kuan Yew in honour of the late Singapore founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
On gastronomy and on
Friday evening, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), responsible for the Singapore Pavilion hosted as it introduced to the region its “The Stories of Taste & Passion” with featured celebrity chef Haikal Johari.
STB-Middle East director Beverly Au Yong told Gulf Today: “This is a culinary event that marks Singapore Day at the Singapore Pavilion which comes as part of the global recovery campaign—SingapoREimagine, which aims to bring together both homegrown and global communities to revive tourism and build anticipation for future travel to Singapore.”
“The campaign aims to bring safety, technology, experiences and sustainability to the fore,” she added.
Johari who has been whipping up the well-loved menu of the Michelin Star restaurant Alma by Juan Amador in Singapore, said: “(STB) approached me to promote the food culture and dining scene of Singapore. I think this was a perfect opportunity to prompt people in the region to re-imagine travel to Singapore.”
Specifically, he curated and prepared Foie Gras (a modern take on a classic Yakun Kaya toast made with grape chutney, smoked fish cream, nori seaweed and coffee merengue), Prawn Fritters (using locally sourced and homegrown prawns, a twist of one of Singaporeans’ favourite Chinese dishes), Lamb Short Ribs (a spruce of the traditional Rendang), Red Snapper (with wonton skin and salted egg mayonnaise), and Tarik Mousse (a special version of Singapore’s beverage The Tarik with gula jawa glaze and vanilla foam).
Johari who developed his love for the culinary arts when injuries in his ankles led him to become bedridden for months then wheelchair-bound, 20 years ago, described Singapore cuisine as “the melting pot of various cultures; our food has many influences (aside from) Malayan, Peranakan, Chinese, Tamil and European—which make it so interesting.”
“Singapore’s obsession with food has led to the evolution and growth of its dining scene. From the nation’s UNESCO-recognised hawker culture which brings people from all walks of life together for a gastronomic experience to the new category of food (we now call Mod-Sin, short for Modern Singapore), which is a fresh spin on the signature Singapore street fare. As a testament to the city’s obsession with food, Singapore retains its high density of awarded establishment—60 Michelin starts from 49 restaurants as well,” he said, agreeing with STB’s Yong, that the love for food is very much encapsulated in the Singaporean’s natural greeting with anyone as it is also a demonstration of respect and concern, “Jiak ba beh?” or “Have you eaten yet?”
The Expo is going to be a grand event. The whole world will have now a reason to visit Dubai. The world is now hailing the vision and courage demonstrated by the leadership of Dubai and the UAE at this special time facing all the challenges and turning the challenges as blessings. About 3 to 5 percent of people visiting Expo 2020 is expected revisiting Dubai or planning to make Dubai their residence post the Expo.
In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition – the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, ‘Industry of All Nations’, were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress. In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment.
World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (‘Expos’) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE’s auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.