Mice show shines Singapore in new light

Sentosa Island in Singapore

Its latest event, the SingapoReimagine MICE Virtual Show – the first such collaboration between Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and local Mice players – held from March 3 to 4 showcased reimagined experiences and an opportunity to connect over new business opportunities.

SingapoReimagine MICE Virtual Show facilitated 1-on-1 virtual meetings between participants and up to 40 leading suppliers like hotels, convention centres and tour operators. It featured a locally curated programme that included live-streamed cultural and leisure tours, culinary masterclasses by celebrity chefs, and a live panel discussion with industry leaders on organising pilot events in Singapore.

Seven unique experiences were exclusively curated for buyers, including live cultural tours at Waterloo Street and Little India; masterclasses by homegrown distillery Brass Lion Distillery and Malcolm Lee, chef-owner of the world’s first Michelin star Peranakan restaurant Candlenut; and a behind-the-scenes tour of one of Singapore’s oldest coffee shops, Killiney.

The virtual and live Street of Harmony @ Waterloo tour began with a look inside the public housing of Singapore, buildings that have been around since 1970s. A brief visit to a Chinese and Indian household residing side by side, showed Singapore’s multi-ethnic existence. Void decks – ground floors left vacant for people to gather for rejoicing, mourning and sharing food – throw light on the fast-paced city’s heartening community spirit.

The street food confirms that eating is almost like a national pastime for Singaporeans. Waterloo Street is a pedestrian street and our live virtual journey includes a tour guide showing us a dry goods stall, where everything from dried cuttlefish, sea cucumber, anchovies, shrimp and scallops share pride of place with delicious berries: all dehydrated to increase intensity of taste and prolong shelf life.

No trip to Waterloo Street is complete without a visit to the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, the most popular temple in Singapore, dedicated to the goddess of compassion, worshipped by Taoists and Buddhists alike. This temple, built in 1884, and its divination sticks that tell you your future in poetic riddles, would be on any tourist’s agenda.

Opposite the temple, a cheerful street vendor has been selling flowers, incense sticks, pomelo leaves and soul-cleansing limes for three generations, starting out as a little girl accompanying her grandmother.

Candlenut, the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant takes a contemporary yet authentic approach to traditional Straits-Chinese cuisine. Helmed by chef Malcolm Lee, Candlenut is committed to continually create inspired and elevated Peranakan dishes using the freshest seasonal produce available.

The Peranakans are an ethnic group defined by their genealogical descent from the first waves of Southern Chinese settlers to the ports in the Malay Peninsula and Indonesian Archipelago. Peranakan culture, especially in the dominant Peranakan centres of Malacca, Singapore, Penang and Medan is characterized by its unique hybridization of ancient Chinese culture with the local cultures of the Nusantara region, the result of a centuries-long history of transculturation and interracial marriage.

With this exotic description, participants learned how to whip up the delicious Ikan Chuan Chuan (pan-fried fish), but were definitely left hungry for the actual taste of the dish. This can be corrected when they do visit Singapore.

In a live stream, participants visited the Killiney Kopitiam – one of Singapore’s oldest coffee shops with its Killiney Road outlet being recognised in Singapore Book of Records 2008 as the ‘Oldest Existing Hainanese Coffeeshop’. Participants gained a glimpse into the Hainanese culture; the ‘secrets’ of Killiney’s coffee, kaya and paste; and went behind-the-scene and virtually experienced how the instant coffee was truly made-in-Singapore.

In a remarkably organised and thoughtful execution that leaves few details to chance, STB ensured that I was drinking steaming hot Killiney Kopitiam coffee out of my mug, when the event started in the wee hours of March 3, with a welcome by Dr Edward Koh, Executive Director.