NTUC FairPrice launched its ‘Turkey Fair’ at all outlets starting today. The event also marked the beginning of ‘Turkey Week’, a weeklong series of events co-organized by the Turkish Embassy in Singapore, FairPrice, Temasek Polytechnic, Turkish Airlines and FiftyThree restaurant to raise awareness of Turkish food products, cuisine and culture in Singapore, in commemoration of the 88th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey.
NTUC FairPrice’s Turkey Fair 2011 is organized together with the Ministry of Economy of Turkey and will run for two weeks, until 9th of November. The Fair features over 80 varieties of Turkish food products in 105 FairPrice stores nationwide.
Minister-Of-State for Trade and Industry and National Development, Mr Lee Yi Shyan, launched the Fair with the Turkish Ambassador to Singapore His Excellency Şafak Göktürk, the Director General of Exports of the Ministry of Economy of Turkey, Mr Tarık Sönmez, and FairPrice Group CEO Mr Tan Kian Chew.
Mr Lee said: “I am pleased to note that the trade ties between Turkey and Singapore have been growing steadily. Turkey’s trade with Singapore has been on an upward trend since 2002, with total trade consistently crossing S$1 billion per year from 2007 to 2010. Many Singaporeans are also travelling to Turkey to experience its rich and colourful culture, and Turkish cuisine is becoming very popular here. Such people-to-people exchanges will help to further strengthen our good relations.”
Based on current Turkish trade statistics, Singapore is now second only to China as Turkey’s largest export destination in Asia. Singapore also plays a strategic role as a gateway for Turkey to the rest of the region. The variety of traded products between Turkey and Singapore has grown in recent years. Notably, food exports from Turkey to Singapore have been steadily increasing and diversifying.
Turkey is one of the largest producers and exporters of agricultural and food products in the world today. Ambassador Göktürk said: “This is an important step as we are now offering a fuller variety of Turkish food products to consumers in Singapore. Today’s inauguration signifies a bigger reality. Turkish-Singaporean trade is both growing and diversifying. It is in line with what both of us stand for as dynamic economies. This Fair also complements other activities of Turkey Week, which provide us with a valuable opportunity to promote Turkish cuisine and culture in Singapore”.
NTUC FairPrice first started offering products from Turkey in 2008 with a small selection of olive oils. With the launch of the Turkey Fair, FairPrice increased its range of products from Turkey to over 80, reflecting growing awareness for Turkish food and agricultural products in Singapore, increasing receptiveness of Singaporean consumers to Turkish tastes as well as rising interest of Turkish producers and exporters in the Singapore market.
Mr Tan Kian Chew, Group CEO of NTUC FairPrice said at the launch event, “As a leading supermarket retailer, FairPrice is always on the lookout for new and exciting quality products to satisfy the adventurous tastebuds of our customers. This is why we organise about 10 country fairs each year, to introduce new products from abroad, so that our customers can enjoy the many tastes of the world.”
To represent the Ministry of Economy of Turkey, Mr Tarık Sönmez, Director General of Exports, was in Singapore to attend the opening ceremony of Turkey Fair 2011. Mr Sönmez said, “The first-ever Turkey Fair at FairPrice is a clear indication of the importance we are attaching to the Singapore market and to FairPrice. It is a landmark for our exports of food products to Singapore and on this ground we will continue our concerted efforts to further expand our commercial ties with Singapore and with FairPrice.”
The Turkey Fair will showcase foods from Turkey which include olive oils, Turkish delight, premium chocolates and confectionery, specialty cheeses, chicken kebabs, cordials, tea, milk, dried and fresh fruits, vegetables and even a selection of Turkish wines and beers at all FairPrice stores from 27 October to 9 November 2011. Shoppers were also treated to samples of these delectable Turkish foods during the launch today.
In addition, Turkish Airlines, named Europe’s Best Airline at the 2011 Skytrax World Airline Awards, announced that it would be sponsoring two return tickets to Istanbul, Turkey as part of NTUC FairPrice’s lucky draw during the Fair.
“As Turkey’s national carrier, we welcome the collaboration and hope this will be a good opportunity to share the country’s breathtaking natural beauty, unique historical sites and, of course, exquisite cuisines,” said Turkish Airlines’ General Manager, Mr Cengiz Inceosman.
A Masterclass in Turkey-Singapore Fusion Cuisine
That afternoon, budding culinary students from Temasek Polytechnic’s Diploma in Culinary & Catering Management (CCM) got a rare chance to partake in a masterclass by local celebrity chef Michael Han at the Temasek Culinary Academy. A champion of modern-European fusion cuisine at his restaurant FiftyThree, Chef Han prepared two unique culinary creations – a main course and a dessert – which fused Turkish and Singaporean ingredients. True to the spirit of Turkey Week, Chef Han utilized the Turkish food items now available at NTUC FairPrice.
Turkish cuisine is renowned as one of the world’s best. It is considered to be one of the three main cuisines of the world because of the variety of its recipes, its use of natural ingredients, its flavours and tastes that appeal to all palates and its influence throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Turkish cuisine is in a sense a bridge between far-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines and today Chef Han combined it further with Singapore’s unique flavours.
Chef Han’s main course creation was a ‘lamb kofte and goat’s milk and yoghurt’. The goat’s milk, sourced locally, was accompanied by another uniquely Singaporean ingredient – XO sauce. His dessert creation was an ‘almond pudding and coffee’.
Chef Han said: “While using as many local ingredients as possible in combination with fresh produce from Turkey, I tried to retain the originality and flavours of both Turkish and Singaporean cuisine into the dishes. These dishes are also easy to replicate for the average home cook.”
“It was a wonderful opportunity to see Chef Han at work firsthand,” said Edward Siew, a second-year CCM student at Temasek Polytechnic. “What’s more exciting is that we were one of the first to see how he created two new dishes step-by-step.”
CCM course manager, Tan Hsien Wei, said: “Temasek Polytechnic strives to bring the best chefs and variety of cuisines to our students at the Temasek Culinary Academy to widen industrial exposure and deepen knowledge. Chef Han is well-known for using a variety of European and Asian ingredients. This is an excellent opportunity for our students to see how he fuses the two to come up with two Turkey-Singapore fusion dishes.”
Those keen on sampling Chef Han’s unique creations will be pleased to hear that FiftyThree’s degustation menu will be featuring Turkish ingredients for a limited period.
Turkish Airlines, which has daily flight to Istanbul, celebrates its 25 years in Singapore this year. Turkish Airlines has also announced that Chef Han’s special dessert creation, which commemorates this silver anniversary, will be featured on its in-flight business-class menu.
A salute to the strengthening ties between Singapore and Turkey
As Turkey celebrates its 88th Anniversary as a Republic and pays tribute to its founder and first President, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish Embassy will hold a National Day reception for the Turkish community and special friends and guests here in Singapore. This year’s celebration will have a unique element as the fusion dish prepared by Chef Han will be served at the national day reception of Turkey, in a salute to the strengthening ties between Singapore and Turkey.
The Turkey Week activities will come to a close with a Piano and Violin Recital sponsored by Turkish Airlines and Ravika Olive Oils to be held at the Esplanade (Theatres on the Bay) Recital Studio on the evening of 29 October. Featuring respected musicians from Turkey, Tolga Kulak (violin) and Heather Carpenter Özaltun (piano), the recital will be a celebration of classical and Turkish music, and an opportunity to bring Turkish culture closer to the Singaporean community.