We knew it wouldn't be too long before we heard from Shermay Lee again. Her cooking school in Holland V shuttered two weeks ago, but the Nyonya chef is in the news again for her new collaboration with Singapore Airlines.
Like most other homegrown brands, the local carrier's jumping on the SG50 bandwagon with a Singapore Heritage Cuisine menu onboard all Singapore Airlines flights out of the city and its Changi Airport lounges from July to September. The menu – it’s offered across SQ's Suites, First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy class seats – features the traditional Nyonya recipes passed down from Shermay’s grandmother, Lee Chin Koon.
Shermay’s not merely lending her – and her grandma's – name and pedigree to the collaboration, though. Speaking at the media launch for her menu, she emphasised the hoops the SATS kitchens (the people handling the cooking and assembling of her in-flight meals) had to jump through to keep flavours real.
The pork satays are hand-skewered in the kitchen, the cooks take extra time to fiddle with titchy bawang merah (red shallots) to give their rempahs extra flavour, and the coconut- and pandan-perfumed nasi lemak rice is cooked in a modern method that mimics the laborious way Lee's family has prepared theirs for generations. The menu, a comprehensive selection of Peranakan favourites like bakwan kepiting, ayam buah keluak, Nyonya fish curry and an especially fortifying Hokkien mee soup, took three to four months to come together with the team at SATS and Singapore Airlines.
So, it looks like there's no time like July to September to splash out on those pricier tickets to get on a Singapore Airlines flight. Anything for that last dose of Singaporean food before you get homesick on holiday.