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10 Unusual Ingredients That Adventurous Foodies Have To Try

Last Updated: October 22, 2018

Written by Andre Frois

If you’re the kind of foodie who’s always game for new experiences, we recommend checking out these uncommon ingredients in these nine delicious dishes. La Strada, La Taperia and Bistro Du Vin are esteemed establishments that remind their patrons of Europe with authentic European cuisine, décor and flair.

The interiors of these restaurants resemble authentic eateries in Italy, Spain and France. The respective chefs also use rare and interesting produce, which they have gone to great lengths to procure. If you’re looking for an unforgettable taste of European fare, look no further than these dishes made with 10 unusual ingredients.

1. Nutritional Yeast

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Chef Dalton of La Strada was introduced to nutritional yeast at a nutrition course. The pale yellow powder has a umami taste that is cheesy and nutty. It is widely used as a vegan substitute for parmesan cheese.

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He first makes his tagliatelle with eggs and flour by hand, and adds his own version of arugula pesto sauce to it. The nutritional yeast in the arugula pesto provides a distinct creaminess to the dish. This pesto sauce is used in a variety of dishes such as the Pan-Fried Eryngii (S$14).

2. Tonburi

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Another popular vegetarian dish from La Strada is its Burrata Served With Tonburi And Radishes ($48). The highlight of this flavourful treat is, of course, the tonburi (or “Mountain Caviar”).  Contrary to its name, this particular type of caviar does not come from fish, but is derived from a mountain plant called Bassia Scoparia.

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Its subtle sweetness and crunchy caviar-like texture complements the soft and creamy burrata.

3. Japanese Seaweed (Kombu)

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Chef Dalton learnt the different culinary applications of seaweed from a Japanese friend. He professed that amongst all the seafood ingredients, he loves seaweed the most because it is versatile and easy to work with.

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He created a gluten-free version of spaghettini, also known as capellini, at La Strada using seaweed. This Capellini Cold Seaweed Pasta (S$68) includes Oscietra caviar, diamond shell clams and sea urchin.

4. & 5. Dates Syrup and Sea Coral Jelly

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For dessert, Chef Dalton recommends the Sea Coral Jelly and Dates Syrup (S$18).

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Inspired by traditional almond jelly, this dairy-free panna cotta dessert is made using dates syrup, which has recently been gaining popularity amongst Italian chefs. This dish also contains sea coral jelly, a healthy comfort food ingredient that Chef Dalton hopes will resonate with local diners.

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6. Frog Legs

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Typically uncommon in Spanish fare,  Chef Wei Han of La Taperia uses frog legs in his Ancas De Rana Al Ajillo (S$24), which translates to ‘frog legs in garlic’.

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Mixed with typical Spanish ingredients like sobrasada ham, minced sausages, broad beans and garlic, this dish will appeal to people who love some heat in their food. Its mild spiciness is meant to cater to the Southeast Asian palates.

7. Carabinero Shrimps

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Also known as Deep-Sea Cardinal Shrimp, these shrimps thrive abundantly in the Mediterranean. Known for their fiery red appearance, they are used by Chef Wei Han in his Carabineros Prawn Paella (seasonal price).

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Chef Wei Han has selected this particular species of shrimp to complement the bomba rice of the paella. The Carabinero shrimp is known for its flavourful essence, which can be mixed with the Spanish rice. The light flavours of the rice and caramelised apple help to balance the dominant flavour of the prawns.

9. Grenailles de Noirmoutier

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Grenailles de Noirmoutier are baby potatoes grown on the island of Noirmoutier in France. These rare potatoes are known for their nuttiness.

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Chef Laurent complements them with Colonnata lard from Italy, which melts in the mouth when paired with these potatoes. He sautés his Grenailles Au Lard De Colonnata (S$10) with pink garlic, which gives the dish a sharp flavour.

9. Langoustines

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The langoustine, a distant cousin of the Carabinero shrimp (also known as the “Norwegian Lobster”), is prized for its subtly sweet flavour too. It is used by Chef Laurent of Bistro Du Vin to make his beloved ravioli.

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When langoustines are in season, Chef Laurent’s menu features Ravioli De Langoustines (S$42), which includes ratatouille and this Nordic crustacean. He garnishes the ratatouillle with baby vegetables that are flown in from France.

10. Wild Turbot

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French restaurants would typically order turbot from fish farms. However, Chef Laurent prefers working on wild-caught turbot, which is more flavourful and offers a firmer texture.

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He complements the dish- Turbot Francais Sauvage (S$50) with baby carrots. Creamy and gamey like stingray and snapper, the carrot puree and baby carrots sweetened the wild turbot.

Live The Good Life® with Standard Chartered Credit Cards! From now till 31 December 2018, Standard Chartered Credit Cardholders get to enjoy S$20 off when they spend a minimum of S$100 in a single receipt at any of the following restaurants: Bistro Du Vin, La Strada, La Taperia, Casa Verde, Sushi Jin and Peperoni Pizzeria.

For more details, head over to The Good Life® website.

*This post was brought to you in partnership with Les Amis Group and Standard Chartered.

**Promotion ends 19 October 2018.

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