Train travel can be awesome – let celebrity TV chef Jonathan Phang show you why!
Jonathan Phang was here in Singapore recently as part of a two-week South East Asia culinary tour – ‘Jonathan Phang Gourmet Getaway’ to promote his new season of Gourmet Trains. The show is currently showing on Asian Food Channel (AFC) every Sunday at 3pm and 10pm, on StarHub TV Channel 435 for Singapore audience.
As part of the tour, one lucky StarHub TV subscriber and a friend won a three-day, two-night, adventure on the Eastern and Oriental Express. Hosted by Phang himself, the duo was treated to a luxury train ride that included a market tour at Kuala Kangsar, Malaysia and a five course dinner specially prepared by Jonathan and Eastern and Oriental Express executive chef, Yannis Martineau.
The first day was spent traveling on the train.
Up bright and early on the second day, Jonathan Phang visited the local market in Kuala Kangsar with Chef Yannis and the contest winners to source for local ingredients for the Jonathan Phang Gourmet Getaway exclusive dinner to be held the following night.
At the market, Jonathan and Chef Yannis purchased long beans to be used in the vegetable curry, coriander to be used in the Breaded Cod served with Mango Salsa, Red Pepper Mayonnaise and Mixed Leaves and small limes to be used in the Coconut and Pineapple Crumble Cake and Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert.
Along the way, the group also sampled durians and visited Ubudiah Mosque, Perak’s royal mosque.
On the third day, the group visited the River Kwai Bridge in Thailand. The famous bridge and beginning of the ‘Death Railway’ is a poignant reminder of the thousands of prisoners of war and forced labourers who lost their lives in the Second World War during the construction of the railway.
On the last night, everyone was looking forward to the highlight of the trip – the Jonathan Phang Gourmet Getaway exclusive dinner.
These were the delectable dishes which the lucky guests got to sample (pictures via Jin Loves to Eat):
Craving for more of Jonathan Phang?
We had the opportunity to interview Phang while he was in Singapore, discovering how he only tried oysters at the age of 47 and whether he prefers Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay. Here are his answers:
1. Which is your most enjoyable train meal after filming two seasons?
Fortunately, I have never had a bad experience with food on a train! The chefs work in very small and hot kitchens but yet they are still able to cook up masterpiece meals for hundreds of people every day.
My most enjoyable meal when filming ‘Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Trains’ would have to be the Fish Curry with Rice prepared by Chef Yannis from the Eastern & Oriental Express. I had eaten so much food during that trip for filming and was craving for a simple home cooked meal– the curry really hit the spot!
As for a gourmet meal, it would be have to be the Cauliflower Veloute with Steamed Sole and Beluga Caviar prepared by Chef Christian Bodigal on the Belmond Venice Simplon Orient Express. I am not a big fan of cauliflower but I polished off the whole plate.
2. What is your favourite moment in this season which viewers should watch out for? Can you share an unforgettable moment?
My most memorable experience from season one was when we filmed on the Eastern & Oriental Train travelling from Singapore to Thailand. We visited the River Kwai and Kanchanaburi cemetery where many of the prisoners of war are buried. The whole experience was extremely moving.
In the second season, my most memorable experience was when we visited Machu Picchu, it was absolutely beautiful and its vast landscape just took my breath away. I’d love to go back there one day.
3. Can you name three favourite local food in Singapore which you enjoy and why?
My father is Chinese and I grew up eating and loving Chinese food. I absolutely love Wanton, Char Siew Mien, Sago and Prata Bombs! I always have to make time to get my fill of local food every time I visit Singapore.
4. How would you recommend a train vacation vs a cruise holiday or flying via airplanes?
Travelling by train allows you to experience the country at its core, showing you sights and sounds that other transport systems like coaches or planes cannot.
Everyone should take the opportunity to slow down and just enjoy where they are and what’s around them, away from technology, work and the bustle of a big city. Luxury trains can offer a beautiful and whimsical experience that many can only appreciate after trying it for themselves.
5. You are a famous public figure who has a very public profile. Can you share three currently unknown little secrets about Jonathan Phang which will be exclusive for this interview?
I am an open book so it would be hard to share three secrets about myself!
I love to sing show tunes around a piano, I didn’t eat my first oyster till I was 47 years old, and I hate tripe (lining of the stomach of cattle)!
6. Have you cooked at sea or in the plane before too? If so, what is the difference from cooking on a train? If not, would you try?
I’ve never cooked at sea or in a plane before but I would think that the restrictions that the kitchen teams face are similar to those on a train. The train’s kitchen staff are highly skilled in working with the movement of the train (making sure you don’t chop your finger every time it jolts is very important!)
While I am always up for a challenge, I was quite nervous to have to do it this time on the Asian Food Channel tour!
7. Finally, Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver? Why?
Between the two, it would have to be Jamie Oliver; He is just such a likeable person, an everyman for all seasons if you will. I love that he has been able to turn his success into to giving so much to society like improving the quality of hospital, school and prison food.
Good news for Alvinology readers – we have an exclusive giveaway!
Answer two simple questions correctly and be in the running to win an exclusive Asian Food Channel goodie bag worth S$100 in value! Remember to share the post on Facebook to be eligible to win.
The goodie bag is inclusive of Jonathan Phang’s recipe book, The Pepperpot Club, which has been personally autographed by the celeb chef himself. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to indulge in a celebration of Chinese-Caribbean cuisine, packed with stunning dishes and delicious recipes to try out!
Other items in the goodie bag includes:
– 1 x AFC Cotton Bag
– 1 x AFC Notebook
– 1 x AFC Lanyard
– 1 x AFC Tea Infuser Bottle
– 1 x AFC Mug
The questions (Psst..answers can all be found in the post!):
(a) Share with us one (1) country and gourmet train Jonathan Phang boarded in the second season of Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Trains.
(b) What channel in Singapore is Jonathan Phang Gourmet Trains 2 airing on?