I am always really conscious about turning up to someone’s house empty handed here in Singapore. Somehow, all the more, because I am English and in England you can more than get away with it, unless you are going for a dinner party. Here, I know it’s the custom to bring something and I am always on the lookout for interesting, useful things I can give. Here’s my current top three – all edible I’m afraid…
Bendicks Bittermints – I think these have got to be the best chocolates out there with their deliciously bitter 95% cocoa solid casing and mint middle; they are also so eponymously Brit that they are extra fun to give when living here. I have only managed to track them down in one shop: The Cocoa Trees which always looks a bit main stream and unimaginative from the outside but actually stocks really quite good things if you can get over the penny sweet offering that monopolises the main floor. They also sell the Italian, praline filled Bacci which are also always lovely to receive, nevermind give. Bendicks are around $16 a box, less if they are on offer or about to expire which is quite often as I don’t usually seem to pay this much.
A new find that I was given yesterday by my lovely friend AW, is a bag of barley; but really, I promise it is so much more stylish and less farmer-Giles than it sounds. Actually, they are Sugar Puffs in disguise, so definitely ticks the useful box as your child can munch them with milk for breakfast, plus it transports you back to your childhood in an instant (especially when eating them raw, straight out of the bag which is how it’s meant to be done apparently). Sold in the Japanese store in Tangs Food Hall on #B1.
My 3rd pick is a box of Royce Bitter Nama Chocolates (main picture, above) which are even supplied in their own – free – cool bag for ultra-easy gifting. I find the regular Nama range too sweet and creamy so Bitter really is the only way to go. There are Royce outlets everywhere and prices are around $15 per box.