For those of us who haven’t jumped on the whisky bandwagon just yet, it might help to beef up our knowledge on the subject—to impress a visiting boss, outshine a savvy friend, improve on random trivia skills… or just to show Dad how we've grown up!

What is whisky?

Whiskies come in grain or malt form. A grain whisky is generally made from any type of grain apart from barley, whereas a malt whisky is made from malted barley specifically. A single malt whisky, generally prized above other types, is made from a single distillery, but not necessarily from a single cask.

A blended whisky is a combination of different grain and malt whiskies. Whiskies are also defined by region or country, the prominent ones being Scotland, Ireland, America and Japan. According to Hong Kong bar Angel’s Share’s Charlene Dawes, American bourbon whiskies (think Maker’s Mark), made mostly from corn, are generally fuller bodied and Japanese whiskies (think Suntory) are more easygoing. Scottish and Irish whiskies are more varied. Within Scotland, there are the Highlands (which includes the Islands sub-regions; they produce lighter-bodied whiskies), Lowlands (drier whiskies), Islay (peaty and smoky whiskies), Speyside (sweeter whiskies) and Campbeltown (full-bodied whiskies).

Whisky Etiquette

Use the right vessel, like a Glencairn glass. The shape of the glass helps to concentrate the aroma of the whisky.

Admire the whisky’s color and nose it before you swallow.

When you sip, move it all around your mouth to detect different flavors; as it oxidizes, new flavors are brought out.

Drink your whiskies neat, a dash of water (spring water works best) opens up more flavors and aromas.

Try not to use ice as it “closes” the whisky, masking its complexity. Don’t warm it like brandy either.

Food Pairing

While whisky glasses on the dinner table are not exactly the etiquette du jour, our whisky experts all agree that some foods go very well with the beverage. “Food pairing works, but this depends on the whisky itself,” says Mirey. “For example, with a smoky, peaty whisky like Ardbeg, you would look at a very smoky or salty dish. Smoked salmon, oysters, blue cheese all work.”

“Hearty dishes like lambshank, or duck confit, complements a glass of slightly sweet, flavorsome whisky like The Macallan. A very fruity and nutty whisky like the Glenmorangie can go with scallops or satay chicken,” he adds. “Personally, I have whisky with peanuts at the bar, after dinner.”

Bowmore ambassador Kay Wu also recommends a lighter, smoother whisky like the Auchentoshan from the Lowlands to go with a dessert, possibly something fruity or dark chocolate-based.

Did You Know...

The age of the whisky is defined by the number of years the liquid has been aged in a barrel, and once bottled, it effectively stops aging, Arthur Motley explains. For example, a 1948 10 year old bottle is the same age as a 2010 10 year old bottle. A Scotch whisky must be aged at least three years to be deemed a true Scotch.

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Peranakan cuisine combines Chinese, Malay and other influences into a unique blend. We recommend these few Singapore Peranakan restaurants for their authentic Peranakan food.

Baba Inn's buah keluak

Ayam Buah Keluak | Baba Inn at Frankel Avenue

Baba Inn

Don't let the casual air here deceive you—the Peranakan cuisine served is prepared with care and pride. They also whip up a sambal belachan that will make a Peranakan grandmother proud.

The Blue Ginger

Around for 15 years, the Blue Ginger is undisputedly one of Singapore's best Peranakan restaurants.

Candlenut

Chef Malcom Lee fuses innovation with the deep, robust and complex flavors of Peranakan cuisine to create dishes like buah keluak beef rib, assam sotong and buah keluak ice cream.

Casa Bom Vento

This charming spot serves up great Peranakan food like ayam buah keluak, nyonya chap chye and the house specialty, grilled baby stingray with black peppercorns and curry leaves.

Flavours at Zhongshan Park

Book a table at Flavours At Zhongshan Park with Chope

The themed weekend buffets here are a fun touch, with Peranakan favorites available on Fridays - where there's stuff like babi pongteh and gulai ayam - a combination of Peranakan classics and seafood on Saturdays and a high-tea buffet on Sundays, with dim sum and more Peranakan snacks to choose from.

Eurasian-Peranakan food at Immigrants restaurant in Joo Chiat

Immigrants

This laid-back gastropub in Joo Chiat serves up mean Peranakan and Eurasian bites alongside a respectable list of whiskeys and craft beers.


If you are new to Peranakan food, check out our Peranakan cheat sheet—a list of just the classics, and where to get them.


Indocafe 

Housed in a black-and-white building with luxe interiors, Indocafe offers Nyonya cuisine infused with a contemporary touch, and have their spices freshly ground using the traditional pestle and mortar.

Curry Fish head | Peranakan Inn Singapore

Curry Fish Head | Peranakan Inn restaurant in Katong

PeraMakan

Pleasant and nostalgic with some modern touches, the name really says it all. The food is pretty outstanding, too with classic dishes like babi pongteh, ayam buah keluak and nyonya chap chye. We say go straight for the babi pongteh, it's not too oily and are braised to perfection with a side of mushrooms for added aroma. 

Peranakan Inn

Done up like an old Peranakan home, Peranakan Inn is a great spot to bring out of towners.

Spice Peranakan

Damn good food... in a biotech park.... Try the ikan tamban or babi pongteh.

Ayam Buah Keluak | Violet Oon's Kitchen Peranakan restaurant Singapore

Buah Keluak | Violet Oon's Kitchen at Bukit Timah

Violet Oon's Kitchen

Book a table at Violet Oon's Kitchen with Chope

This local bistro serves up excellent Peranakan grub served in generous portions like ayam buah keluak ($22), beef rendang ($22) and fish tempra ($24).

Whole Earth Peranakan Thai Vegetarian Restaurant

Whole Earth makes vegetarian Peranakan—giving you one less excuse to not give up meat.


more Peranakan restaurants

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If you think Taiwan is all about Taipei, think again.

Taipei is, without a doubt, a bustling, metropolitan city with much to offer, but once you’ve had your fill of night market cuisine, gone up and down Taipei 101 and partied yourself out, it might be time to head south. Extend your Formosan adventure to the cities of Kaohsiung and Tainan and discover their many treasures. Rich history, gourmet delights and distinct regional culture await.

Kaohsiung

There are no longer any direct flights between Singapore and Kaohsiung (for the moment at least), but it can be reached easily by high-speed rail from Taipei. Once you’ve arrived, you need only jump on the recently completed metro system (also called the MRT) to speed over to any of Kaohsiung’s major tourist locations. Development in this harbor town is keeping brisk pace with that of its northern counterpart, Taipei, but unlike the capital, Kaohsiung is a planned municipality, which means wider streets and lighter traffic. Visitors will find Taiwan’s second-largest city well into its evolution from an industrial hub to a modern metropolis.

Shopping Heaven
Tourists looking for a unique shopping experience can visit Dream Mall (789 Zhonghua 5th Rd., Qianzhen District, +886 (7) 973-3888, www.dream-mall.com.tw, MRT Kaisyuan Station), the largest shopping mall in Taiwan and secondlargest in Asia. If touring an endless row of upscale boutiques isn’t enough for you, this titanic shopping complex is worth visiting for the spectacle of its rooftop Hello Kitty Ferris Wheel alone.

Seafood Island
Just down the block from Dream Mall is old Kaohsiung’s Cijin District (it’s a quick $0.65 ferry ride from the MRT Kaisyuan Station). The area is nestled on a slim island just off the city’s western coast and is famous for its wide array of freshly caught seafood.

Midnight Madness
Foodies should flock to the Liuhe Night Market (Liuhe 2nd Rd., Xinxing District, MRT Formosa Boulevard). This sprawling snack emporium has been rebuilt by the government for maximum tourist-friendliness. Try the crab legs fried in basil and pepper before cooling down with Zheng Lao Pai’s signature papaya milk. The market’s 138 stalls also include games and shopping.

Romantic Riverside Views
Make your way over the Love River (MRT City Council Station, just one stop from Liuhe Night Market) before the stars come out. The aptly-named canal will surely stir romantic feelings in anyone who experiences its soothing ambiance, riverside cafés and live music beneath the streetlamps. Treat your loved one to a boat ride down the waterway and enjoy the lights of the city reflected on its shimmering surface.

Where to Stay
Kaohsiung 202 (202 Gwangfu 3rd St., Kaohsiung, +886 938-020- 304, www.kaohsiung-taiwan.com/202) is the spot for budget travelers looking for high-quality, low cost accommodation. The hostel is located right in the middle of the tourist area next to the Love River. Rates start at $12 per night.

For something a little more luxurious, stay at The Splendor Kaohsiung (1 Tzu-Chiang 3rd Rd., +886 (7) 566-8000, www. thesplendor.com). The tallest high-rise in Taiwan at the time of its construction, this glittering tower forms an essential piece of Kaohsiung’s cityscape. The 74th floor deck offers one of the best views in the entire city. Rooms start at around $290 per night.

Tainan

A short train ride from Kaohsiung, Tainan is Taiwan’s oldest city and its former capital. Originally established as a Dutch trading base, Tainan is home to some of the island’s most fascinating architectural sights. The city is also known as Taiwan’s snack paradise.

Relics of Old Taiwan
Various periods of colonial rule have left Tainan with a collection of stunning relics. Anping Fort (82 Guosheng Rd., Anping District), originally called Fort Zeelandia, was built in 1620 by the Dutch. Its commanding views of the ocean make it a popular spot to watch the sunset. From Tainan Railway Station, take Tainan City Bus No. 2 and get off at the Anping Fort stop to get there.

Not far from the fort are the Chikan Towers (Section 2, 212 Minzu Rd., West Central District, 886 (6) 220-5647), formerly called Fort Provintia. The landmark, one of Taiwan’s top tourist attractions, was later called “Tower of the Red-Haired Barbarians” by the Han Chinese. Like Anping Fort, the site is popular for its exquisite night scenery. To reach the Towers, take City Bus No. 5 from the Tainan Railway Station and get off at the Chikan Towers train station.

Snack City
Seasoned tourists know that Taiwan is a regional gastro hub and nowhere is that more true than in Tainan. Sample some “coffin toast,” a fried bread box with any number of savory fillings such as prawns, crab, chicken and vegetables. Other signature foods include spicy duck’s blood and candied guava. All can be found at one of the two dozen night markets throughout Tainan.

Salt Mountain
No trip to Tainan is complete without a hike up the Cigu Salt Mountain (66 Yancheng Village, Cigu). Originally the spot where the Taiwan Salt Corporation mined its product, the site looks like a snow-covered mountain from a distance. This man-made wonder is now open to tourists. To get there from Tainan Railway Station, take the Xingnan bus to the Jiali stop, from where you take another Xingnan bus (towards Qingkunshen) to Cigu.

Where to Stay
Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel (89 West Section, University Rd., Dong District. +886 (6) 702-8888) is Tainan’s finest luxury hotel and it’s located right in the heart of the city. Rates start at $150 per night. Tayih Landis Tainan Hotel (660 Section 1, Shimen Rd., +886- 6 213-5555, tainan.landishotelsresorts.com) is conveniently located near landmarks such as the Confucius Temple and Chikan Towers. Rates range from about $160 to $340.

Essentials:

Getting There
• Singapore Airlines flies three times daily to Taipei from about $1,180 (including tax)
• EVA Air flies daily to Taipei from about $800 (including tax)
• Tiger Airways and JetStar fly daily to Taipei from about $350 (including tax)
• High Speed Rail from Taipei to Kaohsiung (Zuoying Station) costs about $60 and takes around two hours

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Check out these recommended restaurants for your Japanese grill fix.

Aburiya
#01-03 The Quayside, 60 Robertson Quay, 6735-4862.

Each table is kitted out with its own grill.

Aburiyatei
#01-10 The Quayside, 60 Robertson Quay, 6836-5370.

A small yet authentic yakitori joint with a wicked variety of dishes.

Akanoya Robatayaki Restaurant
#01-01 Orchard Parade Hotel, 1 Tanglin Rd., 6732-1866.

This lively robatayaki is not for wallflowers. Expect an evening of rowdy banter, laughs and plenty of sake.

En Grill & Bar
#01-59/60 UE Square, 207 River Valley Rd., 6732-6863.

Great food and even better drinks. The grilled rice ball is on our list of 50 things to eat before you die.

Hide Yamamoto
#02-05 Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., 6688-8513.

Robatayaki is one of the four menu choices available, and it's divine.

Ippudo Tao
#01-55 UE Square, 207 River Valley Rd., 6887-5315.

This second outlet of the Japanese ramen joint serves kushiyaki.

San-Sui Sumiyaki & Tsuki Bar
#01-05 One Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Rd., 6423-1555.

Given its posh zipcode, you can be sure this is no smelly hole-in-the-wall.

Takumi Restaurant
2/F Marina at Keppel Bay, 2 Keppel Bay Vista, 6271-7414.

A success in Tokyo, this robatayaki and teppanyaki restaurant can get crowded, so make sure to call ahead for a table.


Browse all Japanese restaurants in Singapore

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