The Flavours of Thanksgiving



Mention Thanksgiving, and turkey first comes to mind. This quintessential American holiday that dates back to 1600s has always been associated with turkey. No feast is complete without this table centerpiece – it’s tradition.

Just how exactly do you prepare a perfect roast turkey? Let Michelin-star trained Chef John Sawarto teach you.

The Flavours of Thanksgiving | Travelshopa

What’s your cooking philosophy? 

Use the freshest ingredients, never apply cooking shortcuts, and most of all, cook with lots of passion and patience.


What are three cooking tools you can’t live without?

Chopping board, Chef’s knife, and peeler.


What’s your signature dish?

Cracking pork belly, we’ve served thousands of this pork belly! It’s savory and crispy, then melts in your month. It’s different from what other chefs are serving.


What’s the best compliment you’ve received from your client/s?

“John, this glutinous rice reminds me of my mom’s recipe.” If you touch someone’s heart with your food that’s success.


Favourite food.

I love Hainanese Chicken Rice!


Tips on how to become a successful chef in this day and age.

Always be mindful of these things – Original style. Discipline. Hygiene. Extreme attention to detail. Techniques.


Words of wisdom.

Cook with common sense. Don’t overpower people with too many ingredients; keep it simple.


You can find Chef John Sawarto on My Private Chef.

The Flavours of San Francisco

The Flavours of San Francisco | San Francisco Seafood Stew | Recipe | Chic Living | TravelshopaImage source: San Francisco Travel

The world has San Francisco to thank for dishing up famous eats like the Mission-style burrito, sourdough bread and the ice cream cookie sandwich. Is it any wonder that this vibrant and free-spirited city sees a staggering horde of visitors hungry for a slice of San Francisco’s amazing food culture?

It’s hard to explain what strange alchemy makes up the flavours of San Francisco. The culinary style here is adventurous, daring and experimental, with a penchant for fusion flavours.

Easily one of San Francisco’s most signature dishes, Cioppino is a seafood stew that’s traditionally made with the day’s catch. This rendition by American celebrity chef, Bobby Flay, is a mouthwatering medley of clams, shrimps and fish drenched in rich tomato broth and spiked with wine. Simple and easy to make, the choice of seafood can be varied as you like. Serve with crusty sourdough as a nod to this San Francisco classic! If that’s not enough indulgence, Cioppino is best enjoyed with a glass of your favourite vino. Talk about a recipe we love.

The Flavours of San Francisco | Cioppino | Recipe | Chic Living | Travelshopa

The Flavours of Phuket

The flavours of Phuket | Som Tam by Chef McDang | Chic Living | TravelshopaImage source: Kitchit Blog

As a tropical paradise island peddling luxury and enjoyment to holiday-seekers and beachgoers, Phuket is not one to neglect its culinary appeal. Besides a reputation for fresh and succulent seafood, Phuket’s local cuisine taps into all the nuances of Thai cooking, which shows off a balance between sweet, sour, salty, spicy and bitter taste profiles.

A quintessential Thai dish, Som Tam is a tangy and delicious green papaya salad that is so popular, it’s served round every street corner. Som Tam comes in many varieties, although the main ingredients typically centre around grated green papaya mixed with cherry tomatoes, long beans and peanuts doused in an addictive pickle of chilies, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, coconut and sugar.

Thais insist that the best Som Tam cannot be found at any one of Phuket’s star restaurants but are more likely to be served at a humble no-name street vendor. Now, what’s stopping you from whipping up your very own version of this fiery salad dish? This recipe for classic Som Tam Thai by celebrity chef, McDang, will help bring the flavours of Phuket right into your home kitchen.

The flavours of Phuket | Som Tam by Chef McDang | Chic Living | Travelshopa

The Flavours of Singapore

The Flavours of Singapore | Babi Pongteh | Chic Living | TravelshopaIMAGE SOURCE: VIOLET’S KITCHEN

There’s just no overstating how much Singaporeans love their food. Eating is a way of life unto itself, judging by the traffic at 24-hour hawker centres and food joints that seem to be everywhere on the island. Even more telling, is how easily words like “shiok”, “rojak” or “chope” that originate from hawker culture have slipped into the local vernacular. In fact, some might say the absence of a homogenous Singaporean identity has manifested in a shared passion for food.

Of all the flavours of Singapore, Peranakan cuisine stands out as one of the most special. And if you’re after something truly spectacular, you’ll have to try Babi Pongteh. A classic nyonya delicacy, Babi Pongteh is a non-spicy dish of braised pork flavoured with fermented soya beans (tau cheo) that is customarily served at all Peranakan formal celebrations. From a tender age, Nyonya girls learn how to cook this dish from their mothers. It becomes part of their own legacies and passed on to the next willing student.

You won’t face any such pressure but by all means, try it out for yourself with this recipe by Peranakan food doyenne, Violet Oon. Luscious chunks of pork belly are slow-braised in the fermented soya bean paste and dark soy sauce till meltingly soft and tender. The result is equal parts sweet and savoury; an unctuous stew permeated with umami flavour and subtle spice. Mop up any remaining gravy with slices of French baguette or slather over steamed rice for a comforting meal that will fill you with warmth. Why, it’s sure to be a fast favourite on the family dinner table!

The Flavours of Singapore | Babi Pongteh | Chic Living | Travelshopa

The Flavours of Jakarta

The Flavours of Jakarta | Nasi Goreng | Recipe | TravelshopaIMAGE SOURCE: VikaLinka

You may have hit the hippest restaurants around town but a visit to Jakarta is not complete till you get a taste of the authentic Indonesian cuisine. Many local dishes in Jakarta are favoured by foodies around the globe. One of which is its famous Nasi Goreng.

Dubbed as Indonesia’s national dish, Nasi Goreng, literally meaning fried rice, is an unassuming dish celebrated by locals and tourists. The dish is typically flavoured with a sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), shallots, garlic, tamarind and chilli, accompanied by egg, chicken or prawns. Now for the best part, Nasi Goreng can be varied with different flavours and ingredients – perfect for leftover dinners!

If we’ve teased your taste buds, why not have a go at this scrumptious dish? This recipe by food blogger, Julia from Vikalinka, is easy to recreate and only takes 20 minutes. Fragrant basmati rice is stir-fried with a fusion of aromatic spices, spicy chillies and spring onions, topped with a glorious sunny side up and crunchy peanuts. One word: Yum! Or as the Jakartans say it, Enak!The Flavours of Jakarta | Nasi Goreng | Recipe | Travelshopa

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