Spring is in the air once again – or at least in those places where they do have four seasons. It’s that time of the year when the flowers are about to bloom, and when there is that sweet, cheery fragrance in the air. If you really think hard about it (or not really), there’s just one place that first comes to mind when you think of spring (at least within the region), and that’s none other than Japan.
Fans of the pink, ephemeral cherry blossoms are in for a treat, and this doesn’t involve applying for a Japan tourist Visa or booking pricey airfare tickets… yet, because Isetan is bringing us the 13-day Sakura Matsuri Fair at NEX L1 Atrium from March 27 until April 8, 2018.
Here’s What to Expect at Sakura Matsuri 2018 by Isetan
Get a taste of Japan (literally) when a variety of delicious Sakura-inspired food and drinks are served at the Sakura Matsuri 2018 Fair by Isetan. Here are some of the best Japanese cultural offerings you can check out in this 13-day fair held at NEX:
Sakura Matsuri Favourites
During hanami or flower-viewing season, people in Japan gather with friends and family outside, usually under the sakura or cherry blossom trees where they play games and have picnics.
If you’re looking for something tasty to munch on at the fair (which can be a lot), you have got to try some of the Japanese favourites such as takoyaki ($7.50 for 6 pieces) and sweet potatoes ($2.50) available on site.
When you’re done with the appetizers, you can go for something heavier. And another must-try at the fair is the Shio Sakura Ramen for $14 per serving. If you’re wondering if they really use cherry blossoms for ingredients, then you have to try the products first to really know for yourself. But just for reference, it’s not at all surprising to find one Sakura flower floating in your soup, which kind of has the taste of a salty sour plum, which adds more savoury goodness to the broth.
And finally, try out the Okada Coffee Ice Candy Bars for $2.50 a piece for dessert. The ice candy bars come in traditional Japanese flavours such as matcha, red bean, and black sesame. There are also refreshing fruit variants such as grape and mango flavoured ice candy bars. Or if you’re up for a sweet change, have a taste of the Sea Salt Milk variant for something creamy and equally delightful to the palate.
If you’re not very familiar with Japanese culture and festivals, you’d be surprised to find out that people celebrate important events or seasons with different kinds of drinks and refreshments.
During hanami, it’s quite common to find outdoor beer gardens where people gather to usher the spring season with drinks. In this regard, you may want to give the crowd favourite, Orion Sakura Beer ($19.90 for a pack of 6 cans from originally $22.20), a shot. This cold drink is famous for its rich and flavourful blend of Sakura, which perfectly fits the occasion.
If you’re bringing the kids along, then there’s something for them, too. The Sakura Cola ($3) is the perfect drink for the kids (and even adults) because of its light and refreshing flavours – the sweetness of the Sakura flavouring perfectly matches the fizz of the soda.
And for everyone in between, there’s also a pretty good selection of light alcoholic beverages at the fair which includes the Kitaoka Sakura Sarasara Liqeur ($19.90 for a 180-ml bottle). Artfully contained in a clear potion-like flask, the drink has a charming appeal to it as consumers get to enjoy a full-bloomed cherry blossom flower inside their drink. Yup! If that’s not interesting enough, we don’t know how relevant a Sakura- inspired drink can get. The sweet alcoholic drink has a tangy-flowery kick from barley shochu and various fruits. It’s great to be used as cocktail mixer!
Other Highlights and New Additions at the Fair
If you’ve tried the regulars and the popular favourites, you may want to check out the following new additions available at this year’s fair. These include Sakura mochis wrapped in cherry blossom leaves priced at $4/piece or the Sakura Daifuku Mochis that are filled sweet and thick red bean paste at $3/piece.
If you’re pining for something you can bring home straight from Japan, then check out the Kyoto Goyo Pine ($400) which looks just like the smaller version of the trees you would only find in a Japanese Garden. Look out for the famous Kyoto Cherry Blossom Plants ($338) available on-site. Getting one would be like taking a piece of Japan straight to your home.
If you want to experience the full package of celebrating Spring time like the Japanese do, then you may want to line up at the Yukata Photo-taking Booth where you get to wear beautiful yukatas and get your picture taken for free for a minimum net purchase of $60 at the fair. That’s not so bad, isn’t it?
Yukata Photo-taking Booth
Dates: March 27 – April 8
Time: 1:30 – 6:00 pm (last photo-taking session is at 5:45 pm)
Note: The promotion requires a minimum net purchase of $60 to join. Only the first 30 customers per day will be accommodated.
When: 27 March – 8 April 2018, 11:00AM – 9.30PM (until 8:30PM on April 8)
Where: Isetan Serangoon Central, NEX Atrium, Level 1