Rather than wondering how to spend your time on Singapore's 49th birthday, Sidera Tahir gives a rundown of what-to-dos before catching the parade and fireworks this year
1. Book a staycation
Staycations have become increasingly popular in recent years — and it's better when you have front-row seats to the vibrant display of fireworks. This year, celebrate our nation's special day with The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore's Happy 49th Birthday Singapore package. Valid till August 31, 2014, the offer includes a welcome mocktail, daily buffet breakfast for two, a National Day-themed memorabilia and $49 hotel credit per stay.
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, 7 Raffles Avenue; Tel: 6434 5179
2. Embrace your ethnic background
Ascend to the sky at 1-Altitude for thirst-quenching drinks and spectacular views of the fireworks over the gorgeous city skyline. Break out your cheongsams, kebayas and saris as well, because anyone who shows up in a national ethnic costume gets complimentary entry and a free drink. Oh, did we mention? The 49th person to enter Singapore's highest alfresco bar will receive a free bottle of Moët Chandon.
1-Altitude, #63-01 One Raffles Place, 1 Raffles Place; Tel: 6438 0410
3. Revel in delectable seafood
Get your taste buds ready and indulge in Crowne Plaza Changi Airport's National Day platter on August 1-17. Choose between Boston lobster laksa with angel hair Italian noodles and king crab Hokkien noodles in clay pot (while meat-lovers can try the satay-marinated Australian rib-eye). Don't forget to toast to our national heritage and culture with your best bud — every ala carte order entitles you to a bottle of the tangy Tiger Radler.
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, #01-01, 75 Airport Boulevard; Tel: 6823 5300
4. Spend an evening with the kids
Been busy balancing work and family? Enjoy the public holiday at the Ku Dé Ta Club Lounge with your kids — children under 12 get free admission on August 9. Make a toast with your complimentary house pour or enjoy the delectable National Day cocktail, Star Arising. You'll also be able to experience the elation of the aerial flypast and fireworks in the night sky, while your children get their faces painted for the festivity. If you'd like, delve into chef Frederic Faucheux's National Day menu, which includes oyster tempura, Irish free range rib-eye and pan-seared foie gras.
Ku Dé Ta, Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, 1 Bayfront Avenue; Tel: 6688 7688
5. Wine while you dine
Join chef Chiaki Watanabe, Singapore's first female Japanese chef, at Arossa for an extra-special treat. Her scrumptious five-course national day menu is a combination of Italian highlights and fresh Japanese seafood, which includes a choice between two Singapore-styled dishes — roasted duck with black rice and citrus sauce, or steamed red snapper with ravigote salsa — and a sweet yoghurt-and-berry semifreddo dessert in the design of our national flag. And of course, a wide selection of Italian wines to go with your meal.
Arossa Wine & Grill, #02-01 Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Road; Tel: 6636 2951
6. Reminisce in threes
After spoiling yourself silly shopping in Orchard Road, grab two of your friends and drop by Orchard Café — the third diner gets to dine for just $4.90. Enjoy its lavish National Day Straits Cuisine Buffet for your favourite local dishes, such as oyster omelette, bak kwa, nonya laksa and sambal stingray. Available exclusively on August 1-17, the spread also includes a heavenly feast of durians. And for roti prata lovers, take your pick from 49 flavours, in celebration of Singapore's 49th year, of course.
Orchard Café, Orchard Hotel, 442 Orchard Road; Tel: 6739 6554
7. Get in on the surprise
After getting Facebook fans to vote on their favourite local ingredient — from a list of five items namely pandan, frog leg, crab, black chicken and baby kai-lan — Catalunya Singapore's Alain Devahive is designing a special dish just for National Day. Get ready to be wowed away by the executive chef's culinary skill. And while you're at it, soak up the fireworks as you sip on the restaurant's local-flavoured cocktail Calamansi Mojito, a Mumbai colada with kaya.
Catalunya Singapore, The Fullerton Pavilion, 82 Collyer Quay; Tel: 6534 0886
8. Toast to a better year ahead
Birthdays are about celebrating yet another year of growth — as Singapore is a step closer to its Jubilee year, raise your glass with Treasury Wine Estates to another year of peace and prosperity. The wine retailer has a wide selection of the finest reds and whites the likes of The Wolf Blass Yellow Label Riesling, Penflods Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz, Beringer Napa Vallue and Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon to suit your fancy.
Treasury Wine Estates, 50 Scotts Road, #02-01A; Tel: 6256 1132
9. Celebrate your own special day
If you share the same birthday as our nation, Seasonal Tastes, the signature dining venue of The Westin Singapore, is offering a free meal to all those who are born on the same day and year. Tuck into a sumptuous selection of local and international dishes against the breathtaking backdrop of Marina Bay. After which, head up to Cook & Brew for the gastro-bar's limited edition shots infused with popular local drinks including teh tarik, bandnug and milo.
The Westin Singapore, Asia Square Tower 2, 12 Marina View; Tel: 6922 6888