The first of an annual cultural showcase of contemporary Southeast Asia by SPRMRKT boasts some inspiring entrepreneurs.

As 2018 marks the 45th year of harmonious Singapore-Vietnam diplomatic rapport, it’s easy to appreciate the timeliness of SPRMRKT Vietnam (until March 20), the first of an annual cultural showcase of contemporary Southeast Asia by SPRMRKT—itself a unique concept that merges F&B, retail and art experiences. Envisioned as an annual three-month long celebration, it spotlights food, drinks, design and art beyond what is widely familiar.

The curated showcase also draws attention to family businesses. “Southeast Asia is seeing a renaissance of homegrown businesses being driven by enterprising locals whose parents had migrated or have been away for a good period of their lives, now coming back to promote their own countries in different and exciting ways,” shares Sue-Shan Quek, founder and managing partner of SPRMRKT about the inspiration behind this initiative. “Our Vietnamese partners have only been amazingly positive and lovely to work with since the very first day we invited them to participate.”

These include enterprising food businesses, such as Stone Hill, which makes Vietnam’s only tree-to-bar chocolate and other cocoa products. These are available for sale at SPRMRKT and SPRMRKT Daily, and for the first time anywhere in the world. “SPRMRKT has stepped up and organised an event that not only introduces artisanal Vietnamese products to Singapore but also provides an opportunity for customers to get familiar with the makers of the products, know their origins and understand where they come from,” says Loc Pham, who is chocolate maker and founder of the company, which started out as a training farm in 2010; the brand was established in 2014. There’s even a segment featuring renowned chef Peter Cuong Franklin, founder of Anan Saigon, one of Ho Chi Minh city’s hottest new restaurant and bar concept. “I am very excited to work with Sue-Shan and Chef Joseph Yeo to bring the Anan Saigon experience to Singapore with modern interpretations of street food dishes such as the Đà Lạt Pizza, Bánh Xèo Taco, Foie Gras Imperial Roll and other new style Vietnamese dishes,” shares the Vietnamese-American Yale graduate who decided to pursue his passion in the culinary arts after a successful career in investment banking.

Here are our picks of gourmet experiences you should not miss.

Savour Vietnam’s only tree-to-bar brand of cocoa products

We like Stone Hill’s collection of cocoa and cocoa related products because they are truly artisanal—the family-run company boast six hectares of cocoa trees, grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides and irrigated exclusively with mountain spring water of rain water. Only the finest cacaos of their 48 varieties are then hand-picked, manually processed, roasted and stone ground with only cane sugar to highlight the natural and distinct flavours of Vietnamese cacao. Limited quantities for sale. Available daily.

Revel in natural products that support sustainable livelihood

We like that profits from the sale of these organically grown coconut and peanut products by One4ONe go back to supporting the community, including education and training of farmers and scholarships for the youth. What’s more, it’s coconut oil products are manufactured using traditional methods and are free from preservative and additives. Available daily.

Drink up award-winning craft beer

Fort the first time, beer lovers and its fans alike, can look forward to walking into a restaurant or café and have their favourite Vietnamese craft beer—more specifically, those of Pasteur Street Brewing Company (PSBC). Based in Saigon, Vietnam, PSBC started with the simple idea to combine American craft brewing techniques with fresh and exotic Vietnamese ingredients to create amazing craft beer. Named after the street where their first taprooms are located, it has since developed over 200 distinct beers. Available at SPRMRKT and SPRMRKT Daily until March 20 are the Passion Fruit Wheat Ale and Jasmine IPA. Exclusive to SPRMRKT Daily is the Pomelo IPA. Available daily.

Dig in to reimagined Vietnamese food

For two days in March, guest chef Peter Cuong Franklin of Anan Saigon will take over the kitchen at SPRMRKT Daily to present his inspired take on Vietnamese fare, one that is modern yet still grounded in tradition. On Mar 16, his contribution to SPRMRKT’s transformation into “Little Vietnam” will be an array of contemporary street foods such as the foie gras Imperial Roll, featuring pork, black truffle and sweet chilli-lime sauce. At SPRMRKT Kitchen & Bar the next day (Mar 17), he will be preparing a collaborative brunch with SPRMRKT’s chef-owner Joseph Yeo; conducting an ingredient workshop at 3pm and, in the evening, spotlighting his interpretation of “new Vietnamese cuisine” in a one-night-only dinner. 

Marou spirited pairings

While chocolate and coffee are synonymous, there are a number of delicious spirits that pair beautifully with this dark indulgence. Take this invitation to experience the versatility of chocolates via specially curated couplings of chocolates and spirits. Curated by Marou Chocolate and SPRMRKT, they explore varying cacao percentages and a select range of alcoholic beverages such as the Dong Nai (72%) with Louis Roederer, Brut NV; Tien Gang (70%) with Jim Barry “The Lodge” Shiraz 2014; and the Ba Ria (76%) with Elijah Craig, Bourbon Whiskey 12 Years. Available daily.

The latest event updates are available on the company’s Facebook events page.