Archive for the 'gastronomy' Category

‘mental block’ against singapore food impossible to overcome

Snippet of a really interesting interview Bharati Jagdish conducted with chef Violet Oon in last year:

Jagdish: But in Singapore, how can this mental block about Singapore food be removed?

Oon: I think the only way it can move forward, honestly, is acknowledging that people are quite happy to pay for it in hotels. I go to Straits Kitchen, I’m quite happy to pay S$65 for this buffet.

Jagdish: Yes, but that’s so unfair to the poor guy who is cooking it in a hawker center in Bedok.

Oon: Yes, but there’s no other way. There’s such a mental block, I don’t think we can overcome it. You see, we brought these top restaurants around the world to Singapore and young people here start restaurants and they have what they call omakase menus. And they’re not even famous but it’s S$120 per person for a six-course meal and people are very happily paying it. The food cost is minimal, but you’re not paying for the food, but for the environment and you’re paying for the talent. You’re paying for that person’s talent in doing it.

My point is that if people are not happily paying more for hawker food, the hawker culture is definitely going to die, unless others like me take it and put it in their restaurants. At least I can charge more for it than the hawker can.

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we have a culinary prejudice

Snippet of an interview Bharati Jagdish conducted with author and food blogger Leslie Tay in 2015:

Bharati: Ultimately though, those of us who can afford it just need to learn to pay more for food, don’t we? How do you think people can learn to accept this?

Tay: First of all, we have to realise that we have a culinary prejudice against our food. Why are you so happy paying S$15 for a bowl of ramen, and you complain when the bowl of bak chor mee goes up by another S$0.50 to S$4.50? [Emphasis mine.] The other day, I wrote about the bak chor mee that’s being sold by a Japanese man. And everybody was so wowed – “Japanese man!”

Bharati: His daughter makes it?

Tay: Yeah, his daughter. They were selling it for S$5, and people are paying for it, but we have this funny prejudice against our own food. When it comes to chicken rice, it has to be S$3, S$3.50. It’s not like in Japan, you have sushi off the belt for S$2. You can have sushi at the top end sushi restaurant for S$40 a piece, right? And a meal can cost S$300, or it can cost S$3.

gentrification?

One can’t help but agree with what hotelier Loh Lik Peng said in an interview with Bharati Jagdish:

Loh: The reality is that the vast majority of Singaporeans are not willing to pay more than S$2-S$3 for their mee pok, not willing to pay more than S$1.20 for their kopi-o. So these people are being pushed out. People will happily pay S$4 for their cappuccino. So the guys setting up their cappuccino stores are going to make much more money than the guys who do the traditional kopitiams.

Bharati: You’re saying this is consumers’ fault?

Loh: Absolutely! Absolutely. It’s the fault of Singaporeans. When people complain that the traditional trade is being pushed out, they must realise it’s also because they are not willing to pay the right price for these traditional goods. [Emphasis mine – recall my post on mooncakes.] They want to pay the price their parents paid, or the prices they paid in their childhood. Those prices are not relevant in today’s Singapore, so these businesses get pushed out to their margins, or get pushed to the government-subsidised hawker centres, because people are not realistic about the prices people should really charge to make a decent living in modern Singapore. That’s the reality.

overpriced mooncakes

Mooncakes are not overpriced, since so many people are queuing up willingly for them. Anyway, if shops can’t make money from mooncakes, soon nobody will want to make them at all. So just think of it as playing your part to preserve 5000 years of culture. Haha!

a flavour of Singapore identity is lost without muah chee

Identity is a funny thing, which is why this article struck a chord in me…… And it also made me crave muah chee, which I haven’t had for eons.

 

 

A flavour of Singapore identity is lost without muah chee
By Han Fook Kwang

The simple snack may not make big bucks but its value is built on factors like craftsmanship and tradition

Muah Chee is an unlikely subject when talking about the Singapore identity. But there is a connection which I will come to later.

It is a simple snack made of glutinous rice covered with ground peanut which doesn’t stir up the same passionate debate among local foodies as char kway teow or chilli crab.

Continue reading ‘a flavour of Singapore identity is lost without muah chee’

indonesians’ lasting love for instant noodles

This article gave me a craving for instant noodles! :P (Last ate them more than a year ago!)

Indonesians’ lasting love for instant noodles
By Arlina Arshad

Indonesians’ fascination with the packaged food makes it big business in the archipelago

JAKARTA • A sarong-clad man stands on a clifftop and sings with gusto the opening lines of a famous Indonesian instant noodle TV commercial.

“From Sabang to Merauke…,” he croons, referring to two well-known cities at either end of the archipelago. “Flavour choices may differ, but we are single-hearted on taste.”

Continue reading ‘indonesians’ lasting love for instant noodles’

bacon vs ham

Previously I wasn’t really sure which I enjoyed more, bacon or ham. But now I am extremely certain that there is nothing quite like bacon. Bacon FTW!!!

hadoken

Enjoyed a solitary dinner at Dojo, which specializes in pork burgers, yesterday evening. (It’s located in the Boat Quay area, which has tons and tons of eateries. Gotta return one day to explore the place.) I tried the Hadoken burger, which according to the menu, comprised a ‘luscious pork patty slathered with fiery chilli meat sauce, a slice of cheese, diced onions and crispy bacon, the Asian cousin of the sloppy joe’, with fries on the side ($14). All its flavours and textures melded together to make a delicious symphony. (And the spicy meat sauce wasn’t spicy at all!)

(For plenty of pictures, click here!)

I still think pork is superior to beef. Biting into a beef burger often feels primal, but biting into a pork burger is somehow always…… refreshing.

Dojo
72 Circular Road
Singapore 049426
+65 6438 4410

you learn something new every day

Cheesecake isn’t a modern American invention but dates back a few thousand years to ancient Greece (read more here, here and here)!

you learn something new every day

Recently found out what wassail (mmm sounds delicious) and wassailing are.

juicy

Never underestimate the joy of biting into a whole sweet juicy mango! :D

don’t hold the mayo!

When I was in secondary school and junior college, we were made to read Newsweek as part of some reading programme. Somehow, out of the thousands of articles that my brain processed, this is the only one that stands out in my mind after all these years. (Naturally I quickly located a copy online and reproduce it for posterity below.) Probably because I’m quite a fan of mayo (especially Japanese) myself!

 

Don’t Hold The Mayo!

Kouji Nakamura mixes a cocktail in his shaker, squeezes a bit of mayonnaise into it, gives it a good shake and voila! “This is mayogarita,” he declares, putting down a glass of milky white stuff that smells like vinegar. Next he concocts a “mayoty dog,” which is like a salty dog–vodka and grapefruit juice–with the rim of the glass coated in mayo instead of salt. If that makes you flinch, wait until dinner arrives: a pot of mayonnaise fondue, followed by a plate of chopped celery and octopus swimming in tomato and mayonnaise sauce. At the next table, a young couple slices a big, mayo-filled pizza. It’s a typical Saturday night at Mayonnaise Kitchen, Japan’s first mayo-themed restaurant. When Nakamura, 31, opened the eatery in a Tokyo suburb two summers ago, he recalls, “some said, ‘Who would come to a place that just serves mayonnaise?’ ” Plenty of people, as it turned out; Nakamura opened his second Tokyo restaurant last April.

Continue reading ‘don’t hold the mayo!’

flipping prata

When it comes to prata, one egg and one kosong (plain) are usually just nice for me. And somehow they taste best with fish curry. Its sourness cuts through all those carbs and prevents one from feeling too jelak (satiated). Prata and curry…… possibly one of the best breakfasts you can get in this sunny little island!

you learn something new every day

The prongs of a fork are also called tines.

you learn something new every day

Traditionally, sugar plums are not a fruit, but a type of hard candy! (More info here, here and here!) That means the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker ballet is not a fairy of fruit, but that of confectionery!


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