Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It's always food o'clock in Singapore!

Going from a country where we home cook fresh food three times a day, seven days a week, cook, cook and cook all 365 days in a year, it came as a big surprise when I landed in the island country and heard people don't cook food at home!! Even more surprising was the fact that people prefer to eat food outside all three times a day, throughout the year! Initially, I assumed it could be because of the cheap food available outside that they don't bother to cook food at home. But later realized this has to do with the cultural origin of the country. The country started with the immigrants who were not rich enough to own a set-up to cook food at home. So they preferred eating outside in the mini-stall setups called hawker centers. This socio-culture is followed by Singaporeans even to this date that hawker centers and food are a part and parcel of their daily life! Variety of cuisines and low-cost food are only a result of this cool food culture!

Singapore is a perfect "Rojak"! Different ethnic communities call it their land and live harmoniously celebrating each other cultures! This has given birth to a mix of a different kinds of food that one can savor in the country. With the mix of four different ethnic communities - Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan, there are more than a dozen national food that is available on an any given day for anyone to taste! There are different areas for each of these communities where one can deep dive into the respective cuisine and enjoy guaranteed authentic food. But for a traveler with constraints, any restaurant would happily serve all these cuisines under one roof. Singaporeans love to cook food and more so they take pride and love to serve their food with equal zeal!

Even after visiting Singapore twice and trying all possible cuisines that are available, I still crave for their awesome "Hokkien Mee"!

It first happened to me coincidentally when I was at China town one evening. I was very hungry and I landed at a random food stall that was along the street. All I knew at that time was "Noodles". I ordered "Plain Noodles" but the person who took my order patiently explained about this fried noodles called "Hokkien Mee". I got curious and ordered it without any expectations. But it really turned out to be one of the best noodles I have ever tasted in my entire life! The fried noodles with all the sauce, seasoning, vegetables etc was cooked to perfection. Having tasted only Indian preparation of Noodles before, it tasted very authentic Chinese preparation and I totally fell in love with it! I made sure to taste this preparation at various places during my second visit as well :)

That's not the end of it! I also love the Malaysian preparation called Nasi Lemak, a flavorful preparation of coconut steamed rice. I love Malay cuisine for their wonderful use of spices and herbs in all their preparation. It comes very close to the Indian cuisine as well! It will be unfair if I don't mention my love for the toast! During my recent trip, I made sure to have toast with kaya or peanut jam every day for my breakfast! And my day would compulsory start and end with a strong dose of Kopi ;)

Singapore has so much variety of food, all thanks to their different ethnic people! When such variety of Asian food is available under one roof, who wouldn't look for a good opportunity to Binge! :)

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