If a wild diversity of ethnic cuisines whets your appetite, a strong case can be made that Singapore is the best place on earth to eat.
Singapore is a product of ethnic diversity and cultural interaction – more than a third of its population (5.4M) is foreign born, and English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil are all official languages. Until the 19th century there were only about a thousand inhabitants – Malays and Peranakens (descendants of 15th and 16th century Chinese immigrants), on the island. Since then, Singapore has been settled by Malays, South Asians, European colonists, and lots of Chinese (about 75% of the current population) who brought with them some of the richest and most diverse culinary traditions on the planet. Cultural interactions with Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian neighbours have added to the mix, along with cultural hybrids such as Nonya (Chinese/Malay) and Kristang (Portuguese/Malay).
Eating is the national pastime – obsession really – acted out in a boisterous, never-ending, peripatetic food festival hosted at thousands of hawker centers, cze chas (open air restaurants), specialist establishments that offer only the single dish (Fresh Tofu, Pig Organ Soup…) of which they are justly proud, night markets (pasar malam), and kopi tiams (coffee shops).
In Vancouver we embrace multi-ethnic dining – dim sum for breakfast, tacos for lunch, butter chicken for dinner, perhaps Thai tomorrow – but Singaporeans take it a step further, combining everything into multi-ethnic meals in which everything somehow just works together:
Katong Laksa: Singapore style – seafood and rice noodles in a luscious coconut curry broth.
Nasi Lemak: In Indonesia, the humble sounding rijsttafel (or rice table) is an elaborate multi-course meal with rice as its centerpiece. In Singapore and Malaysia, nasi lemak (nasi means rice, and lemak means fatty, or creamy) refers to both this herb and coconut-infused rice dish, and to the entire meal built around it – it is the centerpiece of the rest of our menu:
Rendang Daging: A Sumatran-inspired dry curry of tender beef.
Sambal Kang Kong: An umami-packed stir-fry of water spinach with chiles, spices and preserved shrimp paste.
Sambal Kang Kong: An umami-packed stir-fry of water spinach (or a substitute vegetable) with chiles, spices and preserved shrimp paste
Acar: Lightly pickled Peranakan salad/relish of fruit and vegetables.
Nadan Mutta: Kerala-Tamil quail egg curry.
(Please note that class bookings are NOT included in the calculation to determine the $100 minimum required to receive a 10% discount on MERCHANDISE orders.)