Friday, March 20, 2015

Eat, Sleep, Eat. Repeat.

With approaching exams, I wasn’t at all keen on writing on a topic which involved food. Strange, isn’t it? Well, thinking about food makes me hungry, and sleep follows after the incessant binging; so I decided to leave the subject alone. So, what am I going to write now? Just a short piece with almost no connection to the topic?


I was just browsing through the internet in my free time and I discovered a fact which prompted me to read more and more about Singapore, and this short piece hatched in my mind. The only significant memory I have of Singapore is from The Pirates of the Caribbean, and the food, I don’t know at all about until I began seeing images and recipes till the time my stomach groaned with sweet hunger pangs.

Leaving aside all other places, I decided that Singapore ranked 1st on my go-to list, the only reason being that the national pastime of the country is eating, and food is the national obsession. The only word I can use for the place after reading that is heaven!

A couple of weeks ago, I had to cook a Japanese dish and I thought that the research I had done for that would narrow down my search considerably (my misconception that Japanese and Singaporean food is quite similar). I at least knew what I wouldn’t want to have on a trip to the South East, but that was just another misconception. With a menu ranging from rice balls, to noodles to some names I had never heard of, to various teas, and cool desserts.

The spectrum of variety did make my heart jump for the time being till I came across the fact that most of the food was not suited for me (me being a pure vegetarian). Disheartened though I was, the aroma and the flavors enticed me to go on, till I could find something suitable for me. It is as easy to make a foodie happy as it is to make him sad, and I felt both the emotions straggling me. I was spoiled for choice in my selection but sadly I couldn’t taste each and every dish before deciding what my favorite would be. As I had done before, I would have to trust my notions and perceptions lead the way along with a strong imagination to feel the food slowly melting in my mouth, its flavors taking me to new highs. Well, being a foodie just helped me.

There are a lot of dishes in Singaporean cuisine which match our Indian tastes, including the gola which we can devour on Juhu beach in Mumbai. There was also an equivalent of the South Indian banana leaf meal (sadhya) consisting of rice and sambhar with those wonderful sides which I adore on my trips to Kochi (my roots are connected there too), and the chai-bun pav combination which is a personal favorite breakfast. Phew! I’m trying hard to go on till the end before rushing into the kitchen to have a plateful of food.

But there was one succulent platter which caught my attention on my first search, even though it was beyond my boundaries- fish head curry. Though I’ve never tasted fish before, it was just the look of the dish which intrigued me. Not just the preparation and the taste which the beauty of the dish hid, but also the background and the thought put behind making this delicacy.

Being a vegetarian fascinated me more as I have never tried to eat something, or even tried to imagine eating something like that. It’s all a bit grotesque for me, yet the color called me into it. The flavor and the aroma were a mystery; it all seemed to be so good yet at the same time bizarre and I could use the word gross too. (I would have used an image but copyright issues prevent me from doing so).

The fear of my mother (not really) prevents me from writing more about this dish, but I would surely like to explain one of the main reasons behind me not choosing something vegetarian or something which I would be able to make/eat with family. The other side always seems greener, and that it exactly what prompted me to wonder about the particulars of the Singaporean Fish Head Curry.

There is also the Ice Kachang (gola sounds better) for the vegetarians, and this gets another mention as the Juhu gola doesn’t need competition (as one of my friends lectured me). With exotic flavors like fruit cocktail and a plethora of seasonings and additions like chocolate, aloe jelly, and red beans, the competition seems to be tight (I just realized that this dessert gives competition to the falooda as well).

Singapore seems to be like a blend of India, China, Malaysia and even Japan when it comes to food, owing that to the populace of the nation. These are the two dishes from Singapore which appeal a lot to me, and they are the ones I dream on eating when I eventually reach there. When it comes to variety, I had the idea that India was the only place which had such an assortment of foods for a single meal, but now I see that Singapore does prove to be competition enough for a foodie like me.

*logs off*
*rushes to kitchen*
*grabs random dish from stomach*
*eat, sleep, eat, repeat*

This post is written for the Takeaway level: Singapore Contest on in association with Discover Far More Singapore.

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