Are We Out Of Ideas?
By KF Seetoh - Monday, Jun 18, 2012
Will there ever be genuinely new and lasting food ideas trawled from the vast traditional culinary resources from our land? If so, can they please stand up? Have we already exhausted all our potential?
Look at Peru. They are not exactly world famous for South American chow (perhaps more famous for their lacklustre performances at the World Cup), but they have a very structured culinary movement. They have culinary heroes like Gaston Acurio, who is moving the nation ahead by looking into their backyard food heritage. They have some of the best cevicherias (cafes specialising in seafood dish juiced with citrusy fruit extracts) in the world today.
Is there anyone out there brave enough or able enough to take a Singapore noodle bar to the world? The menu ideas are all under our noses – think Mee Rebus, Prawn Noodles, Mee Siam, Cha Kway Teow, Beef Kway Teow, Bak Chor Mee, Mee Pok Tah, Laksa and of course Mee Goreng (both Punggol and Mamak style). Why not throw in a Laksa Pesto into the mix (you get the idea)?
How about celebrity icons? Where’s our Soup Nazi (that infamously livid soup cook popularised in the Seinfeld comedy TV show)? Our local version can be branded and popular for having an equally long faced reputation while dishing out Bak Kut Teh, Soto Ayam, Itek Tim, Her Muay ( fish soup rice), Teochew beef soup, Hainanese mutton broth, Ginseng herb chicken soup and even Indian soup kambing with toast.
I hope we can systematically start to institutionalise our own makan culture and industry as we progress more and more economically.
I think we can all identify with that feeling of looking forward to a touchdown when you fly home each time you travel – that familiar comfortable feeling of home and good Singapore food that you identify with.
I suspect that, when it comes to food, that familiar comfortable feeling is getting shallower and more untenable as the years go on.
One day, we might come home yearning for something foreign. Portuguese egg tarts, anyone?