Must Bring When Travelling

By Tris Marlis - Sunday, Jul 07, 2013

“I’ve brought back a whole luggage of live hairy crabs from Beijing!” That was just one of the many extraordinary ‘smuggling’ stories this gentleman shared with his friends over lunch. How many of us have tried bringing some bak kwa and pork floss on our trip, only to find that they are prohibited at certain countries. It was worth a try though, because we did all that to save our relatives overseas who are suffering from home-food-sickness.
Now that it’s the travel season, many Singaporeans will chope (reserve) some space in their luggage (and stomach, of course) to bring back food from overseas. But we also wonder, what are some of the things Singaporeans can’t live without for a few days, months or years when they are abroad? We asked some of our local food writers to find out what they will try to sneak out, whether it’s for makan addiction, survival or for their friends and loved ones.
Homemade Sambal
This is not just another labeled bottle of sambal, it has to be homemade. One of our writers, Elaine Ng, said: “Even with the same recipe, the ingredients are just different overseas, you can’t get the same result.” So whenever she is travelling, she makes sure her mother makes a couple jars of her signature sambal, just so she can give it to her hosts overseas and they will happily let her bunk in and chow down over.

Nothing beats homemade sambal, a great meal accompaniment (file photo: Makansutra).

Instant Noodle (Spicy)
Singaporeans love spicy food, but carrying chilli sauce or sambal can be quite a hassle (well, unless it is for the host). Spicy instant noodle, such as the ones with curry or tom yum flavours, is great when you just need to kill craving instantly. “Plus, it is non-liquid, dry and safe to carry,” suggests blogger Catherine Ling. Crack the crispy yellow noodle, mix in the spicy seasonings and eat it as snacks if you have to.
Spicy instant noodle for an instant kick (file photo: Makansutra)

Hae Bee Hiam and Cincalok
They have Cajun shrimps in Louisiana and Maine lobster in Boston, but there aren’t hae bee (dried shrimp). Those big prawns are juicy and springy, but at times we’ll miss our sun dried little friends here –hae bee hiam and cincalok. “We will triple bag it and bring it in our luggage,” says a local blogger, Keropokman. The best part, it can last the journey and still be as “fresh”.
Red Wine Lees
There are cheap liquor and wine at airports’ duty free shops, but our writer, Sheere Ng, rather burden the weight of her luggage with jars of red wine lees. Drinking this won’t get you drunk, but stew it into red wine chicken and you are just a spoon away from home. Countries that have their own Chinatown will most likely have this item on the shelf, but why take the risk and end up with an unfamiliar brand or version?
Red wine lees is easily missed, but hardly forgotten (file photo: Makansutra).

Fruit Knife
If you don’t need any of those mentioned above and just pumped up for some adventures, perhaps this handy tool would help. Stefanie Chao says her mother will always bring a fruit knife with her when traveling overseas. Not for self-defense, but it is because this mother and daughter duo love to hunt exotic fruits. “With a fruit knife, we can eat it immediately when we are back at hotel,” she says.
Those are just five ticks on the long list of things to bring, then there are so many more. You are going thousands miles away, make sure you are “protected”.