The Auntie Uncle Heartland Christmas Meal
By Victoria Lim - Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015
Schools out, annual leaves are taken, flights are booked beforehand to enjoy the winter wonderland of our neighbouring or regional countries, the midnight mass, overnight drinking of mulled wine and eggnog with the presence of turkey and honey-glazed ham. Well, that’s sort of spell the imported commercial drill of that warm Christmas we have in Singapore. .
But have we introduced any hard core Singaporean-ess into Christmas here. Must it always be that turkey with cranberry sauce or all that imported Americano culture. After all, turkey as the main act for Christmas is not widely practiced during those 12 days around the world. It’s Babi Putar in Manado and fish in parts of Europe. However unoriginal our festive plans, we sat down with four heartlanders (we randomly chose them while they were chomping down on local fare at hawker centres) on what their ideal festive meal would be. And were we pleasantly surprised with their answers.
1/ Lor Ark (Braised Duck)
Simon Leet, has been living abroad for a good many years and is now back for the holidays. His family has always been a fan of the traditional Christmas fare and also Singapore food. “We lived in a country where good food are aplenty, so it’s no secret that you will spot local delights on our dining table” says Leet.
With the full herbal flavours, tender and juicy meat, it was no surprise that Simon chose the lor ark as his favourite dish to have with the company of fried bee hoon.
2/ Roasted Mutton
“All I want for Christmas is roasted mutton. I love the smell and taste of mutton, so why can”t we have it for this festive season” Michael Oh, the owner of Teck Kee Chicken Rice declares.
Who’s to say you can’t have your favourite meats on the menu. After all this is the season of giving and sharing, so enjoy your preferred choice with your loved ones.
3/ Turkey Steamboat
A fan of the Lunar New Year’s steamboat, housewife Lily Goh wishes to have a turkey version of it for this holiday get-together. “Turkey meat in Singapore are usually tougher in texture, so maybe when cooked in chicken broth would be able to soften the meat” says Goh.
This was a refreshing answer – proving that the average housewife aunties do know their food. Slice the turkey into pieces and cooked it in soup. The juiciness and tenderness of the meat will be retained and dunked the meat in a good ol traditional cranberry sauce. Now this is an innovative Christmas dinner that brings the whole gang back together at the table.
4/ Children and Grandchildren
In the true Christmas spirit, Ong Siew Khoon, a 79-year-old granny wants not an extravagant all-you-can-eat meal but a simple dinner with her children and grandchildren. “They are always travelling during this (holiday) period. It would be nice to be able to enjoy a meal with them” says Madam Ong.
As the saying goes “You can take the Singaporean out of Christmas but you can never take the Singaporean-ness away from Christmas” We do not necessary need to be a cookie cutter and a stickler for the unspoken Christmas rules. So ditch the food that you’re not a fan and create your own dinning tradition – there are no rules, even that turkey was an accidental creation. After all we are in a country filled with mouth-watering food. Because Christmas is more than just food. It is the joy of sharing, giving and getting together with your loved ones.
Here’s to a deliciously local and meaningful Christmas for everyone.