The Asia Pacific Food Expo brought me to Singapore in November 2009. Before I left home, I didn’t understand how a country could have 1/7 of their entire population attend a food show. I immediately understood upon arrival ? Singaporeans love food, and eating well is their national passion!
Food is Their National Hobby
Any casual conversation with local Singaporeans always ended up as a discussion about food. Whether it’s Chili Crab, Laksa, or Char Kway Teow, everyone has a family recipe to share! Even our driver shared a recipe for homemade Hainanese Chicken Rice, with homemade chicken stock and pandan leaf ? a popular herb in Southeast Asia.
Fast Food Court Taken to the Next Level
Unlike food courts in North America, which are often filled with deep-fried stuff and veggie-deficient burgers, Singapore has taken the food court industry to the next level. Many home-cooked foods are actually prepared at food courts ? mostly boiled, steamed, or stewed. The whole place is filled with food aromas, not the smell of oil frying. For the most part, you can’t expect to pay and go within 30 seconds because of the intense labor involved to prepare your order. But I am not complaining at all!
No Shortage of Freshness
There is no shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables in Singapore. Fruit stands are everywhere! They are usually located in high-traffic areas, and they are always packed. The fact that all drinks are squeezed or prepared fresh didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was that restaurants and food court stalls were not influenced by bottled drink companies. In North America, almost all food court stalls have a Coke or Pepsi cooler. Food court stalls in Singapore, on the other hand, don’t sell drinks. That pushes eaters to get either water, tea or coffee, or fresh drinks from the fruit stands.
The Bottom Line
The Singaporean love of food is truly contagious. If you are heading to Southeast Asia for a sun vacation, consider swinging by Singapore. They will make you fall in love with food again!
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.