Food & Culture in Singapore

Another Hawker Stall Lunch

The United States refers to itself as the melting pot, but yet they expect everyone to assimilate to American culture. That is not really a melting pot and blending of cultures, rather it is acceptance of different cultures somewhat with the expectation that eventually in some ways you will conform. In Singapore it felt what you would expect from what I would call a true melting pot. There are 3 main groups of people in Singapore: the Malay, Chinese, and Indians. Each group has a specific culture and in some cases have ethnic enclaves and neighborhoods, but they also freely interact and coexist. They also communicate in multiple languages even English which was brought in during British colonization. There was little to no difficulty in communicating with the peoples of Singapore. It is apparent that the lack of dual language capabilities in the United States leaves Americans isolated and at a disadvantage in the greater world community.

This melting pot more interestingly results in amazing food. Singapore is more expensive than most of SE Asia, but the food by comparison to home is much cheaper, if you know where to go. Hawker stalls supply a food court of almost any type of cuisine you can imagine… (well maybe not Mexican, but I have seen most everything else). These stalls have strict government cleanliness regulations (it is Singapore after all) and supposedly if the food is not good the government will take the space away from you. The food in these places is ridiculously cheap. The meal in the picture above was $3.00.

Another interesting Singapore food obsession was durian. If you have not had the pleasure of seeing and or eating durian it is definitely an acquired taste. I think it smells like fruit that is too ripe to the point of starting to rot (sounds tasty right?). There is a double standard here in Singapore when it comes to durian, everyone wants to sell it, but hotels, taxis, the MRT, etc… all will not allow you to bring it into their establishment/car. It seems this national fruit is beloved, but also segregated. We had the opportunity to try it in tiramisu, so why not? It seemed to D like the perfect opportunity to try it in a way that seemed “safe”. This coffee shop/cafe by the way needs to exist in Seattle it would do well and definitely felt like a hipster cafe from Capital Hill or Ballard.

Durian a fruit beloved and restricted
The tiramisu hero... someone please bring it to Seattle... there were so many more flavors than durian we just happened to try that one.

Sayonara for now… D&M

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