Saturday, October 10, 2009

Singapore Food

Singaporeans are renowned die-hard foodies and are proud of Singapore's local dishes which are knowned internationally, thus it was inevitable that an uproar was caused among our people when Malaysia Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen claimed our local signature dishes such as nasi lemak (fragrant coconut milk rice), laksa (spicy soup noodles) and bak kut teh (pork ribs herbal soup) among others are uniquely Malaysia. Ng was quoted as saying: "We cannot continue to let other countries hijack our food. Chili crab is Malaysian. Hainanese chicken rice is Malaysian," in The Star newspaper. Ng's comments came on the back of her tourism ministry's move to brand these dishes uniquely Malaysian as part of a new campaign to promote Malaysia cuisine.

I am indeed shocked that Ng Yen Yen want to stake claim on local food. It is akin to trying to patent or copyright food. There is seriously no logic. In my opinion, every country can create its own dishes of laksa, nasi lemak, bak rut teh, chilli crab but why are these dishes regarded as and reputed to be Singaporean is due to the fact that these dishes thrive and become very delicious in Singapore due to the melding of fusion and culture here, which leaves its impacts on our food too and internationally. As such, when you mention Chicken rice to the world or Chilli Crab to any tourist, the world will remember these uniquely Singaporean yummy dishes.

Malaysia cannot stake claims that Chicken rice orignates from them. It is also not fair if they produce a uniquely Singaporean Chicken rice and asserts that the dish originates from them. What I think would be better for Malaysia is to create their own uniquely Malaysia Chilli Crab, Chicken Rice, Laksa (Penang Laksa is already quite famous in the world) as well as Bak Kut Teh and compete these dishes with Singapore's very own on the world stage.

Just look at the above photo of my lunch two days ago of Sin Swee Bee Chicken rice, that dish is simply Singaporeans and yummy!

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