To the Chinese, eating is a very important part of life. It is a social activity and helps to break the ice. In Chinese society, food is also a measure of success.
More than just eating, the Chinese also love to cook as it is seen as an art in itself. Chinese cuisine places emphasis on colour, aroma and flavour. Not only must a dish taste good, it must also appeal to the senses to be able to whet the appetite.
There are countless ways to cook the same ingredients, and each way of cooking imparts its own unique flavour to the food:
- Deep fry
- … and many more!
Eight main cuisines
- Sichuan, with characteristic rich and spicy dishes like Gongbao diced chicken
- Shandong, with dishes like Dezhou braised chicken
- Suzhou, with its carefully presented steamed crucian carp
- Guangdong, with distinctive sweet and crispy dishes like roast suckling pig
- Fujian, famed for Buddha Jumps over the Wall
- Zhejiang, which emphasises fresh food and natural flavours, particularly seafood
- Huizhou, which favours delicacies from the land and sea
- Hunan, which features rich foods with strong colours like cured meats
Now, tell us, which is your favourite?
Amidst the discussion concerning the place of Singapore’s hawker culture in UNESCO’s list, let us take a trip down memory lane and reminisce the beginning of it all.
Do you recognise any of the above hawkers? Can you name the food that each of them sold and the sounds that they made?
Not only did the smell of delicious food permeate the streets of Singapore, much din was made too: hawkers shouting to advertise their food, the highly-anticipated ringing of the ice-cream bell, the familiar “tok-tok” rhythm by the bamboo apparatus of the Tok Tok Mee man…
Many immigrants in 1900s Singapore relied on food hawkers on the streets for their daily meals. Besides famous dishes like braised duck, noodles and nasi lemak that are still rampant all over the country today, there were many other types of food sold that we no longer can find here.
… Lok Lok…
… Pig’s Ear…
… grilled squid…
… and even crocodile meat!
Due to hygiene reasons, these cannot be sold the same way in Singapore anymore.
In addition, the clean and well-maintained hawker centres that you walk past every day are a far cry from what it used to be! Most of the hawkers in that day carried their stalls with them and set them up wherever there were customers.
What do you remember from the hawkers in the past? Do you have similar stories to share?
Tell us more at our book launch tomorrow! Get your hands on our latest graphic novel, Once Upon A Singapore… Traders, where we show you the hawker culture that has made Singapore what it is today. Details: The Arts House, 10 November 2018, 2pm-3pm. Register here for free!