If Food Be The Food of Love…
The love language of Singaporeans is food. Well, more than the love language; the very center of a Singaporean’s life is food. And by this i mean a concern about food beyond what is necessary for survival.
Want to celebrate something? Go out for a good meal. Want to comfort someone? Go out for a good meal. Want to mark a special occasion? Food. Want to start a fight? Claim you know where the best char kway teow/laksa/chilli crab/chicken rice is to be found.
So according to the diary, the next few weeks are set to pass in a blur of being brought out for makan or being cooked meals. It’s very nice of everyone to do this, though with upwards of 3 farewell meals on some days, I fear I will be made to pay for two seats when I finally roll up the plane, dragging my enlarged liver behind me.
One day last weekend, we ate our way through Katong, also introducing a Japanese girl to the delights of Nonya cuisine. It was difficult to tell if she enjoyed it since her eyes glazed over halfway through the trek, as yet more dishes were placed before her by her expectant hosts.
then went in to sit next door in its restaurant for a lunch of chap chye, sambal prawns, ayam buah keluak, and babi assam.
After, we strolled past the very tempting soon kueh at Yong’s Teochew Kueh (150 East Coast Road), en route to
the venerable Chin Mee Chin Confectionery (204 East Coast Road) in the shadow of the Holy Family Church. The auntie seemed to have given up her previous grumbling against shutterbugs (probably after the last decade of happy clickers) and cheerfully concentrated on forgetting our drink orders instead. From the open kitchen wafted the smell of fresh cream puffs and the aroma of bread buns toasted on charcoal fires. The cupcakes and cream puffs catered to old skool tastes – harder and drier than the Japanese stuff we get now but tasty in their own way.
Then, drove over to PeraMakan (facebook. Keppel Club, 10 Bukit Chermin Road), slightly late after dropping off the troops at the Peranakan Museum (where the poor Japanese girl was relieved not to find another restaurant waiting), for a second Peranakan meal. Love the stuff. Ayam buah keluak (rather different recipe cf Kim Choo), Penang Nyonya pork ribs, chap chye, apom balik, chendol (do not adjust your screens, the luminous green is real), and durian pengat (the mousse tastes far better than it looks).
I dislike farewells (and in fact, just woke from a nightmare (literal) about one) because the attention is immensely off-putting. But these ones were very helpful for all at the table because the spotlight was on God and how he brought each one of us to know him. These weren’t success stories about how healing sicknesses, or finding spouses, or getting that ideal job; they were how God worked in different circumstances to reveal his majesty to us. The competitive ambitious one was told that looks, money, and brains weren’t good enough if there was no God, and so was determined to find out what was lacking and was then attracted by the truth of it all; the blur one was dodgified by an early experience with a Christian cult group and eschewed all contact with Christian things but decided on a whim to go for a talk one day and was struck by a message from Scripture that God as creator of the world wanted to have a relationship with us humans; the somewhat flighty one was attracted first by an attractive teacher and wanted to find out more about the teacher’s faith; the annoyingly intense one just wanted to get to the bottom of things – the meaning of life and the reason for our existence, but it wasn’t persistence that paid off – rather this truth came along and tapped her on the shoulder when she was looking the other way.
And this is the promise:
that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)