Separate pots

Cosmopolitan or bust
Today’s Special: Melting Pot

I’m thinking that if we must remain cosmopolitan, then we’d better do away with the damn Hua Yu Cool campaigns, or at least, match that with Bahasa Bagus and Tamil Terrific campaigns. Else we’re quite damned to becoming a mostly Chinese chauvinistic society with no respect for our cosmopolitan heritage.

I say ‘cosmopolitan heritage’ because there was a time when the entire country seemed to speak better English than the Good that they are trying to get the populace to speak, when no one batted as much of an eyelid when a troubled English boy sought refuge in a local Malay family to grow up and become the doyen of local radio announcers; when there wasn’t so much of a cultural cringe when the brands and dialects of Chinese spoken on mediums such as Rediffusion could be and were relied on by many; when we weren’t asked to Pinyinize our Chinese names for ourselves as well as for places; and when local Chinese television didn’t start to try to sound like Taiwanese or Mainland Chinese just because they thought they were the real deal.

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Eating well

SaladI’ve decided to ask some of my friends to come over for dinner more often instead of infecting the heartland with their idiosyncrasies‘.

I believe I’m quite a handy cook, and tonight, I made these dishes:

Mr Miyagi’s Anyhowly Dinner Menu:

  • Bruschetta ala Saw How It Was Made The Other Day On The Telly
  • Salad of Aragula, Baby Spinach, Button Mushroom, Kalamata Olive, Tomatoes, Roasted Zucchini with Lemon Juice & Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dressing
  • Heinz’s Boston Clam Chowder From The Can
  • Penne with Sauce of White Wine (Riesling, I think), Tomato, Garlic, Sausage I Bought From the Supermarket

It’s when you get to pause, go to the market, buy tasty ingredients, cook up a storm, and sit, eat and watch American Idol with good friends that you think, ‘life’s really not bad if we could do with these moments regularly’.

I strongly recommend everyone do this. If you can’t cook, I’m quite sure there’ll be a chef among your friends you can persuade to take time off to whip something up for your gang.

Painting flavours

NogawaThere’s a little Japanese restaurant on Sentosa whose name is an institution in Singapore, and we were fortunate enough to be invited there to eat ourselves to death last Saturday night.

It was by far the best Japanese food I have ever tasted in my life. I know Japanese food is supposed to be delicate and its flavours intricate, but Nogawa’s newest restaurant at Sentosa Golf Club is really a hidden treasure – especially if you’re not accustomed to travelling to Sentosa for dinner (we were saying we were a few years too early – there’d be much more to do if a casino were already there), or if you were not a member of the Sentosa Golf Club.

I’m not a foodie, and I find it difficult to describe food, unlike them slow food convivivivors, and I often just say if the food’s “good” or “bad”.

But at Nogawa’s Sentosa… Man! Every morsel of every dish seemed to paint a subtly distinct flavour in my mouth. If you can imagine a Pantone chart-like chart of flavours, you’d know what I mean.

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Fake fakes

Some of the fake fur used in clothing isn’t synthetic, and actually contains dog hair.

“Americans don’t want Lassie turned into a fur coat,” Moran said. “In the US, we treat cats and dogs as pets, not trimmings for the latest fashion wear.”

Apparently most of the fake fakes come from China, which isn’t really surprising, given they have a tendency of producing fakes of everything.

This reminds me of the time I dined at a supposedly venerated vegetarian restaurant in Sanya on Hainan Island. The establishment prided itself in creating dishes which were supposedly the closest visual and flavour facsimiles of meat dishes.

So we had mock-roast duck, mock sweet sour pork, mock steamed fish (the steam was real), mock braised chicken, mock stir-fried beef – basically every dish in a non-vegetarian Chinese restaurant menu you could poke your chopsticks at, and which might have been the envy of a person who was vegetarian on account of his religion, this place could and did mock-up.

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So, when the 2nd last dish was served – braised buck-choy with garlic – my cousin, in mock-delight, cried, “wow, mock vegetables!”, at which a surprisingly life-like waitress swooped in and informed my cousin, with genuine concern, that the vegetables were real.

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