Even though I was born and raised in Singapore, a well-known food city with some of the best local foods in the world, I rarely had local food as an everyday meal.
Home cooked food
I was brought up in a household of great home cooks where I get to eat sumptuous home cooked meals from the moment I wake, to the moment I sleep.
Even with big family gatherings, everything was home cooked by my grandma, grandaunts, aunt and helpers back then. It was glorious home cooked food with my big appetite to match.
I grew up having home made rice dumplings (Zong Zi) every Dragon Boat Festival without fail. It was until I was traveling regularly in the past years that I got to try store-bought ones. Of course, our home made ones are much more superior.
For me, a typical home cooked meal must be completed with a big bowl of nourishing Chinese herbal soup.
Writing these make me want to cook now, but I have more to share.
Here is a very unpopular opinion (especially from a Singaporean who is born and raised here):
I love eating homecooked food so much that I used to avoid going out to eat hawker food. I used to think that eating in a hawker center was quite unhygienic (that was in the 2000s) and I’d avoid any meetups that take place in hawker centers at all cost.
When I really wanted to eat hawker food, I’d do a large portion for takeaway and enjoy it at the comfort of my home or office. If not, I’d simply avoid touching the table at the hawker center. This went on until I started sanitizing the table during the pandemic.
Basically, I’m OCD.
Whenever I do enjoy hawker food, I’d indulge in them occasionally and deal with my mild to severe allergic reaction with M.S.G. later.
My typical go-to hawker food is Hainanese Chicken Rice, Yong Tau Fu, Prawn Noodles, Fishball Mee Pok, Chwee Kuey and Seafood Hor Fun (wok hei must be gao gao).
My sinful go-to dish would be Char Kuay Teow with extra hum (same, wok hei must be gao gao too).
When I started traveling in South East Asia in my early twenties, I realized that I have a sensitive stomach. I’d get severe food poisoning so much that it came a running joke at home.
Maybe it’s a good thing that street food doesn’t sit well with me. They are generally not nutritious nor cooked with quality produce/products. Dirty, low quality cooking oil doesn’t sit well for me and they aren’t good for health in a long run too.
That said, I’d still keep an open mind while being cautious when it comes to exploring street food.
At the end of the day, it’s just not my go-to food unless I’m having street food in Japan or Taiwan.
I rarely eat fast food these days but I won’t say no if and when the occasion calls for it.
Nonetheless, it’s not part of my eating habits as I’d rather have a gourmet burger with hand-cut fries and/or wood-fired sourdough pizza.
I have a reasonable amount of patience for good food.
It’s either I really enjoy it, or I’d rather have home cooked meals. Haha. Very precarious.
There was once I really enjoyed the food at a newly-opened bistro that I booked out the entire restaurant to have my friends over and support the business. It felt really wonderful to be have stumbled upon such great food and experiences.
I particularly enjoy casual dining when I’m traveling because I’ll definitely stumble upon hidden gems.
I started getting very intrigued with fine dining restaurants during a trip to Melbourne, specifically after my first dining experience at Attica restaurant in 2019.
It was not intimidating, not pretentious and absolutely not stuffy, but very fun and explorative in all senses. This is the very restaurant that broadened my perspective and opened up my world.
Since then, I started getting obsessed with reading up about ingredients, cooking technique, food cultures, chefs and longing to taste different type of dishes and ingredients.
How did I start cooking?
My passion for cooking blossomed when I had my own kitchen in Hong Kong. I was dining out so much that I miss home cooked food a lot. I experimented with a wide variety of dishes and taught myself how to cook, grill, barbecue and bake.
It is very therapeutic for me.
Being a foodie doesn’t mean you have to eat out constantly, you can choose to explore cooking and make your own meals too.
In due time, I’ll be sharing with you more recipes in this blog!
If I were to describe myself as a foodie in 3 words, it’d be open-minded, discerning and curious.
I’d typically choose food that love me back.
Food that are good for my mental and physical health.
What about you? I’d love to hear from you what is your relationship with food and describe yourself as a foodie in 3 words!