An independent food & culture magazine in Singapore, telling timeless stories about our shared heritage.
Every August 9, Singaporeans all over the world commemorate the day Singapore gained independence from Malaysia in 1965. While the highlight for many is the National Day Parade, it is also a time for us to reckon with our identity as Singaporeans, to reflect on history, and to celebrate what makes us unique as a people.
The stories in this edition span from the 1800s to today, and are divided into four sections:
NATURE poses questions about our relationship with the natural world. We explore what indigenous communities have to teach us about living in harmony with nature, the way of life in Singapore’s kampungs, and the tricky terrain of foraging in modern Singapore.
HISTORY paints a picture of specific moments in Singapore’s history, such as the Japanese Occupation and the bygone days of Singapore’s pig farms. It also examines how sunset industry businesses, such as traditional bakeries, can keep going.
HOME is a collection of personal stories that explore the role of food as a love language, and how it can forge connections between mother and daughter, loved ones separated by distance, or strangers.
IDENTITY examines the complexity of identities in Singapore, from the perspective of a Straits Chinese, Indian migrants, and a Singaporean of mixed heritage.
Accompanying the stories are recipes that go beyond the usual ‘national dishes’. Ranging from kampung favourites and vanishing dishes, to innovative and modern twists on comfort food, they remind us of what a delicious gift our history and diversity can be.
In this Issue
Before Stamford Raffles
From living in harmony with nature to expanding our repertoire of national dishes, indigenous communities have much to teach us about our national identity.
Anatomy of a Kampung
Hafizah Jainal paints a picture of Lorong Sarhad, the kampung where her mother grew up.
Foraging for Forbidden Fruit in Singapore
From ixora flowers to catfish, Hanae Gomez navigates the tricky terrain of foraging in Singapore.
Nor Hadayah recounts her family’s close ties to the sea and land.
My Nan and I
Theresa and Cheryl Noronha take Eurasian food from the past into the present and future.
Thrice Upon a Place
Toffa Abdul Wahed unravels her family’s history and roots to Geylang Serai.
A Millennial’s Two Cents on How to Keep a Dying Trade Going
Judy Zhang reflects on her work experience at Sin Hon Loong Bakery and the challenges of a traditional food business. Recipe for sourdough kopitiam bread.
A Man & His Farm
Pamelia Chia explores her grandfather’s life and role in Singapore’s farming industry in the ‘80s.
Becoming My Mother
Natalina Pereira shares about the unexpected journey of becoming like her mother in the kitchen.
PSA: There is no canteen in Kampong Lorong Buangkok
Delfina Utomo peels back the ‘unofficial national attraction’ side of mainland Singapore’s last kampung.
The Love Language of Food Souvenirs
Wee Ling Soh interviews Singaporeans on their habit of gifting food souvenirs.
Eating with My Hands
Lloyd Matthew Tan recalls the splendour of Bonny Grass and his journey of championing Peranakan food.
Holding onto Love or Something Like That
To Subash Rethina Kumar, cooking represents “the same melancholic joys” that his forefathers had experienced.
Unavu, Unarvu (Food, Feeling)
Aditi Shivaramakrishnan sheds light on how four female migrants from India made Singapore their home.
My Curry Is Not Your Curry, And That’s Okay
Shila Das opens up about the backstory of the New York Times’ Singaporean chicken curry saga.