Informal E-mail

by Astin Ng (S1 2021)
Dear Jayden,
              How are you? I hope you have been doing well in Japan.  I miss you here and my weekends have been uneventful.  I was in high spirits when I heard that you have been enrolled in a school for Junior Chefs.  Congratulations.  I was also extremely excited when I heard that you will be visiting Singapore during the March holidays.  I know you love cooking and trying out new recipe.
              I look forward to you coming to Singapore to taste the local food that will help you in your project.  The dishes I will introduce are satay, chicken rice and char kway teow.
              At Newton Food Centre, satay-making sessions are offered for free at 3.45pm daily.  Satay is a mouth-watering dish that is made of skewered chicken.  The satay cook pays close attention to the flames by fanning constantly and this needs great skill.  The satay sauce is made from peanuts and this is not common as most sauces are usually made from chilli or tomato.  Satay is also usually put on banana leaves which adds an aromatic smell that will make people salivate.  When you observe the food being prepared, you will learn how to grill the satay to perfection.  This will be a new experience for you as I know you have never grilled something like that before.
              At Telok Ayer Market, cooking demonstrations of the Singaporean favourite, chicken rice, are offered at 10am daily for free.  The chicken rice is a scrumptious dish served with tantalising chicken, fragrant rice, cucumber spicy chilli sauce and sweet black soya sauce.  In addition, the chicken rice at Telok Ayer Market is well known for its authentic chicken broth and you will be able to feel the crunch of the fresh chicken.  Imagine the aromatic smell wafting into your nostrils!  When you observe the food being prepared, you will have a better idea of how to create authentic chicken rice with all the necessary ingredients.  You will also get to taste the chicken rice and understand why it is a popular national dish.
              Another special dish that is popular in Singapore is char kway teow.  This comprises of noodles fried with black sauce and cockles.  It is an inexpensive dish and is ubiquitous in Singapore’s food centres.  A unique feature to Singapore-style char kway teow is the use of yellow and white rice noodles fried with beansprouts, prawns, cockles and chilli sauce.  It is more popularly seen in the Chinese cuisine.  The dish might look simple to prepare but it is not easy to fry a plate of delicious char kway teow.  I am sure you would definitely enjoy this local delight at the hawker centre and bring the recipe back home.  You can even customise your own Japanese-inspired char kway teow!
              As I have mentioned earlier, these three dishes are significant to the Singapore culture.  As Singapore is a multi-racial country, there are many facets of Singaporean cuisine such as Malay, Chinese, Indian, Eurasian, Peranakan and Western food.  Singaporeans are obsessed with food; there is a unique hawker culture in our country and a wide variety of food can be found in hawker centres, in every nook and cranny in Singapore.  The hawker centres in Singapore give an insight into how Singaporeans enjoy their food in an outdoor dining setting.
              I look forward to enjoying Singaporean-style satay, chicken rice and char kway teow with you.  I hope these three unique dishes will help you excel in your project.
              See you soon, in Singapore!
Alexander Ng
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