Singaporeans are the fussiest and also the easiest with food. Fussy because we all have our own opinions on which hawker stall or restaurant serves ‘the best’ laksa or some other local dishes; easy because we are very open-minded about trying different cuisines from different culture, whether in Singapore or abroad.
When talking to Singaporeans, food is a topic that never goes wrong and you can expect us to ramble on and on about our favourite dining hangouts. There is a reason why more than half of the top bloggers in Singapore are all food bloggers – we are food-obsessed as a nation!
If food is such an important part of Singapore’s culture and heritage, what makes a meal satisfying in Singapore?
After a long day at work yesterday, I was pondering this question when dining with my wife at Albert Centre Market & Food Centre.
We ordered a serving of wok-fried tze char dish each and I had a can of Coca-Cola® to go with the meal:
This is a pretty standard order at hawker centres in Singapore, but the meal was strangely satisfying to me. At least it was satisfying enough to make me ponder.
Why was this meal satisfying to me? Five reasons:
My fried rice with egg costs S$3.50 while my wife’s order of sweet and sour pork with rice and egg costs S$4. The can of Coca-Cola costs S$1.40. Total cost: S$8.90 for a meal for two!
I travel a fair bit for work, about two trips each month. As such, I eat out frequently. Food is served very quickly in Singapore, especially at the hawker centres. In the skilled hands of experienced hawkers, they can whip out bowls of wanton noodles, plates of chicken rice or even wok-fried delights in less than a minute per serving! If you are hungry and craving for a quick eat, Singapore is about as fast as it gets in this part of the world. Same goes for beverages, a can of ice-cold Coca-Cola is never more than a minute away from any drink stalls around the island.
Perception of Variety
Why do Singaporeans like to head down to mega food centres like Albert Centre Market & Food Centre? If you have a craving for chicken rice, why not head to the best chicken rice specialty restaurant or hawker? It’s the perception of variety at work, which is so gratifying. Why do we pay for expensive hotel buffets when we know that we can never sample everything on display? That’s because our eyes tricked us into thinking we have feasted on everything. Dining is as much of a visual experience on top of just tastes and smells. Hawker centres are visual foodporn – even though we are likely to end up ordering just one or two dish, we feel as if we had feasted on everything in the food centre.
Enjoying good food is a social occasion for Singaporeans. We love to enjoy good food together. My wife and I both have very busy schedules and being able to enjoy dinner together on a weekday is a rarity. Good companionship matters for an overall satisfying meal, paired with the happiness that a can of Coca-Cola brings.
Wok-fried food may not be the healthiest dish, but they are comfort food after a long day at work. I just want to unwind, relax and indulge. It’s okay, I can have healthy meals on other days.
If I need a choice of beverage with no sugar and zero calories, I can always opt for a can of Coke light or Coke zero.
Something cold and refreshing
Singapore is sweltering hot for most of the year. As such, I find it very important to enjoy my food with an ice cold, refreshing beverage – like a can of Coca-Cola! Nothing beats gulping down a can of Coca-Cola on a crazy hot day while enjoying my favourite comfort food.
This is my list to fulfil for a satisfying meal. It doesn’t have to be an expensive meal in a fancy restaurant. As long as these six criteria are fulfilled, I am a happy man. What about you? What defines a satisfying meal? Let’s talk about it over a dinner gathering and maybe I can treat everyone an ice-cold can of Coca-Cola each to go around. ☺
This article is brought to you in partnership with Coca-Cola.