OUR SENSE of adventure is most evident in the area of food appreciation.
Whether it’s a durian quest or a specific dish from a hawker in Penang, a Thai speciality in Bangkok or haute cuisine in a European capital, distance is seldom an obstacle to the quest.
But you don’t have to travel far for good food. In a region rich with spices and a convergence of cultures and cuisines, the melange of ethnic and modern cuisines serves up a veritable smorgasbord of unending dishes.
But are we satisfied?
From small stalls to restaurants that serve up local faves to food courts that even serve sushi and to fine-dining establishments that have found their way out East, you would think we would have loads to choose from.
But let’s have more. And now the dining options have been increased by the emergence of home cooking. Bring a group of friends to a stranger’s home and feast on what they have to offer is not new, but it’s growing in popularity.
It could be a sign of the times and the gig economy making its presence felt in the food industry.
From Peranakan to Italian; HDB flat to swish livingroom, the options are plenty and growing. You’ll have to rely on word of mouth recommendations to home in on the well-frequented establishments like Nonya Bong or Lynette’s Kitchen.
Comforts Of Home
While we have access to the gourmet world, it’s sometimes about comfort food. For many who cannot cook like their grandmother, they have to rely on someone else to dish up the flavour.
“Nostalgia is a strong motivator for those who use the services of home chefs,” reckons Patricia Yong, who took part in the recent Most Gracious Host competition.
Fellow competitor, Namrata Deepak Shah observed that “people could travel the world, but at the end of the day all they want is their mother’s curry”.
Social media has played a big part in the rise of home cooking. Be it Instagram or Facebook posts about new places to eat, or recipes loaded up with easy-to-follow steps, it’s sending a fresh wave of amateur cooks into the kitchen.
“People are inspired by the content they see on Instagram food channels, and cooking competitions like Master Chef,” noted Shaheeda Sokhaim.
And what better source of inspiration and information than dining at the chef’s elbow to perfect your own dish?
“Sometimes, people are on the hunt for a specific kind of food which may not be found at restaurants,” notes Most Gracious Host winner Berlinda Ezekiel.
“Instead of dining at a public eatery, they opt for a private dining experience where they can consume the food they desire in the comfort of their own homes. They also get the chance to interact with the host, and understand more about the cuisine they are eating,” she adds.
As more homes open up their kitchens to the hungry, our reputation as food nomads will continue to travel far and near.