Savouring Every Bite
Non-profit organisation Slow Food (Singapore) brings different communities together to celebrate the country’s culinary culture and heritage.
PHOTO JASPER YU
oh Sun Liang (pictured) is owner of bakery and confectionery Sze Thye Cake Shop. He is a oneman-show handcrafting peanut brittle candy, a traditional Teochew treat, using methods and equipment that have remained unchanged for decades. He is among a generation of old masters who hold the secrets to making local snacks and dishes that are in danger of disappearing from Singapore’s culinary landscape as there is often no one to pass on the skills of making them to.
As food is integral to the Singaporean identity, it made perfect sense for a group of Singaporeans to start a nonprofit organisation called Slow Food (Singapore) in 2013 to celebrate, preserve and promote the country’s culinary heritage. Daniel Chia, its president, says: “Food bonds Singaporeans from different walks of life. We believe that it is an essential ingredient in building strong relationships within families and communities, and between people and the environment.”
The organisation is the local chapter of the global grassroots organisation Slow Food International Association. Founded in Italy in 1989, the Association preserves heritage dishes, celebrates food culture and traditions, protects diversity, and promotes responsible consumption.
In Singapore, the local chapter runs an annual Kueh Appreciation Day to celebrate traditional kueh or local snacks found in Singapore. It has also launched the Heritage Hero Awards programme to recognise local bakeries, confectioneries, eateries and restaurants that preserve local culinary traditions. Both initiatives are unique to Singapore.
Says Chia: “By calling attention to Singapore’s traditional and evolving food culture, we hope to cultivate greater appreciation for the richness of our country’s food heritage, and highlight the importance of making wise decisions about sourcing, preparing, eating and investing in food.”