Local food overseas


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st11x

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Jan 12, 2004
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Canberra,Australia
#1
I thought this might be something interesting to talk about. It seems that you can never find dishes like Laksa, Char Kway Teow, satay outside Singapore and Malaysia. It's worse in western places.

Anyone know why? What's so special about the ingredients that they cannot be reproduced? It's not as if they are tailored for the local taste. For example, I can easily find Tom Yum soup that taste just as good or very very close, but something like Laksa is a totally different dish altogether.

Or are we (in Singapore) just enjoying the "wrong" version of the dish?

Recently, I found that Prima Deli is selling packed versions of local dishes. Man, they are god-send indeed!

Matt
 

#2
Laksa and Char Kway Teow taste the same whether it is in Australia or Singapore and Malaysia.

Only Satay in Singapore and Malaysia is the best. I was once served Satay (meat cubes in rice with curry and eatern with fork and spoon) in a "Malaysian Retaurant" in Sydney.

If you are desperate go to supermarket and buy Campbell's Malaysian Chicken Laksa in a can. :)
 

st11x

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Jan 12, 2004
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Canberra,Australia
#3
Sion said:
Laksa and Char Kway Teow taste the same whether it is in Australia or Singapore and Malaysia.
Not exactly :( I have yet to find decent Laksa and Char Kway Teow at the places I visited in Australia. The closest Laksa has to be in Sydney, but that is still quite some way off.

Tried Char Kway Teow a couple of times, the last one just last Friday. One of those times was at a place highly recommended by a magazine for it's authenticity. They are way off the target.
 

brian

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Aug 1, 2004
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nangka.org
#4
The only thing you get overseas in every hotel is the "Singapore Fried Beehoon"... although I dont think its as popular (or sometimes I dont even eat it at home!) back here in Singapore, its definitely everywhere and everyone seems to have their own idea of what it should be.

In London you can get decent nasi lemak in Malaysia House, not sure if they still do it. Otherwise... everything else I tried just isn't going to meet the standard.
 

Dec 11, 2005
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East End
#5
Bro, you don't find laksa and char kway teow in western states because I guess their taste and ours differ a little. Westerners prefer their food not spicy and oil-less. That's why our chicken rice and fried rice is all over the world.
Char kway reow must be fried with lard (pork fat) to taste good. I don't think the ang mohs can imagine cooking their meals with lard. Plus Char kway reow needs a little chilli for that oomph. Most Ang mohs can't take chilli to save their lives. So I guess this may also be the reason why laksa is not found there
 

st11x

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Jan 12, 2004
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#6
Heartshape said:
Westerners prefer their food not spicy and oil-less. That's why our chicken rice and fried rice is all over the world.
Char kway reow must be fried with lard (pork fat) to taste good.
Chicken rice and fried rice are pretty oily too, especially the chicken rice. I find that chicken rice is harder to come by, but they are usually better than the Laksa-wannabes :D

Laksa shouldn't be too "spicy" if they can accept those substitutes that have basically the same level of heat in them.

Once I went to a Singaporean-Malaysian restaurant thinking that they must do the real thing ... sadly, the Laksa taste like noodles in satay sauce with some chilli! What's that!

brian said:
The only thing you get overseas in every hotel is the "Singapore Fried Beehoon"
Yes, it's true. I find this dish served in a lot of places (not only in the hotels) and it has the Singapore name to it. Again, they are hopeless.

I'm thinking either they can't find the right ingredients, or they are just not cut out to be restauranters but did it anyway as they are familiar with the dishes and they are good money in the West especially. Over time, the Ang Mohs have come to like them so those dishes has evolved and stayed.
 

roti

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Sep 24, 2002
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#7
i see a few of locals and malaysians overseas here....hmm...i was so damn craving for singapore' chicken curry when i was working in tw,i made my mum DHL me the curry powder and coconut milk to me in less 2 days....sometimes its best to bring those frozen-pack pratas(they come in a pack of 25), chicken rice mix pack, curry powder, coconut milk, frozen satays(city satay) as well. now i always hav a luggage of food when i go overseas :D
 

#8
brian said:
The only thing you get overseas in every hotel is the "Singapore Fried Beehoon"...
They have extended the range to Singapore Char kway Teow, Singapore Chicken rice, Singapore Chilli fish, Singapore Prawn Mee etc. etc.

In other words any food that can make money will have "Singapore" in front of it. :bsmilie:
 

trlnlty

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Mar 22, 2005
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#11
for people who have been to the states or rather the east coast.. nonya or penang (same owner) is an extremely popular restaurant.. even been zagat rated..

http://www.menupages.com/restaurantdetails.asp?neighborhoodid=0&restaurantid=2159

when i was in ny a couple of weeks back



i liked it, probably just as good as ones i had back home..
 

adamadam

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Feb 9, 2004
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#12
There's those food here also.

It was funny in primary school, many would say to me
"You are chinese? do you eat chinese everynight? I love eating chinese!!!"
they meant chinese food, and they thought that chinese food means sweet and sour pork every night.
 

mich_2103

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Jul 26, 2003
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#13
st11x said:
I thought this might be something interesting to talk about. It seems that you can never find dishes like Laksa, Char Kway Teow, satay outside Singapore and Malaysia. It's worse in western places.

Anyone know why? What's so special about the ingredients that they cannot be reproduced? It's not as if they are tailored for the local taste. For example, I can easily find Tom Yum soup that taste just as good or very very close, but something like Laksa is a totally different dish altogether.

Or are we (in Singapore) just enjoying the "wrong" version of the dish?

Recently, I found that Prima Deli is selling packed versions of local dishes. Man, they are god-send indeed!

Matt
I think it's the spices, ingredients and cooking methods that make our local cusine so special. No offense to Westerners but their food aren't really that great after all. They usually use processed food, deep fried or use plain water to cook their greens. I find their food(s) is rather extreme - they are either too oily or too bland.

Chinese food is an art - just the term soya sauce we have like different variations - from the dark to the light ones and there's the sticky soya sauce, etc.

I think another reason for why Singapore food tastes different in other countries is because, the cooks change a bit of the flavor to cater MORE to the locals rather than foreigners or tourists.

Peace,
~Michy~ :p
 

Lensman

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Feb 12, 2002
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#14
I am now stuck in Czech Republic for 3 weeks.

Any kind souls can send me the pre-packed Laksa, Mee Rebus, Kambang Sup, Prawn Noodle soup, rojak, and hor fun...

Missed Lim chee guan's bak kua also....
 

freeworld

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Aug 23, 2002
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#15
Lensman said:
I am now stuck in Czech Republic for 3 weeks.

Any kind souls can send me the pre-packed Laksa, Mee Rebus, Kambang Sup, Prawn Noodle soup, rojak, and hor fun...

Missed Lim chee guan's bak kua also....
Lim Chee Guan's bak kua??? I have 1.5kg on my dinning table...haven't open yet. Have to wait till CNY ;p

Anyway, now you can get it all time round the year. Are you staying at Cz for CNY??
 

freeworld

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Aug 23, 2002
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#16
Anyway, I have tried sweet sour pork at Killarney, Ireland. I was told the cook is a malaysian..but really can't make it. The fried rice and Xing Zhou Chao Mian are still quite ok.

I was told by the China national waitress that their food is mostly to suit Gui Zi, meaning westerner ... :bsmilie:
 

trlnlty

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Mar 22, 2005
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#17
mich_2103 said:
I think it's the spices, ingredients and cooking methods that make our local cusine so special. No offense to Westerners but their food aren't really that great after all. They usually use processed food, deep fried or use plain water to cook their greens. I find their food(s) is rather extreme - they are either too oily or too bland.

Chinese food is an art - just the term soya sauce we have like different variations - from the dark to the light ones and there's the sticky soya sauce, etc.

I think another reason for why Singapore food tastes different in other countries is because, the cooks change a bit of the flavor to cater MORE to the locals rather than foreigners or tourists.

Peace,
~Michy~ :p
actually in terms of "western" cooking.. that term is such an all-inclusive term tho... they like to bring out the best ingrediants and let it speak for itself.... lets talk about steak.. the best way (debatable) is just the season it with salt + peppercorns.. sear it on a cast iron pan and let it cook in the oven. This way the taste of the meat is still there, compare this to the chinese style of cooking beef where it is usually smothered in sauce. If you think about it, most chinese dishes use sauce to define the dish, not as a complement. Im sure you've heard people asking during a meal "eh what meat is this ah " ;)
 

tjtan77

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Jun 6, 2005
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#18
well.. 2 cents here
but in aussie, melbourne, there's this wild ginger place off glenhuntly
excellent place for sg food as the owners are from sg
bit pricey, but the food is excellent
 

Lensman

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Feb 12, 2002
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Singapore & Hong Kong
#19
freeworld said:
Lim Chee Guan's bak kua??? I have 1.5kg on my dinning table...haven't open yet. Have to wait till CNY ;p

Anyway, now you can get it all time round the year. Are you staying at Cz for CNY??
The thing is that my office is just a few mins away from LCG's shop at Pagoda Street. Everyday walk past, every other week buy $10 of their "scarp" BK - just for tibits. Couldn't care more. NOW, I had craving for it, also cannot find...

Yup, going to "take cover" in CZ during CNY. Work lah....

Cheers
 

idor

Senior Member
Nov 11, 2004
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Northern California
#20
st11x said:
I thought this might be something interesting to talk about. It seems that you can never find dishes like Laksa, Char Kway Teow, satay outside Singapore and Malaysia. It's worse in western places.

Anyone know why? What's so special about the ingredients that they cannot be reproduced? It's not as if they are tailored for the local taste. For example, I can easily find Tom Yum soup that taste just as good or very very close, but something like Laksa is a totally different dish altogether.

Or are we (in Singapore) just enjoying the "wrong" version of the dish?

Recently, I found that Prima Deli is selling packed versions of local dishes. Man, they are god-send indeed!

Matt
In US its the worse...... except for LA, impossible to find mee rebus, laksa and other type of local dishes... my family used to send me prima deli packed versions.... until last year... US customs do not let pple mail food into US... My mum found that out when she bought the parcel to Singapore Post... anyone here who knows any other way to get those in US?
 

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