Changing tastes & actual cravings

I’ve been thinking lately about food, tastebuds and cravings, following a gathering with some fellow Singaporeans.

I was reminded then that I don’t eat, cook or crave Singaporean (or Asian) food as much as they do. I cook whatever is quick and simple, and choose whatever’s delicious and satisfying when dining out.

One of the Singaporeans is married to an Irish man, so that can’t be the differentiating factor. It might be because I work – both of them are housewives and hence, presumably, have more time to ponder over and recreate tastes from home.

Yet, I’m not entirely convinced that’s the main reason. I do believe that part of living overseas is allowing your tastebuds to adapt to the local food and flavours – the less you consume the familiar, the less you’ll miss it.

Or it could be that I’m just greedy and am happy with good food, regardless of where it hails from or what exactly it tastes like. But I do also think that there’s little use in craving food from home – it’s not like that craving can be satisfied completely, and I’ve noticed that I’ve started to frame my food-related unsatisfactions in the local food language.

By that, I mean that when I get those vague dissatisfactions in the pit of my belly that only a bite (or more) of a tasty morsel can dissipate, I no longer think of things like char kway teow or cai png curry. Instead, my mind throws up suggestions like crisps, snowy Joeys, and scones. My brain – and stomach – has started looking for practical, viable solutions instead of hungering for what I simply cannot have.

I realise as well that there are certain things that I’ve grown to love. And since I’ve been meaning to note these down for a while now, I thought to take this chance to list some of the things that I’ve only started eating and loving since I came here. They are:

– a proper, hearty, greasy Ulster fry
– breads: wheaten, soda, potato, Guinness
– champ
– fondant potatoes
– thick, fat, chips
– stuffing
– grilled or roast lamb
– cherry scones
– a rich, fragrant gravy
– cheese: cambozola, feta, Wesleydale

I also know what I need for a good fix when I’m wanting something from home. They include:

– laksa paste
– crispy shrimp chilli
– fried taupok
– miso
– kimchi
– hargow
– tofu
– Japanese curry

So.. I don’t fare too badly, do I?


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