Hainanese Western Food
#DidYouKnow that a lot of the classic ‘Western food’ you enjoy in coffeeshops and hawker centres is actually fusion cuisine – more specifically, “Hainanese” Western food? 😱
Hainanese Western Food typically includes dishes such as chicken chop, pork chop, fish and chips, or steak served with sides like fries, coleslaw, and baked beans – meals that we instinctively think of as ‘Western’.
So why “Hainanese” Western Food? 🤔
Well, in the 19th century, many Hainanese immigrants arrived in Singapore for work, and could only gain a foothold in the service sector. So many Hainanese found themselves working in service roles such as cooks, waiters, and servants in hotels, restaurants, or wealthy European and Peranakan households.
This exposed the cooks to many Western culinary practices, even as they made modifications to the dishes according to their preferences, as well as ingredients and equipment available. Chicken chops were not grilled but wok-fried with a dash of soy sauce, fries and buns were deep fried, and most dishes were served with a sunny-side up egg – quite unlike “traditional” Western food that Europeans or Americans would enjoy back home.
Today, while this fusion cuisine is no longer sold by just the Hainanese, they remain as a testament to our colonial past and how we have adapted it into our local food culture – something that is truly uniquely Singapore!
#FoodieFriday #FoodieFridaySG #Singapore #hawkerculture #colonialera #westernfood #hainanesewesternfood