Binding Overseas Singaporeans With Local Flavours.
Many scurried in, a handful pranced, but they all wore big smiles and exuded excitement. Those with cameras in their hands constantly pointed them to where the smell of the freshly cooked food came from. It’s been a while since these overseas Singaporeans last saw a hawker terik a cup of teh, or tossed a bowl of rojak, and they finally got to see them again at the Singapore Day in New York last Saturday. “The last time I saw you was 10 years ago,” one lady exclaimed to the Casuarina roti prata man, who upon hearing that, swung the dough higher in the air and shook his bulky hips side to side to provide a little entertainment. At another stall, a middle-aged Chinese man spoke with a thick American accent but ordered his tea the way Singaporeans do: “teh si kosong”. As he claimed his milk tea he announced: “I haven’t had any teh si for years!” To the 4900 Singaporeans who are living, working and studying in America and have gathered at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on the weekend, the familiar sight of hawkers frying char kway teow and chai tau kway was almost as comforting as visits by their loved ones. To feed as many of these hungry souls as possible, the 12 hawkers controlled their portioning and served up more than the 800 to 1200 portions they were asked to. It is only in such occasion that Singaporeans readily accept only fish balls, without noodles, in their Mee Pok Tah. In the face of these gastronomical temptations, even those who would be away for barely a year were counting down to the day they could return home. “Another 72 days till my glutinous rice dumpling back home,” one said. Text by Sheere Ng and KF Seetoh, Images by KF Seetoh @ Makansutra
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