Everyday Singaporean Dishes Exoticised Overseas
Singapore is home to all sorts of cuisine that’s unique to the region — food that Singaporeans are proud to call our own, and we’re downright ecstatic when we hear that foreigners also appreciate it.
However, have you ever wondered if Singapore’s food is enjoyed the same way in other countries?
In a gallery on social platform Reddit, Singaporeans have been sending in pictures of familiar dishes that they have spotted overseas, and the prices of these seemingly normal dishes might surprise you.
Here are some common Singapore dishes that are romanticised overseas:
The whole foray started last week (May 19), when one netizen shared his encounter with a shop selling satay in Montreal, Canada.
Notice anything off?
Yes, 3 sticks of satay are going for C$$7 (S$7.20). That’s a whole lot more than the $0.60 per stick that we see at local eateries like Chomp Chomp Food Centre.
The high price for satay overseas seems to be common, as another netizen shared a picture of satay from Osaka, Japan that was priced at between S$10 and S$20.
By the way, the chilli crab in that Osaka photo cost S$80.
The meat on the satay looks a lot thicker than the ones we see in Singapore though, so perhaps the price hike seems reasonable?
2. Nasi Lemak
With popular online food shows like SORTEDfood showing people how to make nasi lemak, restaurants overseas are also serving their own renditions of the delicious dish.
This nasi lemak set looks authentic enough, and it’s from Shanghai. The dish, which is served at Frankie’s Restaurant, goes for S$6, though, double the price of a similar plate at your local kopitiam.
Now, this set looks more impressive, they even got the chilli right.
Too bad it costs a whopping 10 pounds (S$18) in London.
The nasi lemak in Cork City, Ireland didn’t look half bad, either:
The secret is out, guys. The amazing taste of laksa has now spread far and wide, and other countries are trying to recreate the remarkable dish.
This rendition of laksa hails from the Lime Tree, San Fransico. The dish has been dubbed the “Laksa Special” and is going for approximately US$10 (S$13.80).
Sadly, it looks a little like mee rebus instead.
This is a far more enticing version of laksa and it costs roughly S$10 — cheaper than the American version.
It comes from Canada, and may just pass off as a bowl that one might have gotten from our Lion City.
4. Chicken Rice
Often hailed as Singapore’s national dish, chicken rice is almost synonymous with Singaporean cuisine. Tourists who have tried our famous dish must have really liked it, as it seems to be popping up around the globe.
Costing more S$10, more than three times as much as your everyday $3 chicken rice, one netizen found this dish in Tokyo, Japan.
If you thought $10 was a hefty price for Chicken Rice, this set from Taipei, Taiwan costs about S$20.
However, it does come with kiam chye, pig liver and fish ball soup, so the large price tag might be justified.
Some of the foreign interpretations of Singapore dishes were not as appetising elsewhere than the originals, though.
One such example was this piece of otah that was spotted in London. Costing S$3.60, the otah pieces seem rather small and lacklustre.
The sense of satisfaction and happiness that come with eating a good murtabak at local prata House is unrivalled.
It would, therefore, come as a letdown were you to receive this when you order a murtabak overseas.
One netizen got this when he tried to satisfy his murtabak craving in Vancouver, Canada.
However, he did remark that the dish itself wasn’t too shabby, calling it a “weird cross between a burrito, popiah and roti prata”.
7. Char Kway Teow
A netizen posted a photo of a packet of char kway teow found in Toronto, Canada that looked quite good despite the chopsticks with Japanese characters on them:
Too bad it cost S$7.20, though.
You wouldn’t expect to find a decent dish of rendang in Cork City, Ireland, but this is what this netizen found there:
Although some dishes have been recreated better than others, they all seem to have one thing in common — hefty prices.
It seems that most of our local dishes have had their prices jacked up in foreign countries, and that could be due to many reasons — reduced competition, higher manpower costs, higher ingredient costs and maybe a premium for exotic dishes just like how Western food is more expensive in Singapore.
That lead us to wonder: How much more are we paying for foreign cuisine in Singapore? Seems like the most economical decision would be to #supportlocal.
Featured images adapted from Reddit