Like many travelers, we look forward to experiencing the food in a new destination. Our usual approach involves trying anything that looks unfamiliar and/or figuring out where the locals eat. We were thrilled when we recently discovered food sharing websites as that gave us a chance to really eat where the locals eat – in their home. One such meal sharing site, Traveling Spoon, generously invited us to try them out on our next trip and as it involved two of our favorite things about travel (cultural immersion and food) we couldn’t say no.
Traveling Spoon offers three options: meal, cooking class + meal or market tour + cooking class + meal. We opted for the cooking class + meal. After confirming the date, we received an email from our local host, Rosaline, introducing herself and providing directions to her home. It turns out Rosaline was no ordinary cook. She was a former restaurant owner, cookbook author, teacher and retired banker.
Rosaline warmly greeted us into her beautiful home and kitchen so we instantly felt at ease. On the menu were the following dishes:
1) Chicken Rice
2) Beef Rendang
3) Fried Hokkien Mee
4) Ngoh Hiang
5) Pomelo/Sago/Mango/Strawberry Dessert with Vanilla Ice Cream
It was interesting to see the entire cooking process from start to finish and find out variations on dishes both on and off the menu. Rosaline is Chinese Singaporean but her culinary skills include local Singaporean dishes and Peranakan cuisine she learned through her Malaysian husband Fred.
Following the lesson, we all sat down for dinner. As expected, the food was delicious – thanks to Rosaline’s skills, not ours. And the company was just as good as the food. We chit chatted about everything from careers, families, travels, random things, etc. Rosaline and Fred are the people you want to sit next to at a dinner party. They were so warm, engaging, smart and funny.
At the end of the night, Rosaline was kind enough to drive us to the MRT as it was raining and even gifted us a copy of her cookbook Grandmother’s Recipes.
Our meal sharing experience with Traveling Spoon in Singapore was one of the highlights of our trip. Even with all the hawker centers and food options in Singapore, for us, nothing beats sharing a meal with a local.
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