Friday, July 29, 2005

The Changing Food-scape

The food-scape in Singapore has been undergoing much change in the recent years.. the change had been subtle, gradual changes that we never ever notice, till I went over to Delifrance the other day and it hit me that it had changed from a cafe to a bistro, from selling jus sandwiches and the occasional pasta to a full bistro menu. Now u can find salads, pasta and all kinda of main course over at the new Delifrance Bistros.

What happened to the over-the-counter ordering? What happened to making the sandwich right in front of u? Now ur orders get taken at a counter near the entrance and ur food gets prepared in the kitchen and properly packed and sent to u.

That's good in a way, but I prefer the subway style, where u can see the staff making ur sandwich and u can tell them u dun wan this, u dun wan that and etc.. I'm a fussy eater :p

I haven tried out their new menu, so I cant comment on how good the food is. The pricing seems reasonable though.

Fast food chains have been changing too.. now they include more healthy meals, with yoghurt, salads, fruits and more on their menus. This is probably a response to the ongoing lawsuits in America, with obese citizens suing the fastfood chains for causing their obesity. Honestly I think it's rubbish that they're suing the fastfood chains, if u do not have enough self-discipline to stop eating, it's nobody's fault.

Anyway I like the chicken salad over at KFC, but mainly coz I like the fried chicken that they so generously placed in the salad. So I'm not a healthy eater after all :p ladiladi da.. like i care :p

These are the good things in the change of our food-scape, we get more variety of food to choose from, and we get healthier choice :p but there's a bad side to the changes too.. at least it seems so to me.

What really hit me is the lost of uniqueness and the birth of homogeneity. I dun mind seeing McDonald's everywhere, since it's a fast food chain, it's not surprising to see them all over the place, that's what they're meant to do mah..

I guess the most visible example would be that of the Katong Laksa, Chong Pang Nasi Lemak, Chai Chee Bak Chor Mee, Lao Pa Sat Pig Organ Soup.. .. I can go on and on.. Walk to most hawker centres or coffee shops, u'll see stalls selling one or the other or maybe 2~3 stalls with these "famous" names.

It's nice to be able to find ur favourite fare somewhere near ur house.. but isnt exclusivity the lure of such food.. remember the days where u have to go all the way down to Yishun to get a taste of Chong Pang Nasi Lemak.. The long car ride to get there, the anticipation, then when u reach there, u get hit with the lovely aroma of the coconut rice.. A meal is not jus a meal back then, it's a road trip filled with anticipation and ending with a satisfied palate.

Nowadays, u jus go to the coffeeshop next to ur house, and u can find the Katong Laksa, not only is it convenient, it spoils the fun of getting to the place and usually being cooked by someone other than the main chef, standards drops. No wonder the Chong Pang Nasi Lemak found at Fong Seng doesn taste as good as the one back over at Yishun.

Also with the increased popularity of the stalls comes an increase in the price, Chong Pang Nasi Lemak was famous for two things, it's food was good and the price was cheap. But nowadays, even at the main stall, standards had dropped and prices had gone up.. haiz..

In addition to the normal hawker fare, we're also seeing other shops sprouting all over the island, like BreadTalk, Gelare and TCC. I have no idea why TCC can manage to open so many shops, I really wonder what's wrong with the people who actually patronise the shop. Maybe it happened that I went to the most lousy, horrible branch of TCC, and it happened that the staff on duty that day had all been jilted by their bf/gfs. It was the most horrible experience I ever had in a cafe.

It happened 1~2 years back over at the branch at Paradise (or is that Peace Centre?). Darren and I went over for a cuppa since we always pass by but never had the chance to try it out. When we got to the shop, no one bothered to come serve us and see us to our seats, even though they had the "Please wait to be seated" sign. Getting abit fed-up with the lack of response from the staff milling around. We went ahead and got a seat for ourselves and helped ourselves to the menu. Eventually the staff noticed us and got our orders.

We ordered some coffee and dessert. Dessert was so-so, not as great as it looked in the menu picture, oh well, pictures also look better, especially when u have Photoshop. The coffee ice-blended was HORRIBLE!! We ordered two very different kinds of coffee, cant remember the names already, but they tasted exactly the same, which is just sugar water with ice. No, make that brown sugar water with ice. There's hardly any taste of the coffee, not more to say the other flavours that the coffee was supposed to have.

Worse of all, that bland, tasteless glass of coffee ice-blended cost more than 9 bucks each!! &^$#% service was lousy, food was lousy, drinks were terrible and they still cost me more than coffee beans, wtf!

From then on, I condemn TCC, there's no way I'm gonna step into that place. And I really wonder all those that went it, are they really in their right frame of mind?

The last point about the changing of the food-scape is the lack of good Japanese restaurants. It's really really sad to me coz I love Japanese food, my sis loves Japanese food, my mum loves Japanese food, my whole family loves Japanese food.. But these days, it's so hard to find good Japanese restaurants around.

You can say there's lots of Japanese restaurants around mah, but for pple who know me, I'm picky when it comes to food, the food have to be at a certain standard or I wouldn touch it. Places like Sakae is ok, but it's not the kind of dining experience I'm looking for. I like small cosy restaurants that serve good food with high service standards. I like restaurants which many Japanese patronise. And I'm not that well off, so I like something that's priced reasonably.

There were many good restaurants that closed down, Sushi Sagano over at Bugis Junction, which serves the best grill chicken bento, a restaurant in Bukit Timah, which serves the best Japanese hotpot, and it's not that for one hotpot, it's a humongous hotpot for ten :p

Luckily there's still places like Suntory and Inagiku around. But the prices are, especially for the latter, quite high.. But I'm going over to Suntory tomorrow!! *yeah* will write a review of it soon :p

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