Gentrified Food

or You Can't Have Your Authenticity and Eat It Too

Of course in Singapore we did manage to sniff out a couple of bad meals in the way that only a western tourist couple can, in a city 99% full of yummy food, I believe that most western tourists have a special propensity to encounter the 1% that's bad and it doesn't take much to lure us in. All you need is a few promises of authenticity and a bit of swanky branding, try a logo like the one below

glutton's bay.jpg

WikiTravel says.....

"Gluttons Bay, Esplanade Mall #01-15, ☎ +65-63367025. Daily 6 PM-3 AM. Run by famous foodies Makansutra, this outdoor eatery puts together 12 of Singapore's most famous hawkers. Breezy location by the river, great views of the city and good location make this a winner. $5-10."

So we got all excited and headed down there, only to be served rotting prawns, yes rotting...being kiwis we discussed for at least 5 minutes about whether to return them, we did. We were served the dish again this time with fresh prawns. But by then we were far beyond any interest in completing our meal that was over priced (5 - 10 my ass) and not at all fresh.....

And here in lies the lesson. You cannot take the best hawkers in Singapore, give them a charming river side location, gentrified stall carts and logos and expect the food to stay the same, and to expect the hawkers to remain the best in Singapore. What makes hawkers stands excellent and unique is their connection to locals and place. It is the locals that make it good and keep it good, they are the ones that keep coming back, that keep the ingredients fresh, keep the hawker motivated and they are the ones that can elevate some hawkers to fame status. If you remove the hawker from their place and their customers all you get is a bunch of old rotting prawns.

What makes good food is not just the cook or the chef. It is the location, and the community. Good food is as much a product of place as it is the skills of a careful and conscientious chef. That's why airline and mall food will always suck....they are non-place spaces a bit like Glutton's Bay.


    As the author of the description above and a 5-year resident of Singapore, I have to say you guys were pretty unlucky -- I've eaten there quite a few times (it's a nice place to bring visitors) and never had a problem, although as you'd expect from the location the prices are mildly inflated by Sing standards. If you're in a mean mood and know which stall you ordered from, you could report them to the NEA; they take food hygiene pretty damn seriously.



    Hi Jani

    No not in a mean mood, the point was really about gentrified food....I've appreciated your Singapore tips on Wiki Travel though. Thanks


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