For those who loves food, especially heritage food, this book, Eat First, Talk Later, is probably for you. It featured most Singapore hawker food which still survived today, such as Chicken Rice, Satay and Niang Doufu. Some food which probably had not heard off because they are already extinct. Eg Ice Ball. Some of the food, mentioned in the book, brought back memories and yearning because they are rare to find, such as Hakka Salted Baked Chicken.
|Satay which was featured in the book|
The story started with the Gang of Four descending from heaven, or rather storks, to embark on their gastronomic adventure. An extension of Nini in Changi Village, it is also by our local author Fanny Lai. This book focus more on food origin, recipe ,evolution of food and the conditions of the food that were prepared and served in the past. It contains the same colourful comical illustrations though.
The book also touched on Nini's genealogy. Her father was a Hakka. So naturally, Hakka food such as Mei Chai Kou Rou (Steamed pork belly with preserved mustard leaves), Niang Doufu (Braised tofu stuffed with minced meat) and Salted Baked Chicken were introduced. The origin of these food were explored and some recipes were given but the amount of ingredients required were not indicated. Probably, due to the fact that recipes those days were passed down by word of mouth. It is a pity that my favorite Hakka dishes, such as Lei Cha and Yam Abacus Seeds were not mentioned. I think these are pretty famous and yummy Hakka dishes too. Both dishes, I must say, need pretty laborious preparation.
|Leicha is believed to be a very healthy food choice|
|Kaya Roti (bread with kaya) and Kopi (Coffee) and soft boiled eggs are common food items that can be ordered from Kopitiam (Coffeeshop)|
|Nasi Lemak (Coconut milk rice complete with chicken wing, fried egg, otah, ikan bilis and belachan) ,a delicious delicacy|
|Nonya Kuehs, (left: Tutu Kueh and Right:Kueh Pie Ti), is one of the kuehs being featured in the book. Others are Teochew kuehs and Malay kuehs|
I would suggest this book to be more suitable for primary school children because a lot more history is involved which the smaller kids may find the subject dry. Little One, a pre-schooler, prefers the first book because she thinks it is funnier. Nevertheless, she still flips through this book occasionally.
|Freshly made Chee Cheong Fun (Rice noodle roll) with Preserved Duck Egg porridge|
Unlike for Little One, I find it a pretty entertaining book and allows me to know more about our food culture. To add on to that, the food mentioned makes my mouth watered. I am on a quest to look for the Salted Baked Chicken mentioned in the book. Any one who knows where to get this food, please do notify me!
|Vanishing trade -street hawker|
The Chinese version is available too! However, I have not got a chance to lay my hands on it yet.
Both versions are available in major book stores in Singapore.
You may want to borrow from the library