It is hard to avoid using homophones when describing local dishes and snacks, particularly the ones Singaporean Chinese people eat. Most of the food Singaporean Chinese people eat every day, at family gatherings or during festive seasons are inspired by homophones – words that sound the same – that have very similar meanings, with ju “桔” (orange) and “吉” (luck) being examples. Fuchsia Dunlop, author of the ‘Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook’, says many of the meanings given to Chinese food are homophones of their name in Mandarin. “In the Chinese language, so many different characters have the same sound and it’s ripe for wordplay.”
Singaporeans love free stuff. Serious. And they will go to pretty crazy lengths for free stuff and or one for one deals, whether it is camping overnight outside a McDonald’s fast food restaurant for a free Hello Kitty plush toy or bargaining for free stuff at a shoppers’ mall, fashion boutique, café and or restaurant.
The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is all about reunion.
Just as the Americans have Thanksgiving, the Chinese have Mid-Autumn Festival aka "Mooncake Festival", when Chinese families get together to enjoy mooncakes, pomelos and lanterns and bask under a full moon.
This tradition of gathering and feasting with family (and sometimes with friends) under a full moon is more than a thousand years old and it dates all the way back to the Shang Dynasty.
An afternoon spent chilling out at a café sounds chillax.
The chance to kick back and take your mind off things (work, school, relationships or whatever that’s eating you!), sip a cuppa artisanal joe and enjoy the present moment – away from the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced life. Ahh… That’s ideal.
Welcome to the 21st Century HDB void deck – a space where people gather and chit-chat with one another before heading to the café for a nice hot cuppa artisanal joe.
Wait. Did we say “café”?
Cafés are popular places to hang out and meet new people, and they are popping up all over Singapore, particularly in the heartlands, taking root under HDB void decks. Given the avid patronage of young adults, rising rental costs, and the national pastime of eating, setting up a café under an HDB void deck is a cost-effective way of running a profitable F&B business. Soon they will become a common fixture in our neighborhood.