Sunday, 11 March 2007

Saucy Tales

Three days ago we held the last event for our university's orientation week - a traditional 'Aussie barbeque'. As with the cricket match mentioned in the previous posting, the barbeque further highlighted the cultural values of our Australian-sponsored institution in its new Singaporean environment.

As Singaporeans enjoy food of all varieties we were on to a winner before the first 'snarler' hit the embers. Most students would have experienced barbequed food but few would have tried the 'dinkum' Australian version.

I am pathologically ill disposed towards vegetarian food that attempts to masquerade as the 'real thing' and I include so-called vegetarian sausages in this aversion. At the barbeque three types of sausage were provided - beef, pork and vegetarian. The latter had the texture of sawdust and a taste to match.

Interestingly, at the event's conclusion the only food remaining in any quantity were the vegetarian sausages, which I guess tells us something.

There was another surprise as we prepared our food for consumption. Most aficionados of Aussie tucker will tell you that you can't have a sausage without tomato sauce to smother it. Most Kiwis will tell you exactly the same. Our food caterers entered into the spirit of the occasion by providing extra large bottles of sauce, or at least that is what we supposed them to be.

The first person in the food queue soon discovered that the providers had not completely understood the menu and had instead provided tomato juice. The result was a very sodden bun that was barely edible. Our salvation was the discovery of two bottles of the 'real thing' which someone else had kindly provided.

The barbeque was a great success and a credit to our senior staff, who entered into the spirit of the event and collectively turned their hands to operating the barbeques.

Today being a Sunday, we ventured out of our condo to have lunch in town.

At the risk of turning into yet another Singapore food blog, can I mention the Lao Beijing restaurant on the third floor of Plaza Singapura. "Lao" means old and this restaurant specialising in the simple, classical food of Beijing and Northern China.

Their handmade noodles were excellent with a nice firm texture and nourishing broth. I consider this luncheon further preparation for a trip later in the year to the Chinese capital.

Noodles have been around a very long time, well before the ubiquitous instant noodle graced our supermarket shelves. In 2005, archaeologists dug up the remains of neolithic noodles which were 4,000 years old.

Today's "lao" noodles were thankfully not as old as these!

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