Italian food is taking root in Singapore through a new fusion phenomenon by the island’s most talented chefs
Local food in Singapore can mean a lot of different things, depending on whom you ask. The island has a long history of applying the local Malay, Chinese and Indian flavours to foreign dishes, and has just recently entered into a newfound affair with Italian tastes, giving birth to the Italian fusion genre.
“We offer all of the culinary variety that Singapore has to offer, but Italian fusion is definitely in popular demand,” affirms Andries De Vos, CEO of the chef on-demand platform clubvivre.com. “Our Italian fusion menus are sought after for both dinners and BBQs.” Clubvivre.com has been making chefs and their food directly bookable online and available for customers’ homes, and the platform can spot culinary trends faster than restaurants.
Singapore is not only crazy about chilli crab, chicken rice or wantan mee, but also developing a taste for Italian dishes like Etovia Vongole pasta, made from angel hair pasta, shrimp, squid, clams, scallop stock and white wine. For fusion, there’s a touch of local essence or ingredient here and there. “A typical example is the combination of grilled tiger prawns with bottega gremolata, which is from one of our popular BBQ menu Italian Fusion Grill by chef Jeremy Bangar,” illustrates Andries.
What’s the Fuss-ion?
With various cultural and culinary influences from the region, the concept of fusion cuisine isn’t foreign to Singapore fare. For example, the ‘localising’ of foreign ingredients is as simple as replacing heavy cream with coconut cream, while ginger, chillies and soy sauce substitute a dressing of Worchestershire sauce, mustard and vinegar.
Fusion may seem like a fancy variation of fine dining, but in Singapore, fusion is commonplace.
Singaporean (Italian) Chefs
Clubvivre.com works with many local and foreign chefs, some of who specialise in traditional and Italian fusion. A special variation of the latter is Itameshi, a novelty amongst Clubvivre’s offerings of over 50 different cuisines with 300 menus by 70 chefs. Itameshi is a particular kind of cuisine that can be described as Italian-Japanese fusion.
Clubvivre on-demand chef service dispatches restaurant chefs to private homes for an evening. One of the chefs is Jason Vito, who loves reinventing classic dishes like combining Japanese twists with Italian delicacies offered in his Itameshi menu Naples to Hokkaido, in which he introduces tantalising creations, notably kombu angel hair with porcine mushroom ragout.
Being named one of the ‘Top 5 Rising Chefs of the Year’ by the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore, chef Felix Chong is lauded for taking ‘local’ to a new level. Felix also specialises in Italian cuisine, ranging from regional Italian classics to modern reinterpretations, with some dishes incorporating Itameshi elements too.
When it comes to culinary variety in Singapore, one understands that fusion is just another form of local food. Creating new flavours by making foreign tastes one’s own is a speciality Singapore has mastered.
The Italian World Tour
Just like in New York, one can find food from pretty much everywhere in Singapore – no matter if it’s the Costa Rican version of chicken rice (arroz con pollo) or a hearty German sausage, Singapore encompasses every culinary delight.
Italian food has been on the forefront when it comes to Singapore’s choice of foreign food. This might not come as surprise, as other Asian countries are similarly in awe of Italian cuisine. Some behavioural studies have shown that Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong all cite Italian as their favourite foreign cuisine, making it one of the most popular Western cuisines in Asia.
But while these other countries tend to ‘nationalise’ foreign dishes, Singapore enjoys Italian cuisine as it is, and in new fusion creations too. In Italian fusion, new tastes are created by fusing the best of both worlds; by bringing the foreign flavours closer to the local one.
Why is Singapore in Love with Italy?
Both French and Italian cuisines are held with high regards, the world over. However, most Asians find the French palate very rich and not always easy to digest, making it hard to adapt to.
But the introduction of lighter pizzas and pastas have been received with adoration for a long time now, partly attributed to the more affordable and fast food versions of Italian food.
Another reason why Singapore has embraced Italian gastronomy is because staples like risotto, pasta and seafood are somewhat familiar to the Asian palate. In Singapore’s growing affection for fine dining, one can see how Italian food is a great pairing in the fusion scene.
All things considered, Italian cuisine seems closer to Singaporeans’ heart, palate and taste than one might think. To gradually develop your taste buds to the local flavours, your best bet would be through fusion. Clubvivre.com and their chefs are more than game to take you on this culinary trip.