It’s a joy having exchange students around. They love discovering Asian cuisine, customs and traditions. But they also get home-sick and miss their own comfort foods, so they are happy to cook their favourite dishes for cultural nights.
Vicky, who is German, was delighted to organize a German Night at the end of October. Friends of different nationalities (including Singaporean, American, Polish, Spanish and Filipino) helped with the cooking. It was more than a German dinner, it was a feast: pretzels, schnitzels, bratwurst, potato salad and sweet and sour red cabbage.
The highlight of the evening was Kaiserschmarrn. A fluffy pancake which is shredded and served with apple sauce for dessert. It’s an Austrian dessert, but it’s also popular in Bavaria. Vicky studies at a university in Austria and is on an exchange programme in Singapore. She has been very much at home here.
Sara, who is from Barcelona, also wanted to give us a treat. She wanted to introduce us to panellets, which are served on All Saints Day (1st November) in Catalonia. According to her, panellets are to the Catalans what mooncakes are to the Singaporeans. They are small and round and they have different coverings/toppings (instead of fillings). The main ingredients are: ground almonds, sugar, eggs, sweet potato and pine nuts. There are different variations with different coverings/toppings.
The baking revolution
Maria, another Spanish exchange student, who joined us for German Night, said that her mother began to bake during the Covid lockdown, and has been baking ever since. Baking during the Covid lockdown was an international phenomenon.
Cuisine and culture
Exchange programmes have contributed to making our lives richer. Anne Lise, who is a contributor to this blog, has been an ambassador for Asian cuisine among university students in London.
In a world that seems more divided than ever, there are still many things that unite. When young people come together to share their culture, there is more understanding and appreciation of the richness of diversity. In each cuisine there is culture, there is history, there is a whole civilization behind it. So the next time you have a meal, just think: there is more to food than meets the eye. Pardon the pun, but it’s food for thought!
Have a good weekend and a great week ahead.
By Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 4 November 2022