Tag Archives: Singapore

The Tiffin Room

21 Apr

Stacked food carriers are part of the food culture in Singapore, as we described here. They even give name to the Tiffin Room, one of 15 restaurants and bars of the prestigious Raffles Hotel on Beach Road, which was founded by the Armenian Sarkies brothers, as was The Strand in  Rangoon, Myanmar/Burma. The venue description picks up on the light-lunch meaning of the word tiffin, not on the food-carrying part.

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Thus tiffins are part of the deco: in the dining room pic there is a display cabinet far right which has some colourful tiffins, as also in the hotel’s buffet photo on the right. Some more detail can be seen behind Chef de Cuisine Kuldeep Negi and his curries, described here and a pleasant visit is described in the Sydney Morning Herald here. There’s a lovely blog entry on Tiffins by Product Design and Transportation Design students at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India that were tasked with investigating the history of design here.

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Who told me? Whodunnit? Shamini Flint. In her book Inspector Singh Investigates: The Singapore School of Villany. Two of the characters have lunch in the Tiffin Room at the Raffles Singapore. During lunch they meet one of the murder suspects …

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Meal Packaging: Tingkat

17 Mar

Takashimaya Mall in Singapore presented a Chinese New Year promotion a while back, offering a free food tingkat (pictured below) with a purchase above a certain minimum value at a household department.

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Singaporean artist and blogger Heidi Koh took the following picture in Penang, Malaysia. For a still-life in oils she got a Peranakan (more on this in another blog entry) household utensils list from an aunt, which included a tingkat. Heidi says that the Peranakan people knew these colourful enamel food containers as tingkat (tiers) and that they were popularized in Penang, Malacca and Singapore during the British colonization.

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Singapore celebrates an annual Food Festival. In July 2010 one of the many fringe events was the “Singapore Chinese Tingkat Cruise” on the Singapore river. From a bright red tingkat such as below left – which you got to keep! – you could taste Chinese dishes such as Teo Chew Carrot Cake, Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls and a Pokka Green Tea drink. The blogger KeropokMan (maybe brother to Henkel Man and Chicken Man?) has an entry on the river cruise on his blog Keropokman: Signapura Makan here. Keropok seems to be the Singapore word for the little prawn/shrimp crackers – I remember that my mom used to deep-fry colourful little krupuk (kroepoek) chips – as they are known in Indonesia (Dutch-colonial Indonesia) – when she made her Indonesian Rijsttafel, mmmm! KeropokMan also has a blog entry on tingkat-inspired-packaging here for mooncakes, part of the mid-autumn festival, which features in Judge Dee mysteries.

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To find tingkat images on .sg-sites via google I used the word tingkat. For hits on .my-sites I had to use mangkuk tingkat, without really finding a sensible translation of this. In Malaysia the mangkuk tingkat gave its name to a reality TV cooking show, visuals below. TV9 , the channel presenting the now defunct series, classified it in the genre comedy. The idea: viewers meet celebrities who cook a challenging meal for them.

TV9_SHOWS_MT_header_814905714_kleintv9mt_logo_kleinSome other mangkuk tingkats I found were an old brass one, collected by baharuddinaziz presented on his blog collectible items

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… and these more modern versions in stainless steel, plastic and foam from a Malaysian supplier.

Mangkuk_Tingkat_kombi_kleinParticularly astounding was this little gem from a news site: The Penang Municipal Council initiated a campaign against the use of polystyrene food containers by traders on the island. After a period of three months in which old stock may be used, any trader still offering food in or selling old stocks of polystyrene will be strictly dealt with. Google translation gives Public Health chairman Ong Ah Teong as saying “In contrast to other countries, they still do not run a campaign like this. We understand that this campaign is not a popular campaign, but for the sake of future generations of our children, it should be conducted. […] If the former can be decomposed polystyrene certainly it can be used. But because it was only able to decompose in 200 years time, we strictly do not want it used on the island state”. Below you see Ong Ah Teong (RHS) with Council Member Lim Cheng Ho (LHS) surrounded by packaging and exhorting traders to use mangkuk tingkats rather than polystyrene carriers.

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