Cooking, Culinary And Cuisine

Breakfast | Dining | Food For Thought

The Philosophy of Food

“Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.” — Alfred A. Montapert

Cooking culture takes time to develop, and requires a lot of work and attention. It all stems from a certain culture and experience that not all of us are afforded. Chefs take years and years to hone their craft, from understanding how to balance flavours to cooking techniques. Some chefs are classically trained in culinary schools like Cordon Bleu, while others are learned from generational cooking, like most Thai chefs. Some are more refined which developed through the french styles of nouvelle cuisine, while others study molecular gastronomy. In the east, chefs may specialise as sushi chefs for years, while others learn the right way to cook yakitori. Chinese chefs weighs fillings for dumplings down to the gram when making dim sum, while bakers know that an ounce of flour may make your baking change greatly in texture. Each chef approaches food differently, with different methods and philosophies.

Lunch | Dining | Food For Thought

If You Can’t Take The Heat, Get Out Of The Kitchen 

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” — Milton Friedman

The thing is, its not difficult to be a cook, it just takes time. Some are more gifted than others but what is most important is that you try to understand food in its more complex form. Culture plays an important role in food, where certain ingredients play an important role in the cuisine. Chinese cuisine is greatly divided, where southern Chinese cuisine like Cantonese cuisine are more refined, whereas northern Chinese cuisine like Sichuan cuisine has less complexity. It is with a broader understanding of flavours and culinary study that we can create better dishes, even at home. Anything that tastes good takes time to create, either through proper understanding or sheer hard work.

Dinner | Dining | Food For Thought

Some Eat To Live, Some Live To Eat

“My favourite animal is steak.” — Fran Lebowitz

It is not enough to just love food, but to also be able to savour food. Some food requires a more developed palate to understand while others not as much. This is especially true with flavours which are bitter and astringent. Such ingredients such as liquorice and Sichuan peppercorns are some examples, but when used correctly, can greatly emphasise a dish. Some are not used to the metallic taste of oysters while others are unable to appreciate sea urchin. Strong flavoured ingredients are also sometimes used wrongly, where the excess use of anchovies and olives can leave a dish inedible.

Supper | Dining | Food For Thought

Some Like It Hot

“Let them eat cake” — Marie Antoinette

Food is also fashionable. Some ingredients can go through quite a popularity, which also depends on their availability in the area. In the past 10 years avocado has become a popular choice, while today quinoa and chia seeds have taken the spotlight. In the west, the use of Japanese ingredients have become a regular such as miso and kombucha while in the east, South East Asian flavours have been the new wave in China. The great thing about globalisation is the availability of ingredients all over the world. Coconut milk and oil has increasingly become common in western cuisine while steaks are had all over the east. Even fast food has seen this globalisation where teriyaki burgers are popular in America while pumpkin spiced lattes are common in some parts of Asia.

Tea | Dining | Food For Thought

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Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic, travelogue and opinion columnist which is curated on Food For Thought. He has been a freelance writer for 10 years and has previously worked as a lawyer. He currently is the Managing Director of Black Wolf Digital, a digital marketing agency.