Local food can be considered bizarre in other places and cultures. How will Singapore dishes fare in, let’s say, Japan?
Singapore-based YouTuber Ghib Ojisan posted a video on Nov 20 with the title, Japanese girls try Singapore's stinkiest food for the first time.
In the 14-minute clip, he introduced two of Singapore’s well-known dishes, fish head curry and rojak, to the people of Kagoshima, a seaside city on Japan's Kyushu Island.
Ghib, along with Nakakita-san, the director of Chikuyotei restaurant in Singapore, prepared the dishes from scratch.
Nakakita-san cooked the fish head curry using Japanese ingredients like sashimi-grade sea bream and atsu-age (thick deep-fried tofu), giving it a unique Japanese twist.
"It’s Singaporean food with Japanese ingredients," Nakakita-san added.
For the rojak, Ghib gathered ingredients like cucumber, beansprouts, pineapple and apple, mixing them with bottled rojak sauce and sprinkling crushed peanuts on top.
"It is one of the most unique and bizarre foods in Singapore for us Japanese," Ghib mentioned of rojak. The dish also featured atsu-age, omitting the traditional you tiao seen in the local dish.
In the first tasting session, the fish head curry impressed the Japanese, eliciting exclamations of "oishi" after their first bite.
The child in the group found the dish to be spicy, prompting Ghib to mention: "I think this is not spicy for Singaporean standards."
One compared it to Japanese curry, emphasising the distinct umami taste of the fish.
Next up was the rojak, which received mixed responses for its appearance. A woman noted that the dish looked like it had been grilled with oyster sauce.
While two men also shared a similar sentiment, they mentioned that the dish looks delicious.
After their first mouthful, one of them had a contemplative look and asked: "What flavour is this?"
He found the combination of ingredients odd and when Ghib mentioned there is a fermented ingredient in the dish, the man speculated it could be insects or fish intestines.
Ghib clarified that it is fermented prawn, probably from the bottled rojak sauce.
Surprisingly, the kid in the group enjoyed the dish.
The participants in the second tasting session gave the fish curry a thumbs-up.
One mentioned: "If there was a restaurant in Japan selling this, I would totally go."
Another noted that it’s shocking to see fish in a curry, to which Ghib could understand, mentioning: "We don’t put fish in curries in Japan."
The four people in the group unanimously assumed that rojak is a dessert dish.
Two enjoyed the dish initially until they picked up fermented notes from the prawn paste.
The remaining two savoured the dish, highlighting the crunchy texture and how the sweetness and acidity from the fruits blended well together despite the prawn paste.
"We both can probably live in Singapore," the duo mentioned.
No part of this story or photos can be reproduced without permission from AsiaOne.