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Members of Slow Food movement in Singapore visit Poh Guan Cake House, one of the oldest bakeries in Singapore.
A member of the Slow Food community in Singapore learns the finer points of making heritage food.

Savouring every bite

Apr 10, 2015 5:50 AM

THEY say there are some things that you can't hurry - love, time and the elderly.

The Slow Food movement would hasten to add "eating" to that list. Members of the Slow Food movement, whose global advocates number around 100,000, oppose fast food. Instead, it encourages people to seek out and consume food - whether it be ingredients, or home-cooked or restaurant fare - that has been produced in a manner respectful of tradition, farmers and the environment, as opposed to heavily processed, standardised, industrial and commercial foods.

Daniel Chia, president of Slow Food (Singapore), one of two societies here, says: "Our philosophy can be distilled into three key words: good, clean and fair. We opt for good quality food that is flavoursome and healthy; food that is clean and produced in ways that do not harm the environment; and food that is fair in that their price points are accessible to consumers and the producers were also paid fairly for their part."

Recently, its members gathered for a "slow hei" Chinese New Year dinner. They held a tossing of the prosperity raw fish salad (yusheng) at the Dragon Phoenix Restaurant at Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay. The food was designed by chef Hooi Kok Wai who is regarded as one of the four masterchefs in Singapore who created the "original Singapore yusheng".

Mr Chia says part of Slow Food's mission is to help preserve the country's food heritage. The society organises visits to traditional bakeries and restaurants where they listen to the chef tell his stories, watch him make his products and even get some hands-on experience.

Some 300 people here, mostly aged from 30 to 50, have participated in the Slow Food (Singapore) activities. And Mr Chia expects that number to rise in tandem with "the growing interest in food issues here", he says.

"Ultimately we would like to encourage people to cook more at home... We want people to see that there's an abundance of food bio-diversity that can be explored - instead of just eating standardised, industrial and commercial foods that are heavily-processed and contain loads of sugar and salt." The Slow Food movement was founded in 1989 by journalist Carlo Petrini in reaction to the opening of a McDonald's restaurant at the historical location known as the Spanish Steps in Rome. Over two decades, the movement spread to more than 150 countries.

Besides Slow Food (Singapore), there is one other society here called Slow Food Convivium Society of Singapore founded by Jen Shek Voon. But only the former is registered with the Slow Food International Association.

To be a member of Slow Food Singapore, go to Basic membership fees start from as low as 10 euros for two years