There’s no doubt about it: Filipinos love to travel and eat, as they explore new culinary flavors and traditions in every country they visit. And one country that they love going to time and again is Singapore. Since traveling to Singapore is not yet possible at the moment, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is reaching out to Filipino foodies with a case of wanderlust by bringing a taste of Singapore to the Philippines. They’re introducing the unique, albeit lesser-known, cooking style Zi Char.
Zi Char is a popular cooking style in Singapore, influenced by home-cooked food. Zi Char dishes are mainly Chinese but also have many influences from the different races and cultures in Singapore. This type of cuisine is a go-to for many Singaporeans for its great value, huge portions, and comforting flavors. They are often served in hawker centers. These days, next-generation chefs are reimagining these comfort dishes with creative and unexpected takes.
We may not know Zi Char by name but we’ve certainly tried the dishes on our trip to the island city-state: cereal prawn, coffee pork ribs, and seafood white bee hoon.
I tried the seafood white bee hoon, a saucy noodle dish with generous servings of prawns, squid, and clams. The sauce is flavorful and blends well with the seafood. I have not tried it before but it made me miss the wonderful food I’ve tried in Singapore.
STB will be introducing Zi Char through a humorous and quirky video titled Say it First! The video features actor turned chef and restaurateur Marvin Agustin, the musical husband-and-wife tandem of Yael and Karylle Yuson, plus comedian Victor Anastacio as they try their best to correctly pronounce Zi Char.
After learning how to say Zi Char, Agustin will star in a web series that will be launched in March 2021. In the series, Singaporean chef Bjorn Shen will teach Agustin how to make popular Zi Char dishes cereal prawn, coffee pork ribs, and seafood white bee hoon. The series is titled Singapore Reimagined and will see Augustin make his own reimagined dishes using ingredients easily found in the Philippines.