Rustic Singapore (Introduction) – Buying & Cooking with Local Produce
In this special foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 feature, I visited farms in Singapore to gain a glimpse into the lesser known â€œrusticâ€ regions of Singapore to create more awareness on sources where one can buy fresh produce from our little country. I then created three simple meals of the day using the ingredients which were purchased from the farms.
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I name this article â€œRustic Singaporeâ€, though â€œrusticâ€ is hardly a word used to describe our little country. When one thinks of Singapore, the words one will associate are usually â€œskyscrapersâ€, â€œmodernâ€, â€œcosmopolitanâ€, â€œhigh-rise buildingsâ€ â€œcrowdedâ€ and â€œdenseâ€. We are a small (imagine a plane only takes mere seconds to whizz past Singapore, and driving only takes 45 minutes from one end to the other) and dense (population hitting 5 million) nation.
A farmer harvesting some spring onions at Kok Fah Technology Farm
But yes, there are still pockets of farms thriving despite the land scarcity. Besides getting the freshest ingredients a cook can possibly lay his and her hands on by visiting these places, these trips made great educational trips and sightseeing for both adults and children.
(1) Hay Dairies
Hay Dairies is a local farm producing fresh goatâ€™s milk. There are milking demonstrations every morning, and members of the public can buy fresh goat milk as well as view the goats in their barns.
Really love their faces because they seem like they are smiling. Donâ€™t believe me? See for yourself!
(2) Bollywood Veggies
Mere minutes drive from Hay Diaries, I just have to drop by Bollywood Veggies for lunch and also check out what they had for sale that day. They usually have a cart of farm-picked vegetables for sale which varies every time depending on the harvest of the day. I like surprises! They also had a few pots of herbs for sale.
Decided to get some mini red radishes (the ones I usually see are white; bottom left pic) for making vegetable juice. I love it that they still had their leaves on, the ones at our supermarkets are usually trimmed already. Thatâ€™s the advantage of buying directly from the farms! I also bought a green papaya for making soup, I canâ€™t wait to see how it turns out.
As I entered its market, I feel like I am at a farmersâ€™ market. With so much fresh produce, it is truly a cookâ€™s paradise.
I cannot use words to describe to you how fresh their produce are, so Iâ€™ll just let the photos do the talking.
It also had a nursery with lots of edible plants for saleâ€¦ can you identify them?
Wanted to visit an egg farm but I found that they had all been closed to public due to the bird flu. So I visited Farmart where they are stalls selling locally produced eggs. Was eggcitedÂ to find white eggs which Iâ€™ve purchased for cooking my foodbuzz 24 meals (see breakfast).
Besides eggs, I also drop by a seafood stall to purchase live prawns for one of my foodbuzz 24 dish, “drunken” prawns. All right, so the seafood was not bred in Singapore but imported from Malaysia. But I am making an exception to feature them in this segment because the setting is so rustic, and itâ€™s such a treat to be able to purchase live seafood at affordable prices in Singapore. And hey, at least the prawns are still alive when they are in Singapore ;p
The prawns were still swimming in the bag when I reached home â€¦ this is as fresh as it can get!
(5) Myco Farm
On the way home, I drop by Mycofarm which is a mushroom farm. Bought a mix of mushrooms including the gorgeous emperor shiitake mushrooms pictured below (so fresh, you still see a layer of white spores on the caps).
Menu for the day, cooking with local ingredients
So with all this shopping, I have to put the ingredients to good use right? Check out the meals I cooked using the farm fresh ingredients
For breakfast, I had it really simple because I wanted to head down to get live prawns right after breakfast to prepare drunken prawns for lunch. Simple, but satisfying – an easy scrambled eggs with chives and served with fresh goatâ€™s milk and toasted parmesan baguette (check out the recipe here).
A close up of my scrambled eggs breakfast.
Since I had to cook three meals (and take photos!) for the foodbuzz events, all the dishes I chose for the day involved relatively easy and fast cooking.
For dinner, Iâ€™m glad I had chilled aloe vera drink with honey & lime to refresh and replenish myself after a long day.
The egg fried rice was a last minute dish because I only realised that I went out of rice when I want to cook it. Luckily, I had a day old leftover refrigerated rice so I was able to make this 10-minute egg fried rice which turns out to be pleasant treat instead of white rice.
This sums up my rustic food escapade for the past two days.Â I enjoyed buying fresh ingredients and then trying to make delicious meals with them. Itâ€™s a great feeling to get away from the hustle and bustle of fast-paced urban life.
Iâ€™m so heartened to still see a few pockets of farms left producing local food in Singapore. I hope that they continue to thrive. Maybe I will be back next week to stock up my pantry because now that I know what it is like to cook with such fresh ingredients, Iâ€™m hooked
Note: The detailed information about the farms as well as the recipes featured in this article will be published as blog posts over the course of the next month. Please stay tuned and thank you for reading