SouperChef’s Message | Ohana
I fell straight and deep in love with the concept of ohana the moment I read about it. This ancient Hawaiian term means family, but not necessarily in a blood-related manner. It’s deeply personal and possibly pertually evolving. For some, your ohana could be your neighbours who help you water your plants and recycle the pesky flyers when you are away on holidays. For others, your ohana could be your best friend living oceans and miles away but never failing to exchange Whatsapp messages with you through the day. And maybe your ohana is the aunty at your local coffeeshop who knows just the exact and perhaps odd way you want your kopi made.
It makes me think about the hundreds and thousands of “friends” and followers most of us have on social media. Almost everyone is a “friend” these days — just one click away! But an ohana is special. It’s a genuine relationship, bonded by love, support and care in all possible iterations. In Hawaiian culture, to become someone’s ohana is a great honour. Not being Singaporean by birth and spending a fair bit of my young adult life studying in Australia, I must confess the initial years without my family here were a little lonely. But thankfully, no one can be a stranger for long on this little red dot!
Few things are as successful at bringing us together as food. Almost nothing says Singaporean as much as our deeply ingrained love for our chicken rice, laksa, roti prata, chwee kueh and nasi lemak! Like an edible legacy, we define and even refine our Singaporean lives with these local delights. My ohana comes in the form of my fellow foodies who understand completely the pure unadulterated joy of tucking into old-fashioned Teochew porridge! And how comforting it is to weather gruelling hours at overseas trade shows with fellow Singaporeans — who else understands and speaks this awesome concise language of Singlish that somehow baffles others?
As I write this, my daughter is telling me how excited she is about attending the NDP preview. I’m proud to call Singapore my home, the place I found my ohana or in local slang, my kakis, in various spheres of my life! In celebration of our nation’s 53rd birthday, I’ve created brand new recipes weaving in familiar local favourites like “lo mai kai”, Indian dhal and nyonya vegetable curry. Our soft and gorgeous purple sweet potato buns are also back in stores! Come spend this August with us, with your ohana/kinfolk/kakis/family! Let us celebrate in style, in unity. Happy birthday, our Singapore! Love from our kitchen to the world to you.