Recently, a commenter on an earlier blog post wondered why I drew attention to the fact that the noodle dish called ‘Singapore Fried Noodles’ actually doesn’t exist in Singapore. “I find food snobs amusing,” the commenter added.
Hmmmmm. Does this mean I’m a food snob? I mean, I’m really, really, passionate about food and cooking, but does this make me a snob? And what is a ‘food snob’, anyway? I’m not sure, but I’m going to assume it refers to someone who’s really fussy about their food and demands nothing but the best.
And my mind naturally conjures up the kind of snob who looks down on non-Michelin starred establishments as inferior, and insists on cooking only with expensive gourmet ingredients like black truffle oil. These are the people who frown if you bake with cooking chocolate instead of the best couverture made from single-origin cacao beans, and think home-cooked meals aren’t any good unless the recipe came from some celebrity chef’s cookbook. Personally, I think these people aren’t amusing, they’re pretentious.
Good food and cooking should be fun, and we shouldn’t be overly concerned about whether our cooking compares to the gourmet creations features on Masterchef or whether we’re dining at the latest ‘it’ restaurant all the food critics are raving about.
However, I believe that if you care about the food you cook and eat, then you will naturally want it to be as real and authentic as possible. To me, this means that besides tasting great, food should be prepared with the freshest ingredients available, and in the case of ethnic food, be authentic and true to its origins.
So yes, I do find it a bit annoying that nearly every Chinese restaurant in the West features a bland, uninteresting noodle dish on their menus, calling it ‘Singapore Fried Noodles’. That’s like tossing kimchi together with spaghetti, calling it ‘Korean Pasta Salad’, and passing it off as an authentic Korean dish.
And if insisting on authenticity makes me a food snob, well then – I’ll own up to being one. Now, where can I get some black truffle oil?