THIS is what I’ve always loved about Melbourne – festivals all year round. This time, Singaporeans Of Victoria organised an SG50 event for, well, the Singaporeans here in Victoria. I headed down to see the spread of local food they’d have and meet other people from my sweet home country.
Nah, I’ll be honest. I came only to see Benjamin Kheng in person. Don’t judge.
There was quite a crowd when I reached Federation Square. If not queuing for food, people were gathered in front of the stage to catch performances from our local talents. A band played some of our classic national songs like Singapura, oh Singapura (frankly, I only heard this one because I was busy roaming around to take photos).
We also saw a little kid with an amazing vocal chord performing some catchy tunes, and some grown-ups challenging against each other on stage to a game of chapteh. They were even playing a repeat telecast of this year’s National Day parade on the huge screen. The atmosphere was pretty awesome and the perfect weather really contributed to the happy vibes.
I came right about lunchtime so I walked down the street lined up with stalls, hoping to find some good, authentic local food. It’s been a while since I’ve had a legit Singaporean-cooked meal. As I reached the end of the street, I realised there wasn’t anything “new” to try. Most of the stalls set up were from familiar eateries here in Melbourne – NL House, Killiney Kopitiam, Mamak, Little Ipoh…they’re all great. But I wanted to try something I haven’t tried.
Left without a choice, I just settled with a packet of $10 Nasi Lemak with sweet sambal from NL House. Yes, $10 for a fried drumstick, 3 slices of mini cucumbers, a pinch of fried anchovies and a scoop of sambal. The price of food in Melbourne breaks my piggy bank every time (thus, I don’t own one).
I guess I was in an upbeat mood today. Met several friends I haven’t met in a long while and I’m just recovering from my cold. I didn’t mind spending a little more on food today.
I met these nice owners of a home-based macaron business who were originally from Malaysia. While snapping pictures of their delectable masterpieces, we engaged ourselves in a conversation and I found out how they used real fruit juice to create the flavours of their macarons (they sold DURIAN flavoured macarons! Which I wasn’t brave enough to try but my friend loved it). They had teh tarik flavour as well and I bought that with two other of their favourites – salted caramel & vanilla and raspberry jam – for $3 each. I couldn’t resist!
I pretty much spent time alone today, apart from that 1-hour company I had with a couple of friends over lunch. So while taking a look at some of the booths and games, I saw a table with people playing some old games most Singaporeans would be familiar with.
I stopped to take pictures and suddenly found myself playing a game of congkak (which they spelt as ‘congkat‘ and I should’ve corrected them but I didn’t). The game didn’t end up well because my challenger and I got so engrossed with our introductions that it led us into exchanging our Facebook and Instagram accounts. It was nice to meet you, Syahirah (who is a first year student in Deakin Uni)!
I love events like this. Not only does it bring all Singaporeans together, it sort of makes me feel at home. It’s always more fun meeting new people too! I guess this will be my last Singaporean event here in Melbourne. All sadness aside, I’m looking forward to fly back to real Singaporean food and for a much better price!
This post was originally published on my old blog, www.theopenscrapbook.wordpress.com.