Cookery Magic – learning how to cook in Singapore

Remember my Asian vacation? Seems like it was SO long ago, but it’s only been a month and a half. I left off here with the recap of our first day in Singapore. It was a great first day, but we had an even more unique day planned for our second day there – a cooking class on the remote island. How cool does that sound?! Cookery Magic was recommended as the #1 activity in Singapore on Trip Advisor (that’s how we found it) and now I see that nearly every guide book mentions this class. Ruqxana, the chef and owner of the business, provides cooking classes every day in her own home and on the last Saturday of every month the class is held on a small island.  All the reviews said it’s absolutely worth it, and we just happened to be in Singapore on the last Saturday of February. Of course we had to do it!

I took a million pictures so I’ll give you the quick and dirty of what happened and then you can check out the picture gallery below.  You can scroll over for descriptions and click on individual pictures to see them a little bit better or comment on them.  So here is how it went… :) The class/tour started with a boat ride to Palau Ubin island (maybe a 20 minute ride). After arriving on the island we got into a van that brought us to our hostess’ home. The whole island does not have any electricity, so everything (naturally) is done manually… and yes, it’s very simple living but somehow also seemed so rich. The hostess was joking that they have to work for their food and that’s how they stay fit. I bet if you had to go get water for your cooking, then pick the herbs and whatnot, then cook without a real stove, you’d be fit too :) This made me appreciate the feast she prepared for us for breakfast- traditional Malay fare. Yum!

After eating some delicious food (it was absolutely amazing!!!!) and walking around her house, we finally went for a walk in the jungle. Ruqxana was showing us all sorts of plants (picking some of the herbs for our rice). This is how the people on the island get their food. They walk around the island and pick whatever is available. The government actually plants new trees all the time so there is plenty of variety. It was so educational (and fun). Adam was jealous of the mango tree our hostess had right outside her home. And we both loved seeing lemongrass growing. So many foods I’ve seen just in my dishes at restaurants (or prepackaged in fancy grocery stores) but I never even thought about how/where they grow and what their natural form is. Very very cool. This definitely appealed to the (green) foodie in me ;)

And then after a full demo of all the dishes, we got to cooking in small teams. I guess we worked for our food a little too ;) On the menu for lunch:

1. Butter prawns
2. Sambal belachan tumis (chilli sambal)
3. Nasi kerabu (herb rice using 25 different types of herbs and spices – we used 40!!) – Ruqxana called this dish a medicine pill in a bowl :)
4. Dessert – ice kachang (ice shavings with syrup and jelly)

We had such a great time! The food was delicious and the experience was unforgettable. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip! Later on our trip we even bought a jar of sambal to take home. This way we can enjoy a taste of Singapore (and Malaysia?) right here in Boston :D

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