Kopitiam in Boston

This is not my first time living abroad, but I don’t think I will ever be able to get over Singaporean food (yes, not even with bacon and eggs and grits). So I was really excited to go to an event organized by the MIT Singapore Students Society, Kopitiam, for homemade Singaporean food!

A terrible shot of the event and people eating. I was too anxious to get back to eating myself.

Kopitiam is a hybrid word, made from kopi, Malay for coffee, and tiam, Hokkien for shop. This is what most coffee shops in Singapore are called. The MIT students had 10 items for sale, including some of my favorites – laksa (rice noodle in curry), otah (spicy fish cake) and goreng pisang (deep-fried banana).

Unfortunately, about half of the dishes were quite disappointing, especially the laksa. Which was why, halfway through our meal, I had a sudden idea to write up this event for the second ‘beat’ assignment. I ended up spending an extra hour or so talking to the lead chefs and the president of the society, learning about the event and the difficulties in re-creating an authentic taste.

While Boston has a great number of Asian supermarkets, it is still difficult to cook authentic Singaporean food. Plus, Singaporeans are so pampered back home with cheap and good food that we complain when if we can’t find good food overseas, or whenever food prices increase. Also, we’re really good at complaining. But for now, I’ll strive to make my own food, mostly with the help of an amazing food blog, Rasa Malaysia, while waiting for the Kopitiam to come round next year.

This post was written and posted in January 2013, but dated according to the event.