Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Red Bean vs. Blueberry/Chocolate Gamble

One of the most baffling cultural differences that I have experienced living in Singapore is their affinity for putting vegetables in their desserts.  I remember, as a child, my Mom's dear friend Esther used to cook for us when she would stay with us for extended periods of time.  One day, in order to sneak some nutrition into our bodies, she hid carrots in our Orange Jell-O.  At the time, we classified this as child abuse.  However, even stranger vegetables not only make a cameo in Singaporean desserts, but act as the starring role.  For example, when shopping for ice cream, shoppers have the luxury of choosing sweet corn or yam as possible flavors.

Although I consider myself somewhat assimilated to the culture here and have grown particularly fond of the cuisine, this is something I stubbornly have  not yet accepted.  The trouble is that on occasion particular pastry stores will have products on display with no label (or the packaging/label is in Mandarin). This is where the gamble comes in, because what sometimes APPEARS to be either chocolate or blueberry flavored is later regrettably discovered to be red bean.  Yes, that is right, red beans inside a pastry. So buyers beware!