Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Sambal Days, Kampong Cuisine" - Aziza Ali Remembers The Good Old Days

I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Aziza Ali, a pioneer Malay restaurateur in Singapore. She's come up with a book - "Sambal Days, Kampong Cuisine"- which charmingly captures the spirit of life back in the 50s and 60s, along with the many dishes available back then. Life was simpler but cooking more complex then; people thought nothing of spending hours just to make one dish. She particularly misses the "gotong royong" spirit, that of mutual cooperation and helping one another.

My interview with her on Yahoo Makanation has more:

I have read the book, and love it. Written with such warm nostalgia and loving detail, it will whisk you back to a different world not too long ago when people took more interest in each other's well-being and celebrated food with closer social bonds. I remember some of that. My Malay neighbours used to give us wonderful dishes during Hari Raya, and we'd reciprocate with oranges and gifts during Chinese New Year.

You look at how impersonal we are today, with neighbours who keep to themselves and barely share anything about themselves, much less food they prepare with heart...you know those good old days are long gone.

“Sambal Days, Kampong Cuisine” is available for S$15 at most bookstores in Singapore.

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