Diner en Blanc‘s first appearance in Asia ended with a blast, owing to the much reported local-food-bloggers-uninvited-and-local-food-disallowed saga. The whole fiasco went completely viral and took a life of its own to bring about much talk, as well as publicity on it over the last week or so. Extensive coverage all over social media through Facebook, as well as various high profile blogs like Mr Brown and ieatishootipost. There was a lot of discussion over Diner en Blanc’s initial reaction to local delights like tau huay and soon kueh, rousing much sentiments, mostly deeming the event as snotty, poncy and pretentious. It went all high drama when the PR company in-charge of the event went on to “disengage themselves” just barely before the day of the event itself, citing a “misalignment of perspectives” with the local organisers. Some bloggers decided to play devil’s advocate and questioned the blogger in question‘s share of responsibility leading to the whole social media fiasco. On the whole, it received a lot of media coverage, IMO a lot more than what it should and normally would, both locally and abroad, with “no-so-honorable mentions” from WSJ and AFP. The whole saga was meant to be called to a halt with a coverage on ieatishootipost’s lunch interview with DeB’s founders as well as an official statement addressed “Dear Singapore” on DeB Singapore’s website. Well that was after its facebook page was taken down amidst the outpour of criticisms and mobbing by local netizens. So has the saga really ended? Meanwhile, the DnB fiasco also sparked off several other events which were “coincidentally” scheduled on 30 Aug 2012, when Diner en Blanc was slated to commence in a “secret location” which turned out to the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. Who would have guessed… Anyway, spin offs like SuperWhite, Makan Day took place alongside Diner en Blanc, and so did our MAKE AND EAT TAU HUAY DAY!
A visit to Old Aiport Road Food Centre and you would be quick to observe a rather prominent sight, i.e. diners all around carrying plastic bags containing disposable bowls of soyabean curd! And its not just that idiosyncratic one or two, but a concerted act which seems to perpetuate the entire place! Now that made me very curious indeed…
Singaporeans love soya beancurd. “Tau huay” as it is affectionately called here by folks from all races and walks of life, we eat it all the time, and quite literally! Traditionally, it is enjoyed as a breakfast treat piping hot, together with a warm glass of soyabean milk and a 油条 youtiao dough fritter for dunking in. Yet we see OLs queuing for them during lunchtime in the CBD area for a dessert after their midday meal, or as a takeaway for tea break later in the day. And as the day draws to an end, we see folks making a beeline for famous beancurd joints all over the island for communal supper, with friends and family. So you can see now how we truly love tao huay!
“Rochor Beancurd” and “Selegie Beancurd” are some of the more familiar names and have since opened franchaises all over the island. And of course we have Mr Bean and Jolibean (alongside Old Chang Kee of course!) in literally every other mall and shopping centre of the heartlands. Amongst those which have made their way onto the Tau Huay Hall of Fame is surely 老伴豆花 Lao Ban Soya Beancurd.