The Snacks of Singapore

Singaporean cuisine is a culinary melting pot that consists of influences from a variety of Asian ethnicities, including Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, Indian, Peranakan, Thai and Sri Lankan. Multiculturalism has permeated to the very core of Singaporean cuisine and a wide spectrum of dishes can be found throughout the country, from traditional hawker centers to trendy coffee shops. Singaporean illustrator Lee Xi Li cites Singaporean culture as his biggest inspiration, and the young illustrator has created a series of colorful cartoons that showcase many of the country’s favorite snacks.

Lee was inspired to draw after discovering the likes of Herge’s Adventures of Tin Tin, Fujiko Fujio’s Doraemon by, and Guy Delisle’s travel chronicles. His background in architecture also plays a part in his creative process; each illustration is created with a balance of playfulness and artistic precision.

Kueh

Kueh can be likened to a type of bite-sized cake that features ingredients such as coconut, pandan leaf, and gula melaka, which are all native to Southeast Asia. “I was fascinated by the plethora of kueh from the various cuisines around Southeast Asia. (Drawing) each piece led to the discovery of kueh I never knew.”

Lunar New Year

Traditional snacks play an important role in the Lunar New Year, they’re not only treats made available for visitors but also carefully chosen because of the good luck they represent.

Lo Hei Yusheng

Lee has also illustrated the traditional dish of yusheng, or otherwise known as the “prosperity toss,” which is a prevalent tradition within Southeast Asia. Each component of the salad is coupled with a fortuitous idiom and is usually enjoyed before each meal during the Lunar New Year period.

Mooncakes

While mooncakes may appear similar on the outside, each cake can differ based on regionality. There are a wide variety of textures, ingredients and cooking methods that are used to create these Mid-Autumn Festival treats.

Khanom

Proving that sweet treats in Thailand are more than mango sticky rice and red ruby, Lee drew a wide variety of other khanom, which is a Thai term for snacks and desserts. These delicacies include khanom baa bin, a Thai coconut cake;khanom tuay fu, a steamed muffin; khanom tien, a triangular stuffed dough with filling; and many more.

Dim Sum

Hong Kong-style dim sum is also widely available around Singapore. Lee decided to illustrate some dim sum trolley classics such as the har gao, or shrimp dumplings; char siew bao, otherwise known as barbecue pork buns; and siu maai, which are tiny steamed dumpling. There are also lesser known classics on the illustration, such as beef stomach, duck feet, and taro dumplings.

Beyond illustrating local snacks, Lee also contributes to a variety of local projects that celebrate Singaporean culture.”Growing up in Singapore, I’m most aware of the ever-changing landscape. It was my love for illustration that led me to rediscover my country,” he says. His latest illustration is a movie poster for667, an anthology of short films by five Singaporean directors who each undergo a journey into their cultural heritage and explain how Singapore became their home.

Website: leexinli.com
Behance: ~/PokPokandAway
Facebook: ~/PokPokAway
Instagram: @xinli29288

Contributor: Whitney Ng

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