Memories of traditional food culture in the kampong setting in Singapore

Xiong, De Xuan and Brownlee, Iain A. (2018) Memories of traditional food culture in the kampong setting in Singapore. Journal of Ethnic Foods, 5 (2). pp. 133-139. ISSN 2352-6181

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Background: Singapore is a metropolitan city state that has rapidly transitioned from residents living in traditional multicultural villages known as kampongs to one of the most population-dense and technologically advanced countries in the world. This study aimed to explore the framework of traditional food culture, beliefs and practice in Singaporeans who grew up in kampongs via questionnaire-based interviews. Methods: A convenience sample of participants (n = 34) were recruited through word-of-mouth and interviewed both face to face (n = 29) and by telephone (n = 5). Interviews were conducted in English, Mandarin, and Hokkien using a semistructured questionnaire that included themes preidentified from an exhaustive literature search. Results: A conceptual framework of five major themes was noted as a result of respondent input and the preidentified structural themes of the questionnaire. These were self-sustenance and farming, food and water safety, food and beverage retail, dietary habits and culinary practice, and a culture of sharing (or gotong royong). Of these themes, 64% (n = 22) of participants had noted collecting or maintaining fruit and vegetables or rearing chickens. Participants (29%, n = 10) also noted memories of traditional food storage techniques, general feedback which suggested relatively low levels of concern for food safety. Conclusions: Many of these kampong food practices from a kampong were fondly remembered by participants. Consideration of positive food values from early life (such as a strong culture of sharing and togetherness) could help in the development of government drives to improve dietary intake or benefit food security for older Singaporeans.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anthropology, Food culture, Food sharing, Gotong royong, Kampong, Singapore
Subjects: C900 Others in Biological Sciences
D600 Food and Beverage studies
D700 Agricultural Sciences
L600 Anthropology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 10:54
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 22:19

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