An article by Judhi Prasetyo
I came across this banner in a coffee shop just opposite Masjid Kassim in Kembangan area, Singapore. Even though I have been living in Singapore for more than 7 years, the words on the banner immediately caught my attention as a Muslim with Indonesian root. The title is MUSLIM FOOD
and followed with list of menus below: LONGTON, MEESIAN, MEE SOTO, MEE REBUS, SOTO AYAM, NASI LEMARK, NASI PANDANG.
I don't know how many mistakes you had spotted, but I had identified 5 mistakes:
This supposed to be LONTONG. The 'lontong' itself is actually is a kind of 'rice cake'. It serves as the main source of carbohidrate in the main course. Just like plain rice or bread. In today's Singapore term, LONTONG refers to a dish of 'rice cake' served with coconut gravy and egg.
In Indonesia, if you ask for LONTONG, you will get only the 'rice cake'. To get a complete set, you must ask for 'Lontong Kari (curry)'.
This supposed to be MEE SIAM, or noodle cooked in Siamese style. Mee Siam was originally a Thai dish of noodles made from rice flour noodles (vermicelli) and served in a light and piquant gravy made from tamarind juice and dried shrimp, and served with toppings such as fresh calamansi, tiny cubes of dried beancurd, chives and slices of boiled egg.
3) NASI LEMARK
Hmm... sounds closed enough to LEXMARK the famous computer printer brand isn't it? Actually it refers to NASI LEMAK. Nasi = rice and Lemak = fat or grease. Nasi Lemak made of rice that cooked in coconut milk which produces tasty grease. The set comes as a platter with cucumber slices, small dried anchovies (ikan bilis), roasted peanuts, stir fried water convolvulus (kangkong), hard boiled egg, pickled vegetables (achar) and hot spicy sauce (sambal).
4) NASI PANDANG
I am quite sure they want to say NASI PADANG. Nasi means rice and Padang is a place in Sumatra Island - Indonesia, where is famous for it's variety of spicy foods including fish, meat, chicken, and vegetables. The style had become famous in Singapore and Malaysia even though the taste can't be compared with the authentic Padang foods found in Indonesia.
OK, now you must be wondering what is the 5th mistake since that's all in the menu?
5) It's the title!
You might be surprised but actually those are NOT really Muslim Food. Muslims are required to eat HALAL food. Halal means "permissible". Not only it must not contain pork or alcohol etc. but the way to prepare and to get the food must also be "permissible". For example, halal food will not be considered halal anymore to us if we get it by stealing, or to buy it using money that came from ilegal sources (gambling, stealing, corruption, bribery, etc).
So what are MUSLIM FOODs? In this case, KFC, McDonald, Delifrance, Seoul Garden, Ramen Ten can also be considered MUSLIM FOOD because they obtained HALAL certificate from the local Muslim authority.
So, what is the best title to describe the menu above?
What about Malay Food? Maybe that's more appropriate.
But aren't Malays are Muslims? Here goes another confusion again.Most Singaporean are really confused between race and religion :)