11 April 2008

I Heart Fer... Pho.

We all have various places we HAVE to visit when travelling. While some look for beautiful scenery, others might aim to cover all the museums in that country. My dad happens to be one of those museum buffs who would drag his poor daughter through the Louvre as he literally inches his way through the many, many rooms.

I have had terrible impressions of museums. They either had paintings or sculptures that look more similar the more I stared at them, or (in more contemporary museums) had odd installations that I could not make head or tail of.

I on the other hand, am almost always guided by my stomach when travelling. So while I popped into a couple of museums here and there, they're never on my priority list. I hardly even visited local museums except on school excursions countless years ago.

So I thought it was extremely clever of the National Museum of Singapore to put together a Food & Culture Series last year. I managed to attend just one of the talks on Mortar and Pestle, given by a very engaging Christopher Tan. Not only did I enjoy the session, it included a tour of the very stunningly renovated National Museum, and effectively changed my view of museums.

This year, the National Museum has organised a second Food & Culture Series. I was fortunate enough to snag a seat in the first of the talks on Vietnamese Pho (pronounced as 'fer'). When I arrived at the rotunda, I was welcomed by an awe-inspiring replica of David wrapped in a beautiful brocade textile (see picture above).

'The Story of Pho, The Story of a Nation' was a short talk on the history of this popular Vietnamese Beef Noodle dish, covering everything from the wars in Vietnam to the height of Pho in the 1940s. While a little heavy going, there were certainly illuminating and light-hearted moments. Perhaps the best part, and the part that everyone was probably waiting for, was the Pho tasting we were all served at the end of the talk, washed down with sweet mint tea.

It's great to know that as part of this second series, the course on chocolate is back by popular demand. Most exciting for me though, is the discussion on whether Food is Art where prominent chefs and artists will be brought together to battle it out. What's really unbelieveable is that it is free! The National Museum really knows that the way to many of our hearts (or at least mine) is through our stomach.


Dave said...

Hey Daffy!

Is that a picture of my bowl of pho?!?!? Your pictures are amazing. I can very clearly see your point of view in the DSLR debate. Totally took pictures of the huge David too when I went to pick up the ticket the day before. You've got a great blog!


Anonymous said...

Hi David! Thanks! Yes, that's your bowl of pho, which is unfortunately a little fuzzy because I couldn't wait to start working on my own bowl. There should be no more qualms about a DSLR =)