I was lucky enough to visit Singapore this week (and I am actually still here while writing this blog) and one of the places I was able to visit was IndoCafe The White House. Our hosts (the faculty of the National University of Singapore Business School) were telling us about the cultural value of this restaurant. It is an old Indo-Peranakan house converted into a museum and at the same time a restaurant.
Peranakan refers to descendants of 15th century Chinese immigrants who settled in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Malaysians and Indonesians however use the same term to refer to 'descendant' without any specific to any ethnicity. According to history, it was economic hardships in China that pushed the early Chinese immigrants to move out and settle in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. As they migrated from China, they brought with them their own culture and mingled it with local culture.
The Indocafe White House is a remnant of a Peranakan house. Most of its structure and architecture date back to about 100 years. It houses many artifacts from Peranakan families in Singapore. Upon seeing the place, I could not help but remember the old houses in Negros Occidental (Philippines) particularly in the Silay area. Somehow, it resembles some of its style and architecture.
Inside the White House, we were given a brief tour and lecture on the Peranakan History. Of course, the best way to learn other culture is through food and music. During dinner, we were served with modern Peranakan cuisine and musicians were playing Indonesian-inspired music. Two Indonesian dances were also performed before us.
|What a Peranakan would traditionally wear|
|It's not a Cafe if it's not selling coffee beans|
|A Peranakan dish|
|Peranakan cuisine is varied and diversed.|
|A graceful Singaporean dancer performing an Indonesian dance|
|The Filipino visitors with the performers|
Many people would think of Singapore as a modern and more cosmopolitan country. Today, I had a glimpse of Singapore's past and culture that makes it more connected to its Asian neighbors.
|A spicy Peranakan seafood dish|
|Completing the ambience are musicians playing Javanese music|
Indocafe The White House is located along 35 Scotts Road and is open from 12pm to 3pm and then 6pm to 10:30pm everyday. I personally recommend this for those who would like to dine and learn some culture all at the same time.
Like it? Share it.