Local Food Experiences with Traveling Spoon

Part of the travelling experience is to go somewhere new and try eating something foreign. it’s one key way to learn about the culture of the place that you’re in, and often a great way to make friends as most people become more open and friendly with a snack or drink in hand.

Portugal - Tavira Restaurant Avenida V
Food makes friends – me and V from Netherlands here bonded over looking for a dinner buddy in Tavira and we ended up at a very good local Portuguese restaurant. The next day, we ran into a fellow dutch lady over dinner at another restaurant. More on Tavira soon!

So when the folk from Traveling Spoon approached me about their service, which offers travellers a home dining and/or cooking experience with a local in Asia, I was quite intrigued. It’s a chance for you to taste some local cuisine as well as interact with a local – which is quite the authentic experience many travellers are looking for these days beyond the tour packages!

Since I was in Singapore and not headed overseas anytime soon, Traveling Spoon matched me up with the current local host, a lady named Rosaline Soon who turned out to be quite a famous cook locally, having run her own restaurant in the past, she has since published three cookbooks to her name and conducts cooking classes as well.

What I liked was the personal touch – Rosaline herself dropped me a note to say hello before the session, giving me instructions on how to get to her place (deep in a residential area in Singapore, which thankfully wasn’t too far from where I live myself) and letting me know the menu for the night.

Traveling Spoon - Rosaline
Me and Rosaline in her home kitchen
Traveling Spoon - Grandmothers Recipe Books
Grandmothers’ Recipes are based on local and Peranakan dishes, and specially made to be fairly easy to cook

The Traveling Spoon experience is made up of 3 tracks:

  1. just enjoying a home cooked meal (US$20-60)
  2. adding a cooking lesson to the home cooked meal (US$40-$100)
  3. or going the full shebang with a market tour prior to your cooking session and meal. (US$80-$170)

Since I was coming after work in the evening, no market tour for me, and while I am not much of a cook, I thought I’d try the cooking lesson just for fun.



This meal was a real homey experience – Rosaline’s family was finishing up their dinner when I entered their house. She has a large kitchen with a nice island counter, and she had set up most of the prep before I arrived. She was a very nice affable sort, and we had a lot of chitchat while she showed me the ingredients and preparation method for the food – she prepared a little set of recipes on which I could take notes and bring home with me as well.

But here’s the more exciting part on what we ended up making – she based the menu on the food from her own Peranakan and Singaporean heritage: Nyonya Laksa, Roast Pork, Ngoh Hiang and Ondeh Ondeh. My own heritage is more Hokkien, so frankly while I knew most of these foods, I didn’t eat them very often myself, so it was quite nice learning about how to make them, which definitely helped in me appreciating the food better.

Traveling Spoon - Nyonya Laksa ingredients
Nyonya Laksa is basically a noodle in a spicy soup. The main thing is getting the soup right, which is what most of the ingredients here are for
Traveling Spoon - Nyonya Laksa
Here’s my laksa, yummy! I requested it not to be too spicy and not to have the beansprouts (hate), so it was pretty awesome.
Traveling Spoon - Roast Pork cooking
This roast pork dish was designed to be extremely simple – all you need is a good slap of pork, lots of salt and a toaster over, no marination required!
Traveling Spoon - Roast Pork
This tasted very, very good! I ate so much of this >_<
Traveling Spoon - Ngoh Hiang making
Ngoh Hiang consists of minced pork and onions wrapped in beancurd skin. Rosaline had prepped the stuffing first, so I mainly helped with the assembly.
Traveling Spoon - Ngoh Hiang cooked
Tastes better than it looks! You often find this sold alongside prawn noodle stalls in Singapore for some reason
Traveling Spoon - Ondeh Ondeh making
Dessert was ondeh-ondeh, which is little balls of fried flour mixed with tapioca or sweet potato and stuffed with some gula melaka. I never had this before and had a lot of fun making it – making it is tougher than you might imagine!
Traveling Spoon - Ondeh Ondeh cooked
The ondeh ondeh is rolled in coconut grating after cooking, a nice way to end the evening! I’m not a big fan of Gula Melaka and Coconut honestly, but this tasted pretty good


All in all, I really enjoyed the experience and I think it’s a great addition to your itinerary when overseas – if you’re tired of searching out your own food or eating tour package meals, it’s a great and easy way to get the authentic local experience. Also, the meal and cooking session took about 2-2.5 hours in total, so you still have lots of time for your own adventures and experiences.

You can do it alone like I did, but I’d recommend doing this in a group if possible, because you can possibly save a little bit of money, and you can make and eat more – I had to pack some of the remaining food back home so as not to waste it! Also, cooking and dining is always much more fun in a group setting. Drop them a note here for more enquiries – they’ll look at your requirements and match you up with the best host available.

Best of all my dear readers, if you’re interested in signing up for a package, my TOTmail subscribers will receive 15% off their bookings, just by virtue of being awesome people who follow my blog! Check out the PERKS section to see what other goodies there are, or sign up here to receive the discount code in your mail.

Head on over to TravelingSpoon.com for more – their regions so far are concentrated in the major Asian cities, but look out for more hosts and locations in 2015! They’ve just launched recently in Singapore and they are upgrading the site as well, exciting stuff ahead! Thank you again to Traveling Spoon for sponsoring my experience, I really enjoyed it and I might give it a try if I head to any of the other countries with host too!

Traveling Spoon: Travel off the Eaten Path from Traveling Spoon on Vimeo.

Need more travel inspiration?
Sign up now and get the latest blogposts straight in your mailbox. Also, exclusive discounts and perks to help you travel better! (No spam, just travel goodies!)

6 comments to Local Food Experiences with Traveling Spoon

  1. Singapore is a really amazing place to visit and my family spend really good time here. My family love’s there holidays in Singapore and memorize the each place we visit.

  2. I’ve heard of Traveling Spoon but never tried the experience.

    It looks like you had a wonderful occasion learning authentic local cuisine. You’ll now be able to share your Singapore experience with many others for years to come.

    Somehow the saying of teach a man to fish, feed him for life seems appropriate to me. Teach you how to cook these Singapore dishes and then you’ll always be able to enjoy them no matter where you are 🙂

    • if i ever travel long term i hope these skills will come in handy because i’ll definitely miss singaporean food 🙂 i can’t say i’m much of a cook right now though!

      do give it a shot if you have the chance to, it was a fun experience!

Leave a Reply