Sometimes we do adventure shows. Sometimes historical. Other times political or even personal … or self-indulgent immersions in whatever or wherever is of interest to me at the moment.
But sometimes—sometimes we go back and do what we used to do all the time: straight-up, old-school, 100 percent pure, uncut, unapologetic food porn.
The shot sequence is pretty much the same as regular porn.
Wide shot of the randy delivery boy showing up at the house (or me approaching the restaurant). Medium shot of the lonely house wife displaying a frankly unrealistic enthusiasm for things that go beyond pizza (or me watching others get served a delicious-looking variety of dishes). Then a close-up.
I’ve had increasingly mixed emotions about the utility and morality of doing food porn over the years—especially when there’s always so much going on in the room beyond what’s on the plate. People often complain that I should stay away from politics and stick to food. But, of course, there’s nothing more political than food.
People eat what they eat for a reason.
Any food show you watch—even the most brain-dead expression of baconcentric excess—Guy Fieri jamming a giant corn dog into his face or some poor bastard feigning excitement at the prospect of the world’s largest cheeseburger—tells you something about the place and the people.
Singapore is possibly the most foodcentric place on Earth, with the most enthusiastic diners, the most varied and abundant, affordable dishes—available for cheap—on a per-square-mile basis. The hawker centers (basically, food courts where individually-owned mom and pop operations serve street food from tiny shops and booths) are wonderlands of Chinese, Indian, and Malay specialties. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel making food porn in Singapore.
It’s almost too easy. Colorful, delicious food is everywhere.
But… why? How did this happen? And who are these people?
I couldn’t help asking these questions, along with a semi-playful exploration of what it costs—in terms of personal freedoms, freedom of speech, independence from government scrutiny and oversight—to be ensured a life of relative security, prosperity, and easy access to unlimited choices of truly extraordinary and diverse food.
Singapore is, rather notoriously, an authoritarian nanny state: “Disneyland with the death penalty,” as one wag called it.
There’s almost no crime. The streets are always clean. Housing is affordable and available, standards of living, high.
But is it worth it?
Watch and come to your own conclusions.