Singapore Adventure

Friday, July 29, 2005

Chocolate Cravings
by venitha

Chocolate cravings finally reached a critical mass last night, and we indulged in a gooey slab of warm brownie buried beneath a slowly melting scoop of swiss chocolate gelato drizzled over with fudge sauce. Oh, yeah.

It's not that you can't get chocolate - and good chocolate - here in Singapore. Mustafa alone provides aisle after aisle of mouth-watering bliss that I regularly wander through just to soak up the fumes and drool.

The problem is that chocolate is not ubiquitous in the way it is in the US. The typical Asian desserts which are readily available everywhere involve no chocolate whatsoever. Candy dishes at the nail salon are filled with fruit chews, dishes of mango jello/pudding glide by on the conveyor belt at the sushi restaurant, (glutinous rice cakes) are featured in the dessert stall at the hawker centre, and rice and tapioca puddings top off the vegetarian Indian buffet. There is lots of dessert, but you have to go out of your way to find chocolate.

I have actually tried a good number of these sweet temptations with a very open mind, and I have frequently been soundly disappointed and often been thoroughly revolted. I hate to have to say it, but it's true: Asian desserts are lame. The problems as I see them:

  • Sweetness. They are either sickeningly cloyingly spit-it-out too sweet or dry carboard-y this-is-dessert? not sweet enough.

  • Contents. Beans should not be allowed in dessert. Burritos, yes. Dessert, no. I'm willing to concede that rice may be acceptable, seeing how this is Asia and all, but the rice really should be recognizable as rice, because...

  • Glutinous. This is not a word that should be used in the name of anything that you would eat with pleasure.

  • Texture. Where are smooth, creamy and melt-in-your-mouth? Here we have gluey, grainy, and containing-unidentifiable-gelatinous-floaters. I don't know what the floaters are, and I don't want to know. Euww.
My fondest hope is that the popularity of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will straighten Asia out regarding the dessert situation. But then again, I should probably be careful what I wish for, as even chocolate could likely be ruined combined with beans, some sort of gelatinous floaters, or, God forbid, durian.