The Italian resultants in Chinatown are known for a lot of things but what strikes the people most about these restaurants are the quality of food and the environment of the restaurant or theme as some might call it. Keeping it authentic to the culture that attracts more than the eyes of the people to the place, as they start investing more than their appetite to the place.
There is only one door you can knock for old-school pizzerias, cozy trattorias, or nouvelle Italian restaurants with thick sizes of white mozzarella, the place is Italian restaurants. In a cosmopolitan city like Chinatown Singapore, if you are looking to have a great time with your partner or just by yourself, there is only one place that can fill your soul with the lusty taste of delicious cuisines.
The Breathtaking Taste Of Italian Food
Your experience will be different and unique each time you visit a new Italian restaurant. The food they deliver is widely diverse with their own special ingredients sprinkled all over it. That special ingredient acts as the main attraction to these places. You are never going to get an identical experience in any of these places. The key success for any restaurant in Chinatown SGP is finding a special dish, that special dish could be considered as normal at any Italian restaurant but here it will be different.
Italian Seafood Dishes Never Tasted Before
There are plenty of things that get taken into an account to make any person go, ‘Now that was a fine dish!’ Italian restaurants in Chinatown are pioneers at understanding what makes a dish, the dish for the people. This doesn’t mean they sacrifice the authenticity of the dish to appeal to the appetite of modern consumers. Here comes another reason why Italian restaurants consider as one of the best places for soul food searching. They successfully combine the authenticity of the food with the simple touch of the modern world.
What is the history of Scottish Italian heritage? There are an estimated 80,000 Scots of Italian descent living in Scotland. It is believed that almost 70% of Scots Italians can trace their roots back to just the two regions of Tuscany and Lazio. How did this come to be?
"Italians in Scotland are one of the best examples of successful integration. There are groups in every town, every city. This is because the Italians and the Scots have common traditions of hospitality, generosity and respect."
Dr. Andrea Macchioni, Consul General of Italy, Edinburgh. http://www.scotsitalian.com/
19th Century Italian migration
In the 19th Century lots of Italians came to the UK for trade reasons: as craftsmen, artists and performers. The Unification of Italy in the mid 19th Century saw a breakdown of the feudal land system which actually left many poor people without any land. Catholic Emancipation had freed many Italians. Craftsmen were allowed to build churches and many were hired to take on this type of specialist work in the UK. Some never left. Italians gained a reputation for craftsmanship in sculpture and design and also in the creative perfoming industry such as singing.
In the late1880s many Italians came to the UK to escape poverty in rural Italy as a temporary measure. Many brought with them a desire to set up modest businesses such as ice cream parlours, barber shops and fish 'n' chip shops. All were poor and had to work very hard to make a modest living. Many came to Scotland to find even more opportunities awaiting them.
There are many stories about poor Italians being encouraged to pay for a ship passage to New York, the land of opportunity. But, it seems, when they reached the UK they were left behind. Either the ship was never going to New York or they left the UK without them. Some had been led to believe they had arrived in New York but when they found out differently they had not much choice but to stay and try to make a living.
Unfortunately many Italians were recruited as cheap labour by unscrupulous agents in London and found themselves exploited, working long hard hours for little pay. Many were also sent to the North of the UK and in Scotland as ice cream vendors in the street. In 1901 the Commissariat of Emigration was created which outlawed and controlled the unscrupulous practices involving Italian immigration.
Ice cream in Scotland?
In 19th Century Britain, ice cream was a luxury only afforded to royalty and the fabulously wealthy. But for the Italians, homemade ice cream was easy to make using just milk and ice. Many Italians became expert ice cream makers.
This British notion that ice cream was a luxury product changed with the influx of Italian immigrants towards the end of the century. In the mid 19th Century, poor Italian immigrants would set themselves up on the streets of the UK with a simple ice cream churner. This allowed ice cream to be eaten on the streets and it was affordable. The not so rich customers felt they were being offered an exotic taste of luxury.
The tradition of ice cream sellers on the streets of the UK is still with us today and the popularity of ice cream in a country that does not often have hot weather means that ice cream is still considered a special treat for the British.
This may seem even slightly more odd for visitors to see the Scottish obsessed with a frozen product even when it may be rainy and cold summer outside. In the streets of large cities like London, Glasgow, Manchester, the men would churn the ice cream mix in the morning and take the cart out on the streets for the day, shouting in Italian 'Gelati, ecco un poco!' (ice cream, have a small piece).
It is for this reason that they earned the nickname of 'hokey pokey men' as people did not know what they were shouting and they could not speak English. Ice cream came to be known as hokey pokey in many areas.
Today, when the Scots ask for a 'poke' of chips at the fish and chip shop, it comes from this phrase. Most fish and chip shops or take away food was run by Italian families who would ask in Scotalian dialect if you wanted a small portion. 'Poco' is small and so if you wanted a small bag of chips, poco chips evolved into a 'poke o' chips' to the Scottish ear.
Later, in Scotland certainly, the raspberry sauce that was often poured on the top of the ice cream became known as 'tally sauce'.
Fish and chips, ice cream and cafés
As the Italians progressed onto owning shops, they would sell ice cream in the summer and peas with vinegar in the winter. This progressed to fish and chips. Enterprising Italians would also progress to owning a chain of shops. These chain owners trained and helped other Italians to set up business on their own.
The scale of this growth was unbelievable. In 1903 there were 89 shops in Glasgow. In 1904 there were 184 and by 1905 there were estimated to be 336 ice cream shops in the city. By this time there was an Italian population in Glasgow of around 5000. From the late1800s to 1920, many business grew in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen and also in the larger towns across Scotland.
Italian shops and cafes were a breath of fresh air and exoticism for Scottish cities which were used to a more conservative approach to décor and a presbyterian culture which did not include luxury and frippery.
The Italian culture that was introduced to the cities of Scotland was slowly but surely embraced by the population yet feared by the conservative establishment. Their reputation for late opening hours and Sunday trading were railed against by religious groups and other city traders.
But the excitement and personality in these Italian shops and cafés were welcomed by the young looking for somewhere to hang out since they were not allowed to frequent pubs. Some objected to these practices and frowned upon youths being allowed to smoke cigarettes and dance at these establishments. It was once believed that young women who frequented these ice cream cafes went quickly from smoking to dancing to prostitution.
The ice cream shops at one point were to blame for everything from gambling to teenage pregnacy. But the cafés and shops somehow managed to persevere and survive these prejudices. The ice cream shops eventually became a convenient place to meet friends for supper or to have a refreshment late at night when you've been to the theatre or music hall. Who knew that ice cream could have caused so much trouble?
World War II: Italians in Scotland
Italian immigrants helped allies fight in World War I, however in World War II things were somewhat different. The threat of fascism caused much suspicion directed towards the Italian communities in Scotland. A large number of Italian males were rounded up at the start of World War II and interned in domestic prison camps in the UK. Others fought with the British Army throughout the war.
When the Second World War broke out, many Italian men were arrested under suspicion of fascist tendencies and expelled to Canada on the Arandora Star ship. This ship was hit by a German torpedo and sank killing hundreds of the deported Italians. As a result of the sinking the UK changed its policy on interring Italians as many were not even involved with fascism.
Italian prisoners of war captured in North Africa were brought North to Orkney to work on the civilian project of creating protective barriers at a vulnerable point in Scapa Flow. Around 1300 Italians arrived on the islands after work began in May 1940.
Those who were interred in Orkney are reported to have had almost an enjoyable time, believe it or not. They were not treated badly and found comradeship with their fellow prisoners and friendly locals. On Lamb Holm Island, Orkney, the Italian POWs were allowed to use their artistic talents to creating flower beds and statues around the camp. They even built a theatre and recreation hut from waste materials.
In 1943, the prisoners of Lamb Holm Island were also allowed to build a chapel inside one of the huts in order to keep morale high. A team of Italian prisoners worked to build a beautiful chapel that still stands today and is one of Orkney's biggest tourist attractions. The chapel was not finished at the end of the war when the Italians were sent home. The organiser behind the project Domenico Chiocchetti stayed behind and proudly finished the chapel.
After the war, Italian communities built up notably in the largest cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Fish and chip shops and Italian cafés became an integral part of Scottish culture and second generation Italian Scots were making their mark on the local communities.
Many have even gone back to Italy to the villages and towns of their ancestors. It seems to be common for both the Scots and the Italians to migrate. The town of Barga has deep-rooted connections with Scotland and has many Scots-Italian connections.
Many successful Italian family businesses still exist in Scotland, notably in the catering and food industries (restaurants, fish and chip shops delis). Long-running ice cream family businesses still thrive today.
By merging these, these restaurants provide one of the best things your taste bud can touch and remember the sensation of the food for a lifetime.
One of the major reasons why Italian food considers as the best food to devour is the quality of the food, which is based on the quality of ingredients used on that food. You probably thought in your life why this food consider so expensive because the quality of the food is unmatched with another. One of the beliefs of the Italian restaurants is properly using an ingredient and enhancing the quality of that ingredient by blending them with another.
Italian food, in general, is simple. There is nothing big going on the surface or at the back. It is never about adding more to the dish to look appetizing in quantity or its outward appearance. The motto of Italian restaurants has always been focusing on fewer ingredients, this could be from 4 – 6. Nothing more, nothing less. This where lies the true value of Italian food, is understanding the value of each ingredient, it’s strength and weakness, so they can balance out with each other.
By focusing more work on the ingredients used on a dish, they maintain the general quality of the dish, over complicating it might lead to the creation of some unfamiliar taste. This is also the reason why Italian food is so tasty for a lot of people. It is only because of the simplicity of hiding in plain sight. Understanding each ingredient of the dish and matching the ingredients with a simple recipe will help create one the most desirable dish that will make any person in the world go to these restaurants once again.
How to Find the Best Italian Food Restaurants
None of this would be ever possible without the discipline of balancing the quality with each dish that goes out of the chicken. At the end of the day, it is the customer who decides what should stay and what should see the bottom of the garbage can. Keeping customer pleasurable is the hardest thing to do in any business, a restaurant is no different. There is a tremendous amount of passion that drives the restaurant to produce fine dishes to please people from all walks of life. They may speak a different language with a different view of life but they all will be sharing one common ground when it comes to food.
All of the dishes you see in an Italian restaurant, all of them came from the generations before us. Each of the recipes on the menu is passed down from generations. In some Italian families serving quality food consider as one of the important traditions in the household. The traditional way of cooking is vastly different than the modern mass production system. Unlike mass-production food, traditional food is concerned more towards a limited amount of people looking for quality food, making each dish memorable is the finest service provided by these restaurants.
Aside from being tasty and memorable, they are also healthy. Every one of the ingredients used in an Italian dish is made of some of the world’s finest, simple ingredients without the addition of processed food, oil to make a simple dish. Italian restaurants use rich olive oil and all the ingredients are taken from natural sources while some Italian restaurants have a homemade garden to fulfill their meets of the day. Every little part of the Italian dish is made from scratch, no addition of processed market food is included to add more to the dish, this would betray the traditional way of cooking and the taste.
All of this goes well with the finest wine by the side. If you lay to the side of the traditional route to the enjoyment of Italian food. Then visit a traditional Italian restaurant, you would be serviced with a different wine to blend in with each type of dish or courses offered at that time.
There is a reason why Italian food considers as one of the best places to find qualitative food to satisfy your inner lustrous hunger. Next time you see an Italian restaurant around the corner in Chinatown make sure to stop by.
Barcelona: The Gold Standard Guide
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and one of the many jewels of the Mediterranean, is a city alive with life and brimming with culture. From world class-architecture to gastronomic wonders, this slice of the Iberian coast boasts the best of the best. Here’s our gold standard guide to a city that Batur no limits.
Where to Stay
Cotton House Hotel
History and modernity melt together beautifully in this most stunning hotel. Part of the Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the Cotton House Hotel, housed in 19th-century neoclassical structure, was once the city’s cotton guild headquarters. Now it hosts 83 gorgeous rooms complete with huge beds, rain showers, walk-in closets and a Nespresso machine, perfect for that pre-breakfast pick-me-up. The Batuar, a cosmopolitan bar, and restaurant with its magnificent tiled floor serves up top-notch cuisine from 7am till midnight. But, if you’re only after a quiet drink, head to the library. Here, you can sit amongst first editions and original copies of old books.
Mandarin Oriental Barcelona
Located amidst the modernist facades of Passeig de Gracia, shoppers and families alike will love the luxury treatment here. Housed in a former bank, the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is opulence yet chic. Taking center stage is without a doubt the fabulous mimosa garden on the first floor and the rooftop bar with its panoramic views and pool. Although the standard rooms are nothing in comparison to the size of the suites, they breathe, are light and far from claustrophobic. For those with a taste for the finer things, but traveling with families, the Mandarin Oriental is incredibly accommodating, offering up kids menus and a play zone.
Sitting across from the Park Placa del Duc de Medinaceli with the blue waters of Port Vell to its left is Soho House. A stone’s throw away from La Ramblas, stay here for a slice of the English country house. Everything here feels classy and comfortable, from the pale olive paneling to the leather upholstered sofas and porcelain light switches. The rooftop terrace is a Mediterranean wonder in warm weather. Rooms come in a variety of sizes with those larger coming with a separate sitting room. Cecconi’s on the ground floor knocks up fantastic Italian cuisine, and the members' bar (open to guests) and rooftop bar are great for a late night drink.
Where to Eat
For those after an experience they will never forget, Lasarte is where to start and end. Owned by world-renowned chef Martin Berasategui, Lasarte is the only restaurant in Barcelona to have earned itself three Michelin Stars. The cuisine here is Catalan take on Berasategui Basque cuisine. Every meal is a culinary journey, and the dishes are prepared according to the season. The multi-course tasting menu showcases the head chef, Paolo Casagrande’s, creative ability through stunningly delicious refined dishes. Be sure to book well in advance as the wait list is often two months and longer.
Catalan chef, Paco Perez two Michelin Star restaurant, Enoteca, is located on the first floor of a luxury property in the Port Olimpic Marina. Seating only 38 guests, this is an intimate venue that takes inspiration from its seafront setting. Rustic wooden floors and white linens give the place a subtle nautical vibe. In the summer it is a bright spot that boasts beautiful sea-views from the terrace. The emphasis here is on contemporary and inventive Mediterranean dishes that lean towards fish and seafood. Guests are welcome to pick from a tasting or a la carte menu and can choose from a wine list that boasts 750 different kinds.
Boasting one Michelin Star and coming from the brothers behind El Celler de Can Roca, Roca Moo is a fine dining experience with a twist. Here, the cooking is done on display. Guests can sit at a counter in front of an open kitchen and watch the chefs hard at work. Don’t worry though, the slick setting and theatrics don’t outshine the food. There is a fixed price lunch menu Tuesdays to Fridays, but the showstopper is the Menu Joan Roca which balances exciting flavors with contemporary technique brilliantly. On the other side of the restaurant, separated by bookshelf is Roca Bar, a stylish gastrobar that serves up great drinks and delicious snacks.
What to Do
Shop til you Drop
Barcelona boasts some of the best shopping in all of Europe. So, while you’re in the city make for Passeig de Gracia where the streets are lined with the best of the world’s high-end fashion brands. From Chanel to Prada to Gucci and everything in between, the Passeig de Gracia is your one-stop spot for a full day shop. Pack your plastic.
Enjoy a Luxury Sail
Climb aboard a luxury sailboat, that dates back to 1932, and tour the Mediterranean coast in style. Feel the breeze in your face and pop a bottle of bubbly while you toast to good health and great living. Set down the anchor and enjoy the sun set slowly behind Barcelona’s skyline. Whether in a group, with a family or on a romantic getaway, a luxury sail along Barcelona’s beautiful coast is a magnificent way to spend an afternoon.
Winery and Wine Tasting Helicopter Tour
Some fantastic wine country and wineries surround Barcelona. The Penedes region in Catalonia just south of Sitges boasts some of the best cava in all of Spain. So, why not enjoy it in style, jump on a helicopter and be flown from winery to winery. All you have to do is sit back, relax and sample fantastic wines.
Tour Barcelona in a Vintage Car
Pick from a series of vintage cars that date back to the 1950s and 60s and tour Barcelona in a wholly unique way. Sat on plush leather seats and with the wind whipping through your hair, you’ll be the talk of the town as your speed past some of the city’s most iconic sights. After all, if you’re going to visit the city, you may as well be doing it in style.