Lianhua Primary School

Culinary delights from around the world

Food offerings from the international cuisine stall at Lianhua Primary School include (clockwise from top) udon noodles, cheesy baked rice and a Japanese rice set.
Food offerings from the international cuisine stall at Lianhua Primary School include (clockwise from top) udon noodles, cheesy baked rice and a Japanese rice set.ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM

Pupils at Lianhua Primary School can go on a culinary adventure around the world - at their canteen.

Apart from the Chinese and Malay food stalls, there is a humble international cuisine stall offering more than 10 savoury dishes from various countries, including Japan, Thailand and Italy.

Vice-principal Tan Hui Ping said pupils may not have tried food from a different culture, and can be exposed to these options at the canteen.

The international cuisine stall sees queues of more than 10 pupils at any one point during recess. Before it started operations at the Bukit Batok school last year, some pupils had little chance to savour anything beyond local fare.

Primary 3 pupil Yulia Daramalinggam enjoys trying items from the stall, which offers dishes such as Thai laksa, carbonara pasta, spaghetti, udon soup and teriyaki chicken rice. They typically cost between $1 and $1.80 each.

The nine-year-old said: "I've not had some of the dishes before, so I am glad there is a chance to try food from the different cultures here."

Stall vendor Warang Khongthong, 46, experiments with ways to make her food more nutritious and healthy, such as replacing white rice with brown rice, and including fruit and vegetables. For her popular Thai laksa dish, she uses evaporated milk instead of coconut milk. She said: "Pupils can pick up good eating habits early. If you want kids to eat healthy food, then you have to think of creative ways to get them to do so."

The genial woman feels contented when pupils and staff appreciate her meals. "It is hard work, but I feel happy when I see them enjoying the food."

Calvin Yang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 14, 2017, with the headline 'Culinary delights from around the world'. Print Edition | Subscribe