October 23, 2007


Print More

This past Saturday, some 100 plus students lined up in Willard Straight to attend Makanmania 2007, this year’s version of the annual Singaporean Food Festival, put on by the Singapore Student’s Association. The SSA has recently grown into a thriving, 150-student organization and Makanmania (makan means ‘eat’ or ‘food’ in Malay) has become their traditional way of bringing together not only their fellow Singapore natives, but also the greater Cornell community.
The room was crammed full of plastic tables and chairs, and each corner boasted a long table of food (or makan, if you want to be culturally correct). There was one corner for drinks (there were two choices — onechocolate-flavored and one looking pretty in pink), one for desserts, and two for main dishes. Each dish was labeled for the benefit of us Singaporean-cuisine-illiterate, telling us exactly what we were eating as well as what region it came from. Each attendee was given $10 worth of fake Singaporean currency, in one and two dollar increments, to ‘pay’ for their food — the equivalent of we paid for our tickets…except for me — as a distinguished member of the press, I was given a free ticket. However, ten Singaporean dollars were more than enough to pay for the food, which, by the way, was really very good, though I am unfortunately no expert on Singapore’s world-famous food culture. In any case, it tasted delicious to me, and I ate beyond my fill, which turned out only to be $7worth. Never let it be said that the SSA aren’t generous with their portions. The laksa, rice noodles in spiced coconut milk with eggs and seafood (I think), seemed to be the most popular dish of the night, as well as my personal favorite, but there was mention of the chicken rice as well.
At any given time, about a third of the room would be engaged in the performances, and the other two thirds in their delicious food, and loudly chattering friends. Despite this, the performances were fun to watch, and seemed to be generally enjoyed. First, the SSA played a quick video on Singaporean food and culture, followed by a five-question trivia game. However, since no one really paid attention to the video, it was definitely the native Singaporeans who dominated the game. Then several students braved the small WSH stage to put on some performances. There was piano playing, singing, a small musical group (whose singer looked like he was both genuinely enjoying his brief sojourn as a pop singer, and rather ashamed to be doing so), and an “Indian Dance Troupe” that was actually one Indian guy and seven Asian students. The audience got a particularly big kick out of them.
All in all, Makanmania was a fun night, with good friends (though I, like the social reject I sincerely hope I’m not, went by myself), good food, and good performances. I would definitely recommend getting tickets for next year’s event — it was yummy, and the SSA feeds you exceedingly well for your money.