You might immediately cry out about how we don’t eat tapas or you don’t like Spanish food – however fact is that Singaporeans are developing a taste for tapas. If you are not familiar with the term, then listen up. Tapas is Spanish and means literally ‘lids’ – which doesn’t make too much sense. However, an old story tells us that the habit of covering one’s beer in old Spanish taverns with a piece of bread led to the name Tapas. After all, the snack was literally a lid.
Are Tapas Popular in Singapore?
Claiming that Singaporeans are mad about tapas is quite a statement. Nonetheless, it isn’t unsupported. The number of Spanish tapas bars in Singapore has been increasing significantly over the last year. Be it Club Street, Ann Siang Hill or Duxton Hill – Spanish tapas bars are opening en masse.
However, that isn’t all. The Spanish tapas style has also become increasingly popular at people’s homes. The on-demand chef platform Clubvivre.com has noted an increased demand for tapas menus. This includes traditional Spanish tapas, modern European tapas as well as fusion canapés and cold cuts selections. Local chef John Sawarto has been trained under several Michelin Stared chefs and has been exposed to a great deal of foreign tastes, ingredients, and flavours. His tapas menus are especially popular.
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If you had ever tapas before, you will know that they are more than just food. When eating tapas you are most likely sharing them with friends or family. Some might say that eating Dim Sum isn’t much different. Hence, one already has a reasonable expiation for the ever growing popularity of Spanish tapas and its fusion variations.
The word itself has become more accessible as well. Not too long ago, chefs would not have dared to use the word tapas on their menus or in the title of the restaurant. Tapas used to be referred to as sharing platters. Nowadays, however, tapas have become go-to option for many locals. Calling them small plates (which tapas are often described as) doesn’t really capture the essence of it. Although you will see a person in a tavern eating tapas alone, they are meant to be shared. In Spain tapas are often eaten directly at the counter, while having a beer or a glass of wine. As other people will be around you, the tapas is consider to be shared – as you are not really eating alone.
In the past traditional Spanish chefs would be careful calling their dishes tapas. If the food wasn’t really traditional Spanish, they often would refrain from the usage of the word. However, as the word tapas has become increasingly accessible and used around the world – especially in Singapore – the tapas themselves have moved on. Local chef Benjamin Fong created for example a menu called Belgium Beer Tapas, including shrimps with cocktail sauce and watercress as well as salmon tartare marinated in grated ginger, lime, and green chilli. After all – sharing is caring.