Army adds local flavour to meals

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 November, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 November, 1993, 12:00am

SINGAPORE is adding an Asian flavour to the field rations of its combat soldiers, replacing the standard British Army fare inherited from its former colonial masters with a range of meals more suitable to local tastes.

No longer will members of the Singapore Armed Forces have to subsist on hardtack biscuits, sardines, pork cubes and baked beans, which are staples of the current combat rations.

In their place, they will be issued with such dishes as glutinous rice with chicken, savoury rice, dalcha (a spicy lentil curry), chap chye (cooked mixed vegetables), shrimp in spice and fruit biscuits.

Haute cuisine it may not be but the new field rations are appetising enough to rate well in a taste test conducted by The Straits Times. The participants, who included Peter Kaserer, executive chef of the Pan Pacific Hotel, said some of the dishes compared favourably with food from Singapore's renowned hawker stalls.

The new army food comes in plastic pouches, which are small enough to fit snugly into battle-dress pockets and lighter and more user-friendly than cans, the conventional container for most old-style field rations.

The rice and all main meals are packed separately and soldiers can choose from three main categories - Muslim, non-Muslim and vegetarian. The food has a heat source to warm it.