I had seen it before. But it was my first time smelling the pale yellow fruit. Acheese hit me so strongly I .
I was on a walk with Kristine, a Danish artist from a Singaporeancalled Mamakan. Kristine and her two artists, Laletha and Steve, a project called GastroGeography to the plants in Singapore. The walk in the central civic district an "artistic food experience," and participants could taste and identify various local plants along the way.
The fruit I'd smelled was the noni fruit, or the cheese fruit. Its tree is commonly found in Singapore, but I never knew that the fruit and leaves were edible. Kristine suggested cleaning the fruit and leaving it in ato in the sun. The juice that could be mixed with cream cheese to create what she called "Singapore's blue cheese."
The noni fruit was. Kristine, Laletha and Steve had found more than a hundred edible plants growing along the streets. I their art , which consisted of little jars of edible plant on concrete blocks, and the poster they'd made to list all the edible plants.
I was amazed. The only local plant I rememberwas the growing in my primary school. My seniors taught me to the from the flowers. But I never imagined there were so many other edible plants. Singapore is known as the garden city, but I'd never realized this garden was full of edible wonders.
Kristine shared stories from other Singaporeans who'd gone on the walk. One lady had been going to health food stores to buy expensive noni juice imported from Hawaii. She never knew that the noni tree grew locally. While it's illegal tothe fruit or remove other parts from the plants, she could the fruits .
Kristine's fellow artist, Steve, a Singaporean, wasforaging too. When he tasted the jam Kristine had made using local berries from the rukam masam tree, he'd found the taste " ." , what he found familiar was imported strawberry jam.
I recalled my own foraging experiences, which were mostly in Japan. I'd collected wild mint and oregano, andfor . I remember thinking then that it was a I couldn't forage in Singapore. Now, I realize it was my own that prevented me from seeing the edible plants in my home country. I can't wait to discover more local plants, and perhaps grow some of my own too.
The Japan Times ST: March 24, 2017