Euro 2012 - Tasting football with a local touch

Local food and Euro Teams have a lot more in common than you think. Allow Singapore intern Kriffith Fernando to take you on a gastronomical footballing journey
by Kriffith Fernando | Singapore

As much as we are crazy football fans, we are crazy foodies. If anyone comes to Singapore, the first thing they realise is the number of food places we have around us. Allow me to pair the quarter-finalists with our famous local dishes. Are you hungry yet?

Unlike the other high-flyers, Czech brings normality to the game. A little like Zi Char, Czech seems to have a little bit of everything. Just like Zi Char, we have a little of everything. Sometimes one offside dishes you choose turn out to be not so great. Yet, sometimes even the simplest dish like that of Kang Kong outshines dishes that have been painstakingly prepared. Looking at The Czechs, and the way they have moved up the league as underdogs, they can be definitely seen as one to not be taken so lightly.

No football fan would forget the way Greece won the 2004 Euro. Anti-football they called it. Regardless, Greece is yet gain in the second round of the prestigious competition. I think Greece is most similar to Rojak just because that's how they seem to play. Nothing fancy and showy like the Spaniards, neither are they technically standard like England. Just like Rojak, there are bits and pieces. Sadly, their way of play is not for all and not one that could be enjoyed everyday. It could be enjoyed as a good diversion though. Only few are able to stomach a daily dose.

Germany has been the most successful team in Euro, winning the converted trophy three times. For some reason however, they tend to have strong starts but seem to die off towards the end. Somewhat like a cup of caramel milk tea that has not been shaken well before consumption. You then drink up all of the caramel essence within the first few gulps and the magic is over. Germany tends to be like this badly stirred tea quite a number of times, making it to the finals but soon running out of flavor. Ice and bits of pearl is all that's left. And we all know that's no good.Hopefully, germany's run this time around is better and someone remembered to shake the cup well before digging into it.

Just like our national dish, Portugal has a number of factors that come to form the dynamics of the team. The roasted chicken, the rice, the freshness of the cucumber and the chili sauce. Sometimes, everything falls into place. Cristiano Ronaldo undoubtedly is the super star.Talent and technique ridden, Ronaldo has his moments. At times, as like in the last 2 games, he adds so much flavor to the game as a well marinated and roasted plate of chicken. At times like these, his team seem to fall in place like that of aromatic rice and everything is tied up in their fluid play - the chili sauce. Perfecto! But just like how everyone cooks chicken rice but only some get it right, Portugal has not been so consistent in recent times. Let's hope the chicken scores a 10/10 this time around.

Do I have to say more? Sambal, La Furia Roja. I rest my case.

No but seriously, the Spanish players have alot more in common with a plate of Sambal Stingray than meets the naked eye. The deceivingly tender flesh that provides the perfect canvas for the pungent spiciness of the sambal is somewhat like the deceivingly mortal players that Spain sports who are simply lathered with the sauce of talent. The Spanish are known to be one who really know how to turn up the heat on the soccer field. The Spanish have won 2 major footballing tournaments in a row and are now looking onto being the first international side to win 3 in a row. After being so obviously biased towards the Spanish, I pray that the fish doesn't stink up.

Italy's play can be almost directly pointed out to be one that is played more towards the middle. Just like Bak Chang, the action is packed right in the core. The Hokkien rice dumpling is stuff in the middle with braised pork belly, mushrooms and chestnuts; making the center the place to be. With the exception of Balotelli, Italy plays with exceptional tactical discipline and organization. The Italian Bak Chang , including Balotelli, seems to be warming up.

Note: I have been seriously restraining myself from attaching Maggie Goreng to the Italians.

Wow. Where do I even start. England could solely be responsible for the existence of football on our shores. Singapore has been known to house the biggest fan clubs of the EPL clubs in South East Asia. But like always, England is feeling the pressure. As iconic as the English, the Ice Kachang, is the mother of all desserts. England has such great support through the branding of their teams and players and not forgetting the premier league. England's fanfare is as colorful as syrups that coat the sides of this ice ball. England's few gems like Rooney add on that extra bit of flavor like that of the various beans, seeds and jellies one might find at the bottom of this dish.

Satay is once of those things that could be easily downed without keeping count of the number of sticks devoured. Different meats, providing different textures and tastes. France is one like that of meat lovingly seasoned and cooked to near perfection. Satay however well is cooked, is never complete without the traditional peanut sauce that combines well with meat right off the stove. The French satay has yet find their dip in their Rive of Peanut Sauce.France needs to find their blend of peanut sauce before it's too late.

If you heard a distant rumble, that was my stomach. I rest my case.