Fusing Cultures.

For anyone who knows me well enough, they’d know that throughout my dating life, I refused to go out with any Caucasian. I’ve dated local Chinese, local Malays, and local Indians, but never a Caucasian. Reason being, I always felt that Caucasians in Asia tend to throw their weight around and think themselves gods. It also doesn’t help that many Asian women throw themselves at these men because they think that all white men have fat wallets.

Another reason I abstained from dating someone non-Singaporean was because of cultural differences. Sure, going out with a guy of a different race can already pose problems in terms of values and beliefs, so I imagined that going out with someone non-Asian would bring even more complications.

Even though I went to a couple of International schools and spent a fair number of years studying in the UK, I never considered really being anyone who wasn’t Singaporean. And this is probably the cue for Mum to chip in and say “The more you think you won’t be with a Caucasian man, the more likely you’ll end up with one!”

To be fair, Mum only used to say “You’ll end up with someone like that” whenever I laughed about a bald man, or a hairy one, or one that picked his nose in public.

Thank God I met Flo!

So Flo’s actually German but his paternal grandfather was Indian so he’s got some Indian blood in him. Still, he was brought up in Europe and over the time I’ve been with him, I’m glad to say that he’s nothing like the pompous, arrogant Caucasian men we sometimes see half-drunk stumbling around Boat Quay.

Unlike most Singaporean men, and this is just my personal opinion, he is not ‘vanilla’ in the sense of being plain and predictable. He’s a gentleman in that he looks out for me, takes care of me, and respects me, but he is also a man in that he makes me feel secure and is capable of making final decisions when circumstances call for them because I’ll admit, I’m a woman and I can be fickle. Not all of the time. Just sometimes.

In addition, he will not carry my handbag for me unless I’m going to the washroom or trying on clothes for example. Some girls might be exclaiming in horror right now but honestly, if your handbag’s too heavy to carry, then don’t carry it out in the first place! I mean seriously, it’s quite silly seeing a full-grown man carrying a little lady’s bag on his shoulder. Come on! We’re not helpless little girls who are unable to carry our own bags.

My opinions aside, being with Flo means that our cultures have started to slowly overlap.

From him learning about the Chinese Lunar New Year by going to visit relatives with me, to me learning how to eat cheese and cured meats for dinner;

From him understanding better what a Chinese wedding can be like, to me understanding how the term ‘small wedding’ is different in the European context;

From him noting that Singaporeans love the air-con to me noting that Caucasians love to dine al fresco no matter how hot the weather is…

And still, we continue to learn more about each other’s preferences and habits – some related to how and where we were raised, and some related simply to ourselves as individuals.

While on the topic of cultures fusing together, I want to share with you this recent bake of mine. It’s a fusion of East and West – Japanese and American to be accurate. I had bananas – once again, and they were turning quite spotty and begging to be used.

I also happened to have some Kinako powder (Roasted Soy Bean powder) left over from my last few kinako bakes. I love bananas in my baking because they’re so fragrant and bring about a natural sweetness that is so inviting and comforting. I wasn’t quite so sure how the bananas would fare with the kinako powder but I decided that my confidence in bananas going well with near enough everything was strong enough to make this bake a success.

I went with my blondie recipe but to be honest, these were more like cake bars because it turned out light and fluffy. I tend to think of blondies as being more dense and fudgy. Hence, I shall call these cake bars. Also, having fallen in love with my Double Banana Peanut Butter Brownies, I decided to go double bananas on these babies as well!


Double Banana Kinako Cake Bars (Yields 1 x 8×8″ Square or 12 pcs): 

125g melted butter
120g brown sugar
1 egg + 1 yolk
2 ripe banana, 1 mashed and 1 sliced
120g flour
40g kinako powder

2g baking powder

  1. Line an 8×8″ baking tin and preheat oven to 180deg C.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk melted butter, egg, egg yolk and brown sugar until light and frothy. 
  3. Whisk in mashed banana. 
  4. Incorporate flour, kinako powder and baking powder into wet mixture until just mixed through.
  5. Pour half of the batter into prepared tin and top with sliced bananas. Then pour the remaining batter and carefully spread to cover the bananas.
  6. Bake for 30min. Allow to cool before cutting into slices. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the subtle toasty, nutty flavours that the kinako powder imparted into the batter. It balanced out the sweetness of the bananas and the fresh banana slices in between created more texture against the light, moist, fluffy cake. This is definitely something different in terms of flavour, but different is not always a bad thing. Different can be better and in this case, I think it turned out better than I’d hoped! It was definitely doubly delicious and a snap to make!

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