Peace burgers with kimchi feed frenzy for Trump-Kim’s Singapore summit

1 / 2
Restaurants in Singapore gear up for Tuesday's meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by serving up Kim and Trump-themed dishes. (Arab News photos)
2 / 2
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gestures towards the media as he meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un at the Istana in Singapore on June 10, 2018. (REUTERS/Edgar Su)
Updated 11 June 2018
0

Peace burgers with kimchi feed frenzy for Trump-Kim’s Singapore summit

  • Restaurants in Singapore cook up fusion dishes ahead of the historic summit, symbolizing the hope of reaching reconciliation through food
  • A personal invitation has also been sent to Trump and Kim inviting them to taste “The Burger for World Peace,” the restaurant’s blend of US and Korean flavors using bulgogi, kimchi mayo and US sharp cheddar.

SINGAPORE: There’s a buzz in the air as restaurants in Singapore gear up for the much-anticipated meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, dishing up Korean “fire meat” burgers with a side of kimchi mayo and American cheese.

On social media local fast-food restaurant Wolf Burgers has urged the two leaders to #SettleTheBeef. 

A personal invitation has also been sent to Trump and Kim inviting them to taste “The Burger for World Peace,” the restaurant’s blend of US and Korean flavors using bulgogi (Korean grilled beef, meaning literally fire meat), kimchi mayo and US sharp cheddar.

“I don’t know if they actually saw it, or if they will acknowledge it, but it would be really, really awesome if they did,” said Sarah Lin, the 32-year-old head chef and co-owner of Wolf Burgers, who came up with the idea.

The limited edition burger has stirred a lot of interest among Wolf’s customers, she said, adding: “It has definitely helped put Wolf Burgers out there, especially since we are a home-grown brand, so it has helped us on an international level.”

As more than 3,000 journalists from all over the world descend on the city-state of Singapore to cover the denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang, all eyes will be on the luxurious Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa. Here, for the first time in history, a sitting US president will meet a North Korean leader face-to-face. 

“I think it’s fantastic that this ‘peace conference’ is happening here,” said James Cheah, a British diner at Wolf Burgers. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for Singapore to prove to the world that it’s a hub not just for finance and tech opportunities, but also on the political stage,” said Cheah.

“Do I think the talks are going to be successful? I think they are going to be as successful as the combination of bulgogi beef and American cheddar cheese. I think it’s going to be a terrible mess,” he said. 

“Whatever happens, which I think will be very little, it will be a huge propaganda win for North Korea and my heart bleeds for the North Koreans.”

His friend Hugh McKee, an Irish engineer who has been living here for four years, admitted he was neither a Trump fan, nor was he familiar with North Korean politics.

“I don’t know what’s to come, but definitely, Singapore’s going to be a winner,” he said. He thinks the high-profile event will “put Singapore on the world map for future conferences.” Maybe Round Two of a Trump-Kim summit? Or perhaps the Canadians, Mexicans and Europeans will also be looking to meet Trump here, he said, tongue-in-cheek.

Wolf Burgers is not the only restaurant to be joining the summit frenzy. Over at Harmony Nasi Lemak restaurant, the crew spent a month researching, before coming up with their fusion dish. The Trump Kim-chi Nasi Lemak not only combines the flavors of American dry-aged beef with fried Korean kimchi, it also blends together the tastes of Singapore’s Indian, Chinese, Malay and Eurasian cultures.

Its Singaporean co-founder, Zach Wen, explained: “We wanted to make Trump feel welcome, and because he has been very protective of beef exports from the US, we decided to use American beef in our dish.”

To pay tribute to Singapore’s four main ethnic groups, the dish uses Indian basmati rice cooked in Chinese chicken soup, combined with traditional Malay homemade sambal chilli, topped with a European sunny-side-up egg, fried to a crisp.

“This forms the foundation of Singapore,” the 34-year-old said philosophically, “and as Singapore holds the summit, it holds together the beef symbolizing the US and the kimchi, symbolizing North Korea.”

But what happened when Trump canceled the Singapore summit?

“We continued to brainstorm, because it was not perfect. We didn’t give up,” he told Arab News.

As Trump has always been known to be a good dealmaker, Wen is hoping the US President will “close the deal.”

“In Southeast Asia, a lot of people think this is a joke, but it’s not a joke. Nuclear is a serious thing and the Koreans and Japanese feel it more than us.”

Asked if he would be watching the summit live on Tuesday morning, when Trump and Kim finally meet, he replied with a laugh: “I think I need some sleep.”


Opening the door to Middle Eastern designers at Dubai Design Week

Updated 14 November 2018
0

Opening the door to Middle Eastern designers at Dubai Design Week

  • This year, five pavilions from Amman, Beirut, Dubai, the Eastern Provinces of KSA and Kuwait City are showing off
  • The Abwab exhibit is just one thought-provoking, Instagram-worthy part of Dubai Design Week

DUBAI: Named after the Arabic word for “doors,” Abwab is an annual exhibition at Dubai Design Week, a creative fair that runs until Nov. 17.

This year, five pavilions from Amman, Beirut, Dubai, the Eastern Provinces of KSA and Kuwait City are showing off their artistic innovations in Dubai Design District, where the event is based.

Two designers were invited from each place to collaborate and produce works related to the theme “Between the Lines.”

The creations are housed in five pavilions at the heart of Dubai Design District, made up of red twigs and newspaper pulp and designed by the firm Architecture + Other Things.

Visitors crowded around the pavilions at the opening of the fair on Tuesday and explored the five spaces with their unique, sometimes perplexing, offerings.

Amman‘s pavilion at the Abwab exhibit is called “Duwar,” roundabout in Arabic, and is described as a representation of the cycle between chaos and order. The exhibit is a walk-through piece featuring moving images on boards suspended from the low ceiling of the circular space. Visitors are encouraged to walk through the dark circular corridor and take in the constantly flashing imagery above them in the piece that was created by multidisciplinary designer Hashem Joucka and architect Basel Naouri.

Beirut’s contribution to the Abwab exhibit is called “Beirut Fillers” and features a series of suspended words in a constructed sensorial environment, complete with audio recordings of the words “euhhh,” “halla2,” “enno” and “fa,” all of which are linguistic fillers commonly heard in Beiruti conversation.  

For its part, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is showcasing a fascinating piece of work called “The Sound of the East Coast” that pays homage to the tradition of pearl diving in the area with shaking, jelly-like bowls. The installation even features audio recordings of the traditional song “El Yamal,” often chanted to keep the divers motivated.

While Kuwait City’s offering, called “Desert Cast,” uses locally sourced materials and production methods to explore the idea of identity in the country, Dubai’s piece at the exhibit is called “Thulathi: Threefold” and is marked by a protruding triangular section that breaks the natural form of the rounded pavilion. Each corner of the triangle opens slightly through apertures, revealing video projections and silhouette cutouts.

The Abwab exhibit is just one thought-provoking, Instagram-worthy part of Dubai Design Week, an event that boasts workshops, exhibits and a trade fair.