As we looked at the menu at Singapore’s biker bar, I wondered what was available for a vegetarian. It did not look promising. Barbequed chicken wings, hamburgers, and meat options dominated the menu. As Jan took our orders, two items stood out. One was a beer-battered basket of vegetables. The other was a pizza you could custom design.
In the wait during peak hours, our imaginations tried to picture what would come. The images were shaped by prior experience with pub-type food. Readymade, corporate chain supplied dishes fried on-site dominated. At best, prepped food with a bit of wilt would come. The pizza would be ready made, hopefully from somebody that cared.
The vegetable basket arrived, looking like anything but what we had imagined. The vegies were local, tasting as though they were fresh from the garden. The batter was light. Obvious care had gone into this dish! A few minutes later the pizza arrived. At first, I did not recognize it. The hand formed shaped reflected the care someone had given to every step in the process. Wonderful Italian styled bread with just the right combination took the customer order to a new level.
I anticipated predictable. What came was anything but. I thought I knew was a pub served, especially in Singapore. At a loss for how to describe how the difference struck me, I found the answer in an old writer’s work. “You will notice that the variety of bodies is stunning. Just as there are different kinds of seeds, there are different kinds of bodies—humans, animals, birds, fish—each unprecedented in its form.” (1 Corinthians 15.39)
The words special and unique are often overused. Restaurants pitching themselves as special serve dishes that could have come from any corporate kitchen. I realized that my expectations have dwindled to the point that I no longer imagine the possible. Handlebar did not advertise that the dishes were special. I did not see anything about fresh produce or bespoke preparation. Actions stood out bolder than any words on a page could have been.