Singapore is no stranger to cultural exchange, as a trading port that has transformed into a cosmopolitan city itself. Our rich culture has become a result of years of cultural education that we’ve been exposed to since our school days, via History and Social Studies lessons, excursions to museums, and so much more.
To this day, the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) shares stories from our past in an effort to make us more appreciative and educated towards other cultures. And now, they have taken this effort to the next level with their latest pop-up installation – the ACM Caravanserai!
A Caravanserai is a roadside inn for roaming merchants and their caravans. This has been a vital part of every trader’s route as it is a safe place for them to seek shelter and rest after their day’s journey. The ancient Silk Road is one of such routes that traders often took.
ACM has taken it upon themselves to help us relive these experiences in a modern context, from 13 to 21 March! The ACM Caravanserai transports us back to the iconic Silk Road era, with numerous experiences that will appeal to everyone – from craft workshops to an insane shopping spree for artisanal treats and goodies, all of which are inspired by Asian designs and flavours!
Firstly, part of the Lifestyle section of the marketplace at this culture haven, several local design labels can be found, including Orenda’s Crystals and Little Sarong.
Orenda’s Crystals contains collections of fine ethnic jewellery using unique, gorgeous natural gems that are bound to function as a staple in any outfit of the day, or OOTD, photographs.
Little Sarong has got you covered with the perfect masks that bring you on a time machine back to the days when the trade game thrived, and Southeast Asian craftsmanship designs were not uncommon. Those were indeed the days.
There was also something for all the foodies!
For all the sourdough lovers, Sourbombe Artisanal Bakery provided an exclusive flavour to their delicious sourdough doughnuts, and I bet you will be shocked to hear it. This tasty treat incorporates crunchy caramelised buckwheat, paired with the fragrant Oolong Custard and apricot compote representing the melting pot of cultures and flavours that is Singapore. The colour represents the gold artefacts in the museum.
Inspired by an artefact in ACM, Mr Bucket Chocolaterie introduced a unique ginger bite in tribute to its Southeast Asian origin! This fascinating treat is the Chocolate Coated Ginger and Almond Bites! The caramelised almonds, candied ginger, and the 72% Dark Chocolate specially from Sungai Ruan in Malaysia – these treats are bound to satisfy your inner geek and foodie!
From the world’s first Golden Flower Black Tea Kombucha to Salted Caramel Mochi Brownie to Wild Pepper Chimichurri Swirl Buns, the food section of the marketplace is one that delights the senses.
There were also unique workshops available at ACM Caravanserai.
Just to name a few to get your heart thumping, a Batik Patchwork workshop was available to do with your family, with children above 8 years of age able to join in on the creation of their very own patchwork quilt from recycled batik scraps!
Can I also interest you in a therapeutic activity of Pottery Painting, and painting your very own bisque pot? Another perfect family activity, this workshop also welcomes all ages to join in the fun!
Look in the mirror! Aren’t your eyes gleaming with excitement? Isn’t your smile widening at the thought of winding down to all these activities? You can shop till you drop, adopt a new hobby, and try new treats, all while indulging in the integral process of cultural exchange.
We, as Singaporeans, are blessed to be surrounded by a culture so rich and deep. Let’s never let this die. Never stop the intricate process of cultural exchange. Never stop learning about whatever or whoever is around you.
Visuals courtesy of Asian Civilisations Museum.