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I Went Glamping & Cooked Fancy Restaurant Food In Pulau Ubin

This article was written by Richa Gurung, Asian Detours’ intern and edited by Tom.

It was a wonderful Wednesday so far – attending a dreamy outdoor cooking course at a cosy, air-conditioned and well-equipped kitchen setting of Republic Polytechnic in preparation for the an outdoor cooking programme. Quick background:

This cooking session was actually a preparation for an outdoor cooking pilot programme meant for us to explore and test its viability – as a company that believes in the outdoors, we are constantly seeking meaningful and wholesome experiences!

Back to RP. We got to taste a great variety of delectable food without having to put much effort into mise en place (Yes, I learnt a French word. Yay!). Barbeque Chicken, Soyu-Marinated Salmon, Cajun Popcorn, Mushroom Rice, Mashed Potatoes, Honey-Roasted Pineapple with Guava Juice Ice Shave, and Banana Chocolate Smear. The menu is heaven-sent, I know. Special thanks to our lovely hosts – Chef Soon and Chef Don – for their amazing hospitality. Personally, it was a learning opportunity which I was immensely grateful for and got fascinating takeaways from.

Fast forward 2 days after – Glamping Night. (By the way, Glamping is a portmanteau of ‘glamour’ and ‘camping’ – a term for outdoor enthusiasts who won’t compromise on comfort.). Quick background:

The glamping session was also a pilot programme and we are working with a cool, like-minded partner for this one! We are ideating more experiential programmes to fit within this glamping programme to ensure a good pairing – let us know if you’ve got any ideas you’d like to contribute!

It didn’t take very long for me to embrace my stay here in a positive light and not sulk about how comfortably I could be sleeping back home. Let’s be real here, how many interns get to go on a glamping adventure during their internship? Very few!

Later that night however, I was intimidated. As an intern, I couldn’t help but feel like my opinions have little relevance as more senior members of Asian Detours and our partner were going at it with their ideations. However, they were humble souls, asking how I felt about glamping in their tent. Overall, it was an amazing opportunity to be part of the meeting and soaking myself in my first ever glamping experience.

The next day, it was time for outdoor cooking and a fun trial of the new version of Asian Detours’ interactive games. Chef Soon and Don were here as well. They had kindly brought the necessary ingredients, tools and helped us in the preparations. It was also time to refresh our knowledge. Smiles and laughter filled up the atmosphere. Good vibes. I was excited to start the day.

I got assigned to document the whole experience and despite being drenched in sweat and bitten by mosquitoes, snapping pictures and videos while also scribbling down in my notebook of everything that was being relayed was a great experience. I was now out of my comfort zone and more productive than ever.

As a collective, we did all the cooking together. Chopped the ingredients, boiled the potatoes, cooked the rice, mixed the flavoured popcorn and barbequed the chicken (even the pineapple!). I dismissed myself from the group halfway through cooking as I had other work to settle. I would return back later for the scrumptious meal – or at least I thought I could. I found myself spending too much time that I knew I would not be able to make it for the taste test. I sighed.

Big surprise. My colleagues later approached me with a plate of fresh food in their hands. I cheered up instantly! I felt touched that they had remembered about me and cared. Thanking them profusely while my eyes delightfully glazed over the aesthetically-pleasing yet nutritional cuisine, I looked up ahead and saw the village uncles. At that moment, I felt really inclined to share my food with them and spread some kindness. I was in a happy mood. Needless to say, they were very happy upon my offer. Later, one of the uncles even bought me a nice refreshing cold drink. His words were “It’s very hot today. Please drink up” in which I was immensely grateful for. Another uncle asked me if I would like to join their group of friends for lunch at the restaurant to which I politely declined.

No wonder they called it Kampong Spirit. It was real. For some reason, you naturally felt inclined to be the best social version of yourself.

My view on villagers of Ubin definitely shifted drastically – I used to think everyone here was grumpy and I never quite saw myself opening up to the villagers. However, I have now come to realise that if I actually go out of my way to smile at them and exchange at least a small friendly conversation with them, they can actually be one of the most nicest human beings ever.

I am naturally an introvert but Asian Detours have shaped me into an outgoing individual. Admittedly, even I surprise myself when I catch myself interacting with complete strangers on bumboats and getting to learn a bit about them. What else can I say? Internship has been absolutely AWESOME so far!

Not to forget, the fact that Asian Detours still treated me as a key asset despite being an intern for 3 months and invested in me, entrusting me to impart the knowledge gained to their company’s success, felt incredible.

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