Sicilian Food Explained
Sicilian Food Culture, Behind The Award-Winning Italian Restaurant in Tanjong Pagar
Sicilian cuisine is impacted by its deep-rooted history and culture, celebrating the multi-racial influences from Greek, Spanish, French and Arabic. Sicily is made up of multicultural backgrounds and food is more important than anything else, just like in Singapore!
The cuisine of Sicily is known for its spicy flavors with the strongest influences coming from Arabic, Greek, and Norman traditions. Sicilian food features a wide variety of seafood, including mussels, clams, squid, octopus, sardines, tuna, and swordfish from the Mediterranean sea throughout the island's coastal lines.
How do you explain SICILY to those who were not born there?
"In Sicily, you get up in the morning and as soon as you go outside we find the sun. Always. In summer and winter. The sun warms your soul. You smile even if you don't like it. Then walk down the street and find fruits and vegetable vendors with curvy peaches of all kinds, watermelon and more. As you continue to walk down the street, there's a distinct smell and sea breeze, you cross the street and see the sea. Sicilians grew up with the sound of the waves, it's like a lullaby. You look at the wave dancing and fall in love with it over and over again.
It's like a mother whom you love and respect. She gives you peace and comfort that you can't live without. Then go up to the bar and find friendly faces, your next-door neighbor, the stall vendor from across the street. They are vying to pay you for coffee and will get offended if you don't accept it. "Come here take what you want" as if the bar were to buy it for you. If we don't see each other for more than a day, we say goodbye with two kisses. Here everything is slower. Maybe we are missing a few things. But they are definitely more than we have. If you want to explain SICILY to those who are not Sicilian, simply tell them: visit, explore and fall in love with Sicily too."
Chef Giovanni being a true blue Sicilian has been upholding his roots and taste buds. He came from a multi-generational family with a history in Sicilian/Italian cuisine, farming and agriculture. Growing up in the Sicilian village of Trapani, in his early years of life he was surrounded by artists and fishermen. He developed a strong passion for people, art and seafood. Being 15,000km away from home does not mean he will compromise on his culture and culinary style. At Gattopardo, we focus on ingredients with simple cooking techniques, highlighting the main star of the dish - seafood and using natural ingredients. Thereby transforming them into Sicilian-style dishes such as our signature Salt Baked Fish, Arancini, Sicilian Red Prawns, Caponata, Busiate al Pesto Trapanese, Pasta all Norma, Cannolo and many more.
"Good food does not have to be complicated." Chef Giovanni Mannino