Koolhaas, Bourdain and Food Culture

Rem Koolhaas: "Singapore seems a melting pot that produces blandness and sterility from the most promising ingredients."

Anthony Bourdain: Singapore: "This if you love food might be the best place on earth."

How do we reconcile these two different views of Singapore and the Generic City. I alway get quesy watching Bourdain or Zimmern stroll through a city like Singapore, which is "benevolently autocratic" and "free of crime" and a food haven. I cannot help but think of Kafka when Zimmern eats a cockroach in such places.

So how can Koolhaas see blandness and Bourdain taste bold flavors in the same landscape. The negative part of me can only see conspicious consumption. Why is Bourdain always reading Graham Greene? There has to be an element of the Ugly American at work here. Food, tourism, colonialism/imperialism and consumption are all at work.

It is strange. I am not innocent. The elements that Koolhaas finds so negative in architecture seem to me positives in mimeo and little mags and the same seems to hold true for food. This must be the collector in me: always acquiring something new, always buying the exotic, always searching for the authenitic and original. The Secret Location as territory to be charted and exploited.



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