Bangladeshi man sends family photo of food before meals, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Bangladeshi man sends family photo of food before meals

Every meal begins with Mr Mohammad Sabuj sending a photo of his food to his parents and three married sisters, reassuring them that he is taking good care of himself.

“What did you eat? What did you cook? These are the first things my mother asks when I call or she calls,” explained the 38-year-old from Rangpur, Bangladesh, who has been working here for the last 15 years.

An avid cook who grew up helping his mother in the kitchen, Sabuj, an offshore marine supervisor, turns to his mother’s dishes such as hilsa fish and mutton tehari for comfort food.

His is one of the 18 recipes featured in Our Migrants’ Kitchen, a recipe book curated by the Ministry of Manpower’s Assurance, Care and Engagement group and launched at Our Tampines Hub on Dec 4.

Apart from showcasing recipes and culinary traditions different migrants bring to Singapore with them, the book includes stories of how migrant workers and foreign domestic workers use food to connect with their families, friends and other communities.

The book was launched in view of International Migrants Day, which falls on Dec 18.

At the launch, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Koh Poh Koon said the book is a testament to the migrant community’s resilience, dedication and sacrifices to build a better future for their loved ones.

“Many of us would yearn for our favourite local food after a trip overseas for just a few days. A meal that reminds us of home also speaks for the yearning that our migrant friends have of their loved ones at home,” he added.

Mr Thayumanaran Nagarethinam, from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu, contributed his nandu (crab) rasam recipe to the book – a dish which SMS Koh had the chance to taste at the book launch.

“I learnt to cook this from my grandparents. It is a go-to cure for any fever or cold,” Mr Nagarethinam, 33, said.

Also featured in the book is Filipino mung bean stew by Lucia Santillan, a 60-year-old domestic worker, and chilli chicken by Bangladeshi Hossain Akter, 34, who cooks the dish for his roommates and friends.

This book is available for free download at and can be loaned from community libraries from Dec 18. Besides English, it is also available in Bengali, Mandarin and Tamil.

Selected stories from the book are part of a multimedia showcase at Our Tampines Hub from Dec 4 to Dec 10. It features various initiatives on food and cultural exchanges with the migrant worker community. There is also an appreciation wall for members of the public to leave wishes for the workers.

Other International Migrants Day events coming up include a picnic at Gardens By The Bay on Sunday organised by the Centre for Domestic Employees, as well as a celebratory event on Dec 17 at Birch Road in Little India.