Illustrator Yeni Lim-B pays tribute to Singapore’s rich cuisine with our Tatler Dining Guide 2022 cover, depicting various influences that make it truly special

Self-taught illustrator Yeni Lim-B (@yenidraws)—who is famed for her lilac shophouse drawings—grew up in a multi-cultural family. Her father Adam Lim is Singaporean-Chinese while her mum Aryati Ismail is Indonesian-Malay.

She fondly recalls weekend meals at her home, where her late paternal grandmother Thiam Hiang Lee (who lived one block away from their HDB flat in Telok Blangah) would buy chwee kueh, chee cheong fun and carrot cake for everyone to enjoy.

For variety, Lee would intersperse these hawker eats with her simple yet tasty home-cooked dishes such as plain porridge with salted egg; steamed fish with seafood soya sauce, ginger and spring onions; and stir-fried bean sprouts with garlic.

Unlike her grandmother’s simple fare, dining at the Lim-B family home was a lavish affair featuring a smorgasbord of Indonesian-Malay dishes.

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“Mum’s cooking is always full of flavours … she does a lot of marination and uses a blend of spices,” enthuses Lim-B, who counts curry chicken, beef rendang and spicy crab as some of her mum’s signatures.

Lim-B’s food memories are the inspiration behind her Tatler Dining Guide 2022 cover design. “My illustration is a collection of all the things I love,” she explains. She pays tribute to the two female culinary inspirations in her life: her mum’s colourful kuehs and spicy crab sit alongside a plate of satay, redolent of weekend meals at her grandmother’s.

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Laid on a round dining table, the dishes are presented with items that represent Singapore’s diverse culinary landscape—among which are tiffin carriers used as lunch boxes across different Asian cuisines, a sake bottle that symbolises our love for anything Japanese, as well as local and international cookbooks to show our rekindled love for home cooking.

In typical Lim-B style, the painting includes a view of her iconic lilac shophouse. Suffice it to say, the Tatler Dining Guide 2022 is all about appreciating the melding of culinary influences but never forgetting that it is what makes Singapore’s cuisine truly unique.

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