Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hosted an Official Lunch with Malaysia Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob after holding a joint press conference together on Nov. 29.
During his speech at the Official Lunch, Lee pointed out the similarities between Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine and addressed the resumption of travel between the two countries.
PM Lee extended a warm welcome to Ismail and noted that it was Ismail's first official visit to Singapore since taking office as Prime Minister of Malaysia in August this year.
He recalled hosting him in 2014 as part of a visiting delegation, at a tour of the then-newly completed Sports Hub in Kallang.
"We had nasi briyani for dinner together with Cabinet colleagues from both sides – and in true Singapore and Malaysian fashion, we had some durians before the meal," said PM Lee.
This time, however, there were no durians to be had for lunch. Instead, on the menu were "favourite dishes of both Singaporeans and Malaysians, like chilli crab, rojak, and ondeh ondeh," PM Lee noted.
He said that this menu reflects "how similar the peoples, cultures and foods are in our two countries, how closely we are intertwined with one another."
On travelling to Malaysia
PM Lee said that the commencement of Singapore's Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Malaysia was "significant".
He added that the VTL "will allow us to renew our strong bonds of kinship and friendship, re-connect our peoples, and also reunite families."
"At the same time, I am sure Singaporeans and Malaysians are also looking forward to resuming travel across the Causeway for leisure, for shopping, and for makan (eating)!"
Noting that Malaysia is the top destination country for many Singaporeans, PM Lee also mentioned his interest in visiting Ismail's constituency.
"Foreign Minister Vivian [Balakrishnan] told me that Bera, the Prime Minister’s constituency in Pahang, is a most scenic place to visit," he said.
"I have not been there, but I googled it and found beautiful pictures of Tasik Bera," he added.
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Top image by MCI.