Singapore artist creates the perfect illustration for local foodies

Reena Devi
Lifestyle Reporter
Photo: Lee Xin Li

Singapore foodies, if you ever wanted a detailed, vivid illustration of every single culinary dish of your desire and taste, local illustrator Lee Xin Li’s newest work is for you.

Titled “Makan”, Lee’s work, which includes a gif version, presents a detailed visual snapshot of the diverse food dishes you can find in Singapore, from Nasi Lemak to Korean BBQ to egg tarts.  

The 29-year-old illustrator, who works at DP Architects, is known for his nostalgic and highly detailed illustrations drawing inspiration from his childhood memories, culture and heritage in Singapore. He posted the illustration on Instagram and Behance, an online platform for creatives, on Tuesday (5 December).

In his online posts, Li said that this is a personal project which started off as a pitch for a mural of food stalls in Asia for an organisation. However, the terms were unacceptable and an agreement was not reached, so he took the opportunity to work on this illustration on his own.

The illustration, which he has been working on since late September this year, shows food from restaurants that have been around for years as well as a new generation of eating places such as Makcik Chicken, A Noodle Story and Coba Coba.

Photo: Lee Xin Li

The illustration is also accompanied with a useful black-and-white guide on the names of the dishes and which eateries they originate from. 

Photo: Lee Xin Li

Lee is most famous for the Kueh series, a collection of kueh prints, researched meticulously across several Southeast Asian countries. He has published two books “Sayang Singapura”, a re-imagination of the past and changing landscapes of Singapore, as well as “Mr HDB”, a children’s book on the late former minister Goh Keng Swee, which he also illustrated. 

In an effort to showcase the evolution of our contemporary culinary scene,  he also included foods in “Makan” such as Korean BBQ Chicken and Chicken Chop, which can be found in food courts here, and Ma La Xiang Guo which became very popular over the last few years.

In the post on Behance about his new work, Lee said, “Dig further and you will discover a rich cultural convergence in the tiny red dot.”

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