Culture

5 Asian foods created during World War II

Patricia Hului

World War Two (WWII) brought a lot of changes into the world including the food that we eat.

During the war, food supply was low in Japanese-occupied Asian countries because priority was given to the military.

There were even incidents of animal captives in zoos being sacrificed for Japanese military food.

When people are pushed into desperation, they tend to get creative.

Here are five Asian foods invented during WWII:

1.Nasi rames of Bandung (Indonesia)

When the Japanese occupied Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) during WWII, food was scarce.

In order to help the Dutch community in Bandung, a Eurasian cook named Truus van der Capellan or Tante Truus ran a soup kitchen there.

She put together a balanced meal of rice, vegetable and meat onto a plate and called it nasi rames.

Other people in other places also had the same idea like Tante Truus but they mostly called it nasi campur.

2.Banana ketchup or banana sauce (Philippines)

During WWII, tomatoes were rare in the Philippines.

Food technologist Maria Y. Orasa (1893-1945) then invented the banana ketchup using bananas instead of tomato.

It is made using banana, sugar, vinegar and spices.

To make it looks like tomato ketchup, its original brownish-yellow colour was dyed with red colouring.

3.Darak (Philippines)

Orasa was also responsible for creating Filipino superfood during the war: the Darak.

It is a rice bran powder rich in thiamine and other vitamins which could treat beriberi.

Moreover, she created a Darak cookies recipes which saved many civilians.

Orasa’s original recipe was quite simple.

It needs 1/2 cup of rice bran powder, 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of lime zest, 1 egg, 1/2 cup of butter and oil for lining the sheets.

First of all, beat the eggs and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Then beat the butter until it turns creamy. Mix in sugar, rice bran powder, flour egg and lime zest gradually to make the dough.

After that, drop cookie dough using teaspoon and flatten them so that they can cook evenly.

Make sure the cookies are about two inches apart. Finally bake them until they turn golden brown.

4.Soyalac (Philippines)

Along with Darak, Orosa also invented the Soyalac (a protein-rich soybean powder) to help in the war.

In order to fight the Japanese, she joined Marking’s Guerrillas and became a captain.

The guerrillas hired carpenters to insert Soyalac and Darak into hollow bamboo sticks.

These sticks were then smuggled into prisoner-of-war camps.

These wartime foods saved the lives of many POWs who were starving during the war.

Unfortunately, Orosa died on Feb 13, 1945 after being hit in a bombing raid.

5.Instant noodles (Japan)

While this food is not exactly a wartime food, it was created as a subsequent effect of WWII.

After the war ended, Japan was still suffering from a shortage of food.

The United States was supplying wheat flour to the Japanese people so the Ministry of Health encouraged their people to eat bread made from this flour.

Momofuku Ando then had the idea to make instant noodles. After many trials and errors, he succeeded and introduced it to the world on Aug 25, 1958.

Since the first original flavour chicken, Ando called it ‘Chikin Ramen’.

Besides being known as the inventor of instant noodles, Ando is also known for creating the world’s first cup noodle.