In Singapore, dried, shredded cephalopod is a bubblegum alternative.
For those feeling a little peckish between meals, gum can be an efficient way to stave off hunger, but when strolling the immaculate streets of Singapore, law-abiding citizens prefer the chewy squish of shredded cuttlefish.
Beginning in the early 1990s, Singaporeans had to find an alternative to gum after the government banned the import of the chewy substance, which had become a costly nuisance as it found its way onto train door sensors, under public benches, and into keyholes. As a longtime producer of the deliberately tough and chewy “prepared cuttlefish,” Ken-Ken Food Manufacturing was perfectly poised to fill the void with their “‘Chewing-Gum’ of the Orientals.” The foil-lined pouches offer a tray of stringy cephalopod bits prepared by cooking, cooling, grating, and drying cuttlefish. The snack is flavored with the likes of sugar, chile, salt, and an umami-bomb of monosodium glutamate (MSG).
And while renegades may continue to sneak traditional gum across the border, law-abiders have learned to get their creative juices flowing without gumming up public property.