SINGAPORE - His first taste of gastronomic diplomacy went so well that US Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar said on Twitter that he might even try the king of fruits, durian.
A video showing Mr Wagar and his wife Mrs Crystal Wagar trying bak kut teh for the first time has been making the rounds in Singapore.
The video, posted online by the US Embassy on Tuesday, shows the couple meeting a Singaporean food personality for lunch at Founder, a well-known bak kut teh restaurant here.
There, they are guided through the process of ordering the pork rib soup dish and its accompanying dishes. In the 3min 25sec video, Mr Wagar is shown exclaiming in delight after taking a bite of a pork rib and describing his first taste of the dish as "tremendous".
The couple also tried you tiao (dough fritters) dipped in the peppery soup. "I think the one thing you can always count on in America is that if you deep fry it, we'll like it," he quipped.
Mr Wagar was also taught how to eat rice with chopsticks and educated on the history of Singapore hawker food.
By the end of the meal, they had feasted not only on bak kut teh, but also braised pig trotters, mixed pig organ soup, braised peanuts and salted vegetables.
Mr Wagar enjoyed the pork rib soup dish so much that he ate two bowls of it.
As for Mrs Wagar, she said her favourites were the pig intestines soup and the pork shoulder.
"The seasoning and spices here are just unbelievable," she said.
Next up on the cards for the diplomat may be the king of fruits. Mr Wagar, who has been stationed in Singapore since September last year, posted on Twitter: "And I might finally try durian. I will probably regret that."