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My Peranakan Comfort Food

Peranakan culture and cuisine has always held a special place in the heart of Singaporeans and Malaysians. Laksa and Nyonya Kueh can easily be found in most parts of Singapore; however, traditional Peranakan dishes such as Ayam Buah Keluak, Nyonya Beef Rendang and Nyonya Chap Chye might not be easy to source at a reasonable price.

Here is my go-to list for Peranakan restaurants & eateries in Singapore:

 

The Peranakan

My first encounter with Executive Chef Raymond Khoo was in 2016. An International Chef and a true blue Peranakan, The Peranakan is his first foray into opening a Peranakan restaurant serving his family heirloom recipes. Over the years, The Peranakan has evolved from just being a restaurant, instead, it has become a celebration of Peranakan heritage in Orchard Road, Singapore. The menu has expanded to include full-fledged vegetarian cuisine, Tok Panjang (Peranakan traditional feast), Peranakan High Tea and Eight Course Heng-Heng Degustation Menu.

 

The spread food showcase with pork belly, kale salad and squid ink risotto

 

The execution of the traditional dishes remains the highlight here. Ayam Buah Keluak is based on great grandma’s recipe, delivering succulent chicken with thick, robust gravy infused with the chicken essence. Although the dish is served with 4 Peranakan’s truffle (buah keluak), you actually get double the amount as the fillings are taken out, blended and stuff backed in for the smooth and nutty texture.

 

Peranakan Ayam Buah Keluak
Ayam Buah Keluak

 

Peranakan Ayam Buah Keluak on a spoon

 

Satay Babi Sum Chan is an interesting dish, as it challenges our preconception of satay. There are no skewers and no peanuts as well. Instead, this dish offers delicious, tender, sweet and savoury braised pork belly. Together with Beef Rendang, filled with a rich blend of coconut milk and spices, making it a trifecta of “rice thief” dishes for me.

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Peranakan Satay Babi Sum Chan
Satay Babi Sum Chan

 

Peranakan Beef Rendang

 

While Nyonya Chap Chye is probably the most renowned vegetable dish in Peranakan Restaurant arsenal, it is good to try something different. Such as steam Bendeh (Ladies Finger) or Terung (Brinjal) with the choice of sauce: sambal, kicap manis or Chinchalok.

 

Peranakan Bendeh (Lady Finger) with Chinchalok
Bendeh (Lady Finger) with Chinchalok

 

The Peranakan
422 Orchard Road
Level 2, Claymore Connect.
S238879

WebsiteFacebookInstagram  

 

Bonding Kitchen

Bonding Kitchen started as private dining set up in Johor Bahru, before gaining traction and open the first restaurant in Singapore. While most of the Peranakan Restaurants roots can be traced to Penang and Melaka, Executive Chef Danny Chew hailed from Johor. His style of cooking is still Peranakan centric, he continues to fine-tune the flavours blending modern cooking techniques and better ingredients.

Wagyu Beef Rendang, stewed wagyu beef ribs with coconut milk and spices. The gravy caramelised beautifully, delivering an intensely sweet and savoury flavour, with delicious, succulent yet bouncy beef cuts. Topping up the dish is kerisik (fried coconut) to give the crunchy to the dish.

 

Bonding Wagyu Beef Rendang
Wagyu Beef Rendang

 

Hokkien Lor Ark, Chef Danny family’s recipe. The duck is marinated for 24 hours to infuse the flavour and tenderised the flesh. It is then braised with local spices and soy sauce, resulting in fork-tender duck meat, infused with robust soya sauce and spices flavour.

 

Bonding Hokkien Lor Ark
Hokkien Lor Ark

 

Sotong Masak Hitam, Chef Danny’s version. It is recommended to have this at the end of the savoury dishes. The chewy yet tender sotong delivers a creamy, acidic and refreshing punch / palate cleanser. The flavours combinations are so powerful, they will leave you with a positive lasting impression.

See also  Tiann’s Bakery

 

Bonding Sotong Masak Hitam min
Sotong Masak Hitam

Bonding Kitchen
277 Orchard Road
#02-18, Orchard Gateway
S238858
WebsiteFacebookInstagram

 

Nyonya Taste by Brew & Bar

Nestled in the stretch of shophouses along Jalan Pari Burong, it serves home-style Peranakan dishes. The menu is compact, thus allowing them to focus on what they are good at. Testament to its ongoing progress, celebrities such as Zoey Tay, James Seah, Elving Ng and Xiang Yun have paid them a visit.

 

The Spread food showcase with sotong masak hitam and ayam buah keluak
The Spread

 

Ayam Buah Keluak. Normally, when you order this dish in a restaurant, you can hardly able to make out the cuts of the chicken as it will be covered in dark colour rempah (spices). The version here is like a blend of curry chicken with ayam buah keluak. The chicken is tender, while the gravy is thick and robust. Instead of serving the whole buah keluak with its shell, they took out the fillings and mould it into round balls.

 

Nyonya Taste Ayam Buah Keluak min
Ayam Buah Keluak

 

Upping the game on Buah Keluak fried rice, Nyonya Taste dish up Truffle Buah Keluak Fried Rice. The rice is fragrant, al-dente and packs buah keluak flavour. Adding truffle oil to a certain dish can help to elevate its flavour, but not in this case. I find the presence of truffle oil clashes with the strong buah keluak flavour.

 

Nyonya Taste Truffle Buah Keluak Fried Rice
Truffle Buah Keluak Fried Rice

 

Nyonya Chap Chye deliver a comforting dish. The cabbage is cooked till soft and the gravy is sweet with a touch of umami. Digging into Sotong Masak Hitam is like flirting with danger. The portion of this dish is huge, with a generous amount of sotong, however, it is also comes with an almost equal amount of chopped chilli padi.

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Nyonya Taste Sotong Masak Hitam min
Sotong Masak Hitam

Nyonya Taste by Brew & Bar
6 Jalan Pari Burong
S488672
WebsiteFacebookInstagram

 

Tingkat PeraMakan

PeraMakan restaurant is founded by Executive Chef Kathryn Ho, who is a fourth-generation Nyonya of Melaka and Penang parentage. The concept of Tingkat Peramakan is to provide authentic home-cooked Peranakan food, minus the frills. Tingkat PeraMakan can be found in shopping malls and housing estates.

 

Tingkat Sayur Masak Lemak min
Sayur Masak Lemak

 

Beef Rendang. A huge cut of beef, cooked in coconut milk and spices. The meat is fork-tender and succulent, while the gravy is fragrant, rich and creamy. It brought back memories of Lamb Shank Rendang served at PeraMakan restaurant at Keppel.

 

Tingkat Beef Rendang
Beef Rendang

 

Ayam Buah Keluak served here is the closest version to the traditional style. The whole dish is coated with buah keluak and spices, making it difficult to guess which part of the chicken. The thigh part is juicy and succulent, while the breast meat is a bit dry and tough to my liking.

 

Tingkat Ayam Buah Keluak
Ayam Buah Keluak

 

Ikan Garam Sambal and Sayur Masak Lemak will be a darling for those who like super spicy food. On a scale of 1 to 10, the spiciness level is 11. After the first bite, I was scampering for a glass of milk to put down the fire. Not for the faint hearted.

 

Tingkat Ikan Garam Sambal min
Ikan Garam Sambal

Tingkat PeraMakan
Multiple Locations (refer to their website)
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