Hi Foodie Friends! As we navigate these days of automation, industrialisation and mass production, it feels like we’ve lost something that feels vital and personal. What’s missing is that human touch, a sense of belonging and a connection to a remembered past. In my personal search for culinary authenticity, I found a taste of the past that connects me to the Teochew side of my heritage.
These traditional savoury kuehs were a delight to discover, thanks to the recommendation of my Makan Kaki and author of the cookbook The Way of Kueh, Christopher Tan. Through the course of research for his book, he met Madam Tay Lee Tiong, a formidable woman with an equally formidable skill in creating traditional Teochew snacks like soon kueh, png kueh and koo chye kueh (all of which are variations of steamed rice cakes or dumplings, stuffed with different fillings).
Find out more about this week’s delicious recommendation here:
Babas and Nyonyas, stop me if you know this one: What do you get when you cross a herb salad with rice? Any true-blue Peranakan will tell you the answer is nasi ulam. The combination of aromatic Asian herbs, rice and, sometimes, seafood, is what makes nasi ulam such a wonderful, cool dish for our Southeast Asian climate.
Found all over southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and here in Singapore, recipes for nasi ulam differ from location to location, family to family, but this Peranakan version was recommended to me by KF Seetoh, the founder of renowned food guide Makansutra.
Chendol Melaka at Soy Eu Tua Coffeeshop along Upper East Coast Road is run by the irrepressible Daisy Tan and her husband Colin Yam. Once the regional director of a shipping firm, this self-confessed “200 per cent” bibik is now wholly dedicated to preserving her Peranakan culture through her culinary delights, like delicious chendol, kueh-kueh and her signature dish, nasi ulam.
TASTE:Chendol Melaka is located at Soy Eu Tua Coffeeshop, 15 Upper East Coast Road, Singapore 455207.
It’s open 10am-5pm (Tuesdays to Fridays) and 9am-5pm (Saturdays and Sundays). Closed Mondays.
To “reserve” your nasi ulam, call Colin Yam at 9777 6471.
Now, when we said rare, we didn’t mean for it to be that hard to find! So to all who scoured Eunos Crescent for a taste of Kurnia Putu Piring, we apologise profusely.
If you haven’t already read our update, sadly, Kurnia has had to shut its doors, but we were fortunate enough to be contacted by the previous boss himself, Mr Ahmad Kassim, who whilst hunting for new shop space, still does catering for office functions, house parties, etc.
He will personally come to you with his steamers and make his irresistably fluffy, oozy treats for you on-the-spot! Story is, he’s the brother-in-law of the famous Haig Road stall owner and his putu piring are just as good, if slightly bigger in size.
To try Kurnia Putu Piring, call Mr Ahmad Kassim @ 81306472.
Something sweet, round and explosive to end your meal…
Not all ondeh-ondeh are created equal and this is die-die-must-try in our Makan Kaki’s books! While most of these delightful dough balls are green from pandan, today’s recommendation is different in not just taste and texture, but also colour! These little sweet treats are more orange because their creators lovingly use much more sweet potato in the dough then normal. Gula melaka is added in the heart of each sweet potato dough ball for an explosive, liquid centre and then they are boiled to a buoyant consistency before being rolled in a field of grated coconut. ADDICTIVE!
If you’re craving an ondeh-ondeh that’s a bounce above the rest, without that gummy, factory-made taste and texture, rush on over to…
216G Syed Alwi Road
Open Daily 7am – 5pm