Candlenut Cravings

Click here for this week’s pungent Peranakan episode!


We feature another hot favourite amongst chefs here in Singapore, especially if you want good old Peranakan comfort food served with both a nod to tradition and to imagination, innovation and modern technique. Our Makan Kaki Chef Anthony Yeoh says you’ll get the best of both worlds at Candlenut, run by talented young chef Malcolm Lee. Previously located at Dorsett Residences near Outram MRT, this Michelin-starred restaurant has since moved into the swanky Dempsey area and yes, was arguably best known as the place where you could get served the rather unusual Buah Keluak ice cream! But Chef Malcolm is no one-trick pony and he uses Buah Keluak expertly in a couple of other dishes Chef Tony wants to highlight. For the traditionalists, you can’t go wrong with Candlenut’s Ayam (chicken) Buah Keluak, but if you’re keen to try something a little more unique, you’ve got to order the Wagyu Beef Shortrib Buah Keluak.

You have that distinctively pungent, bitter, very earthy taste of the black gold encased in the nut, which is the perfect accompaniment to the Wagyu shortrib. This is one cut of beef that is fatty, sinfully marbled and stands up well to the slow-cooking process, yet emerges absolutely tender and melt-in-the-mouth. Employing modern cooking technique, Chef Malcolm sous vides the beef and buah keluak together for a thorough infusion of meat and marinade. All you need is mountain of white rice to go with this supremely flavourful dish.

Another dish you’ve definitely got to try is the yellow coconut curry of crab, which is Chef Malcolm’s take on Prawn Nanas. Here, Blue Swimmer, or Flower Crab is used for its sweetness of flesh, along with an aromatic rempah. Mixed with the creaminess of the coconut and you’ve got an outstanding curry that again, only needs white rice as the perfect accompaniment.

Although Chef Malcolm serves food with a modern slant, make no mistake, fresh rempahs made from scratch, spice by spice, herb by herb, ingredient by ingredient. What many customers don’t realise how much effort goes into the preparation of Peranakan food. This is back-breaking, time-consuming work, well worth the price tag (though some have been known to say the food is expensive), because you have this labour of love lavished over fresh quality ingredients. We’re pretty sure even the staunchest of Peranakan food purists will enjoy the surprises Chef Malcolm brings to his respectful take on classics.

17A Dempsey Road, S249676
Open Daily: 12 – 2.30pm; 6 – 9.30pm (Sun – Fri) & 12n- 2.30pm;  6 – 9.30pm; 12 – 2.30am (til late on Sat)
Tel: 1800 304 2288


A-MAZE-ing Mod-Sin at Labryinth

Click here to listen to this week’s Mod-Sin episode!

This week, our Makan Kaki Chef Anthony Yeoh is back with a brand new appointment as Executive Group Chef of restaurants Artichoke & Bird Bird, and also a brand new recommendation. Adding to his growing list of chefs helming local restaurants (these are his peers, whom he thinks are doing an excellent job and deserve a shout out), he wants to highlight the food being served at modern Singaporean restaurant Labyrinth at the Esplanade. The Chef-Owner behind this innovative restaurant is Han Li Guang, who has a real knack for combining refined Western techniques with the familiar flavours of foods we grew up with here in Singapore. A lot of the food you’re gonna try at Labyrinth will look nothing like what we know, but once you have a taste, bam! You instantly make that connection. Case in point, a couple of dishes from their lunch menu that blew Chef Tony away  (keeping in mind they change their menu often to showcase the amazing things they can do):

The Curry Chicken Rice is a modern take on the humble Hainanese curry rice. This hawker classic is usually a brown pile of yummy slop on your plate, but at Labyrinth, everything is elevated. First of all, it’s really quite aesthetically pleasing, resembling a garden almost. Secondly, the method of preparation and the taste! Instead of white rice, you get a fragrant, nutty, curry-spiced quinoa, a delicious “clay” potato that looks like a rock and the chicken comes in form of a light, delicate, mousseline ball.
The other outstanding dish was the Beef Satay. Wagyu ribeye is sous vided till tender then served with ‘ketupat’ which turned out to be an oniony-peanut mochi! Again, not instantly recognisable to the eye, but your tastebuds will jump with joy and recognition of that distinct local satay flavour!

So for a surprising treatment of familiar Singapore flavours, using modern Western cooking techniques, Chef Han & his team at Labyrinth are leading the charge, keeping traditional tastes alive through creativity and innovation. For a spot of fine-dining in a beautiful setting, featuring elevated Modern Singapore cuisine, do pay a visit to Labyrinth!

Restaurant Labyrinth
Esplanade Mall
8 Raffles Avenue #02-23
Singapore 039802

Opening Hours:
Lunch 12 – 2.30pm (Tue – Fri, except PH)
Pre-Theatre 6pm (Thu – Sat)
Dinner 6.30 – 11pm (Tue – Sun)

Tel: + 65 62234098

Totally Worth Your Wild Rocket

Crab Ball
Salted Egg Crab Ball

This week, Makan Kaki Shermay Lee proudly recommends a friend’s restaurant that shut its doors for an 8-month hiatus, before re-opening a little more than a month ago. It’s none other than our other Makan Kaki, Willin Low‘s Modern Singapore restaurant, Wild Rocket.

Willin has carved out a bit of a name for himself, giving a refined spin on traditional local dishes he grew up with and his unique brand of “Mod-Sin” cuisine has stood the test of time in a very fickle culinary landscape.

From the beautifully refurbished interiors to the crockery that has been carefully sourced, Willin brings a personal touch to everything at Wild Rocket. It would seem that he’s back better than before, with an interesting menu that serves us some old favourites and a few new ones.

Here are some that Shermay thinks are good ones to try:

The salted egg crab ball is a new addition to the menu and features a perfectly spherical, crunchy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside crab cake, nestled atop a delectable salted egg yolk paste. From Singapore, he takes things in a slightly Thai direction, with the pomelo salad with tiger prawns and frozen coconut dressing, refreshingly perfect for our tropical weather. With its contrasting flavours, textures and temperatures, this salad’s play of hot and cold, spicy and cooling, crunchy and juicy is very exciting on the palate.

Pomelo Salad
Pomelo Salad with Tiger Prawn & Frozen Coconut Dressing

Another must-try is the innovative spin on a child-hood favourite, stir-fried beef and kailan in oyster sauce, except Chef Willin has turned it into a tender beef short rib served with smoked oyster “milk”, mashed potato and kailan leaves. Loyal followers will also be delighted to know Willin’s signature Laksa Pesto Linguini is still on the menu and yes, is still as heady, aromatic and delicious as before. Willin also does a risotto version with Hokkaido scallop (available on the Chef’s tasting menu).

Laksa Pesto Linguine
Lakso Pesto Linguini

For dessert, you can’t go wrong with the classic deconstructed Wild Rocket strawberry cheesecake.

Wild Rocket Strawberry Cheesecake
Wild Rocket Strawberry Cheesecake

Otherwise, you’ve got to have a go at another new addition to the menu, the pineapple sorbet with pineapple slices, mint sugar, chilli powder and soya sauce crystals. Yes, soya sauce in a dessert! This is Willin’s crazy, but brilliant tribute to his father’s favourite snack of pineapples with chilli and soya sauce. And if you think about it, we already combine the fruit and sauce in rojak, so why not make that leap into dessert? It totally works, by the way!

Listen to this week’s episode again.

You can also read Makan Kaki & Chubby Hubby, Aun Koh’s thoughts about Wild Rocket here!

Wild Rocket

Wild Rocket @ Mount Emily
Hangout Hotel 10A Upper Wilkie Road

Open Monday – Saturday:
Lunch 12.30pm – 3.00pm
Coffee, Cocktails and Cotta 3.00pm – 6.00pm
Dinner 6.30pm – 10.30pm (Closed Sun)

Reservations: 6339 9448