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