Greetings, Makan Kakis! Please meet our new Foodie Friend, Audrey Lee, one of the co-owners of Little House of Dreams, a charming bakery & bistro located on Dempsey Hill that specialises in bespoke cakes and dessert tables. But not many know that they also serve yummy savouries in the bistro and all this month of August, they’re serving up a special Peranakan menu.
These Modern Peranakan Classics were created in collaboration with The Modern Bibik and what you get are hearty, delicious dishes inspired by Nyonya cooking and given a little twist, so that young and old can enjoy them. In fact, most of the dishes are suitable for children and those who can’t tolerate spiciness.
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.
Click here to catch up with KF Seetoh and what he’s been up too, including details on the latest on his ultimate food guide, Makansutra 2017 edition!
Click here to listen to this week’s mouth-watering makan recommendation, or simply read on…
Our very first Makan Kaki, KF Seetoh is back! He’s got 5 copies of the latest edition of Makansutra for you to win and you can go straight to Gold 905’s FB page to enter our contest! For today, let’s talk Asian Heritage food that’s creative, beautifully presented and completely delicious! Seetoh loves meeting people who love and embrace their culinary heritage and move forward using that history to create amazing meals. Case in point, CreatureS, which serves up “comfort food with an Asian flair while staying true to the origins of the dish”. Check out some of Seetoh’s favourites from this little restaurant dishing out big flavours on colourful Desker Road in Little India:
Nasi Ulam balls with Miso Cod. Nasi Ulam, in particular, is such a labour of love, involving rice cooked in rich fish stock and perfumed with lots of finely chopped Asian herbs. CreatureS does theirs Japanese onigiri-style and they are WONDERFUL!
Lamb Shank Rendang. Spicy, rich and fall-apart-fork-tender, add a little lontong and you’re in meaty heaven!
CreatureS’ version of Balinese Babi Guling is another winner, as is their Nyonya-inspired Babi Pongtay, of which the pork belly is outstanding – a deep, burnished soy-brown, the babi is caramelised soft and is absolutely delicious.
Durian Lovers, you’re gonna combust when you check this dessert out…
CreatureS’ Durian Cake sounds very simple, but trust us, it is so layered in favour, you’ll want to eat the whole cake, not just a slice.
Can you imagine smooth Mao Shan Wang durian paste (pungent, unctuous durian meat mixed with cream) layered between soft pandan sponge cake and smothered in pandan-vanilla chantilly cream? They make it a mind-blowing reality at CreatureS and it is a definite must-try!
If it’s yummy, satisfying, Asian-inspired food that stays true to its heritage, this is the place to eat at. Bonus is, CreatureS have got what it takes in both the style and substance departments – skillfully-made, delicious food that still looks great, is beautifully presented and totally instagrammable!
We have a new foodie friend joining our panel of culinary personalities this week! Please meet Chef Jordi Nogueraof FOC Restaurant. Today, we talk about this hot Catalan-inspired culinary destination on Hong Kong Street, their plans for more FOC outlets, Chef Jordi’s approach to food and also what he likes to eat since moving here to Singapore…
Click to hear more about FOC (it sounds so naughty! LOL) – the space, the food, the drinks and some of the must-try dishes at this cutting-edge Catalan inspired bar-restaurant.
Click to get to know Chef Jordi’s food philosophy and why he eats his Hainanese Chicken Rice with garlic mayo!
Listen to this week’s mouth-watering Peranakan episode here!
Chef Jordi recommends Peranakan food with a contemporary twist at Candlenut. He found his entire encounter with the unique cuisine really amazing, especially since each dish is carefully sequenced for maximum flavour. For a visitor to Singapore, Candlenut is a wonderful, elegant introduction to the varied herbs, spices, flavours and heritage of Peranakan cuisine. That said, for dinner, you really can’t go wrong indulging in their tasting menu, which promises an experience like stepping into Grandma’s house for a lovingly home-cooked meal. With witty reference to their ‘ah-ma-kase’ menu, you can expect weekly changes because they use only the freshest ingredients available each day.
For a refined restaurant that really cares about preserving old traditions, yet pushing new boundaries (Hellooooo BUAH KELUAK ICE-CREAM!!!), do pay a visit soon to Candlenut. Chef Jordi dined at their current location at Dorset Hotel, but hears they will be moving soon to Dempsey.
We talk about Peranakan cuisine and the importance of food heritage with Awfully Chocolate’s Lyn Lee here!
Click this for this week’s Mothers’ Day meal recommendation – a treat for the whole family!
Mothers’ Day is just round the corner and what better way to celebrate than with a marvelous matriarchal meal at the oldest Peranakan restaurant in Singapore? Our Makan Kaki, Awfully Chocolate’s Lyn Lee, shares with us her family’s favourite place and also her ideas for sweetening mum’s special day with a chocolatey gift set (scroll all the way down for Awfully Chocolate‘s Mothers’ Day selection)!
Lyn is a busy working mother of 3, but always finds time to find us great places to try, because she believes food is a huge part of being a mum. But on this special occasion, apart from feeding the family, it’s time to feed yourselves with something really spectacular. In Lyn’s humble opinion, nothing comes quite close to the complexity and depth of flavours wrung from traditional Peranakan cuisine, with its complicated preparation and balancing of both Malay and Chinese ingredients. Lyn married into a Peranakan family (in fact, her husband’s grandmother used to sell Satay Celup many moons ago!) who swear by this particular restaurant for authentic Nyonya food. It’s true that everyone claims their own homecooked Peranakan food is best, but for those occasions where it’s simply too much work, this Katong institution is a sedaptastic MUST!
Guan Hoe Soon has been around since 1953 and claims to be the oldest Peranakan Restaurant in Singapore. With decades of food heritage under their belt, you can be assured of quality dishes here. Lyn can’t get enough of their addictive appetiser (she’s not sure of the name, but she is 100% sure of the taste!), which beats a packet of peanuts anyday:
This is a wonderful combination of chicken gizzard, liver and heart chopped up and tossed in a fiery sambal and balanced with crunchy-cool cucumber. Don’t be shy to ask for more! Her family always does! When it comes to Peranakan food, there are just some classics you absolutely need to have, one of which is of course Ayam Buah Keluak:
To the uninitiated, the black nut is an acquired taste – earthy, almost like a pungent tabacco, but once you learn to love its heady bitter-sweet richness, you’ll be digging in with bare hands to “gorek” the goodness out of the shells!
At Guan Hoe Soon, they do it a lovely way by mixing minced meat with the black gold filling before stuffing it back into the shells for a texture with more bite. This is a must-try with a mountain of rice!
Nyonya Chap Chye, the classic saucy mixed vegetable dish is another must, for freshness, crunch and the wonderful sauce, which mixes so well together with everything else on your plate! Be sure to contrast your meal with something crispy and deep-fried. Lyn recommends their delicious Noh Hiang. And next, even though it’s not necessarily Peranakan, you’ve got to order the Crab Foo Yong!
This beautiful golden eggy omelette with chunks of sweet crab is a hit with the kids and adults alike. Plus, it’s such an old-fashioned dish, it’s rare to find a place that does it well. Luckily, Guan Hoe Soon does!
While they also do a wonderful Itek Tim (salted vegetable duck soup), Lyn’s family favourite is the Bakwan Kepiting, a clear broth studded with bamboo shoot meatballs, that her children absolutely love. Lyn has managed to convince them that our local version of meatballs are far more impressive than the western variety!
So there you have it, the favourites of Lyn & her family, after which they always wash everything down with a light, sweet dessert of old-fashioned Gula Melaka Sago or Chendol or Bubur Chacha.
For a hearty, traditional Mothers’ Day meal, you really can’t go wrong with Guan Hoe Soon – Lyn urges everyone to go and try it, support it & be very proud of our Singapore food heritage, of which Peranakan food holds an important place. Its complexity, labour-intensive preparation and unique flavours are worth celebrating and preserving!
MAKE MUM’S DAY EVEN SWEETER WITH THIS GIFT SET FROM AWFULLY CHOCOLATE!
If you happen to be in the Katong Area for the Nyonya makan at Guan Hoe Soon, you might also want to pop across to the Awfully Chocolate outlet there to grab Mum a lovely sweet gift!
To purchase this for mum, visit any of their stores, including their brand new outlet at Marina Bay Link Mall!
HE’S BAAAAACK! With more awesome recommendations for unique local delights, there’s never a dull or untasty moment with Makan Guru KF Seetoh! This week, come with us to Upper Bukit Timah for a delicious & unusual hamburger – a BUAH KELUAK HAMBURGER! The brainchild of youngsters Ryan & Claire, they actually quit their jobs to start up this hambuger stall with no prior experience, because they believed so much in their product. And boy, does their product deliver in the taste department! Imagine if you will, that strange, earthy black nut usually used in chicken or pork curry – the buah keluak paste is extracted, mixed with spices, added to minced meat, shaped into patties and seared-to-order right before your eyes. The buah keluak meat patties are sandwiched between buns and topped with Nyonya chap chye! The combination of textures and flavours is incredible, so hurry to Beauty World for this hamburger with a luscious local twist!
Our ever-popular Makan Kaki Willin Low is back this week with a killer recommendation! We’re all familiar with Buah Keluak, that mysterious Asian nut that’s poisonous until properly cleaned and cooked, the nut with the alluring pungent, earthy aroma, the nut used in curried dishes like Ayam Buah Keluak, but have you ever tried it FRIED WITH RICE?
Immigrants Gastrobar in Joo Chiat serves up a powerful Buah Keluak fried rice that you simply have to try! It’s intensely fragrant, rich and irresistible. Willin likens buah keluak to the Asian version of truffles and it’s absolutely true. No wonder they call Buah Keluak Black Gold.
Immigrants Gastrobar’s Chef Damian D’Silva, a man passionate about preserving our Singaporean food heritage, cleverly lifts our traditional cuisines to exciting new heights – from Eurasian favourites like Singgang & Seh Bak to Chinese treats like Ngoh Hiang and creative combinations like cold tofu & century egg relish or Spicy Squid bombs – the food at Immigrants is mind-blowing!
What makes this Gastrobar in the east so worth visiting is how they manage to balance a delightfully relaxed vibe with the wonderful food, the gorgeous decor (witty little nods to Singapore’s heritage in the retro tiles and quaint door grills) and their interesting selection of craft beers, wines from boutique vineyards and rare whiskies.
Willin thinks all the food is delicious, but what keeps him going back again and again is the Buah Keluak Fried Rice – it’s that good, especially with dollops of Chef Damian’s superb sambal belacan!
The Singapore Gastrobar
467 Joo Chiat Road Open Daily: 5pm – 12midnight (Last Orders at 9:45pm) Reservations: +65 85117322
Complimentary Valet parking available!
***UPDATE*** Sadly, Immigrants shut its doors on 31 August 2015, but Chef Damian is still dreaming, planning and cooking up a storm – we look forward to his next culinery venture! For details on Immigrant’s closure and Chef’s future plans, click here.
Hello! We have a brand-new Makan Kaki joining our esteemed group of Gastronomical Gurus and she is none other than Founder/ Big Boss of local Theatre Company Dream Academy, fellow Dim Sum Dolly and my friend, Selena Tan! It’s not hard to see how much Selena loves her food and she has many wonderful places to recommend, but to start things off, she absolutely HAS to start with the one who started her love for food – her adorable mum, Daisy!
Daisy has always loved to cook – from her days of growing up in a kampong and trading recipes with the aunties there, along with learning from her own mother and her mother’s mother, this original Kampong Bahru girl has amassed an impressive array of local and Peranakan dishes that are simply too good not to share! That’s why she decided to open up a humble little stall at Tiong Bahru Market to begin with. Fast forward a few years and that stall has since become a full-fledged family restaurant in the Clementi/ West Coast area, called Daisy’s Dream Kitchen. Selena and her brother are in on this venture and the food has loyal fans flocking back for more.
It was really hard to get Selena to narrow down a list of her favourites, but here are some of hers (and mine!):
Delicious, deep-fried appetisers hot from the wok! Daisy’s wildly popular Ngoh Hiang (juicy little pork and prawn balls with lots of garlic and crunchy water chestnut). Sedap with her addictively pedas and limey sambal belacan.
Crispy-fried, well-seasoned chicken wings – MORE please!
Instead of the usual Ayam Buah Keluak, Daisy’s serves Babi Buah Keluak – pork that is fall-off-the-bone tender, a thick rich gravy and that quintessential black gold – smooth, nutty, salty, bitter-sweet-spicy filling you must gorek lovingly from the shells to mix with the killer lime sambal belachan and white rice!
Here are a couple more good ones – the tangy, earthy Black Ink Sotong. Assam is used very liberally in this unique squid dish. And Lagi best! An acquired taste, but Sambal Petai with ikan billis is pungent, tasty and has lots of crunchy texture. Also, look out for the weekly/ bi-monthly specials that always has diners requesting they be added to the permanent menu:
From Nonya Chap Chye, to deep-fried ikan stuffed with sambal, to Bakwan Kepiting (pork ball soup), to otak-otak and chicken curry, a meal at Daisy’s Dream Kitchen is like coming home to family, and a heart-warming home-cooked meal that is both delightful & delicious!