Nyonya delights: Peranakan restaurant promotions in June
Text: Alyssa Chung
Although Peranakan food is highly popular in Singapore, there aren’t too many options for diners particularly in the Orchard area. Thanks to the Les Amis Group’s latest launch, Indigo Blue (the established group’s first Peranakan restaurant), we have something to look forward to. This new concept decked out in modern interiors with a distinctive Peranakan identity is group chairman Desmond Lim’s personal tribute to his Peranakan grandmother. Lim who grew up in a traditional Peranakan household in the 1960s wanted to showcase treasured recipes that belong to his grandmother. With the personal mentorship of Lim, the team of chefs carefully fine-tuned these classic dishes for the modern palate.
Signature items include IB’s Nonya Poh Piah (S$32 for two persons) featuring freshly made egg skins teeming with braised turnip and bamboo shoot, pork belly, fried bean curd, Chinese sausage, dried sole fish sprinkle and other condiments. The comforting bakwan kepiting soup (S$22) is composed of plump crab balls mixed with prawn, minced pork and bamboo shoots in a robust chicken, pork and crustacean broth. Other spiced laden dishes to tuck into include satay babi lemak (S$16) or pork stir-fried in candlenut spice paste and coconut cream; and otak-otak jantan (S$16) or fish balls and beancurd puffs stuffed with fish paste, and simmered in turmeric curry. Richly flavoured desserts come in the form of apom with three different pengat (S$14 for six pieces) – fluffy rice pancakes partnered with D24 durian, jackfruit and banana cooked in gula melaka and coconut milk.
For its soft launch, Indigo Blue Kitchen offers a set lunch menu (four-course) and set dinner (five-course) menu priced at S$40 and S$55 respectively.
1 Scotts Road, Shaw Centre, #03-09/10/11, Singapore 228208
Tel: +65 6235 3218
From 7 June to 11 July, AquaMarine at Marina Mandarin collaborates with The Peranakan restaurant to showcase a slew of boldly flavoured signatures. The hotel’s executive chef Chan Tuck Wai teams up with Baba Chef Raymond Khoo of The Peranakan restaurant to prepare a sumptuous spread for this promotion, held in conjunction with The Peranakan Festival 2019.
Start with Nyonya crabmeat popiah and kueh pie tee (there’s a DIY station where you make your own), and dry laksa, before diving into seafood dishes like ikan goreng chuan chuan, and prawns in pineapple coconut gravy (udang kuah pedas nanas). Enjoy these with Nasi Ulam Istimewa (special herbed rice). The buffet is also laden with other interesting meat dishes such as whole veal shank rendang, chargrilled Angus beef rib glazed with kecap pedas manis, and wagyu beef ox tail pongteh. Over at the noodle station, diners can also concoct their own laksa lemak dish topped with prawns, fried fish balls and quail eggs. Wrap up your meal with a tempting array of sweets like the apom bokwa with pisang pengat, Nonya chendol, burbur cha cha, and a host of colourful kueh and cakes. The buffet, which also includes its usual international spread, is priced at S$60 per person for lunch daily, at S$73 per person for dinner on weekdays, and at S$83 per person for dinner on weekends.
Marina Mandarin Singapore
Tel: 6845 1111
From 13 to 28 June, The Clifford Pier at The Fullerton Bay Hotel welcomes guest chef Philip Chia who will be cooking here for the third time. Chia has published cookbooks on Peranakan cuisine and won several culinary competitions.
Kick off with a trio of appetisers: grilled spicy laksa prawns paired with a fiery salad of wingbean, cucumber, pineapple, calamansi and torch ginger; kurobuta pork and crabmeat Nonya ngoh hiang with achar, garlicky sweet sauce and sambal belacan; as well as pong tahu goreng with crunchy, spicy black fungus kerabu. Chia fuses Peranakan flavours with modern techniques for some of his dishes such as his rendition of ayam buah keluak featuring sous-vide Sakura chicken roulade drizzled with buah keluak gravy on the side. He has also created a succulent Maine lobster goreng assam paired with seafood buah keluak fried rice. Other robust specialties include satay babi goreng, or pork belly marinated with spices and cooked till tender; ikan chuan chuan, and fresh whole snapper with ginger, taucheo, garlic and onions.
To finish off your meal, tuck into Chef Chia’s Snow Ko Swee and Chendol Dome: a scoop of coconut ice cream is served with kueh ko swee (one prepared with gula melaka, and the other with white sugar) as well as the creative “chendol” dessert of gula melaka sponge cake, with red bean ice cream and pandan-scented chendol.
For the Chef Philip Chia x The Clifford Pier ‘Best of Peranakan Cuisine’ promotion, a la carte dishes starts from $24. The two-course set lunch is at $40 per person and three course set lunch at $45 per person. The four course set dinner is $69 per person (minimum two persons order) .
The Fullerton Bay Hotel
Tel: 6877 8911 / 8912
Ellenborough Market Café
Ellenborough Market Café’s popular buffet is always a good idea if you are craving for rich Nonya flavours. The spread includes a host of Peranakan favourites for lunch and dinner. Start with kueh pie tee filled with turnip, prawn and egg; spicy and tangy black fungus kerabu salad; and piquant Nyonya achar, followed by belly-warming soups like bakwan kepiting or itek tim (available on a rotational basis). Then pile your plate with ayam buah keluak (chicken braised in a thick, spicy tamarind gravy), babi pongteh (braised pork with fermented soy bean sauce), Nyonya chap chye, Nonya style steamed fish, and itek sio (braised tamarind and coriander duck). Accompany these with nasi kunyit (turmeric rice) or the herbaceous nasi ulam. The desserts here are always sublime – fill up on the superbly rich durian pengat, fried durian, kueh dadar and assorted Nyonya kueh. The buffet lunch is priced at S$52 and S$68 for dinner, Mondays to Sundays.
From 4 to 28 June, check out the restaurant’s Crab-ilicious Buffet Dinner (S$78 per person) which features a huge range of crab dishes like the quintessential chilli crab and black pepper crab, as well as Szechuan spicy crab, Thai yellow curry flower crab, sambal flower crab, salted egg crab, braised crab with bee hoon and more.
Swissotel Merchant Court
Tel: 6239 1847/1848