Where To Find Nonya Food?
With the telecast of Little Nonya 小娘惹 on TV (let’s not go into the acting….), it will certainly cause an increased interest in Peranakan food around Sinapore. This cuisine is a mixture of both Chinese and Malay influences and certainly known to be most eclectic, a blend of spicy, tangy, herbal and sweet dishes.
The fact is I seldom try Peranakan food outside because Nothing beats the cooking of my late grandmother. Her rempah was almost unbeatable and she took days and pains to prepare a dish of laksa and otak otak. Of course some of the other signature dishes included Ayam Buah Keluak (which can take up to a week to prepare the nuts) and Itek Tim a soup with an interesting blend of duck and salted vegetables.
For your interest, here are some restaurants in Singapore where you can find Peranakan Food.
Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant
Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant in Joo Chiat Road is known to be one of the best in Peranakan food. These folks have officially been in this food business for the last 45 years. Unofficially, they have selling their ayam buah keluak to the Japanese since Singapore was Syonan-to. Their specialties include Ayam Buah Keluak, Babi Panggang, Sotong Sambal, Udang Sambal, and Beef Rendang.
Nyonya & Baba
Tucked away at the corner of Vivocity, Nyonya & Baba where one will be able to treat their taste buds to true-blue Peranakan cuisine though it’s easy to miss this restaurant. With chefs of Peranakan descent, this restaurant ensures authenticity for a satisfactory dining experience with its well done up décor. (I don’t think it has any relation to the famous Nonya & Baba which used to be at River Valley.) You may like to try the Ayam Buah Keluak and Ngor Hiang.
Compared to other Peranakan restaurants in Singapore, IVINS pales in comparison with their minimal décor and ambience. The green floor, ordinary lighting and simple furniture of the restaurant can be a turn off to some. They can be found at Binjai Park Bukit Timah and Jalan Leban at Upper Thomson Rood. The food is so-so but the crowd is overwhelming. Maybe I ordered the wrong dishes.
True Blue Cuisine
True Blue Cuisine used to occupy the Katong area which reflected the rich heritage of the dwindling Peranakan community, but it has moved on to Armenian Street near the museum. Some of the recommendations include Beef Rendang, Bayam Pais, Curry Fish as well as Daun Kadok. The ambience makes it a comfortable eating experience, but be prepared to pay for its heavy price tag (average $40 per person) though.
The Blue Ginger
Located at Tanjong Pagar, The Blue Ginger has a Nyonya -themed design with traditional ornaments fusing with current artistic paintings. Its interior is based on dark brown and cream as its main colours and gives one a soothing yet contemporary feel about the atmosphere. You can try the Assam Puteh which is the peranakan version of the famous Thai Tom Yam seafood soup, and Babi Hong which is braised pork knuckles with premium soya sauce and flavoured with cinnamon bark.
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