What makes Singapore’s culinary landscape a peerless one is how it truly is a melting pot of literal flavours. As the home to a complex medley of cultures and heritage, this confluence brings forth a myriad of cuisines, each brimming with its own distinct palette of tastes and colours.
Beneath the veil cast by the dominant cuisines of major ethnic groups, there still exists multiple unique culinary heritages awaiting our discovery. Of this collective, one of the more prominent marginal ethnic groups is the Peranakan. With a lineage descended from a blend of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian backgrounds, many have since been assimilated into the broader Chinese or Malay ethnic groups.
Despite this dilution of cultural identity, an enduring aspect of their history is their inimitable cuisine. Renowned for having bright, vibrant flavours that are familiar yet fresh, these dishes and the equally rich history behind them have seen a recent resurgence in the local gastronomical scene.
From gourmet Michelin-starred restaurants to humble family-owned eateries, here is a collection of 18 places where you can sample a flavourful slice of Singapore’s Peranakan food heritage.
The sister restaurant of The Coconut Club, Belimbing Superstar, has suddenly announced a ceasing of operations after a mere five months of opening. The news was conveyed through an official Facebook post on 21st January 2020, without any reason provided for the abrupt closure.
This news follows the recent passing of the company’s co-founder, Mr. Lee Eng Su, in September the last year. He passed on three weeks after Belimbing Superstar opened along Ann Siang Hill in August, but the Peranakan eatery still continued to operate afterward.
Boasting high ceilings, a bigger space and decked out in Peranakan-inspired tiles and furnishings, one-Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant Candlenut offers an Omakase menu—which they cheekily call ‘Ahmakase’.
The restaurant has a different, somewhat contemporary approach towards Peranakan cuisine, delving away from traditional methods.
Boasting a wider array of dishes (ranging between S$20 – S$30 each), we got to try a good many dishes, with our favourites being the Blue Swimmer Crab Curry, Turmeric, Galangal, Kaffir Lime Leaf and Westholme Wagyu Beef Rib Rendang, Serunding, Turmeric Leaf.
At buffets, some of us lose all self-control and rationality as we devour way more food than what our bellies usually can take. The array of choices is a gastronomical galore for the glutton in us.
Quality of food aside, what’s as essential to such feasts is the company we are with. They say people who eat together, stay together, but eating in a group can be tricky sometimes with different palates and needs.
Katong Kitchen is an inclusive location for communal dining with family, friends, and colleagues. They are halal-certified with a buffet line-up that they expanded to feature familiar Malay, Indian, Chinese, and Eurasian dishes in addition to their Peranakan cuisine. Like their theme, it’s where the ‘Flavours of Singapore’ meet. There’s a selection of fresh seafood on ice, DIY dishes, as well as a hot plate and a noodle station where you can request for food that’s made-to-order.
This is definitely one place that will please one and all. If you haven’t been, here’s everything to love about Katong Kitchen.
Our readers can quote “ladyironchef” upon making reservations to enjoy 15% off Katong Kitchen’s lunch and dinner buffet from now until 30 June 2019.
The term ‘Peranakan’ is used to distinguish Chinese immigrants who settled down in Southeast Asia in the late nineteenth century. Males are referred to as Babas while females are called Nyonyas. Till today, the Peranakan culture is still very much alive as Singaporeans love the rich and distinctive flavours of Malay, Chinese and Indonesian cooking.
The traditional Peranakan cuisine is huge on spices, herbs and condiments so their dishes are naturally more full-flavoured and spicy as compared to the usual Chinese food. For a taste of authentic Peranakan food, you cannot go wrong at Spice Brasserie in PARKROYAL On Kitchener Road. You’d be happy to know that Executive Sous Chef Jimmy Bong is a true Baba with full Peranakan roots.
The all-new Baba and Nyonya Seafood Buffet spread will evoke nostalgia with exciting ‘live’ stations such as Cuba Lobster BBQ with Assam Manis, Crab Assam Pedas in Claypot, Chili Lime with Boiled Gong Gong and Cockle, as well as other crowd-pleasers including Salted Egg Crab and Wok-Fried Bee Hoon With Lala.
From 01 Mar to 31 May 2018, quote ‘Ladyironchef’ to enjoy Spice Brasserie’s Baba & Nyonya Seafood Dinner Buffet at S$99++ for 2 pax. This special offer is only applicable for dinner buffets on Thursdays to Sundays. READ ON
My Cosy Corner is a hole-in-the-wall Peranakan eatery tucked in the corner of Coronation Shopping Plaza, in Bukit Timah.
It is a place where you will feel instantly at home and the staff would occasionally have a friendly conversation with the customers.
Come here for great-tasting Peranakan dishes, local fare and Japanese bento sets.