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Family recipes usually make the best meals. These are the recipes that are handed down to us and we in turn will hand down to the next generation. Indeed, you can’t beat the taste of home. Of all our family recipes, dry Mee Siam is our favourite. Some believe that the name of the dish refers to Siam, the old name for Thailand, and that the dish is influenced by Thai cuisine, while others believe that the dish is Malay or Peranakan in origin. For us, our roots would definitely be Peranakan because our great-grandmother was from Penang and she was Perankan!
The key to this dish is the combination of spiciness and sourness. Each added ingredient builds layers of flavour to this dish. We believe that it is the sweet, spicy and tangy taste that makes the dish really appetizing and have us craving for more!
Of course, we cannot share our full family recipe because it is after all a family secret but we can share some key ingredients which makes our Rempah so robust and flavourful.
Located along the streets of “Mongkok” at Jurong Point, Legendary Hong Kong brought me back to the days of Hong Kong, where it serves up authentic Hong Kong cuisine spanning across four different themes – Roasted Meats, Noodles and Congee, Dim Sum and Bakery. Helmed by five accomplished Master Chefs, there were a few notable dishes during my visit, including the signature “Roasted London Duck”.
Starting with the roasted meats, we ordered the Barbequed Twin Combo $16.80 to get the “best-of-both-worlds” – comprising of the signature roasted “Irish duck” from Silver Hill Farm and the extremely crispy pork belly, which was one of my personal favourites. Their specialty of “Roasted London Duck” is undisputedly one of their best-sellers, where they import “Grade A” Irish ducks all the way from Ireland.
When you first meet Chef Malcolm Lee, the young bespectacled chef comes across as shy and unassuming. Yet, at the mention of food and specifically Peranakan cuisine, the head chef and owner of Candlenut lights up and he seems like a different person altogether. His infectious passion for food is hard to miss.
While studying at the Singapore Management University (SMU), Chef Malcolm was involved in the running of the campus café. Shortly after graduating from SMU, he landed a scholarship to pursue a diploma at At-Sunrice Global Chef Academy. Upon graduation, he started his first Peranakan restaurant Candlenut Kitchen in 2010 at Neil Road. It closed after the lease ended in 2012 and he reopened Candlenut at the Dorsett Residences in July 2013.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Chef Malcolm reveals that an omakase-style tasting menu or what he terms as “ah-ma-kasae” is brewing from his kitchen this July.
Doing away with the a la carte menu, Chef Malcolm shares candidly, “If the menu is the same and stagnant everyday, it just means we are using common products.” Instead, it will be a full tasting menu curated by him. He says that is how grandma and mum would approach Peranakan food – selecting what is the freshest in the market for that day to prepare a meal.
One thing that he hopes to bring back for his new tasting menu is tradition. “For example, the traditional hand-made kueh pie tee shell looks like a hat and is very light. We can’t do that when it is 80 pax. If it’s one menu for the day, I can give you the best.”
The annual Singapore Food Festival (SFF) is back again and it’s bringing together some of Singapore’s best dishes and culinary talents. This year, the festival which takes place from 17 July to 2 August at various locations, marks Singapore’s Golden Jubilee with a special edition, themed A Fresh Taste of Tradition. Featuring local delights, the festival also seeks to reinterpret them to showcase the inventive spirit of Singapore’s ever-evolving local food scene.
STREAT: REINVENTING LOCAL STREET EATS
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is introducing STREAT as part of SFF for the first time. Curated by celebrity chef Justin Quek (of Sky on 57), STREAT brings together the best of Singapore’s hawkers and chefs serving up unique takes of Singapore’s street food.
Locals and tourists alike can savour Mod-Sin tapas such as Pacific Oysters in Ginger Flower Dressing and Gula Java Creme Brûlée from his pop-up restaurant, or indulge in hawker favourites and other innovative dishes from 16 food stalls, such as Nasi Kerabu and Suckling Pig Sandwich with Salted Vegetable Relish.
- What: STREAT celebrates the best of Singapore’s hawkers and chefs, each handpicked and guided by one of Singapore’s most distinguished chefs, Justin Quek. Be prepared for an outdoor food experience that will showcase local food in a fresh contemporary setting. Taste from 16 F&B stalls, serving local heritage food and modern interpretations, tapas-style. You can also dine at Justin’s pop-up restaurant or sign up for a masterclass with him.
- When: 24-25 Jul 2015 (Fri-Sat), 6pm-10pm
- Where: Clifford Square, 80 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049326
The Honey Toast iconic to Dazzling Cafe needs little to no introduction. After all, ever since its soft launch back in April and finally its long awaited official opening at the beginning of this month, Dazzling Cafe located at level 1 of the newly revamped snazzy Capitol Piazza has been making waves on all forms of social media with their super photogenic desserts topped with both ice-cream and cream cascading down the stack of crisp thick slices of buttered toasts.
Dazzling Cafe finds its roots in Taiwan as one of the most widely popular dessert franchise chains that still sees winding queues outside their nine outlets today- 5 years after they first opened. Needless to say, fans in Singapore did what they do best and queued outside Dazzling Cafe as well when business started and while the fanfare has died down a tad bit right now, it is still mostly full house especially on weekends.
I have been to Dazzling Cafe a total of 3 times since they opened and since all 3 visits were on weekday afternoons, the longest I had to wait was approximately 20 minutes. While it is a bit unusual for me to revisit the same place so many times within a span of only a few weeks, I did have my eye on a few items on their menu and since portions were relatively big, I had to space out my visits.