Peranakan Flavours – Uniquely Peranakan Experience in Bugis
Previously located in the lobby of a boutique hotel in Jalan Klapa, Peranakan Flavours has moved to a bigger unit along Tan Quee Lan Street, less than a minute walk from Bugis MRT! Helming the kitchen is Baba Ben Teo, who spent 16 years in the famed Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant before he decided to head back to his Nonya roots.
Since he was a child, Uncle Ben has been interested in cooking. He picked up his culinary skills from his nanny. He started out, at a young age, hawking wrapped chickens and nasi lemak in bus interchanges. His passion for cooking grew over time, and he sought for more than just basic hawking.
Being a true-blue Teochew Peranakan Baba, Uncle Ben hopes to bring Peranakan food to a greater height, while preserving the traditional and familiar way of how the Peranakans eat.
The Kachang Botol Salad ($8) has a wonderful refreshing crunch. Thinly-sliced greens are tossed in a spicy and tangy sauce made from chillies, shallots, dried shrimps and onions.
When you come to Peranakan Flavours, you need to try their Bakwan Kepiting ($10), a soup with prawn, crab and pork meatballs. The stock has been painstaking simmered for 6 hours with prawn shells and flower crabs, hence every sip is concentrated, and you can taste the freshness of the pork.
As Chef Ben used to work at Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant, he has also included his signature Homemade Yam Cake ($15) in the menu. Savoury and satisfying, these yam cakes are made with yam cubes, rice flour, and aromatics. They are tasty enough on their own, but some may like the addition of sauces like sambal belachan. Other popular appetizers include Hae Cho ($16), Deep Fried Oysters ($15) and Cockles ($12).
During a media tasting of some of the dishes, which were all unanimously pronounced fabulous, we realized that belimbing seems to be Baba Ben’s favourite ingredient as it was apparent in many of his dishes. This fruit has a refreshing tang and gives dishes a sour edge. For instance, it helps to cut the richness of the Sotong Hitam ($18) and make it more appetising. The Assam Pedas ($25) has a thick gravy with intense flavours, and the fish was very fresh.
I visited the restaurant twice. The first time round, I had the Oxtail Buah Keluak ($28). This time, we had the Pork Trotter Buah Keluak, which is even more uncommon. We all know how tedious it is to prepare buah keluak dishes, and both dishes were rich, complex and had earthy flavours.
We also enjoyed their House Special Laksa Goreng ($15). The rice vermicelli was stir fried with thick and rich laksa gravy, and served with prawns, tau pok and egg. The laksa is flavoured with coconut milk, dried shrimps and peanuts, similar to satay bee hoon sauce. Very shiok!
For desserts, go for either the Chendol ($5) or Pulut Hitam ($5). I like the latter. Made with black glutinous rice, coconut milk and palm sugar, the pulut hitam also has longan in it!
Address: 7 Tan Quee Lan Street, Singapore 188096
Phone: 6789 1001
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10pm
This was an invited tasting.