SINGAPORE - Craving for authentic Peranakan food but no time to seek it out?
This July, you will not have to as the Nyonya Mobile makes its rounds again during the Singapore Food Festival 2014 (SFF 2014).
From July 12- 17, the roving truck will stop at various locations - including Read Bridge, Orchard Road, Century Square, AMK Hub, One Raffles Place and VivoCity - for two hours each to tempt you with free samplings of delectable Peranakan dishes.
Well-loved chefs will be helming the Nyonya Mobile on different days. The line-up includes Chef Malcom Lee of Candlenut, Chef Nelson Li who was the consultant for the local production "The Little Nonya" and Chef Kenny Chan who starred in the local comedy show "The Cook, His Food & The Dishy Nonyas" and whose Peranakan food has been well-received at establishments like Goodwood Park Hotel.
Reflecting the juxtaposition of our rich culinary heritage with contemporary creativity, each chef will prepare two traditional Peranakan dishes alongside two modern interpretations of those same dishes.
The affable Chef Malcolm Lee hopes to entice you with two creations using the buah keluak nut, a key ingredient in the traditional ayam buah keluak, a quintessential Peranakan dish.
Instead of using chicken or pork, Lee will showcase beef - and it's no ordinary beef - in this hearty must-have in Peranakan feasts. He has chosen the rich quality of F1 Ranger Valley wagyu, carved out from the ribs, to match the earthy mystique of the deep and nutty sauce.
A departure from tradition, the cracked buah keluak nuts will not be seen in the dish. Instead, the flesh will be removed from the shells and pounded into a paste to make the sauce - somewhat like the Indonesian beef rawon, a traditional and rich-tasting beef soup.
Chef Lee will pair his beef buah keluak with one of the most traditional and intriguing Peranakan staples - nasi ulam, a herbed rice best enjoyed with some sambal belachan (chilli blended with shrimp paste).
For a modern take on this signature classic, Chef Malcolm Lee has created the buah keluak ice cream.
A culinary masterpiece that took two years to create and refine, the ice cream is made of an ultra-smooth nut paste smothered with a foamy espuma of Valrhona chocolate. The ball of ice cream rests on a crumbly bed of fizzy chocolate 'soil' that also melts with the addictive flavour of sea-salt caramel.
A revelation indeed - of buah keluak - as a co-star in a smashing creation that looks and tastes more modern haute than old school.
Other delights you can expect from Lee are traditional satay skewers served with a peanut-pineapple sauce, and its modern counterpart named "Satay Nanas" which is a creamy brulee with honey-spiced pineapple and paired with a frozen peanut sauce.
From L to R (anti-clockwise): Chef Kenny Chan's sambal udang; Chef Nelson Li's ayam sioh bun and chendol agar agar.
Signature dishes of Chefs Nelson Li and Kenny Chan
The exciting line up also includes respected chef Nelson Li who will showcase ayam sioh and chendol in two styles.
Traditionally, ayam sioh is a chicken dish, cooked with piquant tamarind and usually eaten with rice. Chef Li's modern interpretation involves stuffing a minced chicken version in a steamed bun to be enjoyed as 'sandwich'. Besides offering chendol (an icy concoction of coconut milk, jelly noodles made from rice flour mixed with green food colouring usually from pandan leaf, shaved ice and palm sugar) in its traditional dessert form, Chef Li will prepare a refreshing chendol agar agar or jelly - a perfect counter to the tropical heat.
The effervescent Chef Kenny Chan will also present traditional and updated versions of two dishes. His chicken pong teh stew with Chinese mushrooms and potatoes will also see a grilled version served with bread. Sambal udang - a spicy stir-fry prawn dish will feature on the menu alongside a fusion version in the form of a sandwich.
Want to taste these yummy Peranakan delights? Catch the Nyonya Mobile from July 12-17!
Other highlights at Nyonya Mobile
Apart from food demonstrations and tasting offered by the three chefs, the Nyonya Mobile event will also showcase interactive exhibitions that feature the richness, culture and artistry of the Peranakans. You can learn more about spices used in Peranankan cuisine, the intricacies of traditional dress and wedding customs, as well as their language and heritage.
The Nyonya Mobile experience reflects this year's Singapore Food Festival theme - A Walk Down Memory Lane - which re-lives the best memories of the event since its inception 21 years ago.
Date: 12-17 July, 2014
Schedule of Nyonya Mobile
12 July, 6-8pm: Read Bridge, Chef Nelson Li
13 July, 1-3pm: Orchard Area, Chef Kenny Chan
14 July, 6-8pm: Century Square, Chef Kenny Chan
15 July, 6-8pm: AMK Hub, Chef Nelson Li
16 July, 1-3pm: Raffles Place Park, Chef Malcolm Lee
17 July, 6-8pm: VivoCity, Chef Malcolm Lee
This year, the Singapore Food Festival (SFF) will be reliving the best memories of the festival's 20-year history. Themed "A Walk Down Memory Lane", the festival will feature an array of dining experiences and cuisines that represent Singapore's rich food legacy, at various locations from July 11-20, 2014. For more information on the Singapore Food Festival 2014, please visit www.singaporefoodfestival.com .