Thursday, July 25, 2013

Peranakan Cuisine: 2004 Novena Peranakan

Peranakan food is special, being peranakan, our home cooked comfort is of this genre, and as generally Peranakan womenfolk are good cooks, we are pretty pampered when it comes to good food.

As a result, many of us never venture to try out peranakan restaurants when we eat out, because home cooked is best...often because of familiarity, and also as mom would say, "mine is better and cheaper!"

Anyway, I am filing two stories on peranakan food...one this week and another next week. The focus of this week's posting is on 2004 Novena Peranakan Cuisine.

We started the meal with the iconic peranakan dish...Ayam Buah Keluak

First taste...very good. Nice flavours. The buah keluak is a bit more meaty than most I have eaten, so a bit mild on the nutty flavours, but very tasty. The chicken is very good, cooked till very tender. Gravy excellent.

The Ngor Hiang was next.

Another excellent dish. The skin...a beancurd style covering was crisp, very light, and not greasy at all. Within, stuffed chunks of tofu, water chestnut and meat. Very nice.

The Beef Rendang looked a bit different from what I am used to

A bit lighter in hue than the typically dark beef rendang. The flavours were very good. The beef was very tender, perhaps a higher end cut of beef was used instead of the more sinewy, tougher cut used traditionally. And the rendang was done wet, with gravy. I found this to be good.

The Bakwan Ketiping was next

It was served sizzling hot in a claypot. The soup was clear, savoury and tasty. A bit robust tasting. The bakwan was very well done. Tender, but still retaining the slight chewiness typical of a hand made bakwan.

The Fish Head Assam Curry was one of their signatures...

I found this to be quite superb. The assam gravy was superb. The brinjal, ladies fingers, tomato and pineapple made a nice addition. And the fish head was very fresh, beautiful fragrance only a fresh fish can provide. Two thumbs up for this fish head curry. Some of my lunch companions lament that they prefer a lemak version, but for me, the assam curry was the star.

A portion of sotong with sambal

Nicely done. Not too spicy. The squid (sotong) was fresh, lightly cooked, and retained the springiness and light crunch with a creamy mouthfeel.

Sambal Prawns

Freshness of ingredients are paramount. The prawns were beautiful. Not too large, bite sized. But very fresh, with the wonderful crunch, and a light whiff of the sea, even through the light sambal sauce.

And of course some vegetables, instead of the usual sambal kangkong, we elected the Kangkong to be done with a garlic sauce.

Also quite good...the vegetable was young, fresh, and lightly stir fried.

Highly recommend this restaurant. Reasonable prices, very good cooking.

2004 Novena Peranakan Cuisine
273 Thomson Road
#01-02 Novena Garden
6256 1430
Daily: 11.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10pm

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