Good Peranakan restaurants are hard to find...maybe I am being too fussy, being peranakan myself...with access to great home cooked food. But I find good ones few and far in between. My friends KS and Pauline highly recommended this one, located in Beauty World Centre.
Located at level 4, right next to the rather more crowded food court, Dulu Kala, meaning Former Times translated from Malay vernacular that peranakans converse in, has been there for the longest time. I have never tried it before, and with the recommendation of both of these foodies, I had to try it. This is Pauline's husband's favourite restaurant...apparently.
We started off with a dish which is well loved by peranakans, but which is not particular popular with others. The sambal petai.
A personal favourite of mine. The bean is nutty, wonderfully aromatic...well some call it smelly. A strong distinct aroma to the nut will permeate the person who just consumed this bean. At its best, almost heavenly. Dulukala's version was good, but for that afternoon we were there, a tad too sweet, and not spicy enough for me. The bean was nice, fresh, and quite aromatic.
We also had the belachan chicken wing
Nicely fried, with a nice flavour. A tad too saltish to my taste, but this chicken wing retains a juicy tender meat with a light crisp skin.
The leather jacket stuffed with sambal was next
The leathery skin had been removed when the fish was served. At home, we would fry the fish with tumeric infused oil with the skin on. And stuff the fish with loads of sambal. This dish, as prepared at home is rather oily, but superbly delicious. The version at Dulukala is all the more healthy. The fish was served without the leathery skin, and was not greasy at all. The fish was cooked perfectly, nice meat, but I found the sambal lacking, and the shiokness which comes from the tumeric infused oil totally absent. This dish did not make the test for me.
A ladies finger dish was next
In contrast, I found this quite special. The ladies fingers seemed to have been roasted before being pan fried with onions, and chilli. Very nicely done. Full flavour and very delicious.
We also had an omlette
This was rather de rigeur. I would have preferred an omlette which is fluffy within a crisp exterior. But this tasted good, so no complaints.
For dessert, we had chendol
The chendol kinda saved the day for me. But still, it was lacking in power...by which I mean the coconut milk could have been stronger, they could have used more red bean and added attap seeds, and a stronger, bolder tasting gula melaka. But the green chendol is authentic, tender and soft.
I may sound critical of Dulu Kala, as I am measuring by very high standards. But really, the food is quite good. I would rate it as above average for a peranakan restaurant in Singapore, and just below three of my current favourites: Peramakan, Spice Peranakan and Novena 2004.
Dulukala Peranakan Restaurant
144 Upper Bukit Timah Rd
#04-04 Beauty World Centre
Dulukala Peranakan Restaurant