Fabulous Peranakan (Nonya) dinner in Singapore
Have you heard about Peranakan or Nonya ?
I haven’t heard about these words until I visited Singapore about 15 years ago.
My hobby back then was whenever I travel overseas, I would buy a cookbook of its country. That is when I found about Nonya cooking.
Nonya cookbook that I bought about 15 years ago
What’s peranakan and nonya?
Peranakans are made up of people descended from marriages between Chinese or Indian men and local Malay or Indonesian women from around the Malay Archipelago. A rich hybrid of these ethnic traditions with a touch of Portuguese, Dutch and Indonesian influences, the Peranakan (meaning ‘locally born’ in Malay) culture refers to men as ‘baba’ and women as ‘nonya’.
My first Nonya cuisine experience in Singapore
Even though I heard about Nonya cooking 15 years ago, I didn’t have a chance to read the cookbook or dine at Nonya restaurant. Since then I went to Singapore twice but still, I didn’t try any ! Then finally my fourth trip to Singapore, I found out about Peranakan (Nonya) vegetarian restaurant, WHOLE EARTH, this is Singapore’s first and only plant-based restaurant to be awarded the inaugural Michelin Bib Gourmand 2016.
Well, this is the place I should be going right?!
It was Friday night and the restaurant was fully booked but I was told if I arrive early, I could just walk in. So we arrived around 6pm.
We ordered, most ordered dish in the restaurant – Signature olive rice, choice of white and brown rice, I chose brown rice for the healthier option
Signature Olive Rice
This rice doesn’t look the most beautiful rice but seriously it is so tasty. It has very subtle olive flavour but just so gorgeous. I wanted to order plain rice along with this rice since I ordered rendang, but it actually goes well with rendang. I could not stop eating and had to finish all even though I was so full.
We ordered the second most ordered dish, Penang Rendang
I was told this Rendang is made with shiitake mushroom.
Gosh, the shiitake mushroom texture is really amazing. It is like pulled pork kind of texture. really meaty. I really don’t know how they make this texture. It is possible to make this texture from shiitake mushroom stalks but, they are quite long so I don’t think they are all stalk. I wish I could ask chefs there! I thought the portion is small in the beginning but it was really rich so in the end, it was hard to finish. so flavourful yummy dish and my hubby was totally in love. It tastes similar to his favourite beef Masaman curry but he wants to avoid red meat, so he wishes he could eat this in Australia.
I wanted to order crispy tofu golden oats, another signature dish from WHOLE EARTH, but I found another dish using golden oats, which is Cheeky monkey.
Cheeky Monkey – monkey head mushroom with signature crispy golden oats-
I had monkey head mushroom soup while ago but I have never cooked monkey head mushroom so definitely this dish is more interesting than tofu! Oats are so light, crispy and flavourful. Sooo yummy. and mushroom has meaty gooey texture and lovely sweet flavour.
Only one thing I was wondering why they put so many oats. Even though crispy oats are so tasty but I found it too much. maybe half or 1/3 of the amount of oats is plenty. If I live in Singapore, I would take away all oats and sprinkle to my steamed veggie, salad or fried rice or something. Since I don’t live there, I had to waste.. damn.
The final dish is this good looking one
Handmade yum treasure ring
this is the least favourite even though it is the best looking.
Since all the food above has full of flavour. so I found this dish a little bit bland. If the sauce has a stronger flavour, or there is more sauce, it would be perfect. Sauce on the side would be the best since I want to make sure to keep this yum ring nice and crispy.
I see some reviews are saying it is a bit costly but this top quality food deserves the good price.
I highly recommend visiting there when you are in Singapore!
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