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Singapore - PeraMakan at Keppel Club for yummy Peranakan Food

As you may know if you follow my blog, I tend to have quite a few work dinners. I get bored of the same old places and types of food (if we ask certain colleagues, they always go for Chinese or Seafood). I dislike the stuffy atmospheres of the places and therefore we have started looking for new places to try and keep the organising to ourselves. I thought we had never done Peranakan food (Straits Chinese, the official name for the combination of Chinese and Malay cultures) for one of these dinner, and friends had recently been to PeraMakan and enjoyed it so we decided to try that out. We booked and headed over on a Monday night. Well, I say headed over, most of us ended up at the East Coast Road location which is shut on a Monday! The booking was made for the Keppel Club location! So we jumped in another taxi, frantically calling our customers and finally made it all together to the very fancy location of Keppel Club, a place I had never been before. 

Here are my usual collages of the food for the evening, with my highlight being my dessert which you can see in the big square in the second collage. Gula Melaka, Sago and coconut milk - amazing!





As we were 11 people, we decided to go for the 10 people menu with a few side dishes. You have a selection of 7 main dishes where you pick for each dish / course between 2 or 3 different dishes and then everyone gets to pick from the dessert menu. I think the menu came out to around 320$ for the 10 people, plus a few dishes and drinks for everyone, we got to around 550$ for 11 people which isn't bad.

Here is the menu we picked from (except for the prawn dish, that wasn't on offer):  http://www.peramakan.com/docs/set_menu_d.pdf . As we had French people visiting, I asked the waitress (who was lovely by the way) what was not too spicy so I didn't blow their heads off, I picked the less spicy of each of the dishes on offer per course.

I love the rice serving bowl, so pretty.


For the soup we picked this option: Bakwan Kepiting - a soup with meatballs of minced pork, fish meat, crabmeat and bamboo shoots. I didn't have it but people said it was lovely. 


We had a choice of chicken dishes. I have been dying to try Ayam Buah Keluak which is Chicken braised in rich Indonesian black nut gravy and served with these amazing nuts and small spoons to scrape out the inside of the nuts to eat with the chicken. It was really surprising and I am really glad we tried it. It has an intensely savoury flavour, a bit smokey and rather umami-flavoured. Really really interesting.


Here are the famous nuts you dig the flesh out of with a little spoon. I then spread it over my chicken. Nom. 


But I decided we also wanted the Ayam Kleo (grilled chicken cooked in spicy coconut gravy) which was the other chicken option so I got it as an extra side dish and I am glad I did. The chicken was wonderfully tender and the sauce was nice and fragrant and not at all heavy which coconut milk can be.


Next was the pork option. Nyonya Pork Ribs is what we selected (Pork ribs braised in fragrant gravy, a favourite of the Penang Nyonyas served garnished with fresh coriander leaves) 


Next was the rendang course, we went for beef over lamb. Beef Rendang - Tender pieces of shin beef cooked in rich, spicy coconut gravy served garnished with Serondeng


Next was the fish course - Ikan Chuan Chuan (Deep-fried fillets of red snapper served in a fragrant ginger sauce, garnished with fresh coriander leaves and crispy fried ginger)


Fish course done, my friend M decided he wanted otak but wasn't sure our visitors would like it so he got just a side dish of it. Much to our surprise it arrived looking like a lasagna! But he said it was great.


The next dish was Sotong Panggang -  squid marinated in fragrant spices and grilled, served hot from the stove with sambal and a side dish of Nyonya Salad (pineapple and cucumber I think).


Sambal served on the side to not impact the less spice-addicted among us.


For the veggie course we chose Nyonya Chap Chye - Cabbage braised with mushrooms and various Chinese ingredients in rich taucheo and prawn stock. Due to the prawn stock not my favourite but it had nice flavours none the less. 


I did suspect I wouldn't be a huge fan of the veg option so I also ordered a kailan with garlic which was lovely. 


Table full of food! Yum.



As I advised earlier, we then had free choice of the dessert menu but I was disappointed to see that the coconut pancakes had been removed! I was explained that they have a store in Tangs that does all sorts of sweets and the dessert chef couldn't handle the restaurants plus the shop so you can only get them there. Oh well. As things turned out, I am glad they didn't have them as I am not sure I would have liked them more than the dessert I chose which I adored! One of the best desserts I have had in a long time and I don't usually bother with anything besides chocolate!

This was amazing. Gula melaka (the molasses) with sago pearls shaped into a kind of patty, in coconut milk. The sago was soft and bouncy and I love when they kind of burst. I love coconut milk and this wasn't overly sweet. And topped with the caramel-ly toffee-y rich flavour of the gula melaka and all together I was in heaven. I made my neighbours try it and they agreed. Great dessert!



My neighbour's dessert - rice pancakes with banana sauce. The pancakes tasted nice and had a good texture.



And others went for chendol topped with durian. For those who don't know what chendol is, it is green worms (actually just rice flour jelly with green colouring :) ) with kidney beans, topped with shaved ice, gula melaka and coconut milk. And the PeraMakan version is topped with durian jam which we enjoyed having our visitors try :)



All in all we had a great evening with great Peranakan food at PeraMakan. I hadn't really tried proper Peranakan food yet and it is really very interesting! Give it a go!

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