Monday, June 29, 2009
It was no surprise that after the hit TV drama serial, The Little Nonya, all things Peranakan became in vogue... including food.
But long before The Little Nonya, this small kiosk in Bukit Timah Plaza has been faithfully serving up delicious food and nibbles. It all started 29 years ago with a Peranakan lady who ground her rempah (spice mix) with the traditional stone pestle and mortar at the kiosk. Fast-forward three generations to today, she is no longer involved in the strenuous day-to-day operations but her family continues to fly the flag.
Although the current boss, Damien, has switched to using prepacked onions and done away with the pestle and mortar, the food is nonetheless tasty.
Dropping by for a rather late lunch, most of the rice items, such as the Nasi Kunyit and Nasi Lemak, have been sold out. So we made the most out of it... by ordering Mee Siam, Laksa, Mee Rebus and desserts.
I loved the Mee Siam ($4.50) with its tangy assam gravy. Perfect to complement the hard boiled egg, especially the yolk.
The Laksa ($4.50) was my favourite for the afternoon. Oh yes. Rich coconut gravy with spicy sambal and chopped hae bee (dried shrimps) made this truly wonderful. The pieces of tau pok (puffed tofu) and prawns tasted great in this gravy.
As for the Mee Rebus ($4.50), the starchy gravy was liberally flavoured with the goodness of tau cheo (fermented soy beans). Another good gravy for going with hard boiled egg. Though the taste could be a little boring after a few mouthfuls.
Some common ingredients found in all three noodle dishes were the small pieces of tau pok, three fairly big prawns and the single hard boiled egg. Not that it got repetitive, but these are just great to eat with gravies such as these.
Wash all that down (especially on a hot afternoon) with Bandung and Chin Chow at $1.50 each. The rose-flavoured drink was milky and sweet but slightly watered down while the Chin Chow was refreshing.
For desserts, we had the Homemade Fresh Bubur Terigu ($2.20)- a dessert made with wheat. I enjoyed biting into the beads of wheat. Taste wise, this was heavy on the gula melaka (palm sugar).
The "No Horse Run" Bubur Cha Cha ($2.50) had soft cubes of sweet potato and yam in a thick soup of coconut milk and syrup. Pandan (screwpine) flavour was evident and lent a light, sweet refreshing fragrance. The jelly cubes were chewy but could be a little softer.
All in all, these are food whipped up with passion. It is a factor that can only come from the heart- a heart with love for food. But it's not surprising after meeting Damien- the 3rd generation boss with a love for what he is doing.
Bukit Timah Plaza
Tel: 6469 1166
Chew On This: I hear they have very good kueh kueh but unfortunately it wasn't available during my visit as Damien's sister was on leave. She's in-charge of kueh kueh while another sister specialises in the desserts. Family business indeed. :)