[Singapore 新加坡] Candlenut

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Add: 17A Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249676
Tel: +65 1800 304 2288
Hours: [lunch] Mon-Sun 12-3pm [dinner] Sun-Thu 6-10pm, Fri 6-11pm
Website: comodempsey.sg/restaurant/candlenut
Price: 60-80 SGD/person
Visited: Jun 2019

I’ve never really had a proper “Peranakan” meal, so was eager to take up on friend’s invitation to lunch at Candlenut, the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant. Candlenut is located on the stylish Dempsey Hill of Singapore, and just stepping into the space was a treat in itself – the combination of the lofty ceiling with all those dangling bamboo lampshades, just beautiful.

仔細想想,我似乎沒有真正品嚐過 “娘惹菜”,所以當一位朋友建議我們去 Candlenut 吃午餐時,我馬上就答應了。Candlenut 是首間得到米其林一星的娘惹餐廳,地點座落於新加坡登布西山一處兵營改建的房子里,光踏入那空間就是一種享受 – 高挑的天花板搭配竹制的燈罩,太美了。

But what is “Peranakan cuisine”? Long story short, the Peranakans are an ethnic group descended from Chinese settlers who came to Malaysia and Singapore between the 15th and 17th centuries, the men are referred to as “Baba”, and women are referred to as “Nyonya”. Their cuisine, which is called either Nyonya or Peranakan food, combines Chinese, Malay and other influences.

不過到底何為 “娘惹菜”?早期華人從中國向東南亞發展移民至馬來西亞和新加坡,和當地的婦女結婚後所生下的後代,男性稱峇峇,女性就稱娘惹。當時的馬來妻子為了迎合華人丈夫的口味,在做飯時做得多是中國菜,但同時也融入了當地的辛香料調味,發展出這套既有中國特色、又同時融合南洋元素的娘惹料理。

Though Peranakan food is traditionally very casual, it is elevated into something more refined in the hands of Malcom Lee, the head chef at Candlenut. Influenced by his Nyonya mother’s cooking since early childhood, Malcom preserves the essence and complexities of traditional food while adding modern twists, striking a fine balance between authenticity and creativity.

娘惹雖是傳統家常料理,在 Candlenut 主廚李小明(Malcolm Lee)手中卻變得相當精緻。李小明是第三代土生華人,他對娘惹菜從小對耳濡目染,後來又進入廚藝學校學習,在傳統與摩登的烹飪技巧之間找到了微妙的平衡。

Kueh pie tee: homemade crispy pastry cup, hand-cut local turnip braised with tau cheo and pork belly, prawns (20 SGD).

Kueh pie tee:脆口的 “小金杯” 里盛了五花肉燉蘿卜和鮮蝦 (20 SGD)。

Ngoh Hiang: minced pork, prawns, shiitake mushrooms, water chestnut wrapped in crispy deep fried beancurd skin (18 SGD).

Ngoh hiang:脆豆皮包裹著豬肉、鮮蝦、香菇、水菱 (18 SGD)。

Blue swimmer crab curry: a candlenut signature, turmeric, galangal, kaffir lime leaf (36 SGD).

Blue swimmer crab curry:藍蟹咖喱、薑黃、薑、泰國青檸葉 (36 SGD)。

Nyonya Hokkien mee: egg noodles braised with tau cheo, king tiger prawn, baby squid and pork belly, shredded omelette, cucumber (34 SGD).

Nyonya Hokkien mee:娘惹福建面、虎蝦、五花肉、烏賊、蛋絲、黃瓜 (34 SGD)。

Sambal “Four Heavenly Kings” – Indian lady’s fingers, brinjal, taro stem, wing bean, kang kong, dried shrimp garnished with crispy whitebait (20 SGD).

炒 “四大金剛”:秋葵、茄子、芋頭、龍豆,最後以蝦米和銀魚點綴(20 SGD)。

Candlenut’s Chendol: shaved young coconut ice, freshly extracted coconut milk, sago, coconut konnyaku, pandan jelly, gula melaka (SGD 13).

Candlenut 珍多冰:椰子冰、新鮮椰奶、西米、椰子蒟蒻、斑蘭葉果凍、椰糖。

Textures of coconut: sorbet, espuma, jelly, flesh, and topped with fresh grated coconut (SGD 13).

椰子的不同質地:雪酪、泡沫、果凍、新鮮果肉,新鮮刨下的椰子粉(SGD 13)。

Kueh Bingkah: gula melaka kaya, caramelized grated coconut, gula melaka ice cream (16 SGD).

烤木薯蛋糕:椰糖椰奶醬、焦糖椰子粉、椰糖冰淇淋(16 SGD)。

Somehow we ended up with all coconut-themed desserts, and while they were tasty, in retrospect I really wished I had tried the Buah Keluak Ice Cream with Valrhona Chocolate which (I later found out) is the most recommended option on the dessert menu. Well, next time.

不知為何我們當天選的三個甜點都是椰子主題的,雖然也都不錯,但後來我才發現最受推薦的甜點是 Buah Keluak Ice Cream with Valrhona Chocolate(印尼黑果冰淇淋佐法芙娜巧克力)。哎呀,只好留到下次啦。

As a first-timer for Peranakan cuisine, I found the food at Candlenut to be delicious if slightly on the salty side, though my Singapore friends assured me that the traditional Peranakan cuisine is even more bold and flavor-forward. The general consensus amongst my local friends seems to be that while there are other more authentic and down-to-earth Peranakan restaurants, the dishes at Candlenut certainly hit a sweet spot between the traditional and the modern, and are well worth trying. Do give this a go when you visit Singapore. I myself will for sure revisit to try its “ah-makase menu” for a fuller picture of this modern interpretation of Peranakan cuisine.

以一個首次品嚐娘惹菜的人來說,Candlenut 的料理美味但偏鹹,不過我的新加坡朋友們都說真正的娘惹菜的風味要比這個更為強烈。再追問這些當地朋友們的意見,大家似乎都覺得有其他更正宗、更平價的娘惹菜,不過 Candlenut 在傳統和創新之間達到的平衡也非常值得嘗試。如果你來新加坡的話,請不要錯過這一家。我自己已打算要再訪,而且下次要點 Malcom 的 “ah-makase” 菜單,一口氣多品嚐幾道他的招牌菜。

地址:17A Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249676
電話:+65 1800 304 2288
營業時間:[午餐] Mon-Sun 12-3pm [晚餐] Sun-Thu 6-10pm, Fri 6-11pm
價位:人均約 60-80 SGD