Singapore is uniquely a mix of all types of people. Myself for example, by race I am Eurasian, but by culture I am diversified. I am a Eurasian, Hainanese and Peranakan altogether in one package. My Straits Chinese roots come from my Paternal Grandmother’s side, and since young I have been exposed to dishes like Ayam Buah Keluak, Chap Chye, Popiah, Itek Tim, Babi Pong Teh, Bakwan Kepeting, Sambal Timun, Achar, and not forgetting the ubiquitous Sambal Belachan.
There is only a handful or so of Peranakan restaurants in Singapore, and I have always been keen to venture. So it was my great delight when Time Out Singapore invited me and a guest to visit The Blue Ginger Restaurant.
For this tasting session, I invited along my grandmother Helen (the matriach who influenced me the most with her Peranakan cooking which she learnt from my Great Grandmother Emily when she was young). For the first dish, we were presented with a hands on Popiah spread. A good variety of ingredients were freshly prepared and even traditional favourites like minced garlic, ground peanuts were included.
For the skin itself, I noted that it was slightly thicker with a touch of moisture throughout the piece. It felt good and firm when rolled up. Keeping all the ingredients in.
The self made popiah with all the ingredients packed in, was juicy with a good spectrum of tastes and textures. The chilli padi sauce itself was an excellent addition giving that lovely kick in each bite while the sweet plum sauce soothed the tastebuds. Very nice.
The next dish that came was the Kueh Pie Tee ($7.00). Standard fare of the crisp outer shell stuffed with braised radish and bamboo shoots, topped with a prawn and some chilli. A tad dry and with the feeling that something was missing, I felt that this version was decent enough.
The apparent feature for this tasting session at The Blue Ginger was prawns. Fresh, large tiger prawns were cooked in a variety of ways. We had the Udang Goreng Cili Garam ($19.80). Prawns deep fried quickly and topped with a good dosage of slightly sour chilli paste and lime, these were good as the refreshing taste of lime juice complemented the seafood fragrance of prawns well.
Sambal Udang ($19.80), prawns deep fried and then quickly coated with delicate portions of sambal. This was like prawns with more prawns, albeit pounded, on the top. A little too saltish but tasty, and with hints of spice, this went well with rice.
Out of all the prawn dishes, perhaps what caught my attention the most would be the Udang Goreng Taoyu Lada ($19.80). The tiger prawns were deep fried and then quickly stir fried to coat with a lovely mix of dark sweet sauce and black pepper paste. Sweet, pepperish, it reminded me of a good dish of Pepper Crabs. Although I have to admit that having three prawn dishes was an overdose in one sitting,
Desserts are probably the strengths of The Blue Ginger Restaurant. The Gula Melaka – sago, sea coconut, topped with crushed ice, coconut cream and a good pouring of the fragrant palm sugar, was irresistibly sweet and fragrant. I remember having mentioned before in one of my articles that gula melaka and fresh coconut cream has always been a heavenly combination. Yum Yum.
But perhaps the whopper of all decadent desserts would be the Durian Chendol ($4.80). Chendol with beans served with crushed ice, coconut cream, gula melaka and a generous heap of durian puree would make any mouth water (unless you are a durianophobic). This was one dish that both my grandma and me enjoyed immensely.
Imagine being hit by the sweet pungency of the durian the moment the dessert arrives at your table.
The decor on the first and second floors of the restaurant are quite different. The first floor was a gathering of rectangular tables in a modern and classy setting. Joining the tables together with a huge spread of Peranakan cuisine on it would form a tok panjang that my grandma fondly reminisced during her wedding day.
On the second floor, the setting is more family oriented with circular tables for individuals to gather around and dine.
Visiting The Blue Ginger Restaurant has been a unique experience and it has been enjoyable dining in the company of grandma, listening to the tales of old as she went through each dish. Around the table we gather, for a time to dine, chit chat and fondly, remember.
Thank You Celine and James from Time Out Singapore for the invitation.
This visit is in conjunction with Time Out Singapore’s 1st Dine Out Tasting Event. The tasting event will be held on 29 September at The Fullerton Hotel with 10 participating restaurants present. Click here to find out more!
|The Blue Ginger Restaurant
97 Tanjong Pagar Road Tel : 6222 3928
Website : http://www.theblueginger.com