From Singapore Hotels & Singapore Lifestyle
Peranakan Cuisine - as descendants of early Chinese immigrants who married Malay women, the Peranakans also developed a unique cuisine that blends Chinese and Malay spices, styles and ingredients, with a preponderance of the one ingredient the Muslim Malays will never use - pork and its derivatives. Peranakan Cuisine is commonly flavoured with shallots, pounded chillies, Belacan (Malay fermented prawn paste), peanuts, preserved soybeans and galangal (a gingerlike root). Thick coconut milk (called "Santan") is used to create the sauce that flavours the prime ingredients, as well as in their Desserts, all of which were never found in Chinese Cuisine before.
In the past decade, there has been a resurgence of interest in Peranakan Cuisine, which was once confined to the home, with a good number of Restaurants now specialising in this unusual blend.
Typical Peranakan Cuisine Dishes include Otak Otak, a wonderful sausage-like blend of fish, coconut milk, chilli paste, galangal and herbs, wrapped and cooked in a banana leaf; Ayam Buah Keluak, chicken stewed with dark nuts imported from Indonesia to produce a rich earthy sauce - make sure you eat the filling stuffed in the nut shell; and Itek Tim]], a classic soup of simmered duck, tomatoes, green peppers, salted vegetables and preserved sour plums.
Also, don't miss out on slurping the distinctive Peranakan Laksa (noodles in a savoury coconut-milk gravy with fried tofu and bean sprouts) or Mee Siam (Thai-inspired rice vermicelli in a spicy-sour gravy) at most eating places such as Restaurants, Hawker Centres and Food Courts.
Traditional Peranakans take great pride in creating all their dishes from scratch; nothing is ever store-bought. To them, this makes all the difference to the taste. Needless to say, for them, cooking is a labour of love.
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