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Peranakan Cuisine 

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 ingredients with Malay sauces and spices. It is commonly flavoured with shallots, chillies, belacan (Malay fermented prawn paste), peanuts, preserved soybeans and galangal (a gingerlike root). Thick coconut milk is used to create the sauce that flavours the prime ingredients.

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 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.

Peranakan food is found primarily in speciality restaurants in Singapore, though you may get one or two dishes as part of a stall's repertoire at a hawker centre or food court. Most of the food are dishes to be eaten as part of a large meal, normally with steamed white rice as a base.

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