Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
All rights reserved copyright
The inspiring and indomitable Travelling Gourmet TM goes to Tiong Bahru to find…
MY Mum’s Cuisine in Link Hotel. This restaurant specialises in Nyonya and Peranakan cuisine and I was very joyful to try many of their specialities. It just opened in November 2015. Many people always ask me as The Travelling Gourmet TM, to recommend good Peranakan restaurants to them. Alas, my usual answer is: The best Peranakan food is cooked by my Mum! All the so-called Peranakan restaurants are mostly mediocre at best. They cater to diners who are NOT Peranakan and NOT Baba and NOT Nyonya. They therefore do not know what is real Peranakan cuisine! There is even a Peranakan restaurant in Changi Village where the Chef is from India! WTH!
Well, I was pleasantly suprised to find that the food in My Mum’s Cuisine is pretty good…and I can recommend this place for Peranakan specialities like Ayam Buah Keluak done in the proper traditional way. Ayam means Chicken in the Malay language.The Candle Nut or Buah Keluak is removed from the nut and then mixed with prawn and pork…before being stuffed back in the nut and cooked with chicken parts in a rich, thick, velvety and slightly tangyAssam (tamarind) spiked sauce. YUMMIE! A lovely and most thoughtful touch was the lobster fork provided to dig out all the lovely bits of Buah Keluak stuffing! With this Nyonya classic, I selected medium bodied Lake Taupo 2010 Omori Pinot Noir chock full of “sweet” and sour cherry and plum flavours…pleasing spice on the end palate. New Zealand is rightly famous for its Pinot Noir wines which are so amazingly different from the Pinot Noirs of the Loire Valley. It was a good partner with the Ayam Buah Keluak. I love the Tingkat or Tiffin Carriers which decorate the restaurant. They have Malay phrases on the side like Slamat untong (may you prosper) and Slamat angkat (happy carrying).
The restaurant GM, Bernard Liew, was most helpful with his recommendations and all his recommendations were my favourite dishes!
The Nyonya Ngoh Hiang or meaty pork and shrimp Spring Roll fragrant with 5 Spice is also well done and very tasty. Look for the crunchy orange carrot nuggets interspered..There is liver in it too which I like.
Try too the most comforting Kiam Chye Ar Th’ng or Itek Tim which translates as Duck and salted Vegetable Soup. I also had a whole fish split into two and served up in two different ways. One style was with slightly spicy piquant Nyonya Sauce. The other style was with Sweet and Sour Sauce.
The Travelling Gourmet TM and Mrs. Cheng, the Chef of My Mum’s Cuisine
The lady Chef, Mrs. Cheng is very hard working and can cook Peranakan cuisine well. I know because I am a true-blue Peranakan Baba! Throughout dinner, Mr. Lim Sian Hoon, the affable Director of the restaurant regaled me with amusing tales of his career in the Food and Beverage industry. One of his most humourous tales was of the Cockpit Hotel Executive Chef who had a habit of helping himself to butter and jam to bring home for his own use. Mr. Lim was tasked with reprimanding the Chef, so he told the Hainanese Chef: “We know you have been karpohing (stealing) the food every day…Well, you can carry on stealing. Just steal less, ok!” I laughed till my tummy ached!
Back to the food, Bakwan Kepiting is another Nyonya delight served here. Bakwan is a meat ball made with prawn, pork and crabmeat. Very different from Italian meatballs Ha! Ha! I also relished the healthy Assorted Mushrooms on a sizzling Hot Plate. The restaurant is bright and spacious which I like. I do not like cramped restaurants that are too dimly lit. I always think in my mind: Why is it so dark? Do you want hide something in your food??” The intricate Peranakan terracotta tiles on the pillars and the colourful peony flowers in large vases also give a nice ambience to the place.
Selamat menjamu selera! (Bon appetit in Malay) 🙂
My Mum’s Cuisine
MMC Hospitality Pte. Ltd.
50, Tiong Bahru Road
#01-04 Link Hotel
Tel: 6622 8586