I have been lucky enough to grow up having Peranakan food on a regular basis. It isn’t a common cuisine and even rarer to find a restaurant that serves delicious and traditional Peranakan food.
I am so relieved to say that Peranakan Flavours blew me away. Every dish was created with the perfect combination of different flavours that perfectly represent this amazing cuisine.
The Kachang Botol Salad ($8) is not your typical starter. It was spicy and a little tangy. The rawness of the winged bean might be too much for some, but otherwise I thought it was an interesting dish to start our meal.
The Hae Cho ($16), which is a deep fried prawn roll that checks every box for me. Crispy yet light skin on the outside, with soft and juicy prawn paste on the inside. I was quite glad that the prawn did not taste overpowering or absent.
The Homemade Yam Cakes ($15) isn’t very much a Nonya dish, but you’ll be glad to know that it’s on the menu. Peranakan Flavours really nailed the perfect "crispy on the outside, soft on the inside" thing. The soft mushy yam blends well with the hae bi (dried shrimp) giving it a savoury taste with a hint of sweetness.
The Belimbing Pork ($15) is a savoury, spicy and sour dish, three of my favourite flavours. On its own, you might find it a bit too overpowering but pair it with some rice and everything balances out. The spiciness was also a welcome surprise. So often you’ll find dishes that are meant to be spicy that gets toned down to accommodate the crowd, but thankfully that isn’t the case here.
Sayor Lodeh ($8) is one of my personal favourite dishes in the world and this one did not disappoint. The gravy was creamy with just the right amount of spice. Every bite was explosive as all the gravy has absorbed into the vegetables. Give me a plate of rice and this Sayor Lodeh and I’m a happy man.
Pork Knuckle Buah Keluak ($60 onwards) might look simple and basic but it is anything but. And the $60 price point might seem steep but the when you find out about the painstaking process of preparing buah keluak and how much of it is used in this dish you will know it’s justified. I’m usually not a fan of pork knuckles that aren’t fried a la German style, but this dish was so tender and flavourful that it left me wanting more. It was sour with a hint of bitterness at the end.
Nanas Prawn ($18) continues the trend of dishes with sour notes. Nanas means pineapple in Malay, the language spoken by most Peranakans. This dish is made with pineapple curry with big, fresh and juicy prawns. I loved how the sweet and tangy gravy had a hint of spiciness.
The best part of the Sotong Hitam ($18) was that it it had a nice texture that was soft but still had a chew to it. It was lightly salted with the taste of fresh catch from the sea and the ginger added a nice hint of spiciness at the back of the tongue.
Peranakan cuisine is usually a sharing concept where all dishes are placed in the middle of the table for all to share. But if you want a dish for yourself, you can try their House Special Laksa Goreng ($15), or you could share it too, because sharing is caring.
The noodles were springy with a nice spicy hint. It was perfect. But this dish comes without the laksa soup, unlike the usual laksa. I thought this was good because as a messy eater, it prevents your top from becoming a Jackson Pollock painting. Remember to mix the lime with everything! It tastes so much better.
Peranakan food is a niche cuisine, something I remember Chef Ben saying during our meal. A cuisine with mixture of many flavours, it's quite akin to Mexican or Indian cuisines that also spot several herb and spice in its dishes. I think what makes Peranakan cuisine great is its ability give you a homely, comfort meal, and Peranakan Flavours made me feel like home.