Creativity meets tradition
Candlenut's buah keluak (chicken with Indonesian black nut) ice cream.
The move to preserve Singapore street food has also moved into more traditional restaurants, whose chefs have giddily given the city's classic plates an update.
At the decade-old Wild Rocket
, Low serves contemporary Singapore cuisine adapted from the city's favorite cheap eats.
Laksa, a popular Peranakan noodle dish with spicy broth flavored with coconut milk, is reinvented as a pesto sauce and paired with pasta.
On Low's newly introduced "omakase" menu, bak chor mee (minced pork noodles) steals the spotlight. Low's version is made with glass noodles cooked in Iberico pork fat topped with torched mixed tuna and scallions.
At 3-year-old Candlenut
, Malcolm Lee recreates Singapore's ubiquitous ayam buah keluak (chicken with Indonesian black nut) as a rich paste blanketed on sous-vide wagyu beef short ribs.
Lee introduced an "ahmakase" menu -- the name is a play on "ah ma" (grandma) and omakase (a Japanese meal with dishes selected by the chef) -- with creations like a thick broth of buak keluak with beef cheek, shallots and aromatics.
The former banker has remade Singapore's de facto national street dish with deep-fried soft shell crab flanked by a dollop of piquant chili crab ice cream with man tou (Chinese steamed bun).
It's another effort to save, or at least evolve, the country's legacy dishes.
"Neo-Singapore cuisine is an expression of myself growing up in the modern age whilst being exposed to traditional flavors, some of which are being lost through time," says Han. "Singapore celebrated its 50th birthday this year (2015), I want my cuisine to celebrate modern Singapore while also remembering our roots."
Candlenut, 331 New Bridge Road, 01-03 Dorsett Residences, Singapore Wild Rocket, 10A Upper Wilkie Road, Singapore, Singapore