Wednesday, October 01, 2008

EATZ: Kim Choo's Kitchen 金珠小厨

Back in the days as early as the 15th Century, after the great Chinese explorer Admiral Zheng He made his first visit to the Malay Peninsula, the Emperor of China send a princess to the Sultan of Malacca. Followers of the princess who eventually settled and spreaded the roots into this region, became the first Straits-born Chinese, the Peranakan. Also known as Baba for man and Nonya for woman, the Peranakans are very much Chinese but adopted a Malay culture and language as a way of life. The Peranakans eventually grew to a population unique to this region of Asia, and the cultures and heritage, a gem.
Kim Choo's Kitchen at Katong, is one restaurant and museum that welcomes diners into a Peranakan home where they indulge in a culture and heritage-rich taste.

My wife and I visited Kim Choo's Kitchen during my birthday to celebrated this special day in Peranakan style.

Achar and Sambal Belachan
S$2 (for appetizer)

Achar, pickled cucumbers and carrots makes great appetizers. Sambal belachan tingles your palate with any Peranakan dish.


Sambal Petai Pork
S$8
Seeds from the pods of Parkia speciosa, petai, stir-fried with sambal chilli, anchovies and minced pork. Also known as 'stink bean', the petai dish is one love/hate dish.



Sambal Sotong
S$8
Calamari rings stir fried with sambal, chilli and shallots.

Stir Fried Kailan
S$8
A simple stir fried kailan dish with bailinggu mushrooms and ginger slices.



Ayam Buah Keluak
S$8
A distinctive Peranakan dish of chicken (ayam) stir fried with sambal and 'black' nuts from the Pangium edule or kepayang tree. A special cutlery with a narrow spatula and a miniature fork on each ends, is used to retrieve the bitter tender flesh from within the nut.



Taste of Culture
Borne from Tradition
Kim Choo's Kitchen
is not only a shophouse that serves Peranakan dishes and sells Nonya kuehs, but this two-storey conserved shophouse is a museum and gallery showcasing the culture of the Peranakans. Most items in the gallery are for retail.

Coloured tableware, kerosene lamps and food baskets.

The old skool meal boxes and a manual calculator.


Sacks of grains

Unique Nonya outfits are still adored by and the pride of the modern generation of Peranakans.


Verdict
Kim Choo's Kitchen not only is a good place to dine, it is also a gallery of heritage. The prices of the food is reasonable. The authentic taste of the Peranakan dishes has been well-preserved. I would usually have petai stir-fried with sambal and minced ha bee (dried shrimps), but having it with minced pork makes this dish even better! The petai seeds are not overly cooked and retained its unique taste and crunchy texture when raw. The Ayam Buah Keluak dish is a must-try dish for anyone who visits Kim Choo's Kitchen. Though for many, it may seem like rendang, but the buah keluak made all the difference to the taste of this dish. Nevertheless, the flesh of this nut is a rather acquired taste. The excellent service and ambiance makes this restaurant a fantastic dining place for all occasions. Note that there is a charge for the achar and water, however, all listed prices are already inclusive of government taxes and service charges.
My bill came up to S$36.70 and in my opinion gives me the same omph I get when I visited Tung Lok Signatures, except cheaper!


Kim Choo Kueh Chang - Restaurant / Gallery
(Kim Choo's Kitchen / Ruma Kim Choo)

109/111, East Coast Road
Singapore 428800
Tel: 65 6741 2125

2 comments:

Livelife said...

Plugged your post here. Site isn't live yet, still testing and working out the bugs. Thanks for your permission to post.

WILLIAM TAN said...

my pleasure!
thanks for the plug.