Peranakan food, or dishes created and perfected by descendants of Chinese immigrants who married Malayan locals, is an essential part of Singaporean cuisine. And one of the best places to try it is at Violet Oon, named after the doyenne of Nyonya food who’s both a chef and a former restaurant critic. Everything’s still done the traditional way, and flavours are blistering, both here at the National Gallery and at other Violet Oons around the city.
Kick off with chicken satay or the more curious textures of kuay pie tee, stewed root vegetables poached in a prawn bisque and presented in a crispy shell topped with a prawn. For mains the buah keluak ayam, is a delicious spicy stew made with chicken and fermented black nut curry, while beef rendang is tender beef shin in a creamy coconut milk-based curry. Vegetables, noodles and desserts are also beautifully executed.
If the sun’s out, bypass the historical City Hall building, which is now home to the National Gallery, and enjoy the rays on the veranda.