Experience Chinese New Year ‘Tok Panjang’-style at chef Damian D’Silva’s Folklore restaurant. Literally meaning ‘long table’, ‘Tok Panjang’ in the Peranakan home signals elaborate spreads of hearty, homemade dishes come special occasions like Chinese New Year.
Chef Damian fondly remembers helping his grandma preparing elaborate dishes from scratch during this time of year. He recreates his family’s mammoth feasts from 15 Feb – 2 March, where you’d get to enjoy a buffet spread of up to 15 heritage dishes.
Some must-tries are chef Damian’s trio of nourishing, flavourful soups: fish maw, itek teem (duck and salted vegetables) and bakwan kepiting (crab meatballs soup cooked in prawn and pork stock). In chef Damian’s kitchen, nothing is ever simple. The fish maw soup for instance, comes packed with ingredients such as pig stomach, intestines, fish maw stuffed with minced meat, fish and prawn balls, and sea cucumber. Likewise, the crab meatballs in the bakwan kepiting is painstakingly prepared by mixing minced pork, chopped prawns, bamboo shoots, and soya sauce, ‘beating’ the mix until the right texture is achieved, then adding the crabmeat and spring onions before finally shaping them into balls to be steamed.
Chef Damian’s kueh pie tee is something you wouldn’t want to miss. The filling that chef Damian makes features hand-shredded turnip, bamboo shoots and pork slices cooked in prawn and pork stock. Already tasty on its own, it’s even better with the heap of shredded eggs and cooked prawns heaped on top. The freshness of the ingredients and light, crisp shells will send you to pie tee heaven.
One of the Peranakan classics, ayam buah keluak is usually an acquired taste. But we loved the one at Folklore—the pulp of the buah keluak (black nut) is extracted from the nut shells by hand, then cooked with lard and salt, and filled back into the shells. The stuffed nuts are then added to homemade rempah and slow-cooked with the chicken. The resulting dish is a heady mix of the black nut’s uniquely nutty, chocolatey flavours.
Last and certainly not least, the babi pongteh at Folklore is a showstopper. A traditional Peranakan favourite, babi pongteh is braised pork that is slow-cooked with fermented bean paste, bamboo shoots, dried mushrooms and dark sugarcane.
If you’ve got the stomach space, definitely try the sambal Belimbing. Miniature starfruits and homemade sambal are at the heart of this dish; the tart and spicy taste of this rendition calls for an accompaniment of white rice. But we recommend saving room for dessert. Slurp in chef Damian’s chendol and try his delicious kuehs such as kueh ko sui and kueh lapis.
Tok Panjang buffet is available from 15 Feb to 2 March for dinner from 6pm to 9.30pm at $68 per adult and $28 per child below 12 years old. Chinese New Year set lunches will be available during the period at $18.80 per person.
700 Beach Road. Tel: 6679 2900