All things peranakan are pretty much a mystery to me. I didn’t know any peranakans (at least not until recently, my colleague is peranakan and very proud of it) nor did I watch The Little Nyonya. The eye opener came when I was invited to my colleague’s family event which held in attendence many of their peranakan relatives and friends, all dressed to the nines in beautiful authentic sarong kebayas and batik shirts. Never seen so many nyonyas and babas, be it young or old, in my life! To complete our peranakan experience, my colleague brought a few of us to True Blue Cuisine for some good peranakan food. In total honesty, I just really wanted to try her mum’s cooking, which I heard will totally crush any peranakan restaurant out there like a sumo wrestler.
True Blue occupies an old shophouse that has a longish narrower structure with a high ceilinged window in the center of the hall for natural light which is typical of peranakan households.
Menu. Although True Blue is one of the more established peranakan restaurants in Singapore, my colleague said they are not as authentic in a way because they are halal. Some dishes that traditionally uses pork is replaced with chicken at True Blue. Another good peranakan restaurant that uses pork is probably the one at Frankel Ave, I think the name is House of Peranakan Cuisine. We left the ordering to the nyonya, and she was happily chatting with the server in malay and indonesian, whom she knows personally since her family are regulars here.
Keropok that was served once we were seated.
Warm Longan Tea which I drank a lot of because I love dried longans! My colleague says they serve this at their home during Chinese New Year too.
Kueh Pie Tee was served first, but I am not sure if this is available everyday because I heard the server say “Today got Kueh Pie Tee”. The shells, which my colleague says are not easy to make, are made in-house and were very crisp. The filling is like popiah filling but crunchier with a stronger flavour. True Blue’s version has prawns. Everyone liked this dish a lot, while having fun stuffing the filling into shells and biting into them whole.
Chap Cai, a simple dish that was executed well, veggies were not too soggy, my second favourite.
Ayam Buah Keluak with chicken and candlenut. The chicken was nicely flavored but I do think eating buah keluak (black nuts you see in the picture) is an acquired taste. They are really tedious to make! You must 1) soak for at least a day in water with assam skin, 2) scoop paste out and mix with minced chicken/pork/prawns then 3) stuff the mixed paste back into the nut (all nicely scrubbed and slit) before cooking with the chicken! I feel so bad for not fully appreciating all the work that has gone into that nut. Anyway, you are suppose to dig the paste out from the nut to eat it, and it tasted like olive paste to me.
I, very unfortunately, did not manage to catch much about this dish but I think it has mainly banana shoots in it…?
Spicy soup with prawns and pineapple, tasted something like tom yam!
Durian Pengat for dessert, not in menu. This was so so good, smooth with chunks of durian flesh. Think they added some gula melaka.
Chendol, they have durian chendol too.
If you have yet to be exposed to peranakan food much like I do, its definitely worth it to have a meal at a established peranakan restaurant like True Blue. Its almost like a heritage experience although the price is on the high side really. Once in a while thing then!