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Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Ginger that is Blue

Years ago, my mother watched the Singapore Chinese drama series "The Little Nyonya (小娘惹)" and was inspired by the Peranakan food culture. She cooked the assam fish almost every week during that period of time. I haven't tasted her assam fish for quite some time already.

During my previous trip to Singapore, I had a chance to taste the Nyonya or Peranakan food again thanks to my brother and sister-in-law, and of course my nephew who is a food connoisseur. After my shooting for the Singapore National Day fireworks, we went to the The Blue Ginger Restaurant nearby my shooting location.

The complimentary acar was really an appetite stimulator. The version at Blue Ginger is made from pickled cucumber, carrot and cabbage. The sweet and sour taste makes it an excellent appetiser.


The Ngo Heong and Otak Otak made also very good starter. The Ngo Heong here is made of minced pork and prawn, similar to my mother's version. The differences are that my mother's version is without the five-spice powder but with the addition of green garlic. The one at Blue Ginger was already good, but I still prefer my mother's version with tons of green garlic and onion.

The Otak Otak was also good with enough spiciness. However, I find the fish cake a bit too soft. It would have been perfect is there is a little more chewiness.

Ngo Heong

Otak Otak

My favourite eggplant in sambal chilli paste couldn't be missed! The deep-fried eggplant retained the juice inside and it was a liitle crunchy outside. When the vegetable juice mixed with the chilli paste in the mouth through the process of chewing, the concoction of both made it a gastronomic orgasm!

Sambal Goreng Terong

For the meat dishes, we had the Ayam Buah Keluak and Babi Pong Tay. Ayam Buah Keluak is a braised chicken dish with the Indonesian black nuts ground and refilled into the shells. I am not a fan of the buah keluak, but for those who love it, they can go crazy about it. As for the Babi Pong Tay, I quite like the chewiness of the pork shoulder in the fermented bean paste flavour.

Ayam Buah Keluak

Babi Pong Tay

Now it comes to the highlight dish of the day, the assam fish! This was very close to my mother's version and I told my sister-in-law that she should ask my mother to cook this for her when she is in Kuching. The level of sweetness and spiciness are the same for both Blue Ginger and mother's versions. My mother's version is more sour due to the use of the "indigenous" tomatoes which I prefer.

Ikan Masak Assam Gulai

We also had the Sotong Kunyit which is squid stir-fried with turmeric powder and tamarind juice. This was also quite an appetising dish with the sourness from the tamarind juice.

Sotong Kunyit

To cap it off, we had Durian Chendol and Chendol to wash down all the delicious food. If you do not fear the smell of durian, you must have the Durian Chendol! Trust me, the durian uplifted the chendol to another league in Asian dessert. For those who have not acquired the taste of the notorious local food, then you should just settle for the ordinary chendol.

Durian Chendol


The Blue Ginger Restaurant is at 97 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 008518. Tel: +65-62223928.

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