5 Peranakan dishes you have to try

Peranakan Dishes

Peranakan dishes, also known as Nonya cuisines are widely popular in the Southeast Asian region, especially in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Its unique and mouth-watering flavours go way back to when the Chinese emigrated to the region in the 15th century.

This allows for a blend of culture and tradition that ultimately influence their style of cooking. Along with rich food traditions, Peranakan dishes offer a taste of the region’s celebrated history. Before we dive deeper into the dishes, here’s a brief meaning of the terms associated with the Peranakan Chinese.

The Peranakan Chinese often refer to themselves as Baba-Nonya. The term Baba is the honorific for Straits-Chinese men. Initially borrowed by the Malays from the Hindustani language, it slowly became part of the common language. Meanwhile, the term Nonya refers to Straits-Chinese women. It was borrowed from the old Portuguese word for lady, donha.

As these terms gradually became part of the Peranakan’s identity, their cuisine too became a part of it with an array of dishes named after the term Nonya. If you haven’t tried any of the Peranakan cuisines in your lifetime, you’re missing out on one of the most unique food combination, one that’s tangy, spicy, herbal, and aromatic.

Bear in mind that no two dishes are the same as the cuisine varies according to town and region. The Nonya food that you get in Singapore may taste different from the ones you get in Malaysia or Indonesia. If you’re looking to try some of the Peranakan dishes but you’re not sure where to start, don’t fret. We’re here to help you out.

Here are the five dishes you should try for your first taste of Peranakan food.

1. Signature Kampong Dry Laksa

Normally, we have clear broth noodle soup with additional meat or seafood. The Peranakans however, have tweaked the recipe to create a dish, known as laksa, that’s not only beloved by Singaporeans but also Malaysians. This fusion dish is a result of the Peranakan’s innovative way to create a dish that’s tangy and spicy.

The dish is a blend of regional influence with coconut milk from Indonesia and Assam from Malaysia, which makes it a spicy and filling dish. As most of the laksa we know comes with gravy, Chilli Manis has switched up the recipe to create a Signature Kampong Dry Laksa. It’s worth a try if you haven’t tried dry laksa before.

2. Signature Ayam Buah Keluak

As one of the supreme Peranakan dishes, cooking the Ayam Buah Keluak is a tricky feat. The rich taste comes from the seeds of the kepayang tree, a tall tree that’s now a heritage in Singapore. Preparing the seeds can take more than a month as the seed is poisonous if uncooked.

The seeds undergo several processes to remove the hydrogen cyanide. Luckily, modern developments have made things easier and you can find ready-to-cook seeds at the market. Besides, you’ll need to simmer the chicken and kepayang seeds with tamarind and some spices to create a flavourful dish.

3. Udang Masak Nenas

This signature Peranakan dish is a must-try if you love eating foods that are sweet and sour. The sauce has a unique combination which results from the sheer sweetness and sourness of the tamarind and pineapple, pungency from the belacan (shrimp paste) along with the creaminess of the coconut milk and heat from the chillies.

These ingredients may seem incompatible with each other but can create a dish that’s both flavorful and tasty. It’s similar to the sweet and sour fish but has more flavours. If you haven’t tried this dish, you ought to give it a try. If you never try, you’ll never know.

4. Nonya Chap Chye with Mushroom

Chap chye is Hokkien for mixed vegetables. This dish is a simple stir-fried vegetable which originates from China. Along with the use of taucheo and prawn stock, the Peranakans have switched the dish up a notch to give it the spicy and flavourful taste.

The ingredients consist of sweet cabbage, cloud fungus, woodsy lily bud, tofu skin, and vermicelli. These ingredients then absorb the rich sauce flavours to give you a satisfying yet tasty vegetable dish.

5. Pulut Hitam with Coconut Milk

As one of the most popular desserts in this region and also for the high tea catering, Pulut Hitam with Coconut Milk is a Peranakan dessert that shouldn’t be missed. Made of black glutinous rice and coconut milk, this equivalent of a rice porridge can relief your tastebuds after trying all the dishes above.

The glutinous rice is first sweetened with either palm sugar or rock sugar to give it a rich flavour. Depends on how you like to have it, you can also mix the coconut milk into the glutinous rice for a more creamy texture.

If you’re keen to try these dishes, Chilli Manis offers a catering service for you to try along with your family or friends.

As a halal-certified caterer, we seek to present the most authentic Peranakan cuisine to all in Singapore. You will savour nothing less than a delectable array of Peranakan fare. Contact us at 6250 1112 or email sales@chillimanis.com.sg.

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Exciting mini buffet ideas for the holidays

mini buffet ideas for holidays

The year-end holidays are always exciting as it marks the end of another year. However, everyone will remember this year as one of the toughest years due to the global pandemic. As we continue to stay home (possibly until early next year), what better way to end the year than hosting a small gathering with some of our closest family and friends?

A small gathering is still a gathering, considering how much time and effort it takes to organise one. What’s important is the company (people) and food. Given that we Singaporeans have a passion for eating, it’s no surprise that you will want to choose the right food to make the gathering a memorable one.

It can be challenging to choose the right food as the one question that we always ask ourselves when it’s time for lunch is “What to eat ah?”. With a variety of cuisines to choose from, how do you choose the right food that’s ideal for a cosy gathering?

If planning for a small gathering seems a handful, you can opt for a catering service by Chilli Manis.

Ahead, we’re sharing our food recommendations from our mini buffets that’ll be just right for the holiday season.

Peranakan Mini Buffet

Signature Kampong Dry Laksa

This signature Peranakan dish is a blend of regional influence with coconut milk and assam, making it a spicy and tangy dish. It’s the ideal dish to introduce Peranakan flavours to your family or friends. That’s if they’ve never had the chance to try any Peranakan dishes.

Signature Ayam Buah Keluak

This iconic dish is significant of the Peranakan flavours for its unique cooking method due to the process needed to prepare the keluak nuts. Its spicy and savoury mix of spice-filled gravy along with pieces of chicken make it seem similar to the curry chicken but has more flavours than the latter.

Otah Wrapped with Banana Leaf

This mouth-watering blend of fish paste and spices is considered a local favourite as it packs a punch of delicious flavours wrapped in banana leaf. It’s one of the dishes that is fairly authentic to the Peranakan flavours – tangy, spicy, and aromatic.

Pulut Hitam with Coconut Milk

This luscious dessert is one that shouldn’t be missed to wrap up your small holiday gathering and perfect for a high-tea session. Made of black glutinous rice and coconut milk, this equivalent of a rice porridge can relief the tastebuds after eating all the spicy and tangy Peranakan dishes.

Classic Mini Buffet

Fragrant Thai Pineapple Rice

With rice being a staple of every Singaporean household, it’s no surprise that you’ll want this dish to be present at your small gathering. This dish is perfected with fresh pineapples for a taste that’s unique and bound to leave an impression on your family and friends.

Fish Fillet with Homemade Sambal

A classic dish that’s certainly loved by many, the fish fillet is deep-fried to crisp perfection. This dish goes well with our homemade sambal to give you a fiery yet tasty dining experience.

Homemade Chicken Ngoh Hiang

This nostalgic dish initially came from Eastern China and is mainly comprised of meat and vegetables. You can rest assured that our homemade Ngoh Hiang is made of chicken meat so that everyone can enjoy it. The making of this dish is similar to the Otah Wrapped with Banana Leaf except that it’s wrapped with bean curd skin.

Loh Han Vegetable with Black Fungus

When it comes to classic home-cooked dishes, the vegetable is a must-have on any dining table. Although it’s a typical mixed vegetable dish, a little green can add balance to any of the dishes above.

Choosing the right food for your mini gathering can be challenging but with the help of a local catering service, you won’t have to be troubled by the preparations.

When you order a mini buffet from Chilli Manis, you’ll have a variety of dishes to choose from. You can also mix and match your dishes for a memorable and cosy gathering.

As a halal-certified caterer, we seek to present the most authentic cuisine to all in Singapore. Keen to try our mini buffet catering services? Contact us at 6250 1112 or email sales@chillimanis.com.sg.

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Choosing the Perfect Halal Buffet Catering

When it comes to holding an event, the food and beverage will be the main highlight. You may have noticed this at numerous events and social gatherings such as weddings, parties, reunions, corporate anniversaries, etc.

Without the food, a social gathering would be dull and leave everyone feeling hungry and agitated. You wouldn’t want that to happen, would you? Hiring a catering service may just do the trick and leave a lasting impression on your guests as the human memory is shaped by the context which involves the company, situation, and emotion. And not to mention the benefits that it can bring along.

Sharing Halal Food

In Singapore, about 13.5 percent of the population is Muslim and we know that they’re only allowed to consume ‘halal’ food or drink that is permitted for their consumption. With the growing number of Muslims on the island, there has been an increase in establishments which serve halal food and beverage. This means you’ll have a plethora of halal catering services to choose from, for any of your upcoming events.

The problem is, how do you choose a suitable halal catering service? What’s on their menu and how about the price range? Will there be a food sampling session before you can decide on the menu for your event? Surely you have plenty more questions about the halal food catering service. Fret not, we’re here to help you ensure that your event will be a blast among your guests by sharing all the tips.

Here’s how you can choose the perfect halal buffet catering service.

Get to know your guests

What’s an event if not for the guests? Surely you’ve attended several events to know that it takes a great amount of effort to host an event which caters to everyone’s palate. If you’re hosting one for your family and friends, it’ll be easy to gauge their preferences.

However, if you’re hosting a school reunion or company event, you may want to ask your guests to include their food preferences and allergies when they RSVP in the invitation card/letter. That way, you’ll have a general idea of what to include and exclude from the menu to ensure that the food catering suits their palate. It’ll also leave a lasting memory on your guests.

Research local halal catering services

Get some recommendations from your family or friends who have experience with halal catering services and back it up with the ones you found online. Focus on local catering services to avoid setbacks such as transportation issues which may cost you extra. Be sure to specify your searches so that you wouldn’t spend too much time searching.

Halal Food Arrangement

Another way to narrow down your searches is via their website and social media pages, to see how they interact with previous and prospective clients. You’ll then have a rough idea on what to expect from a local halal catering service in Singapore. Checking out the reviews may also help you to decide on the menu and services.

Check with MUIS

When you do your research on local halal catering services, you may want to check with Singapore’s Islamic Religious Council (MUIS) for a list of certified establishments and food preparation areas.

This will help to narrow your searches and make it easier for you to decide on the best halal catering service for your event, especially corporate and public events.

Besides, it’ll provide peace of mind for your guests as they can safely consume the food and drinks prepared without constraint.

Review the menu

Hosting a buffet event means your guests will have a variety of food and drink to choose from. But it doesn’t mean that you can simply decide on the menu. Be sure to check with your caterer before deciding on the menu and see whether they’re willing to customise a menu to fit your guests’ palates.

As the main highlight of the event, paying attention to the little details like serving halal food will go a long way to ensure that your guests have a pleasant experience. Moreover, you’ll be able to avoid unnecessary mishaps while hosting an event.

Choosing the perfect halal buffet catering for your event may be tough but it’ll all be worth the effort and time once you see your guests enjoying themselves at the event. Besides, you’ll have the upper hand if you’re required to organise another event in the future.

If you’re looking to host a halal buffet event, look no further than Chilli Manis. As a halal-certified caterer, we seek to present the most authentic cuisine to all in Singapore.

Keen to try our halal buffet catering services? Contact us at 6250 1112 or email sales@chillimanis.com.sg.

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How to surprise your guests with sumptuous high tea catering

High tea. Chances are you’ve been to one, hosted by some of the finest hotels or restaurants in Singapore. But it can be costly at times and you just want to spend some time with your close friends.

High Tea by Chilli Manis

Back in the day, high tea was often enjoyed by the British working class after ending a day’s work. Today, it’s enjoyed by everyone as a way to get together and catch up while indulging in tea and some light dishes. It has gone from being an exclusive affair to a popular affair, allowing people to connect better over time. Going for high tea with your friends at a hotel or restaurant is effortless as you needn’t prepare any of the food and drink, just your mind, body and wallet. But if you’re planning to host a high tea catering for your friends at home, we have just the right tip for you.

Type and variety of food

If you’ve been to any high tea buffet, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a variety of food for you to choose from. It’s to ensure that everyone gets the chance to indulge in something and remember about.

For your high tea session, you may want to serve an extra selection of food so that your guests can choose the type of food that’s to their liking while enjoying your event. Besides, it’s always better to have extra food than too little for a high tea session. Try incorporating local treats like Pulut Hitam with Coconut Milk to give your guests a taste of local cuisine. Better yet, serve something special such as Peranakan food as it’s one of Singapore unique food culture.

Decide on a theme

Depending on the purpose of your high tea buffet, it can be a casual affair that’s suitable between family and friends or a formal affair like a retirement party.

If you have a theme in mind, be sure to convey them to your guests and get them involved for a memorable high tea experience. Additionally, you may want to prepare your food based on the theme to suit the overall event.

Décor and food arrangement

Nothing beats a food arrangement that pleases the eyes and looks tasty at the same time. Surely you’ve noticed that the food is arranged beautifully on tiered trays by some hotels or restaurants. That’s because we tend to judge before indulging in something. Visual presentation lends an aesthetic appeal to the food, thus enticing you to try them.

High Tea Food Arrangement

Chances are you may want to create a similar ambience for your high tea session. Having a visually-appealing food may entice your friends to take some pictures as a way to remember the moment. As for a corporate event, it’s a great way to break the ice for your guests to let them get to know each other.

Cost of hosting a high tea

High tea at hotels or restaurants can be costly and if you’re a regular high tea person, it’s hardly a sustainable pastime. Opting for a high tea catering service will allow you to control the budget and select your favourite food. That way, you’ll also have room for negotiation with the caterer for any event you have in mind.

If you’re looking to host a high tea buffet for your family or friends, be sure to refer to our tips and make the appropriate arrangement for a pleasant and memorable event. After all, what are friends for if not for tea, some sweet treats and chit-chat?

At Chilli Manis, we offer two types of high tea catering services – Light Tea Reception and Deluxe Tea Reception. For the first type of high tea catering, you can have up to 7 different dishes while the second type of high tea catering offers up to 10 different dishes.

Serving Desserts for High Tea

As a halal-certified buffet caterer, we seek to present the most authentic cuisine to all in Singapore.

Keen to try our high tea buffet catering services? Contact us at 6250 1112 or email sales@chillimanis.com.sg.

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