Makansutra Singapore Food Ebook 2023/24

Charlie’s Peranakan Food

505 Beach Rd #B1-30, Golden Mile Food Ctr (Map) 11.30am – 7.30pm Daily

This 70 plus senior hawker has been in the industry far longer than many currently. He began with a restaurant, moved about, worked for others, contemplated retiring but that burning itch to cook and preserve his “pure” Nonya dishes came revisiting. His little basement hawker stall offers one of, if not, the most extensive Nonya menus in the world. That 10x10 ft kitchen has over 30 items and most are not “rock the wok 3 min wonders”. Many Nonya restaurants do not even offer this big a menu. Every dish is rempah based and he also offers a rare Nonya Chinese rendition of Lo Kai Yik (a Cantonese red fermented yam mixed claypot casserole); this is a full meal on its own for 3 people. Besides the usual suspects, you will find fading but resurrected dishes here like sambal lengkong (fish floss sambal), achar fish, perut ikan, toh hay and also gulai kambing. Of course, the all-time crowd pleasers like ayam buak keluak, itek sio, ngoh hiang, hati babi bungkus, sotong hitam, bakwan kepiting and the compulsory chap chye are there at your command every day they open. He has this complex way of resting his different rempahs and sambals in his fridge (the longer, the more flavourful, is their motto) and he mixes them deftly and very quickly. Prices are extremely reasonable. It’s a pity legends like him are not on social media or any media and it has a disconnection with a younger generation of foodies. If you engage him with a smile, beware, he will tell you his life story in glorious detail and in slow motion too.

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