Appealing Asian

Appealing Asian

I like these culinary creations with origins from different parts of Asia.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee is so old-school, they don’t even have an Instagram account. But this #NasiPadang eatery is an institution.
My parents used to take my brothers and I to their original venue to makan when we were kids. Back then, it was located on the ground floor of a building where the Rendezvous Hotel now stands. The set-up was more like a coffeeshop, and a rather dimly-lit one, in those days. Quite a contrast from the bright, air-conditioned space in Raffles City they moved into some years later, and more recently, the second floor unit in The Central mall at Eu Tong Sen Street that they currently occupy.
@eechong had suggested we meet there for the group lunch. By “we”, I mean Chef-owner Jeffrey of @ovenbird_sg, @makanfuku, @ramenking2018 and us. Ee Chong also did the ordering which consisted of asking for and pointing to nearly everything on the menu 😆.
Rendezvous’ style of Western Sumatran Nasi Padang that was first introduced in Singapore in the middle of the 20th century, is not overtly spicy. So there is little chance of burning tongues and sweaty brows. Flavours are however, confidently calm and distinct - drawing on a variety of traditional aromatics combination to form the vibrant rempahs and rich gravies. I doubt you could go wrong with whatever dish you select but I do recommend not missing out on the Chicken Liver, Sotong (squid), Chicken Curry and Sayur Lodeh.
Definitely sip a spoonful of all that you order first, just to appreciate the fragrant nuances before you let everything run amok on your plate of rice.
Prices are understandably on the higher side given the comfortable ambience. Our bill for 5 pax came to $115 or $23 each. Still worth every cent in my opinion 😋


I had that sensation when I visited the shiny new Firangi Superstar.

(Media Tasting)
Positioned as “a foreigner’s exuberant, soulful and whimsical love letter to India”, @superfirangi is a passion project by the founders of The Dandy Collection - @rohitroopchand and Michael Goodman, who in some way or other, have a deep connection to the country.

Hold on to your jaw when you enter or risk losing it to the floor, for the flair-ful space, divided into four areas namely the Officer’s Club, Old Railway Room (it’s perfect for private gatherings), the Elephant Palace and the Jungle Lodge, is awe-inspiring. Designed with insanely close attention to detail, there are even personal touches incorporated (for eg. the Old Railway Room’s mural features the fort where Mr. Goodman got married at and a few relatives). When music is allowed, eclectic playlists, encompassing the psychedelic rock of The Beatles and Indian Classics sung by Nicki Wells, will add to the immersive experience. All the better to complement the food and drinks.

After General Manager Cal (@tankcal) finished our tour of the venue, he settled us into one of their two stunning alcove seats and served the drinks we’d picked: a gin-based “Great Western Railway” for @huatkaliao and a non-alcoholic Mango Lassi for me (loved its fruitiness).

Moments later, Head Chef Thiru (@thiru614), formerly of Spago Singapore, sent out a brilliant trio of “Coriander Mint Chutney”, “Roasted Pistachio Chutney” and “Jackfruit Cucumber Raita” (2 for $10 / 3 for $14) which we had fun mixing and matching with the fried-fresh-daily “Papads” in variants of cumin and black peppercorn, lentil and plain, as well as “Potato Crackers”.

I love anything corn so the “Bombay Elote” ($14) that landed next, disappeared in seconds. It’s Chef Thiru’s take on one of his favourite street food, and took the delightful form of smoky corn purée with corn salsa, baby corn dipped in more purée with a sprinkle of corn cracker crumbs, finger lime and coriander cress.

“Sothi Fresh”, a traditional Indian yellow coconut curry was a modern marvel. Not only was it chilled but the protein was a snapper ceviche cured in a Kokum dressing, and mixed with coconut flesh, coconut jelly and shallots. To enhance this chilled appetiser, finger lime, Boondi and Kashmiri chilli oil were added ($22).

The “Beirut Bhathura” ($12) was a refined rendition of the classic fried fermented dough “balloon”. Its moreish sidekick, a dip with an obvious Middle Eastern influence that brought Celeriac Hummus, Chickpea Masala and Pomegranate together.

Chef Thiru shared that the “This Is Not Aloo Gobi” ($16) was what got him the position at @superfirangi. It’s apparent why. A deconstruct of the classic, it had cauliflower couscous, roasted cauliflower florets, cauliflower coriander purée, crispy cubes of layered potato, cashews, raisins, mint leaves and a masala compote partying like no tomorrow.

I did not see it coming but the “Prata Waffle” blew my mind. Think of it as an ingenious merger of western-style “Chicken & Waffles” with North Indian-style “Butter Chicken”. Flinging prata dough into a waffle-maker got it crispier and a little chewy. The Madras-style fried chicken was fantastically fragrant and crunchy, and had the right touch of sweetness from a drizzle of jaggery syrup. It was smart to serve the butter chicken gravy in a bowl so nothing on the plate got soggy ($24).

Another standout from the meal was the “North X Northwest”, a spicy lobster dish inspired by Chef Thiru’s wife’s crab masala. Because the deshelled chunks of Atlantic lobster meat were pan-fried in a Tawa till half-cooked, then finished in a rich, thick lobster-masala sauce and sprinkled in Kashmiri chilli powder, it smelled like a million bucks and tasted incredible. Pieces of bottle gourd and garnish of fresh scallions and coriander brought a welcome lift of freshness. I doubt there’s anything better to match the flavourful bouncy succulence of the lobster meat than the Anise-Ghee Rice ($6) - its buttery loveliness harmonised so soul-stirringly with the masala sauce that I suggest not skipping this combo even if you are avoiding carbs.

Between the two desserts of Coconut Podi Idli ($12) and the Chocolate Jamun ($15), I preferred the latter. It so happens to be a homage to the favourite Indian sweet of @rohitroopchand’s (he’s the CEO of The Dandy Collection). I was glad that the chocolate mousse with Gulab Jamun crumble, chocolate crunch, rose-scented cream, pistachios, rose petals and cardamon vanilla ice-cream was well balanced and not too sweet. It was very pleasant washed down with a steaming hot Chai Tea.


(Media Gifting)
Hathaway at Dempsey is a Muslim-friendly Modern Asian restaurant in Dempsey that I was suppose to visit earlier this year. Since I didn’t manage to make it down, I accepted @ivanjohnting’s invitation try their food via delivery.
Although full in flavour, I found every dish very polished, surprisingly precise and clean in taste. Ingredients were of top quality and presentation was neat and well-thought out. Here’s what Ivan chose for us to try:

1. Octopus Bakar & Sambal Udang ($42) - Loved this seafood bonanza of smoky, very tender octopus and three massive prawns coated in a spicy chilli sambal. There’s a thin layer of silky mash at the bottom that caught all the juices, so scooping that up was a must. Definitely one of my top two favourites from the meal.
2. Ah Nya’s Fish Curry ($32) - This was my other favourite. Based on an heirloom recipe, it had a lip-smacking, spicy gravy and flawlessly cooked local barramundi from @kuhlbarra. Crunchy fried okra and toasted bread were served alongside - the former to be tossed into the curry just before eating, the latter to be dunked.
3. Nasi Ulam - Garnished with micro herbs, the yellow rice was fluffy and really aromatic.
4. Bone Marrow ($24) - Didn’t expect to see this but oh yes please! The melt-in-the-mouth marrow was accessorised with kicap manis and a layer of herbed crumb for bonus flavour and texture. A squeeze of lime added a welcome spark of cut-through.
5. Kale & Wing Bean Salad ($18) - What a healthy marriage of Western and Asian vegetables this was. Pomegranate, quinoa and apricot sherry vinaigrette were used to jazz up the perky crunchy greens.
6. Kueh Salat - Dessert went the traditional Asian route.

To order from #hathawaysg, please visit

To my surprise, the Bun Thit Nuong from received enthusiastic praises from my parents. I must admit, I’d had slight reservations when placing my order because my parents have always preferred their noodles piping hot. And this Vietnamese dish is meant to be eaten at room temperature. Chockfull of top quality raw vegetables (no deadbeat specimens here), fresh herbs and homemade pickles, and served with a light yet complex Vietnamese fish sauce-based dressing alongside, it can also be categorised as an Asian salad with the bonus of an extremely tasty protein.
I picked the pork version for us and the meat was superbly done for every bowl. Each slice was smoky, aromatic and flavourful from the lip-smacking marinate and being grilled just right by @derricknguyen13 (he’s a stickler for perfection). I made sure we followed his instructions which is to toss the contents in the bowl for a minute before eating as it ensures optimum tastiness.

Unfortunately, you will have to wait to try this dish as Derrick has just switched his menu to #Pho (but let me tell you from my experience, he does an EXCELLENT one as well!). Most of his order slots for May have been snapped up but if you hurry, you might be able to squeeze yourself in.

Popped into the newly-open @lemakboys the other night and ordered their “Premium Nasi Lemak” ($18.50) for dinner. I know most people say the Basic version of the former is good enough but I’m not “most people” because clearly, I’m greedier 😂. Anyway, and I shared everything.
The essential components were done really well. While the rice was very fragrant and flavourful without being heavy or oily, the sweetish sambal proved a shiok match. Scoring 10 out of 10 for freshness and crunch were the other essentials of the peanuts and ikan bilis. The fancier items of fried chicken (it was well-marinated and crispy), omelette and otah (both had an appealing thickness), and the prawns with savoury chilli sambal, met our expectations too.

Besides their Lemper, I bought a few of this too. Packed with a quail’s egg, cherry tomato and sliced cucumber, the round mounds of sticky yellow rice were fragrant from turmeric. They were topped with a very mildly spicy rendang that’d been cooked till very soft, almost down to a paste. The sweetish sambal was a tasty complement that introduced more spiciness as well as savoury chewiness from the few dried anchovies in there.

So glad I finally got around to ordering from @ratulemper. This place had been on my wishlist for a while after I saw @kenwashio share about their food on his IG Stories.
They are most famous for their Lemper, a type of traditional Indonesian savoury snack made of glutinous rice filled with a savoury filling and wrapped in banana leaf.
Ratu Lemper sells theirs in boxes of 10 (priced between $17 and $22) and for the filling, they have Chicken (they offer three degrees of spiciness for this), Beef Rendang, Mutton Satay, Spicy Tuna and Spicy Vegetarian.
I bought a box of the Extra Spicy Chicken Lemper and loved it! While the rice was soft, the finely-shredded chicken sandwiched within, really had a good kick of heat.

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The incredible flavours of Chef Damian D’Silva’s food can now be savoured in the comfort of your own home. Thanks to @lobeholdgroup’s @ameliayjt, my family and I had the privilege to try it this afternoon. One of the two available Heritage Meals ($138, serves 2 to 4 pax) was delivered to us and these are what it comprised of:

1. Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi - The wonderfully aromatic, rich dish packed a kick of spiciness. Chef Damian champions traditional cooking methods in his kitchen, so this chicken was most likely simmered for hours on end to achieve that state of tasty tenderness.

2. Ikan Selar with Chilli Garam - A life-long favourite of mine, the fried fish was slit and stuffed with a chilli paste. Simple but divine.

3. Sambal #BuahKeluak - I have always thought the Indonesian black nut’s naturally earthy flesh tastes perfectly fine naked. Trust Chef Damian to elevate it by blending the nut with spices, and by doing so, flung a door open to a different flavour dimension, one that deserves an enormous welcome mat.

4. Okra with Dried Prawn Sambal - I wouldn’t mind multiple helpings of this aromatic, bright and crisp vegetable item.

5. Aberjaw - A traditional Eurasian dish, the soulfully-satisfying stew was the outcome of pork ribs cooked with special spices and fermented bean paste.

6. Sunday’s Fried Chicken - Ignore the name. Those marinated mid-joint wings are worth munching on any day of the week.

7. Kueh Kosui and Kueh Bingka ($12 each) - From the Heritage Picks section of the menu, these are the to-die-for desserts that every KIN meal needs to end with.

The Takeaway Menu also lists Set Meals for the individual priced at $18 or $22 that would make lunch or a weeknight dinner so much more interesting.

To order, WhatsApp or Call:
at least 45 mins in advance.


Having attended a couple of Chef-owner @rishinaleendra’s fundraiser pop-ups in the past where he served his heritage cuisine, I was thrilled when news of him opening a Sri Lankan restaurant broke.
Although now is not the best of times to launch an F&B establishment, Chef Rishi has rolled out with a pick-up and delivery menu from its temporary premises at His Sri Lankan concept is “live”, aided by the support of the team there too (Cloudstreet happens to be closed during this “Circuit Breaker” period). I for one, thank the heavens for this decision because the food is so immensely enjoyable, it needs to get out there ASAP.
At first bite, I was speechless at the audaciousness of the flavours. A few more and I realised the magic lives in the nuances of the unique blend of spices. Each dish, even the hottest of them, was also well modulated so there was no burning tongue to extinguish.
Here’s a rundown of the meal the team prepared for me:

1. Dallo Baduma ($22) - My favourite of the lot, this featured battered and fried calamari tossed in a savoury and spicy chilli butter.
2. Beetroot Curry ($16) - Never have I had beetroot prepared in a spicy way but here was a stellar rendition redolent in toasted cumin and fresh green chilli.
3. Kaju Curry ($16) - Cashew nuts were cooked till rather soft in the sweetish curry. When chewed, they became wonderfully creamy. So good.
4. Chicken Kottu ($20) - A hearty creation I enjoyed, it featured chicken prata chopped up, and mixed with chicken and vegetables.
5. Dhal Curry ($8) - Made with red lentils and black mustard, this dhal stood out for its body and robust flavour. No insipidness here that’s for sure.
6. Black Pork Curry ($22) - Mildly spicy, the boneless pieces of meat were braised in a thick and fragrant gravy of blackened Sri Lankan spices.
7. Pol Sambol ($8) - Sri Lankan food is meant to be enjoyed with assorted sambols and piquant pickles. To me, the dryish, seasoned grated fresh coconut that is the Pol Sambol was all kinds of wonderful. A little went a long way with this dynamite.
8. Seeni Sambol ($8) - A Sri Lankan style of caramelised onion relish, it was perfect for when the urge to sweeten a spoonful of food arose.
9. Wambatu Moji ($8) - Though nowhere as sharp as achar, the pickled eggplant brought on subtle brightness.
10. Beef Rolls ($12 for 2 pcs) - The large bolsters were crumbed pan rolls stuffed with spiced beef so there was a crunch-and-cushion thing going on.
11. Crab Cutlets ($12 for 4 pcs) - A slightly spicy, moist filling of Blue Swimmer crab was the star in the round Sri Lankan-style croquettes.
12. Malu Pan ($12 for 2 pcs) - Loved these soft milk buns stuffed with spiced fish brandade. I could snack on them anytime.
13. Yellow Jasmine Rice - No better carb than this to pair with all the above dishes.
14. Chocolate Biscuit Pudding ($12) - The only dessert in the menu (for now I assume), it has Marie biscuits layered with Valrhona chocolate parfait and topped with candied orange.

If you are keen to try any the above and more, please go to:


@shnjtlng, owner of @thefeatherblade was a busy man today as he rushed around Singapore to make deliveries from their new Takeaway / Delivery menu.
I was one of the blessed recipients and oh my, was that young bossman generous to a fault.
The feast he gave was made up of everything on #thefeatherblade’s concise menu, a few were multiples even. Having tried them all, these would be the items I recommend:

1. The crazy #valueformoney Gyudon ($14) with an add-on of Foie Gras ($11) - I found the 100gms FeatherBlade cut of beef to be tasty from the sukiyaki marinate. It was arranged with an #onsenegg, crispy garlic chips, furikake and pickles on a base of Japanese rice that’d been seasoned with kombu and dashi for extra flavour.

2. The Signature FeatherBlade Steak - Priced at $25 for 200gms, it was a steal. Not sure how the team managed to get this less common cut of beef so tender but I say good on them. A smooth garlic mash and a mild peppercorn sauce were the accompaniments.

3. Sides ($7 each) - All four got my thumbs-up. The Crispy Potatoes, they came smashed, deepfried and squiggled in sriracha mayo, were annoyingly addictive. A little healthier was the sautéed mix of Shimeiji, Shiitake and Button Mushrooms but this was cancelled once I dug into the Creamed Spinach cooked in Parmigiano-Reggiano and cream with a pinch of nutmeg. As for the Caesar Salad, it was the crispy nacho chip egg with its runny yolk that was the clincher.

If you have many people in the same household, do explore the Bundle Meals tailored for 4 to 5, or 6 to 7 pax.

For the menu and more info, visit:

Orders can be placed via Whatsapp:
8921 9097.

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I am not usually a fan of “Kueh Salat” but this beauty has got to be the best I‘ve had.
The most striking thing about it is the kaya. Unlike the bright to deep green shade found in many others, this one by Executive Chef-owner Malcolm Lee of One MICHELIN Starred Candlenut Peranakan restaurant is a pale green, and is ultra silky soft and smooth. As mild as the kaya custard looks, it wields surprisingly enormous fragrance, richness and flavour as it’s made from freshly-squeezed coconut milk and pandan juice. Married perfectly with it is steamed “pulut” or glutinous rice that hits the right notes in ratio, moisture and texture. Together, they are formidable enough to have well-meaning diet plans and iron-clad resolutions melt away like butter on a hot pan. My mum will be the first to vouch for that 😂.

If you are keen to try this Kueh Salat (and I recommend you do), please visit Candlenut‘s website to place your order.


The Blue Ginger on Tanjong Pagar was one of the first Peranakan restaurants my family would frequent for special occasions. So learning that they have opened another outlet after being a solo establishment for more than two decades was a pleasant surprise. The new place which is on the ground level of Great World City, has a more casual vibe. And having taken into account the profile of customers more likely to visit, the menu is tweaked slightly. Thus one-dish meals such as Nonya Mee and Laksa are included. However, it is the dishes to be savoured with plain rice that remain the main draw for me.
From the items we were served at the tasting, my top picks would be these:

1. Kerabu Kachang Botol ($11.50++) - This chilled #Asiansalad of winged beans and prawns tossed in a spicy, tangy dressing with “hae bee hiam”, fried shallots and toasted grated coconut is a shiok way to whet the appetite.

2. Sotong Keluak ($22++) - What a brilliant mash-up of Sotong Hitam and Buah Keluak. The appetising, non-spicy black sauce which the rings of squid were cooked in, was tangy with assam (tamarind) and richly earthy from the Indonesian black nut. Beautiful! Loved this.

3. Terong Goreng Cili ($13++) - Since my earliest visits to the Blue Ginger at Tanjong Pagar, this has been my number one favourite because the chilli paste has a uber tasty burn. That fact remains unchanged.

4. Pork Ribs Assam ($16++) - If you relish meat on the bone as well as the addictive nature of assam sauce, this is not to be missed.

Follow me on Instagram (@veronicaphua) for richer content of videos and Stories! 😊

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