Our last evening in Singapore before the cruise today (we will return here at the end of the cruise) took us to another Peranakan cuisine hideaway that has the highest ratings in town for this rare cuisine found only on the Malay Peninsula. The BLUE GINGER (www.theblueginger.com) is an assuming spot that belies its
hidden talents. We arrived and came through the door to see a crowded small room with only locals. After we checked in the hostess told us to head through a door and up the steps. Our joke to ourselves was, "oh, they stick the tourists upstairs." WRONG! On the second floor was another room, a bit less crowded and not one Westerner in sight. We were taken to a nice table looking out over the street, but seconds later asked to move to an alcove to make room for a larger group. No problem. I marveled at the paper napkins on the tables, as linens are only found at the rare fine dining establishments or fancy hotels. Only one of the employees, clearly the manager or such, spoke decent English, but the bi-lingual menu helped us to try and make some decisions.
We ordered a bottle of wine from the very short list and again agreed on the Sauvignon Blanc, this time Black Cottage from New Zealand, as this usually works well with the intense local spices.
A note on the menu said that $2,50 (1.65$US) is charged per person for rice, pickles and Sambal Belachan, that spicy chili-shrimp paste that we are in love with.
In the end they only charged the adults, which was fine. The pickles are yummy with spice and a bit sweet and sour, as well as a hint of peanut (a la Thai). They were crunchy and made up of carrots, cabbage and much more that we couldn't decipher.
Sam ordered the Crispy Chicken Bites (think nuggets) with Asian chilli dipping sauce, and devoured them quickly but without the sauce. I tasted and decalred the sauce divine. Will ordered KUEH PIE TEE or shredded bamboo shoots and turnips in a pie tee cup with a mini-shrimp garnish. It was a tasty simple dish with four little pastry-like cups that you popped into your mouth and got lots of different flavors. I went for the OTAK OTAK or Fish Cake as I do love the Thai version. Well, these are completely different as they are made with turmeric, galangal, chilli, candlenuts and that lovable shrimp paste then cooked in lime leaves a la tamales. They even have the same consistency but tons more flavor and of course are fish-based.
Main courses included Sam's simple SATAY BABI or fried pork satay which really were slices rather than skewers. Will chose the AYAM PANGGANG 'BLUE GINGER' which was made with dark chicken meat, coconut milk and spices. Each is served family style and the server comes with a huge rice basket which is served to each person in massive portions on your plate which you then add the various dishes o along with condiments. I could not decide between two Tiger Prawn dishes and the guy who spoke English said the UDANG NONYA was spicier and drier rather than the UDANG MASAK ASSAM GULAI which had a tamarind gravy. I chose the NONYA with preserved bean paste, fresh garlic, chilli and spring onions. These Tiger Prawns are not huge but the portion of five with heads and tails on dressed in chili paste filled me up fast. The spice was just right and I had to suck the superb sauce off each head.
A trip to the WC gave us the non air conditioned section with no paper towels, but it was clean, as almost everything is in Singapore.
Dessert for me was Soursop over Shaved Ice which was divinely refreshing. I had this fruit recently in the Turks & Caicos and adore it now. Will chose the GULA MELAKA which is chilled sago (think barley bubbles) with honey sea coconut. I was too full to taste, but he said it was also quite refreshing and light.
Off to bed and wishing we could just eat more of the great food.
At least the hotel breakfast here at the Fullerton Bay Hotel offers many superb local dishes from chicken curry to sweet pork buns, spring rolls, wontons, dumplings and more which change each day. We avoided the congee, but loved the variety of Eastern & Western delights!