Kim Choo’s Kitchen retains its traditional flavors through meticulous and hands-on preparation.
Ask any foodie who loves the cornucopia of flavors and textures packed within the humble Nonya rice dumpling, and they will tell you that one name to look out for is Kim Choo’s Kitchen. Located along the charmingly rustic stretch of East Coast Road, Kim Choo’s Kitchen’s culinary treasures have often been copied, but never surpassed.
With an illustrious history that traces all the way back to the post-war era in Singapore in the 1940s, Kim Choo’s Nonya changs are still made the traditional way. During an in-house tour of the premises, we had a peek at the painstaking efforts Kim Choo takes to ensure that their Nonya changs taste the same now as it did more than half a century ago. Spices are laboriously pounded using a traditional mortar and pestle and then roasted to bring the flavors out. More work is required to wrap the dumplings in pandan leaves—all has to be diligently done by hand to ensure that the dumplings do not come apart during the cooking.
While Kim Choo insists on sticking to tradition to retain the quality of its dumplings, it is also moving with the times—food is made in smaller portions so that customers, especially the ladies, can get to enjoy a wide spread of Peranankan delicacies. As such Kim Choo makes its changs in a “mini” size.
|PHOTOS: Yong Te-Chong|
At Kim Choo, a veritable Peranakan food establishment in its own right, one will be hard pressed to find a fuller assortment of authentic dishes elsewhere. The achar, served cold, was very appetizing, with the perfect tang and crunch to it, whetting our taste-buds for more. The otah-otah, while slightly on the salty side, is a good companion to plain rice, as is the delicate and mildly sweet satay ayam.
Next up were the seafood stars: the ngoh hiang, or prawn roll, was mouth-wateringly tasty; the minced prawn had a lot of bite, and the water chestnuts added a burst of sweetness and crunch to the mix. The sambal sotong was piquant and carried that elusive kiss of wok breath, or wok hei, that is lacking in other versions of the dish.
The assam babi, a distinctively Peranakan dish, was melt-in-your-mouth tender, but could have afforded a tinge more of sourness. The honey pork, on the other hand, was lip-smackingly good, with a well-caramelized honey-coated crispy skin. The best dish of the day, however, had to be the beef rendang, with the fragrant rendang sauce bringing out the flavor in the tender beef.
Rounding off the whole meal on a sweet note was the gelatinous kueh kaya ubi, which was decadently rich, yet not so starchy that we felt jelak (overly-sated). For one of the best Nonya bak changs in Singapore, and a taste of savory Peranakan fare, head on down to Kim Choo’s Kitchen.
Kim Choo’s Kitchen
109 East Coast Road
Tel: +65 6344 0830