Peramakan: Still the One to Beat!

Peramakan has been my gold standard for Peranakan food since I blogged them back when they were still in Joo Chiat. Since then they've moved over to Keppel Club and I heard rumours that perhaps the standard of the food had dropped. So it is time to revisit them again to find out the truth. I am glad (and very relieved) to report that all is well with my favourite Nonya's cooking!

Ayam Buah Keluak $14 Extra Buah Keluak $1.50

The first thing I asked for was the Ayam Buah Keluak which I raved about the last time. It's still the best version of this dish that I have come across. They actually go through the effort of scooping out the kernels and cooking them until they are wonderfully fragrant before stuffing them back into the nut. Besides that, the gravy is also chock full of finely ground nuts as well. So if you are a fan of Buah Keluak, you will love this. (I am not a big fan and I still loved this!)

Truth be known -- and please don't tell my mother-in-law -- This is the only Ayam Buah Keluak dish that I really truly enjoy. My father-in-law also loved this, I think more than the version my M-I-L cooks, but no one around the table would dare to say so. One thing I find about Nonyas is that they are all fiercely defensive about their own cooking and most of those I speak to think that they have the best Nonya recipes in the world! You agree?

Anyway, it takes 3 to 4 kernals to fill one shell, which is why they sell the extra nuts for $1.50 each. The dish itself comes with only 2 shells. Do yourself a favour and order at least two for each person. The other wonderful thing is that the chicken meat here tastes really fresh and comes in large chunks as compared to some of the other places where the chicken becomes overly soft after staying in the pot for too long. After tasting and blogging several versions of this dish, I am now upping the score for Peramakan's Ayam Buah Keluak to 4.75/5

Beef Rendang $12

The other dish I remembered was really good the last time was the Beef Rendang. The standard is still much the same except this time I felt it was just a fraction less tender as I remembered on the last occasion. Still it is a beef rendang that is a cut above the rest. The great thing about the beef here is that they use shin beef which has all that nice tendons which turn into gelatin after spending several hours over a slow fire. 4.5/5

The thing that I have always liked about Peramakan is that they don't compromise on food quality, which is why their prices are just a bit more than other places. But I think the small premium is worth the quality of food you get.

Otak Otak Makanan Laut $14

The seafood otah was good though I still prefer the type that is wrapped in banana leaf and BBQed over charcoal. Baking it like this tends to dry it up a bit. However the rempah is still very good and you get real chunks of seafood in the otah. And instead of using banana leaves, they use kunyit (tumeric) leaf instead, so the flavour of the dish is a little different from your usual Nonya style Otah. 4/5

Udang Goreng Assam $16

The Prawns might not look like much but the assam sauce was really shiok and its the kind of thing that makes you want to eat more rice. And for a change I could also taste the "prawniness" of the prawns. A lot of restaurants use the cheaper farmed prawns nowadays which really lack that wonderful sweetness of wild prawns. Kelvin confirmed that they use wild caught Sea Prawns which are so much better that I could tell the difference even with all that marinade. 4.25/5

Penang Nonya Pork Ribs $12

The Nonya Pork Ribs is another of their signature dish here. I didn't really like them all that much the last time and my taste for it hasn't changed much. They were good, but maybe I haven't acquired the taste for dishes made with Tao Cheo (Salted Beans) just yet. 3.75/5

Chendol $4

Do save some room for desserts as they are all very good here. The Chendol is one of the best around. They make their own Chendol (those green wormy things) here and I must say that they managed to get it to the texture I like. A lot of other homemade chendols tend to be a little on the powerdery side. But this one has more of that udon like consistency. The kidney beans are also cooked to perfection with each bean soft on the inside and the skin is soft enough to be easily eaten while still resilient enough not to break apart. That's how I think the beans should be and not cooked until its all mushy. The fresh coconut and gula melaka is excellent and will satisfy any Nonya dessert connoiseur! 4.5/5

Apom Berkuah $6

The other really special dish is their Apom with banana sauce. Very sweet, very rich, very sinful and very good. If you are coming specially for this dish, do ring up to ensure that they reserve some for you and they are very popular with the regulars. 4.25/5

Durian Pengat $5

And Durian lovers must try their Durian Pengat which is a kind of Durian Mousse served with sweet potato and yam. It's that deadly combination of Gula Melaka, Coconut and Durian... make sure you don't drink XO after that or according to the urban legend, it might be your last meal. 4.25/5


Peramakan is still my gold standard for Peranakan food. The best thing is that now the restaurant can seat 140 people comfortably and parking is so convenient. So don't let the fact that it is located in a Club get in your way of a great Peranakan meal!

Update 15 Apr 2012
They have just opened another branch at Santa Grande Hotel along East Coast Road!

Peramakan Level 3 Keppel Club
10 Bukit Chermin Road


Open for lunch and dinner

This meal was hosted by Peramakan


cheers said...

how's their standard for itek tim (kiam-chye ark)??

ieat said...

Did not try that one so can't comment

scoobakev said...

I hope your M-I-L doesn't read your blog to read what you don't dare say in front of her!! Heh heh..

Thanks for the review. Will try this one soon...

TAG said...

Seats 140 .. hmm .. sounds like another makan session in the making.

ieat said...

I am glad you volunteered to organize the next one!

The Pseudo Epicurean said...

Can we still go there if we're not club members?

ieat said...

See that is the main problem, a lot of people assume they have to be members.

The restaurant is open to the public.

smart said...

Tag, Pls organise the next makan session. You have 2 pretty assistants yah (at Joe's Kitchen)

Damien said...

My favourite place for Peranakan food :)

And i'm sure bibiks will also attest to the quality of the food here and it taste very home-cooked too.

The seafood otak, ayam kleo, beef rendang, chap chye, bakwan kepiting, sotong panggang che hu are all fantastic.

Can polish off a serving of the rendang and sotong panggang by myself.

Did not enjoy the buah keluak as I prefer them to be in the original state - without taking out the paste and mixing it with other stuff.

Do try their catering services too. Have catered for special occasions and have never been disappointed.

Anonymous said...

the phone number listed on their website is different...?

dona said...

I realy love Peranakan food. Every time I visit Singapore, I tried to have time for Peranakan cuisine. Especialy Ayam Buah Keluak is quite delicious! I wish to have Peranacan food restaurants in Tokyo, not a chilli clab restrant.

Bohtong said...

I love this place too.

Cactus said...

Great! My office colleagues (60 of us) are going there for lunch soon. : )

Cactus said...

Les, how would you arte Peramakan compared to Chilli Padi, another superb place for peranakan food?

ieat said...

Haven't eaten at chilli padi. Where is it and what's good there?

Damien said...

The buffet at Chilli Padi is value-for-money @ $10 plus.

Foodwise, decent. Mee siam and the kuehs not bad. Heard they produce the food at a central kitchen.

Tried the outlet opposite Bugis Junction next to Parklane Wantan Mee.

They have an outlet @ 11 Joo Chiat Place #01-03 too.

CK Lam said...

The durian pengat and the apom definitely will a must have item for me if I am down in S'pore.
Tks for sharing..

jems said...

reached there early tonight at 6pm and we were the only guests all da way til we left at 7plus then only do we see another group coming in. Seem like the location not that ideal?

Anyway, we had:
Itek Tim, Didn't quite do it for me. Can't beat Ivins.
Hee Peow Soup, This is quite nice. Liked the taste of the soup. However more balls (fishball, meatball, prawn ball) assortment then hee peow. Could also be served more warm.
Ayam Buah Keluak, Always love this dish. Added two nuts and enjoyed digging out the "flesh" and eating it all :) I always seem to enjoy eating the nuts then the chicken heh. Their version is very similar to My Mum's Cuisine's :)
Beef Rendang, ahhhh very good, very tender, sauce very shiok. ONLY flaw - it came almost cold. Wish it was served far more warm.
Fried Tofu with some spicy shrimp sauce - the sauce was very appetizing and came with small shrimps in it :)
BBQ squid with some kinda achar and sauce. Squid well bbqed but too dry. The achar was very good though - crunchy and spicy and the right taste of sour
Nonya Chap Cai - Loved this as well, as the chap cai is soft and the sauce went well with rice. It tasted very much like my dad's version of chap chai~! Dad was saying maybe he'll cook it for lunch this Fri or Sat~
Also had sour plum drink which was quite normal. Mum said their tea was nice.
The REAL HIGHLIGHT of the day was the Durian Pengat dessert we had. It was really good!!! Full of durian flavor and you can taste the gula melaka in it BUT YET somehow it all blended very well and infused with a natural sweetness - as I do not have too much of a sweet tooth and can't stand things that are artificially sweetened. Was even thinking of dapaoing back home however we were not heading back home straight...

Btw, they are having durian promo til end June. Durian Puffs 10 for $12 and also durian cake $48 per kg etc? Can't remember the details. The waitress told me they are all made in house. I'm thinking of heading back to grab some puffs heh.

Dunno if it was cuz we were the only diners that the staff gave us excellent service and attention :)

Damien said...

Had dinner at Straits Chinese Restaurant on Queen Street and was pleasantly surprise by the standard of the fare here.

Tried the Udang Sambal which was excellent, Ayam Buah Keluak, Chap Chye and Babi Pongteh and all the dishes were pretty good.

Paid about $40 for two pax.

Damien said...

Forgot to mention that Straits Kitchen is part of Guan Hoe Soon group of restaurants.

Man of Ideas said...

I love chendol and forgive me if I am wrong: Indonesian Chendol goes for the sweetness and thus is usually quite sweet and served in glass. I got this impression when I frequent Indonesian Restaurants.

hammie said...

Have tried many peranakan places and usually disappointed by one thing - the spicyness level of the food sometimes is almost non-existent! Not sure if it is because peranakan food is not supposed to be spicy? Anyways this place looks great - I'm an ayam buah keluak fan and ur description of it sounds wonderful. But would like to ask if you would describe the food as spicy? I'm a chilli fan too :)

ieat said...

No, it is not that spicy.

Porkie Pie said...

So do you have to wear smart casual and all when eating at Peramakan? How is smart casual defined anyways?

ieat said...

This is at Keppel Club, so you would expect men in golf shorts, kids in swimming gear and ladies all dressed up for the jackpot room...

Ok let me qualify that. That is my family profile! Some other families, the ladies would be in golf gear and men in jackpot room outfit.

Porkie Pie said...

I see. So I guess they are not that strict about clothing? Because they did specify dress code as "Business, Smart Casual" which according to wikipedia is more formal than my usual gear (T-shirt and khaki shorts). Just don't want to get kicked out from the place for not wearing proper attire.

ieat said...

Really? Than you better ring up and ask first. I always thought it was quite a casual place.

Brief Introduction said...

We have a peranakan stall at near blk 117 commonwealth crescent, commonwealth crescent market. #02-90 stall name Shallots contact 98411071. We served the meal in sets and of course you could order alacarte menu as well. We have buah Keluak babi Set, which is sold $5.50. The set include a portion of buah keluak babi with one nut,a portion of chye chai,Achar,papadum cracker and served with flavorful turmeric rice. We have been told by our customer that our buah keluak with my homemade belacan is one of the best mate. But be caution is quite spicy hot. Most places served buah keluak chicken but ours is soft bone pork rib,it is being braise for hours so sometime you could find the serving a bit meshed,but this causes the sauces to be really soaked in the meat. We found that pork could even better bring out the taste of buah keluak. We have other set like assam padus stingray,Babi ponteh,ayam sio,mutton rendang,red curry chicken,green curry pork.

During sunday we do also made sweet potato durian oneh oneh but alway sell of fast.

Do come try our good peranakan food at hawker center price. Our stall also promote no MSG added as we uses all the herbs and spices to flavor our food, just like mum cooking.

tofu recipes said...

the dishes you presented were lovely. Great food presentation.


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