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Peranakan, Penang Street Food and Anglo-Hainanese Cuisines at Straits Express @ Kallang Wave Mall

Peranakan, Penang Street Food and Anglo-Hainanese Cuisines at Straits Express @ Kallang Wave Mall

What would you consider as straits cuisines?

Well, newly opened Straits Express at Kallang Wave Mall defined theirs as Peranakan, Penang Street Food and Anglo-Hainanese cuisines.

I was invited for a media tasting a few weeks earlier and tried out all three of their cuisines offerings. As a tribute to Singapore’s colonial heritage, the Straits Express seeks to trace the food that patented that history in time with its true-to-cuisine chefs; decorated Peranankan chef, Philip Chia, Penang-born street-food chef, Frankie Ooi, and Singapore’s own Anglo-Hainanese chef, Bermuda Say.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Tony Tan (owner of China One in Clarke Quay), James Wong (F&B veteran, former Managing Director of the ISS catering arm and former owner of Continental Delight Catering Services) and their partners.

Left to Right: Owner Tony Tan, Chef Bermuda Say and Chef Frankie Ooi

Left to Right: Owner Tony Tan, Chef Bermuda Say and Chef Frankie Ooi

When the opportunity arose in 2012 to bid for a landmark post in the iconic sports hub, the long-time friends and business partners did not take long to settle on creating a place that allows them to reminisce and indulge in the food that brought back pure joy and childhood memories.

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A lot of love goes into the restaurant.

Restaurant interior

Restaurant interior

Open kitchen

Open kitchen

The group of friends are also history buffs. Together, they coined the nostalgic idea of introducing the Straits settlement’s glory in the form of a railway-themed dining scene with key but modern exterior and interior adaptations from the age-old Eastern and Oriental Express, linking the concept to Singapore’s colonial past as a trading post in the Straits settlement with Melaka and Penang from 1826 to 1942.

The restaurant soft-launched in November last year and had it’s grand opening on 8 April 2015.

Let’s go through the cuisines one-by-one, starting with Anglo-Hainanese. The lesser recognised of the three cuisines, the colonial heritage of the Anglo-Hainanese or English Hainanese style of cooking originated from the kitchens of many British households in old Singapore where the Hainanese served as cooks and servants. The hardworking and skilled cooks created a brand of English or western food with a Hainanese touch. They include the Anglo-Hainanese Pork Chop, Toad-in-a-hole, old-fashion Oxtail Stew, Hainanese Chicken Curry Pie, and other delights:

Anglo-Hainanese dishes

Anglo-Hainanese dishes

Oxtail Stew (S$18.50)

Oxtail Stew (S$18.50)

Close-up on the oxtail

Close-up on the oxtail

Toad in a Hole (S$10.50)

Toad in a Hole (S$10.50) – sausages baked in a pastry puff

Mulligatawny Soup (S$4.50) - this is a like a spicy curry minestrone soup

Mulligatawny Soup (S$4.50) – this is a like a spicy curry minestrone soup

Next up are the Peranakan dishes created by Chef Philip Chia. Here are some classics:

Babi Tohay (S$18) - this was my favourite dish for the night

Babi Tohay (S$18) – this was my favourite dish for the night

Prawn Belimbing (S$18) - love this as well

Prawn Belimbing (S$18) – love this as well

Nonya mee siam (S$8)

Nonya mee siam (S$8)

Chef Philip stepped out of the kitchen to do a demonstration on how he prepare his nonya chili

Chef Philip stepped out of the kitchen to do a demonstration on how he prepare his nonya chili

Yes, this is painstakingly handmade

Yes, this is painstakingly handmade

Last but not least, authentic Penang street food were served:

Penang Assam Laksa (S$8) - good stuff, about as authentic as you can get this in Singapore

Penang Assam Laksa (S$8) – good stuff, about as authentic as you can get this in Singapore

Penang Fried Kway Tiao (S$9)

Penang Fried Kway Tiao (S$9)

Penang Lor Bak (S$8)

Penang Lor Bak (S$8)

Desserts:

English Apple Pie (S$4.50)

English Apple Pie (S$4.50)

Onde-Onde (glutinous coconut balls)

Onde-Onde (glutinous coconut balls)

Verdict?

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These are all homely food from yesteryears and it is delightful to enjoy them via learning a little about Singapore’s colonial history.

Noteworthy dishes are the Peranakan dishes and the Penang Assam Laksa for me. The Anglo-Hainanese dishes, though interesting, do not appeal to me that much in terms of flavours. You may like them though. I find the “Toad in a Hole” a fun dish where many might just order to try out of sheer curiosity over the name.

Straits Express & Restaurant Bar

1 Stadium Place #01- 24/28 Sports Hub, Kallang Wave Mall.
Next to OCBC Aquatic Centre Taxi Stand. Carpark A (surface parking) or B (underground parking). Facing Nicoll Highway.
Singapore, 397628
Contact: +65 6702 2964
Email: enquiry@straitsexpress.com.sg

About The Author

alvinology

Alvin is a marketer by day and blogger by night. He is a 100% geek who spends too much time surfing the web.

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