L.A. Lunch for the month of August was at The Blue Ginger for some Straits-Chinese food. In line with our melting pot culture and all things that celebrate our nation's birthday, we decided to have Peranakan food, which is really a marriage of two of our heritages, the Malays and Chinese. The food's spicier than Chinese food but not quite as fiery as Malay food, utilising spices distinctive of both Malay and Chinese cuisine.
I'd previously reviewed this place, so I'll just leave out the dishes I've featured before.
The Ayam Buah Keluak ($17) of tender chicken pieces braised with tumeric and galangal was made distinctive by Indonesian black nuts, which can be quite an acquired taste. Its pungent yet creamy nuttiness is great when spread over white rice.
We liked the Bakwan Kepeting ($5.50), a classic Nonya soup with bamboo shoots and fat meatballs filled with crabmeat and minced pork.
The Itek Tim ($19.50) was another typically Nonya soup consisting of a savoury duck and pork knuckle soup base, cut with salted vegetables and sour plums. Freshly cut green chillis gave this dish a lift with their mild heat.
The Beef Rendang ($12.90) was made up of fork-tender beef cubes simmered in rich coconut milk spiced with ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and a dash of curry powder. Quite kickass gravy and very moist beef.
The Ngo Heong ($10.50), rolls of minced pork and prawns seasoned with five-spice powder and fried to a crisp golden brown was unfortunately made inedible (for me only) due to the liberal addition of flat-leaf parsley.
The Otak Otak ($3.40), enhanced with tumeric, lime leaves, galangal, chilli, candlenut and shrimp paste had a very homestyle appeal to the lightly spiced and bouncy fishcake.
The Curry Vegetables ($9.50) with an assortment of ladies fingers, eggplant, tomato, and cabbage was cooked in a thick, assam-accented curry. Somehow, I didn't quite take to this as I did the Chap Chye. I think it's coz the curry tasted so generic and like it was straight-out-of-a-pre-mix-packet.
The Sambal Udang ($20.80) had fresh, medium-sized prawns stir-fried in a rich, hot, spicy chilli paste that managed to complement, not overwhelm, the sweetness of the prawns. We liked this.
The Ketak Lada ($30.20) crayfish in black peppercorn sauce wasn't great, the crayfish had a powdery texture and slightly stale-ish taste.
The Scallops Nonya ($30.20) had incredibly fresh and succulent scallops steamed with preserved bean paste flavoured with fresh garlic, chilli and spring onions. The sweet scallops were set atop silken beancurd mounds for a contrast in textures.
The Telor Cinchalok ($7) a flavourful omelette densely packed with fermented baby shrimps, onions and chilli was another hit. I liked that the very salty cinchalok was used sparingly to impart just the right amount of seasoning to the omelette.
The Blue Ginger
97 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tel: 6222 3928
Open daily from 12noon to 2.15pm for lunch and 6.30pm to 10pm for dinner