On The Pass

A cel­e­brated cus­to­dian of Per­anakan fare, Can­dlenut’s Mal­colm Lee says in­no­va­tion is the key to en­sur­ing its fu­ture

T. Dining by Singapore Tatler - - News -

A lauded young cus­to­dian of Per­anakan fare, Can­dlenut’s Mal­colm Lee af­firms why in­no­va­tion re­mains key to en­sur­ing its fu­ture

Though his restau­rant Can­dlenut is of­ten de­scribed as one that serves mod­ern Per­anakan food, chef Mal­colm Lee is keen to point out that the def­i­ni­tion isn’t quite ac­cu­rate. “It’s not re­ally mod­ern,” he said. “It’s just Per­anakan food brought into the now. It’s how we eat to­day.”

Mod­ern though they may seem, the dishes are firmly rooted in their tra­di­tional essence; for ex­am­ple, ikan chuan chuan—a rus­tic dish of a whole fish, fried and served in a light gin­ger and tau cheo (fer­mented soy­bean paste) sauce. At Can­dlenut, Mal­colm uses meaty fillets of threadfin, which he swathes in a smooth, rich sauce made with gin­ger paste and tau cheo. The re­sult­ing ren­di­tion is re­fined and el­e­gant, yet un­mis­tak­ably ikan chuan chuan.

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