✦ One of the best cures for homesickness is through the stomach. You just need to know where to find the Real McCoy.
To all the Asians living, studying, working in Sydney, what do you do when you miss the culinary delights of home?
Maybe you know someone who could make the dishes you miss, and hopefully you are also able to get hold of the necessary ingredients to make the dish.
So it's quite a gem when you come across a place that serves food as you remember them from your childhood and from home.
Memorise this address now:
This is where you can go if you want authentic to-die-for Peranakan food in Sydney!
What is Peranakan?
Peranakan food is a type of cuisine found in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Think of it as a wonderful blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian ingredients and cooking methods. You can notice the influence of the different cultures coming together to create some of the most uniquely-flavoured dishes you can try in Asia. Peranakan culture emerged in the 15th century when Chinese men migrated south in search of fortune and work, and they eventually settled there and married the local Malay women.
Peranakan Place is the only restaurant in Australia (!!) that cooks with the elusive Buah Keluak black nut. For those who don't know this incredible ingredient, it's the seed of the Buah Keluak tree. The tree is actually poisonous and the toxins are found in the fruits and seeds also. This means there are important steps to take before using the seeds for cooking. The nuts are buried in ash for 40 days as a way to remove the toxins. When you unearth them, the shell and flesh will have turned black. Hence its appearance when we have them ready for cooking. You really have to give it to the people in the past for finding ways to eat anything that is alive, even if it's poisonous!
In the past it was used to make a royal dish served to ancient royalty and has since found its way into traditional Peranakan and also Malaysian dishes (e.g. rawon an Indonesian beef soup). It has an earthy smoky taste to it, and it is quite a delicacy in Peranakan cuisine.
So if you are curious about this black nut and what it tastes like, head on over to Peranakan Place and try it for yourself!
80-year old Sam Wong, owner of Peranakan Place also recommends:
Ngoh hiong (meat filling wrapped in beancurd skin and fried)
Pie tie (crispy pastry tart filled with spicy shredded turnip, vegetables and prawns)
Sambal kang kong (spicy vegetable dish)
Ayam Buah Keluak (chicken dish cooked with the black nut mentioned before)
Babi Ponteh (braised pork in fermented soy bean sauce)
Clockwise from top: Ngoh hiong, Babi Ponteh, Pie Tie, Sambal Kang Kong
Ok seriously, you must all be mopping up your saliva from the table now. What wouldn't we give to bite into a mouthful of crispy, delicious ngoh hiong...and did we tell you what a luxury it is to simply have a dish of sambal kang kong with nothing else but steamed white rice...it really feels like heaven just having something that simple.
Peranakan Place also has different durian desserts and the yummiest pineapple tarts! Once you've tried something from this restaurant, you'll want to come back again. Preferably on the same day for dinner. And then the next day for breakfast if possible!
We're not trying to torture you on purpose, but just take a look at their menu!
So if you're in the area in Sydney and are out of ideas for what to have for lunch, you'll know where to go! And if you do drop by, say hi to their friendly 80-year-old owner Mr. Wong from us!
Address: 139 Parramatta Road, Auburn, NSW 2144
Phone: 0416 182 182
Photos: VERONICA LIND, Brilliant-Online
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