Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dulukala Peranakan Restaurant, Beauty World

 Perpetually stuck in the 80s, Beauty World at Bukit Timah hosts one of the top Peranakan (apparently) restaurants in Singapore, Dulu Kala - The Peranakan House. Indeed I have not seen a Peranakan place with decor this authentic, further accentuated by the real-life Peranakan matriachs dining within @.@

 Parents were in town and had initially wanted to check out this other peranakan place but that was fully booked. After some internet sleuthing we were drawn in by Dulu Kala's good reviews. When we reached at a little past 7pm the restaurant was already quite full of people - seems like a really popular spot! 

 Honestly not a humongous fan of Peranakan cuisine, and from my past experiences with other spots I kinda know what to expect - small small dishes at a not so small price! We ordered around 10 dishes for enough food to feed 6.

The one interesting dish we were looking forward to - inception squid was surprisingly bland and normal tasting.

 Lol inception squid (squid cooked in its own ink) was marked as a Recommended dish but I honestly wouldn't. It wasn't that special for me.. I had expected a more pronounced seafood-y saltiness to this. 

{ Sotong Hitam ($8) }
Squid in squid ink

 Literally a handful of petai at $6.50, I'm a major fan of petai so I had no complaints here! I'm not sure if it's a Peranakan thing but the sambal was surprisingly non-piquant.

{ Sambal Petai ($6.50) }
Fried smelly beans with sambal

 Decent clear soup but again didn't feel too strongly about the soup or the meatballs.

 Soup was okaaay, again nothing tooo special. The stock tasted quite generic actually. But I did like the homemade meatballs.

 { Bakwan Kepeting ($8.50) }
Clear soup with homemade meatballs and bamboo shoot

 Ah, Ayam Buak Keluak - unfortunately the only Peranakan dish I am familiar with (and I'd imagine the same goes for most people). The first and last dish I think of when I think Peranakan, this rendition was - ok - I guess! You can't really stray too far off in taste given the same ingredients - spicy, assam flavour accentuated by the Buak Keluak - scrape the insides for a sour peculiar kick. At $11 there really wasn't all that much chicken. Extra nuts at $2!

{ Ayam Buah Keluak ($11) }
Chicken and buak keluak (black indonesian nut) in tamarind sauce

 The assam fish was actually not too bad - a decent portion of fish tail in a flavourful sour spicy sauce!

 This was nice. The sauce is full of flavour (I had several spoonfuls by itself) and there is actually a lot of fish there.

{ Ikan Assam Pedas ($12 - $14) }
Fish steak in tamarind sauce

 Apparently another iconic Peranakan dish, didn't feel too strongly about this. Pork portions was actually quite ok but meat was a little tough and bland and the soup a little too salty for me (expectedly so since it's bean paste).

 Babi pongteh was nice. I thought the meat was quite tender lol and I did like the sauce on rice.

 { Babi Pongteh ($7.50) }
Pork in bean paste sauce

 We also ordered ngoh hiang (not bad!), otah (not bad too), udang goreng assam ( i really liked it though the sticky sauce was a little queer) and chap chye or mixed vegetables (tiny portion for $7 of vegetables).

All of us thought the food was not bad - some hits and some misses - I feel pretty nonchalant about most of the dishes honestly! We decided to let them redeem themselves by ordering the iconic Nyonya desserts.

{ Desserts - Bobo Chacha & Chendol }

 Both were good! We ordered the bobo chacha warm which had just enough sweetness and all the bits of yam and jelly at the right texture and flavours. The chendol was a little too sweet for me (as it should be) with the generous dollops of gula melaka - a good end to a spicy meal.

 Our meal ended on a very good note. Dessert was really nice! I don't usually like chendol but this time I couldn't stop at one mouthful. 

 I can't really judge how Peranakan the cuisine was, but judging it as food I guess it was ... average or just above, considering the price. But most folks swear by this place as the best Peranakan place in Singapore and most value for money, but for me I'm not so sure!

Dulukala Peranakan Restaurant
#04-04 Beauty World, 144 Upper Bukit Timah

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HGW Link (86% recommended at time of writing) :
Rating (out of 4) : 


  1. i think there's a type for the english translation for babi ponteh... :P


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