January 8, 2012

Singapore Food Republic by Nasi Lemak

Here in the Philippines, most cuisines are well-represented - American, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Thai. When one raises Singaporean cuisine, I only vouch a few for authenticity, less than one hand could count. These include Nasi Lemak and Singapore Food Republic.

Last day of 2011, my equally curious sister and I headed out to have lunch with Mr. HK Tan at his new restaurant, Singapore Food Republic. It is an upgraded version of Nasi Lemak, relating zen principles to its interiors and showcasing a more comprehensive Singaporean dishes. It provides both casual and upscale dining experiences, but it doesn't reflect in the moderation of prices.

All the hanging pictures were shot by Mr. HK himself!

 This is the view that awaits at second floor, Mr. HK’s panoramic shot of Singapore Marina Bay which includes Marina Mandarin Hotel, the Flyer, the spiral bridge, Lotus Museum, Marina Bay Sands Resort and Merlion. Impressive, don't you think?


Singapore Drunken Prawns

Singapore Drunken Prawns

Singapore Drunken Prawn is a popular dish in the East Coast Park of Singapore. It's a simple dish requiring only Chinese wine, a Chinese herb and shrimp of course, yet it does well in warming up the taste buds. It has a faintly medicinal fragrance, and it feels like it was lovingly prepared. While soup is comforting, shrimps are fresh, evenly-sized and equally good.

Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow is my sister Dianne's favorite. It is true that this restaurant's version is highly addicting. Perhaps because it's reminiscent of hawker centers' perfect stirs, wonderful smoky taste, neither too sweet nor too savory, just the right mix of flavors.

Roast Pork Belly Mantao

Mr. Tan says Roast Pork Belly Mantao is good for breakfast, I say it's good anytime of the day! After the pork belly is slowly roasted for four hours, expect a succulent tenderness with a hint of rind that's crisp crackling.

Fish Head Curry

The distinctive taste of Fish Head Curry makes it the King of Curries and my personal favorite. The large head of Maya-Maya is simmered in a spectacular mix of coconut milk, tamarind, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal and bunga kantan (ginger flower). The thick rich gravy perfectly complements the silky-smoothness of the mayamaya. It's effortless to clean out the huge pot, eating the fish flesh in between the bones and saving the eye for the last bite.

First time I savoured this was at Nasi Lemak. My family and I ordered fish head curry among other dishes. Although I took pleasure in sharing it with them, my succeeding visits were a different story; I'd rather have it all to myself. It elicits the selfishness in me, that's how glorious it is!

Chocolate Lava Cake

Coffee Connoisseur and Chendol at back

I unusually believe that restaurants can pull off an exceptional coffee like some coffee shops do, but this one is a bolt from the blue; it utterly surprised me. It is bittersweet, earthy, explosive and unexpectedly full-bodied. Amazingly, it's noticeable upon first sip!

Singapore Sling

The drink itself is fruity, mildly sweet and goes down easy, but they say it's deceptive. It hides its kick behind its sweetness. Before you know it, you're ruined. In Filipino, a drink like this is called traydor.

Mr. HK playing with a fish ball; Singapore's bouncing fish ball, that is.

Food aside, I admire executive chef and owner Mr. HK Tan for his incredibly warm and humble nature, and his belief in giving back. His passion to bring out excellent food quality and ensuring customer satisfaction is evident as he himself spend a quarter of every month in Singapore to source authentic spices and other ingredients, while he spends the rest acting as an overseer, keeping the kitchen running smoothly.

Happy employees equal happy customers. :)

Those who have yet to try or appreciate Singaporean food should consider a visit here. The dishes are designed to appeal the senses and they do it wonderfully. Singapore Food Republic is readily accessible just on the opposite side of St. Luke's Medical Center, and across HSBC in Taguig City.

Singapore Food Republic by Nasi Lemak
Ground Floor, Commercenter Building,
31st Ave cor. 4th St.
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
(02) 925-1988


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