Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Kim Choo story

Ayam Buah Keluak by Taking5
Ayam Buah Keluak, a photo by Taking5 on Flickr.
There was a rather nice story in today's Sunday Times about Mdm Lee Kim Choo, of Kim Choo Kueh Chang fame.  Mdm Lee is a true pioneer of Singapore, who struggled to bring up her family by making and selling Bak Chang.  Today, her small little stall is a two-unit shop house on East Coast Road, selling an expanded range of nonya delicacies, a restaurant, and a small heritage centre cum shop selling nonya wares and clothing.  Mdm Lee has retired, and her family members are running the business today.

My family frequently go to the restaurant, Rumah Kim Choo - in fact we bring our visitors to Singapore here.  Rumah is Malay for house, so it's translated as Kim Choo's House.  The food is nonya homecooking, so that means it is pretty tasty, unpretentious and generally good value.

The ayam buah keluak here is one of our favourites.  For those who do not know, buah keluak is a nut with a dark, oily slightly bitter meat within. This is a tough dish to make as the nuts must be cut open so that the flavour of the buah keluak flavours the gravy and the spices of the gravy flavour the buah keluak. This dish is truly a Singapore peranakan classic.

The next-door shop sells sauces, pastes, and other peranakan cooking essentials. Their ready-made belacan is firey - so be warned!

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