The foodie traveller on … Singapore’s Peranakan cuisine

At Candlenut restaurant, chef Malcolm Lee is preserving the deeply flavourful cooking of his ancestors – long-ago immigrants from China to Singapore

When a posse of famous chefs craved a true taste of Singapore while attending the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant awards last February, their hosts took them to the Candlenut. This stark white-walled restaurant is the place to sample the brilliant but somewhat controversial Peranakan (the term refers to the descendants of long-ago Chinese immigrants) cooking of chef Malcolm Lee, 31. When he moved here in 2013, Lee wanted to preserve and update (this is what has been controversial) the style of cooking also known as Nyonya, which is an intriguing hybrid of Chinese ingredients with Malaysian and Indonesian spices and techniques.

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