Singapore, March 2016 – Dining at the museum has never been so exciting until opening of the National Gallery. Mr. King and I already have a favorite – National Kitchen by Violet Oon, the culinary ambassador of Singapore! Her Nyonya cuisine is complemented with a mix of Chinese, Indian, Malay and British dishes that reflect Singapore’s history.
We have been there a few times, and each was a wonderful experience. We had the pleasure of talking to Violet Oon as well as her son, Ming, and learned a few intricate details about her restaurant.
National Kitchen is quaintly decorated with peranakan tiles in floral motives, black wall paneling and chandeliers. Ming shared the fact that he spent nearly a year collecting the original peranakan tiles in the pink tulip pattern, and then selected the best quality ones to adorn the walls and ceiling of the restaurant. The peranakan tulips were also the inspiration behind National Kitchen’s logo.
One of the walls is dedicated to the photographs of Violet and her family and her recipes. On the other walls are photographs submitted by fellow Singaporeans. It took 9 months to collect and select these photographs.
It is this attention to details that also comes across in Violet’s cuisine.
Everything on the menu looks interesting. In case you want some recommendations, I am happy to help.
For the appetizer, Coronation Chicken in Wantan Leaf Cup – a dish to celebrate the Singapore heritage, diced chicken in a creamy curry sauce with golden raisin chutney – is a must-try!
Another is the turmeric chicken wings – deep fried turmeric and lemongrass chicken wings served with a spicy chinchalok sambal.
For the main course, I suggest getting a few dishes to share. Dry Laksa – fresh rice noodles tossed in Violet’s laksa gravy topped with prawns, tau pos and bean sprouts – is my favorite!
The Buah Keluak Ayam – Classic Nyonya Spicy and tangy chicken stew and buah keluak nut infused with fresh root spices of lengkuas and turmeric – is difficult to find in modern Singapore.
The Cod in Creamy Laksa Sauce is baked cod in a delectable creamy laksa sauce drizzled with coriander pesto.
Sambal eggplant and Ju Hee Char (Julienne of Jicama, carrots, cabbage and mushrooms stewed in cuttlefish broth topped with deep fried cuttlefish) are great compliments to the meat and fish dishes.
Lastly, there are some incredible desserts. Pineapple Upside Down Cake – light butter sponge topped with pineapple and a butterscotch sauce – is something out of the 1960s and another must-try. Violet’s Kueh Beng Kah – grated tapioca cake topped with gula melaka syrup and coconut milk – was delicious.
Dinner at National Kitchen is a wonderful way to end your evening at the museum!
National Kitchen by Violet Oon – 1 St. Andrew’s Road #02–01, National Gallery, National Gallery, Singapore 178957
All photos were taken by Mrs. King.