Peranakan food is not the most accessible in Singapore, but it is a very accurate melting pot of cultures in terms of food. I would say it’s the best way to “taste Singapore” – with each restaurant giving different takes of the cuisine. Some with more Chinese cooking methods, others more Malay cooking methods, many with Indian spices.
Godmama – a brand new joint in the new Funan Centre – is a contemporary Peranakan casual dining restaurant.
Patrons can choose to sit indoors in the air conditioning or outdoors on the patio, that was quite cool even on a balmy night.
The cocktails are pretty good as well, the most notable being the brass distillery’s butterfly pea gin and tonic. Refreshing and light, the perfect balance to the spicy food.
Peranakan food tends to be very flavourful, intense and rather spicy. So if you’re trying it out for the first time, this might be the best entry level point, as they execute well loved recipes, with crowd pleasing flavours.
It is like the Zara of Peranakan food.
If you order Peranakan, everyone will tell you there are a few dishes to have to order : Beef Rendang, a pork (babi) dish, an Assam dish, chap chye, Ayam Buah Keluak, and maybe some side dishes.
Their sambal is on point. It might be a bit too fiery for people who can’t take the heat. But I could definitely eat copious amounts of their handmade version with keropok.
Here, we had the babi Assam – which to me was the standout dish with excellent flavours. It could be stewed longer for a stronger flavor, but I was already impressed with the flavor profile of the dish. Sour, tangy, and the pork was tender and went perfectly with the butterfly pea rice.
The Ayam Buah Keluak is milder flavored compared to what I usually prefer, I like a thick, black, viscous gravy loaded with lots of paste from the buah keluak nut, but this, I understand, is an acquired taste for Peranakan purists. Their version is simpler, and cleaner, and more palatable for the masses, though the chicken can afford a longer stew time.
The popiah we were served was with egg crepe skin that they make in the kitchen. Personally this is not my favorite type of skin, but I did appreciate the filling of the roll itself. Toppings were generous and it was rolled like a huge, fat burrito.
The sambal prawn was very good, but might be a tad spicy for people who can’t do chili. But this is another dish worth trying.
Sadly, the beef rendang wasn’t available yet. But I’d love to try it if I do go back for a visit.
Desserts were a high point of the evening. And do note they are not traditional Peranakan desserts. But instead, contemporary takes with Peranakan flavours.
The coconut Panna cotta sitting in black rice was a good take on pulut Hitam. And the ginger flower sorbet was so refreshing, I could also see them incorporating this into their cocktails down the road.
Their sticky date pudding in red date and longan soup was also good, though we might have left ours sitting for a bit too long, and it got a little mushy.
All in all – if you want to taste Peranakan food without spending too much, while getting quality ingredients at good value, I’d say give Godmama a go.