For the first time ever, The Peranakan restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Raymond Khoo will launch an all-new vegan version of their Tok Panjang experience. Set to launch today, this will appeal to diverse groups of diners ranging from vegans and vegetarians to flexitarians and carnivores. Tok Panjang, or long table, is a grand Peranakan feast once served at the turn of the century by wealthy Straits families to mark special occasions like weddings, anniversaries and important birthdays; it is a signature experience at The Peranakan.
The Tok Panjang Bibik set (SGD 48++ per person, minimum two persons) consists of omnipork sup bakwan kepiting, kueh pie ti, ngoh hiang, omnipork buah keluak, mutton rendang, ayam pongteh, nasi ulam, chap chye, and ikan assam pedas.
The Tok Panjang Baba set (SGD 68++ per person, minimum two persons) makes no attempt to hide its regal touch. It has everything one would find in a Bibik set and more. Additional items include duck curry, terung with anchovies, chilli crab cakes, ladies’ fingers with anchovies and tau yu bak.
The Tok Panjang feast retains the beautiful flavours and resolute spirit of Peranakan food without compromising on taste.
Babi buah keluak, a buah keluak dish that borrows the flavours of pork, might seem like a distant memory immortalised in writer Stella Kon’s play, Emily of Emerald Hill. It makes a comeback in the Tok Panjang menu, combining ground omnipork and unctuous buah keluak gravy to produce a real rice pusher.
The plant-based omnipork, made of shiitake mushrooms, peas, non-GMO soy, and rice, makes another appearance in the sup bakwan kepiting. The pork and crab ball soup features meatless pork balls that are robust and laced with ‘tendons’ in an elegant broth flavoured by papayas.
The spirit of Peranakan flavours in the Tok Panjang menu continues with ikan assam pedas, made possible by serving chunks of deep fried battered cod and eggplants in a supremely appetising and tangy assam gravy. Tau yu bak, pork stewed in dark soy, features bean-based pork belly complete with gelatinous sections to resemble belly fat. The best accompaniment for the many dishes in the Tok Panjang is nasi ulam, a heritage dish of mixed herb rice that is laced with Peranakan memories and culture. This ‘salad’ consists of a variety of julienned raw herbs and vegetables such as kaffir lime leaves, turmeric leaves, lemongrass, long beans, rojak flowers, laksa leaves, and is intensely aromatic and delicious to eat.
Meatlovers will love the chill crab cakes and be convinced they need not give up what they used to enjoy. Balls of deep fried soy-based crab cakes offer a real crunch and bite but remain very light on the palate. Chilli crab sauce, an umami bomb constituting elements like rempah, garlic, onions and taucheo, is slathered on the crab cakes to create a real head-turner.
Round out the meal with vegetable dishes such as nyonya chap chye, terong with anchovies (sauteed eggplants topped with fried mushroom strips as good substitute for ikan bilis) and nasi ulam.
Each Tok Panjang set is served with a grand display of desserts at the end of the meal. A jar of fragrant pandan leaves and discs of gula melaka preside over a selection items such as apom bokwa, durian pengat, kueh kosui, and kueh bingka. The kueh bingka, in particular, is made of vegan butter, but surprisingly retains the original flavour of tapioca cake. The chef’s dessert platter is also served with home-brewed lemongrass tea infused with pandan.
Going meat-free has never been this easy!