30th anniversary cookbook shares Singapore’s unique food cultureCapitaLand’s serviced residence unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has launched a cookbook to share Singapore’s unique food culture with its residents globally, as the company celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
Titled ‘30 Years, 30 Recipes: A Gastronomic Journey’, the cookbook can be found in Ascott’s more than 100 serviced residences which are operating globally in 20 countries, as well as in libraries in Singapore.
Mr Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “As a Singapore company that has grown to be the world’s largest international serviced residence owner-operator, Ascott is proud to share Singapore’s unique food culture with our residents globally. Our residents are mainly expatriates and business travellers. This cookbook will help our residents who are on the road to create the taste and enjoy the feeling of home in the fully-equipped kitchens of their apartments at Ascott.”
The specially produced cookbook features 30 Peranakan recipes developed by up-and-coming Chef Malcolm Lee who runs the restaurant, Candlenut, in Singapore. Peranakan cuisine combines Chinese, Malay and other influences into a unique blend and is well liked by multicultural Singaporeans.
Mr Lee added: “As a home-grown brand and personality, both Ascott and Chef Lee share similar beliefs. We want to bring the best of what we do from Singapore to the world. Chef Lee’s dishes were inspired by his mother and grandmother, very much like home-cooked meals. His passion to become a chef grew from a young age from him watching his mother meticulously prepare traditional Peranakan dishes for family and friends. In the same way, Ascott has grown most of all because of the personal relationships we have enjoyed with our residents, property owners and partners over the last 30 years.”
Ascott’s 30th anniversary cookbook features recipes under six categories – soups and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and seafood, rice and noodles, and snacks and desserts. Residents who love spicy cuisine can try their hands to dish out Ayam Buah Keluak (chicken and Indonesian black nut stew), Steamed Cod and Tiger Prawn Otah, Sambal Kang Kong (water spinach stir-fried with sambal), Laksa (curry noodles), Dry Mee Siam (fried spicy rice vermicelli) and Assam Fish (fish in tamarind sauce). Alternatively, the cookbook has several non-spicy options such as Roasted Spring Chicken, Chap Chye (mixed vegetable stew), Babi Pongteh (braised pork with preserved soy bean paste) and Nasi Ulam (rice salad). Guests with a sweet tooth will also relish the Chendol Cream, Ondeh Ondeh (sweet potato balls filled with palm sugar syrup) and Sago Gula Melaka (sago pudding with palm sugar syrup).
Chef Lee said: "I am grateful for the opportunity to share with Ascott’s residents the Peranakan cuisine which I grew up eating with my family and friends. The dishes feature authentic flavours rooted in the heritage of traditional Peranakan cooking but with a twist using modern cooking techniques.”
Just a year younger than Ascott, Chef Lee started working in food establishments in the United States and operated a student-run Western café-cum-bar at the Singapore Management University. His rediscovery of familiar Asian flavours came through the achievement of being the first Singaporean recipient of the Miele Guide Scholarship. A comprehensive programme awarded to Chef Lee at the At-Sunrice Global Chef Academy enabled him to re-experience his Asian culinary roots, and thus played a large role in his decision to preserve Peranakan cooking.
Chef Lee recently showcased his food at the 2014 World Gourmet Summit. He was recognised at the Summit as a finalist for the Asian Cuisine Chef of the Year while Candlenut was named a finalist for Asian Restaurant of the Year. Candlenut also hosted 23 chefs from the list of 2014 ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ including Joan Roca (El Celler De Can Roca) and Yoshihiro Narisawa (Narisawa).