Golden Mile Food Centre (not to be confused with Golden Mile Complex across Beach Road, with its plethora of Thai eats) has always been most Singaporeans’ hawker centre of choice in this part of town, with its profusion of good “sup tulang” (Mamak-style spicy mutton bone soups) and a very popular Hainanese chicken rice stall with its ever-present queue.
I, on the other hand, have been returning here quite frequently for Charlie’s Peranakan ([Singapore] Best Nyonya cooking at Charlie’s Peranakan). Went back for another meal last Friday:
- Ayam Buah Keluak. The version here is one of the best I’d had in Singapore. Charlie’s version involves cracking open the nuts, remove their filling, mixed that with spices and minced pork & shrimp-meat, then re-stuffing those back into the nuts before cooking.
- Perut Ikan. Typical of Baba Charlie, he relishes bucking the trend in Singapore and chose to offer perut ikan, a Southern Nyonya dish associated more with Penang, than the Southern Nyonya cooking of Singapore and Malacca. And an amazing version which he conjured up here as well, with generous amounts of fish stomach bits besides the requisite combination of herbs typical for this assertive-tasting stew. In fact, his rendition beats almost all the versions I tasted in Penang itself.
- Nangka Masak Lemak. This is a rich Malaccan-Nyonya spiced young jackfruit dish which is pretty difficult to find in Singapore. Very good rendition of this dish and perhaps one of the best-tasting Nyonya dishes one can ever find in Singapore.
This dish was actually serve to us by mistake. We ordered the beef rendang, but was instead given a spicy-sourish spiced pork with belimbing, small green sourish fruits, which proved to be a tasty alternative. We originally thought the dish was the maverick Baba Charlie’s own unusual take on the beef rendang, but realised it was the wrong dish as we continued to taste the dish. It was so good, we didn’t mind having that instead of the more common rendang anyhow.
This is a traditional Nyonya dish which is almost extinct commercially until Baba Charlie resurrected it - a striking-red-hued pork belly stew flavoured with grago (fermented tiny shrimps/krills), ang kak (red rice yeast) and toasted, ground rice.
What drew many of us Nyonya food connoisseurs back to Charlie’s Peranakan is the home-cooked flavour of his dishes. The old chap is a stickler for authenticity and doesn’t compromise on quality. Definitely a dining gem in Singapore, if ever there is one. Warning: the seating area is pretty spartan. It is a hawker centre in one of the grittiest neighbourhoods in Singapore, after all.
Charlie’s Peranakan Food
B1-30, Golden Mile Food Centre
Beach Road, Singapore 199583
Tel: +65 81474832 (Amy)
Opening hours: 11.30am-7.30pm daily