Malaysian celebrity Chef Wan has arrived in Singapore to present a royal taste of his country at Ginger at PARKROYAL on Beach Road, known for having one of the best halal hotel buffets in town. Specially for Ramadan, Chef Wan is showcasing Malaysia palace cuisine in four heritage dishes, which reflect his past cooking experience at sultanates across the peninsular. A fifth dish, Kerabu Mee Hoon Nonya pays homage to his grandmother’s cooking.
The dishes are available from 5 March to 23 April 2023 during the Ramadan festive season as part of Ginger’s buffet.
At a media preview, Chef Wan showed at his first appearance in Singapore in five years that his presence and personality were still as colourful. His candid sharing and animated cooking were peppered with jokes and nuggets of his personal experiences.
The first dish he cooked for us, Laksa Johor has some similarities with the Singapore laksa we know of. It is made with ingredients like dried prawns, coconut cream, fresh prawns among many others, but this fusion version is full of minced fish and made with spaghetti instead of thick rice vermicelli.
The story goes that a former Sultan of Johor was visiting Europe back in the 1880s when he fell in love with spaghetti in Italy. The sultan then got his kitchen to concoct a spaghetti recipe upon his return, which was how Laksa Johor was born. Cucumber, mint and limes help to cut through the richness of this dish, which is served with sambal belacan on the side. This was my favourite and it put ideas into my head about whether laksa broth here could be elevated with minced fish. Hmm…
The next dish, Kerabu Meehoon Nonya is a legacy of Chef Wan’s grandmother. It is a spicy and tart vermicelli salad made with a mind-boggling array of ingredients and spices –there is sambal belacan, fish sauce, fresh prawns, dried shrimp, tomatoes, topped with kaffir lime leaves, fried tofu, ginger flower, lemongrass, shallots…you get the idea that I could go on. The final result is a refreshing palate cleanser of sorts that is a good match to the other four dishes, all of which are on the rich side—don’t forget that these are meant for royalty, after all.
Another Johor dish, the Kuzi Kambing Johor, brings mutton cooked with more than 20 ingredients and spices. The rempah, or spice paste, is first wok-fried to bring out its fragrance. The meat and tomato purée and later yoghurt are then added for some sweet and sour taste to balance the spices.
Moving upwards to the middle of Peninsular Malaysia, Rendang Udang Galah Perak sees king prawns cooked with lemongrass, turmeric, dried chilli, shallots, ginger and condensed coconut milk until the gravy reduces and they are served piping hot. King prawns are not something I see or eat often here, and these were huge, with the look and texture of crayfish.
From all the way up north is the Ayam Percik Kelantan, a chicken dish that is first simmered in a potent spiced gravy of coconut milk, red chillies, shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, candlenut, and Fenugreek seeds, before being oven-grilled for a smoky char, and finished off with turmeric leaves.
Chef Wan’s five selected dishes are a great mix of surf and turf, complementing Ginger’s Ramadan Festive Lunch and Dinner Buffet, which features a wide spread of different cuisines. For this period, there are also specials like Bubur Lambuk (beef porridge). Expect rich, authentic and flavourful dishes at Ginger’s buffet, which are balanced out by a salad bar, seafood on ice and sushi counter. You can also find a barbecue counter, roast counter and live stations serving local favourites, as well as dim sum for those looking for some Chinese food. There is a Premier menu featuring Salted Egg Yolk Crab, Singapore Chilli Crab as well as White Pepper Lobster and Baked Boston Lobster on rotation.
Check out Ginger’s full buffet menu for Ramadan here. For reservations, click here.
Ginger, PARKROYAL on Beach Road
PARKROYAL on Beach Road,
7500 Beach Road, Level 1
Opening hours: Buffet Lunch: 12pm to 2.30pm; Buffet Dinner: 6pm to 10pm; À La Carte Dining: 8am to 10pm