An old-fashioned feast at True Blue Cuisine

Posted on January 28, 2010 by Aun

Last weekend, my darling wife S and I enjoyed a fantastic meal at True Blue Cuisine. True Blue is one of my favourite restaurants and easily one of the best Peranakan restaurants in Singapore. It’s a place that S and I like to bring visiting friends to, as well as to go by ourselves for date nights during which we feast on Chef Benjamin Seck’s expertly prepared and always mouth-watering dishes.

Last weekend, we went to True Blue because they were serving a very special set menu. In partnership with The White Card, a membership program that I helped set up that offers special priviliges at some of the city’s best restaurants, and that also organizes regular events, Benjamin had created a menu featuring “long-lost and forgotten” Peranakan dishes. As a glutton that likes to pretend that I’m somewhat intellectual, this was one meal I knew I could not miss.

The menu was simple but satisfying. The first course was jantong pisang sama udang galah, raw banana blossoms with lobster. This was a lovely modern version of a very old, traditional dish. This was followed by a serving of buah paya titek, a very spicy papaya soup. This had an amazing flavour. I’m not a papaya person. To be completely honest, I can’t stand the fruit. But this soup was delicious and the stewed young papaya tasted almost like a sweet daikon. Yummy.

The next course was a small portion of taukwa goreng celop chilli chuka, fried beancurd with vinegar chilli sauce. The beancurd was good and the sauce highly addictive. This was followed by our “main courses”: udang goreng assam, king prawns fried with tamarind sauce; ayam tauyu lada, chicken fried with pepper and black soy sauce; kangkong kledek lemak, sweet potatoes with water convulvulus in coconut milk; and nasi ubi kayu, jasmine rice with tapioca.

All of these dishes were excellent. But the chicken was by far my favourite. I would be happy to have just eaten that with a bowl of rice. Heck, I’d be happy to eat that chicken dish every week, it was that good. It was substantial and savory, while sweet with just a hint of heat. And, from what I understand (from grilling a waiter about how it was cooked), really simple to prepare. This is definitely something I’ll be trying to replicate for weeks to come.

Dessert was the best bubor cha cha sama sagu bijik, sweet potatoes with yam and sago pearls in coconut milk, I have had. It was the perfect sweet finish to a fabulously delicious but also educational meal. Educational because Benjamin had arranged for some friends — authorities on Peranakan cuisine and culture — to talk about each dish and how each fits into the history of both Singapore and the Peranakan people.

These dishes were prepared specifically for this very special night, so you won’t find most on the regular menu. But the food is always good at True Blue. Don’t just take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.

True Blue Cuisine
47/49 Armenian Street
Singapore 179937
telephone +65 6440 0449

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Weng January 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I love your blogs, but I have to strongly disagree with you on this. The most over priced peranankan restaurant in Singapore, with below average food. A complete rip off coupled with obnoxious service. Just see the numerous reviews on Hungrygowhere.com. Perhaps they up their game whenever a food critic or important industry folk like yourself visit. This comment is perhaps unlikely to see the light of day, but I can’t let it go by. The experience I had at this joint makes me fume.

  2. SP January 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Weng is absolutely right. I don’t mind paying for good food, but True Blue’s food was average at best, terribly overpriced ($4 for 4 tiny pieces of keropok… ouch!) and pretentious service staff.

  3. Ling February 1, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    OMG. I thought I would be the first to comment on this article but I totally agree with Weng and SP. My experience was exactly the same as theirs. It is way overpriced for below average Peranakan food. I was *personally* attended to by Benjamin, the owner, who has charges for everything… even $0.50 for the take away container, $2 for 3 pieces of he bee haim as “appetisers” . My lunch for 2 came up to $90 taking into account the 1-for-1 Citibank set lunch. A COMPLETE RIP-OFF.

  4. www.triportreats.com February 4, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    wow looks absolutely delectable. I cannot wait to visit Singapore! Please enlighten me, what does Peranakan mean or stand for?

    lol the comments do not sound encouraging, but the photos look delectable!

  5. Pete March 16, 2010 at 4:09 am

    I’m afraid Weng, SP & Ling were right. True Blue really needs to re-look the prices. Whilst I was also at the White Card event, I thought the food was average, except for the excellent banana-blossom/lobster salad. And they did charge astronomically high prices as usual.

  6. Weng March 26, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks SP, Ling and Pete. Sometimes us fans of food blogs place too much faith in the reviews we see online and of food critics. I think is the experience of the average diner that truely reflects what one gets at the restaurants. Often, the food bloggers and critics are hosted by these establishment and their dining experience can be very different from yours and mine. However, kudos to Chubbyhubby for our comments, that disagree with their own, see teh light of day.

  7. Julia April 11, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    This looks amazing! Looks like a cool restaurant.

  8. jem April 16, 2010 at 1:16 am

    hm…great idea. where else can i go to get a taste of forgotten classic dishes of Singapore and the Straits?

    Much obliged

  9. True Blue Cuisine May 20, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Dear Sirs and M’ams

    We thank you for the feedback that you have provided. We would like to response to some of the feedback.

    The keropok we sell at our restaurant are personally prepared in our kitchen with a content of 90% prawn, and is not bought from vendors.

    The shrimp rolls, also known as Hae Bee Hiam, are also made in our own restaurant, down to the dried shrimps inside the rolls, are not priced at $2 for 3 pieces, but at 10 pieces for $3.50.

    Take away containers are not charged to customers, but are collectively charged under “Bag” for $2 regardless of the amount of quantity. Seafood are strictly not allowed to be bagged, as the exposure of the food to the air during the time it has been on the table would compromise the freshness of the food.

    The Citibank 1-for1 promotion has been discontinued since December 2008, our on-going promotions are the American Express 1-for-1 promotion and the White Card promotion, with all stated terms and conditions applied.

    We hope any discrepancies have been cleared and thank you for your valuable feedback. Furthermore, we would like to thank ChubbyHubby and his wife S for their continuous support.

    Yours sincerely
    True Blue Cuisine

  10. Zeph May 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Well, if the guests cant tell the difference between 90% prawn crackers and 50 cents prawn crackers, it’s probably a sign.

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