Tok Panjang, a long table CNY heritage feast at Folklore

Like a breathe of fresh air, Folklore celebrates Lunar New Year with Tok Panjang -  a lavish heritage feast sprawled out over a long table - a ritual at Peranakan households meant to mark special occasions. Here, there are no traces of the stodgy peng cai nor tacky heaviness of nian goa (apologies if I've stepped on anyone's feet with that remark. Do note that I do love a good Nian Gao), instead, the tabletop is covered with 15 heritage dishes prepared true to Chef Damian's Peranakan maternal grandmother. Talk about embracing the communal spirit, Folklore's Tok Panjang has got it down pat.

Start your meal off with some piping hot soup. The Fish Maw Soup gets my votes, it starts off with a pork bone broth and prawn stock separately, the former gets treated to sea cucumbers, pigs stomach and sweet intestines while the latter is used to stew fish meat balls. The two stock bases are then blended before fish balls, prawns balls and fish maw stuffed with marinated minced pork is added. Aromatic comfort in every spoonful.

If you're looking for something to whet the appetite, go the full nine-yards and order the Perenakan Prawn Salad. While you're at it, make sure to arm yourself with a glass of ice cold milk. It's deceivingly refreshing looks will have you shamelessly smudging your makeup on tissue paper as your blot away in feign attempt at relieving the looming heat. Poached prawns are topped over fresh Chinese lettuce leaves (crucial to numb the heat), the simple mix drizzled with chili plums sauce and lime juice. You'll want to eat lots of rice with that.

The most undiscerning of starters is also the most impressive. The Pie Tee has reached a state of normalcy in terms of local street food. However, Chef Damian's rendition ups the ante with the salacious fillings composed of slow braised pork belly on top of jicama, bamboo shoots flavoured with sauteed garlic and preserved soya bean paste. Like a pot of gold, the tiny package excites and will have you craving for another.

Aside from the Peranakan usuals, there are risks that are notably foreign yet curiously satisfying at the same time. The Sambal Belimbling deserves special mention. The miniature star fruits stir fried in aromatic homemade sambal had made in raptures over its depth of tanginess that helped to balanced the richness of the other dishes. A gargantuan slab of otah (steamed mackerel) needs little but a coriander leaf for titivation. It's rich and spiked with aromatic coconut milk and other spice amidst visible chunks of tender fish.

You'll want to slap on a hideous amount of Grandma's Chicken Curry sauce over your rice. Originating from a rempah made from blending dried chillies, ginger, garlic and shallots. The addition of a minimal amount of coconut milk at the end of the cooking process allows for the innate flavors of the paste to shine. Then watch as saucy colours meld on a plate with dredgings of Ayam Buah Keluak - a painstaking load of effort is involved in its preparation from pulp extraction to handcooking with lard and salt before re-stuffing. The labor of love clearly demonstrated in the articulate flavors of the stewed chicken. 

Another showstopper is the Babi Pongteh - hearty braised pork belly slow cooked with fermented bean paste, bamboo shoot, dried mushrooms and dark sugarcane. Some of you might find it very familiar since this may be a dish that is widely seen in home-cooked food, however, this familiar dish is elevated through the mastery of detail. The pork belly attaining uniform fattiness throughout without those ominous stringy bits that may be the result of taking shortcuts.

Chinese New Year Dinner is never complete without the convening over tins of sweet treats of Nian Gao, hence Folklore pulls the rabbit out of the hat with more Peranakan specials such as our favourite Kueh Kosui and Bingka Ubi, best enjoyed with specially sourced gula melaka and Vanilla Ice Cream.

We like what Folklore has done with their Chinese New Year offerings - flicking the dust off traditional menus. And, we dare say with quality so good, they won't need much soliciting to incite keenness. 

Folklore Chinese New Year Tok Panjang is available for dinner from 15 Feb to 2 Mar 2018 from 6pm - 9 30pm daily at $68++ per adult and $28++ per child (12 years old and below). Chinese New Year set lunches are served at just $18.80++ per person. Note that the A la carte menu will not be available during this promotional period.

Destination Singapore Beach Road
700 Beach Road
t: 6679 2900

Operating Hours:
Mon - Sun: Lunch 12pm - 2 30pm
Dinner 6pm - 9 30pm

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